3. Splitting the AS into Areas OSPF allows collections of contiguous networks and hosts to be grouped together. Such a group, together with the routers having interfaces to any one of the included networks, is called an area. Each area runs a separate copy of the basic link-state routing algorithm. This means that each area has its own link-state database and corresponding graph, as explained in the previous section. The topology of an area is invisible from the outside of the area. Conversely, routers internal to a given area know nothing of the detailed topology external to the area. This isolation of knowledge enables the protocol to effect a marked reduction in routing traffic as compared to treating the entire Autonomous System as a single link-state domain. With the introduction of areas, it is no longer true that all routers in the AS have an identical link-state database. A router actually has a separate link-state database for each area it is connected to. (Routers connected to multiple areas are called area border routers). Two routers belonging to the same area have, for that area, identical area link-state databases. Routing in the Autonomous System takes place on two levels, depending on whether the source and destination of a packet reside in the same area (intra-area routing is used) or different areas (inter-area routing is used). In intra-area routing, the packet is routed solely on information obtained within the area; no routing
information obtained from outside the area can be used. This protects intra-area routing from the injection of bad routing information. We discuss inter-area routing in Section 3.2. 3.1. The backbone of the Autonomous System The OSPF backbone is the special OSPF Area 0 (often written as Area 0.0.0.0, since OSPF Area ID's are typically formatted as IP addresses). The OSPF backbone always contains all area border routers. The backbone is responsible for distributing routing information between non-backbone areas. The backbone must be contiguous. However, it need not be physically contiguous; backbone connectivity can be established/maintained through the configuration of virtual links. Virtual links can be configured between any two backbone routers that have an interface to a common non-backbone area. Virtual links belong to the backbone. The protocol treats two routers joined by a virtual link as if they were connected by an unnumbered point-to-point backbone network. On the graph of the backbone, two such routers are joined by arcs whose costs are the intra-area distances between the two routers. The routing protocol traffic that flows along the virtual link uses intra- area routing only. 3.2. Inter-area routing When routing a packet between two non-backbone areas the backbone is used. The path that the packet will travel can be broken up into three contiguous pieces: an intra-area path from the source to an area border router, a backbone path between the source and destination areas, and then another intra-area path to the destination. The algorithm finds the set of such paths that have the smallest cost. Looking at this another way, inter-area routing can be pictured as forcing a star configuration on the Autonomous System, with the backbone as hub and each of the non-backbone areas as spokes.
The topology of the backbone dictates the backbone paths used between areas. The topology of the backbone can be enhanced by adding virtual links. This gives the system administrator some control over the routes taken by inter-area traffic. The correct area border router to use as the packet exits the source area is chosen in exactly the same way routers advertising external routes are chosen. Each area border router in an area summarizes for the area its cost to all networks external to the area. After the SPF tree is calculated for the area, routes to all inter-area destinations are calculated by examining the summaries of the area border routers. 3.3. Classification of routers Before the introduction of areas, the only OSPF routers having a specialized function were those advertising external routing information, such as Router RT5 in Figure 2. When the AS is split into OSPF areas, the routers are further divided according to function into the following four overlapping categories: Internal routers A router with all directly connected networks belonging to the same area. These routers run a single copy of the basic routing algorithm. Area border routers A router that attaches to multiple areas. Area border routers run multiple copies of the basic algorithm, one copy for each attached area. Area border routers condense the topological information of their attached areas for distribution to the backbone. The backbone in turn distributes the information to the other areas. Backbone routers A router that has an interface to the backbone area. This includes all routers that interface to more than one area (i.e., area border routers). However, backbone routers do not have to be area border routers. Routers with all interfaces connecting to the backbone area are supported.
AS boundary routers A router that exchanges routing information with routers belonging to other Autonomous Systems. Such a router advertises AS external routing information throughout the Autonomous System. The paths to each AS boundary router are known by every router in the AS. This classification is completely independent of the previous classifications: AS boundary routers may be internal or area border routers, and may or may not participate in the backbone. 3.4. A sample area configuration Figure 6 shows a sample area configuration. The first area consists of networks N1-N4, along with their attached routers RT1-RT4. The second area consists of networks N6-N8, along with their attached routers RT7, RT8, RT10 and RT11. The third area consists of networks N9-N11 and Host H1, along with their attached routers RT9, RT11 and RT12. The third area has been configured so that networks N9-N11 and Host H1 will all be grouped into a single route, when advertised external to the area (see Section 3.5 for more details). In Figure 6, Routers RT1, RT2, RT5, RT6, RT8, RT9 and RT12 are internal routers. Routers RT3, RT4, RT7, RT10 and RT11 are area border routers. Finally, as before, Routers RT5 and RT7 are AS boundary routers. Figure 7 shows the resulting link-state database for the Area 1. The figure completely describes that area's intra-area routing. It also shows the complete view of the internet for the two internal routers RT1 and RT2. It is the job of the area border routers, RT3 and RT4, to advertise into Area 1 the distances to all destinations external to the area. These are indicated in Figure 7 by the dashed stub routes. Also, RT3 and RT4 must advertise into Area 1 the location of the AS boundary routers RT5 and RT7. Finally, AS-external-LSAs from RT5 and RT7 are flooded throughout the entire AS, and in particular throughout Area 1. These LSAs are included in Area 1's database, and yield routes to Networks N12-N15. Routers RT3 and RT4 must also summarize Area 1's topology for
........................... . + . . | 3+---+ . N12 N14 . N1|--|RT1|\ 1 . \ N13 / . | +---+ \ . 8\ |8/8 . + \ ____ . \|/ . / \ 1+---+8 8+---+6 . * N3 *---|RT4|------|RT5|--------+ . \____/ +---+ +---+ | . + / \ . |7 | . | 3+---+ / \ . | | . N2|--|RT2|/1 1\ . |6 | . | +---+ +---+8 6+---+ | . + |RT3|------|RT6| | . +---+ +---+ | . 2/ . Ia|7 | . / . | | . +---------+ . | | .Area 1 N4 . | | ........................... | | .......................... | | . N11 . | | . +---------+ . | | . | . | | N12 . |3 . Ib|5 |6 2/ . +---+ . +----+ +---+/ . |RT9| . .........|RT10|.....|RT7|---N15. . +---+ . . +----+ +---+ 9 . . |1 . . + /3 1\ |1 . . _|__ . . | / \ __|_ . . / \ 1+----+2 |/ \ / \ . . * N9 *------|RT11|----| * N6 * . . \____/ +----+ | \____/ . . | . . | | . . |1 . . + |1 . . +--+ 10+----+ . . N8 +---+ . . |H1|-----|RT12| . . |RT8| . . +--+SLIP +----+ . . +---+ . . |2 . . |4 . . | . . | . . +---------+ . . +--------+ .
