Learning more about OSPF for CCNP studies. I'm looking at how OSPF builds its links, and have just covered Type1 LSAs. Looking at Type1 LSAs, I'm wondering why these are even necessary?

The book I'm reading implies that Type2 LSAs are used to help the router build the 'puzzle' of the topology, as if just using Type1 LSAs it couldn't figure out all of the links in the topology. It appears as if the Type1 LSA gives enough information for the router to be able to derive how two or even more routers are linked. Maybe the book I'm reading has poor examples, but I can't see what OSPF gains from the Type2 LSAs and it's hard to understand how they work.

  • Silviu, I am not able to reply to your comment, so posting here. What if all the links between R1,R2 and R3 are point-to-point links? That means there is no DR and no type-2 LSA. In that case, R1 can not detect R3 failure, correct? Please correct me if I am missing something.
    – user16491
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 7:06

5 Answers 5


It's important to note that type 2 LSA's are only generated on segments where a DR/BDR has been elected - this includes BMA (Broadcast Multi-Access) and NBMA (Non-Broadcast Multi-Access) networks. The DR is what generates the type 2 LSA. This behavior can be bypassed by configuring your Ethernet interfaces that you're choosing to run OSPF on as point-to-point (this will also prevent the DR election process).

Type 2 LSA's are beneficial when running OSPF over a Broadcast (Ethernet) or Non-Broadcast Multi-Access (Frame Relay) medium. Put simply, yes, the routers could use type 1 LSA's and detail every router's links to all other routers, but this is inefficient and will introduce unnecessary bloat into the OSPF LSDB. To mitigate this, the Type 2 (network) LSA is used to represent the broadcast subnet. Each router LSA then has a link to the broadcast subnet’s network LSA, and the network LSA has links to each of the router LSAs. It's a math problem - with every router using type 1 LSA's, you have n * (n - 1) links in the link state database. With type 2 LSA's, this number is reduced to n * 2.

I highly recommend reading John Moy's book on OSPF. He also wrote the initial RFC's for the protocol.

Very well explained!

Maybe this graphic help visualize that.

LSA Flow according area tructure

  • Maybe add to your answer that DR/BDR is used over NBMA as well.
    – Daniel Dib
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 17:31
  • Sure, that's also an important note. I've edited my answer. Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 17:40
  • 1
    Hey John, what an awesome answer - the equations at the bottom make the answer very simple! I had tried to map this by hand and wasn't able to put it into perspective. I've taken a look at the Moy book, glad to see your recommendation, I will look to pick it up!
    – A L
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 17:54
  • The Moy book is a little more expensive than what I remember. You can also read about type 2 LSA's in the RFC: ietf.org/rfc/rfc2328.txt - specifically section 12.4.2 Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 19:07
  • Best explanation of type 2 LSAs I've ever read! Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 5:51

In addition: Type-2 LSA use only as "virtual instance" of a router in MA segment, this pseudonode has an adjacency to all attached routers (include DR/BDR) on the network and lists all attached routers (RID) to that segment. For transfer LSA they(DR/BDR) use Type-1 LSA as well.

R1# sh ip ospf database
        OSPF Router with ID ( (Process ID 1)
            Router Link States (Area 0)
Link ID         ADV Router      Age         Seq#       Checksum Link count         708         0x80000003 0x008686 2         709         0x80000003 0x00CB0C 2

            Net Link States (Area 0)
Link ID               ADV Router    Age         Seq#              Checksum         709         0x80000001 0x0014A6

R1# sh ip ospf database network
        OSPF Router with ID ( (Process ID 1)
            Net Link States (Area 0)
  Routing Bit Set on this LSA in topology Base with MTID 0
  LS age: 780
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: Network Links
  Link State ID: (address of Designated Router)
  Advertising Router:
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0x14A6
  Length: 32
  Network Mask: /24
    Attached Router:
    Attached Router:

R1#sh ip ospf database router self-originate
        OSPF Router with ID ( (Process ID 1)
            Router Link States (Area 0)
  LS age: 400
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC)
  LS Type: Router Links
  Link State ID:
  Advertising Router:
  LS Seq Number: 80000002
  Checksum: 0x729C
  Length: 48
  Number of Links: 2

Link connected to: a Stub Network
 (Link ID) Network/subnet number:
 (Link Data) Network Mask:
  Number of MTID metrics: 0
   TOS 0 Metrics: 1

Link connected to: a Transit Network
 (Link ID) Designated Router address:
 (Link Data) Router Interface address:
  Number of MTID metrics: 0
   TOS 0 Metrics: 10

Here's an example of whe LSA 2 could be useful (not found in the original answer):

R1----|----R2----|----R3 - all connected on broadcast medium.

Let's say R3 link goes down:


R2 will detect R3 going down when the dead timer expires. But how does R1 find out about R3 going down, because R2 will not change it's type 1 LSA (R2's link towards R3 is still up). The answer is that R2 will flood a type 2 LSA in which it says R3 is not part of the pseudonode anymore. Upon receiving this update, R1 will delete the routes that used R3 as transit. Interestingly, R1 still has R3 type 1 LSA. It just sees that the graph is interrupted (from the type 2 lsa sent by R2).


I think a reason is that in a Router-LSA the network is only represented as the IP address (no netmask) of the DR of that network while both the IP and the netmask are included in the Network-LSA.

Conceptually it is the DR that identifies the network, not an average router linked to the network.

Another reason is that such a Network-LSA will be sent to others and time out as a single unit. For example, a retiring DR can flush its old Network-LSA so that that network will be deleted from other routers' link state DB.


Link state advertisements form the basis of this type of protocol. without them and their hello and dead timers there would be no way to assure the topology and links were still active.

Link state protocols depend on these, whereas EIGRP and other distance vector protocols depend more upon the path of data and path cost determined by bandwidth availability, latency etc. They also do not have regular "updates" updates are sent when necessary such as when a link is found to be inactive.

With OSPF and LSAs whole updates of the topology table are sent regularly, they depend on similar items, such as distance and bandwidth but they are calculated differently due to the algorithm used in OSPF.

I prefer EIGRP but that is not an option in non Cisco land, its just a more efficient and simpler protocol to configure IMO.

I live in an all Juniper world, so eIGRP is a thing of the past, OSPF and the different type of LSA advertisements are a necessity to know.

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