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Stub areas have many advantages, but can someone tell me what are their disadvantages?

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  • Can you tell us the "many advantages" first?
    – rnxrx
    Feb 11 '17 at 3:11
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Basically, a stub area is a dead-end area. For instance, a stub are cannot be used as a transit for virtual links.

RFC 2328, OSPF Version 2, Section 3.6 Supporting stub areas

There are a couple of restrictions on the use of stub areas. Virtual links cannot be configured through stub areas. In addition, AS boundary routers cannot be placed internal to stub areas.

Cisco has a document, OSPF Design Guide, that has a section on stub areas:

An area could be qualified a stub when there is a single exit point from that area or if routing to outside of the area does not have to take an optimal path. The latter description is just an indication that a stub area that has multiple exit points, will have one or more area border routers injecting a default into that area. Routing to the outside world could take a sub-optimal path in reaching the destination by going out of the area via an exit point which is farther to the destination than other exit points.

Other stub area restrictions are that a stub area cannot be used as a transit area for virtual links. Also, an ASBR cannot be internal to a stub area. These restrictions are made because a stub area is mainly configured not to carry external routes and any of the above situations cause external links to be injected in that area. The backbone, of course, cannot be configured as stub.

All OSPF routers inside a stub area have to be configured as stub routers. This is because whenever an area is configured as stub, all interfaces that belong to that area will start exchanging Hello packets with a flag that indicates that the interface is stub. Actually this is just a bit in the Hello packet (E bit) that gets set to 0. All routers that have a common segment have to agree on that flag. If they don't, then they will not become neighbors and routing will not take effect.

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