. N10 . . N7 . . . .Area 2 . .Area 3 . ................................ .......................... Figure 6: A sample OSPF area configuration distribution to the backbone. Their backbone LSAs are shown in Table 4. These summaries show which networks are contained in Area 1 (i.e., Networks N1-N4), and the distance to these networks from the routers RT3 and RT4 respectively. The link-state database for the backbone is shown in Figure 8. The set of routers pictured are the backbone routers. Router RT11 is a backbone router because it belongs to two areas. In order to make the backbone connected, a virtual link has been configured between Routers R10 and R11. The area border routers RT3, RT4, RT7, RT10 and RT11 condense the routing information of their attached non-backbone areas for distribution via the backbone; these are the dashed stubs that appear in Figure 8. Remember that the third area has been configured to condense Networks N9-N11 and Host H1 into a single route. This yields a single dashed line for networks N9-N11 and Host H1 in Figure 8. Routers RT5 and RT7 are AS boundary routers; their externally derived information also appears on the graph in Figure 8 as stubs. Network RT3 adv. RT4 adv. _____________________________ N1 4 4 N2 4 4 N3 1 1 N4 2 3 Table 4: Networks advertised to the backbone by Routers RT3 and RT4.
**FROM** |RT|RT|RT|RT|RT|RT| |1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |7 |N3| ----- ------------------- RT1| | | | | | |0 | RT2| | | | | | |0 | RT3| | | | | | |0 | * RT4| | | | | | |0 | * RT5| | |14|8 | | | | T RT7| | |20|14| | | | O N1|3 | | | | | | | * N2| |3 | | | | | | * N3|1 |1 |1 |1 | | | | N4| | |2 | | | | | Ia,Ib| | |20|27| | | | N6| | |16|15| | | | N7| | |20|19| | | | N8| | |18|18| | | | N9-N11,H1| | |29|36| | | | N12| | | | |8 |2 | | N13| | | | |8 | | | N14| | | | |8 | | | N15| | | | | |9 | | Figure 7: Area 1's Database. Networks and routers are represented by vertices. An edge of cost X connects Vertex A to Vertex B iff the intersection of Column A and Row B is marked with an X.
**FROM** |RT|RT|RT|RT|RT|RT|RT |3 |4 |5 |6 |7 |10|11| ------------------------ RT3| | | |6 | | | | RT4| | |8 | | | | | RT5| |8 | |6 |6 | | | RT6|8 | |7 | | |5 | | RT7| | |6 | | | | | * RT10| | | |7 | | |2 | * RT11| | | | | |3 | | T N1|4 |4 | | | | | | O N2|4 |4 | | | | | | * N3|1 |1 | | | | | | * N4|2 |3 | | | | | | Ia| | | | | |5 | | Ib| | | |7 | | | | N6| | | | |1 |1 |3 | N7| | | | |5 |5 |7 | N8| | | | |4 |3 |2 | N9-N11,H1| | | | | | |11| N12| | |8 | |2 | | | N13| | |8 | | | | | N14| | |8 | | | | | N15| | | | |9 | | | Figure 8: The backbone's database. Networks and routers are represented by vertices. An edge of cost X connects Vertex A to Vertex B iff the intersection of Column A and Row B is marked with an X. The backbone enables the exchange of summary information between area border routers. Every area border router hears the area summaries from all other area border routers. It then forms a picture of the distance to all networks outside of its area by examining the collected LSAs, and adding in the backbone distance to each advertising router.
Again using Routers RT3 and RT4 as an example, the procedure goes as follows: They first calculate the SPF tree for the backbone. This gives the distances to all other area border routers. Also noted are the distances to networks (Ia and Ib) and AS boundary routers (RT5 and RT7) that belong to the backbone. This calculation is shown in Table 5. Next, by looking at the area summaries from these area border routers, RT3 and RT4 can determine the distance to all networks outside their area. These distances are then advertised internally to the area by RT3 and RT4. The advertisements that Router RT3 and RT4 will make into Area 1 are shown in Table 6. Note that Table 6 assumes that an area range has been configured for the backbone which groups Ia and Ib into a single LSA. The information imported into Area 1 by Routers RT3 and RT4 enables an internal router, such as RT1, to choose an area border router intelligently. