I have given the following network diagram and been told that,

Since EIGRP has a better (lower) administrative distance than OSPF, the router on the far left will use the EIGRP path and publish only the EIGRP path to the destination network in its routing table.

Cisco Systems, Inc

Question: Why does EIGRP have a better (lower) administrative distance than OSPF?

Image courtesy: Cisco Systems, Inc


3 Answers 3


That is because Cisco determines the AD used by its devices, and EIGRP is a Cisco protocol, so Cisco decided to make EIGRP have a lower AD than other protocols.

Each vendor determines the relative reliability of protocols for its equipment; there is no outside standard for this. Some vendors may not even have an AD equivalent.

According to Cisco default distance value table,

| Route Source          | Default Distance Values   |
|---------------------  |-------------------------  |
| Connected interface   | 0                         |
| Static route          | 1                         |
| EIGRP summary route   | 5                         |
| eBGP                  | 20                        |
| Internal EIGRP**      | 90                        |
| IGRP                  | 100                       |
| OSPF**                | 110                       |
| .............         | ...                       |
  • If possible can you please add a resource/link for further reading?
    – arif
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 22:04
  • 2
    Simply search for cisco administrative distance, and you will get things like, What Is Administrative Distance?. As I said, there is no standard. Cisco created Administrative Distance. Other vendors may call it something else (assuming they have something similar). AD is local to a single device, so there is no interoperability requirement.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 22:08

Administrative distance is defined for a protocols by protocols designer . Cisco has developed EIGRP and designed in such a way AD value is 90 .

It's purely depends upon protocol developer .

  • 4
    Not so much the protocol designers than the vendors/implementators of products capable of running EIGRP. Hint: Try finding the concept of "administrative distance" described in the relevant RFCs for EIGRP or OSPF - your probably won't find it there. The question of Admin Distance (which is a Cisco term) only comes up when the given routing instance has multiple sources of routing information and needs a mechanism to sort out possibly overlapping routing information gathered from the various sources (such as: local, connected, static, dyn. protocols like BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, RIP...) Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 11:58

The AD is a vendor concept (from the vendor who in this case is Cisco), independent of the routing protocols. It is just Cisco's way of prioritizing between routes from different routing protocols, in cases where multiple routing protocols are running at the same time.

Since, furthermore, EIGRP was created by Cisco (unlike OSPF), it is not surprising that Cisco may slightly prefer EIGRP over OSPF and therefore assign it a better/smaller AD.

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