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I am reading about mesh networking protocols like BATMAN and OLSR, and I keep coming across the term "convergence".

For instance, in this page from the BATMAN docs, there is a section called "convergence speed", and I see a lot of academic papers referring to "convergence analysis" for different mesh routing protocols.

Can someone explain to me what "converge" means in this context, and how it is measured?

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Routing convergence means that all the routers have received all routing updates and have updated their routing tables to reflect the changes.

Different routing protocols propagate routing changes in different ways, with different timing. For example, some routing protocols send all the routes to neighbors periodically, so changes can take a long time to get to every router. On the other hand, some routing protocols immediately send any changes to neighbors as soon as the router knows about the changes, so the updates get to all routers quickly.

As soon as all the routers in the AS have the updates, then the routing protocol has converged. Before all the routers know about the updates, packets can be lost, so time to convergence is important.

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  • Thanks Ron - that makes sense. I was seeing the term all over the place, but never with a definition. Great explanation! – J. Taylor Jun 1 '18 at 3:25

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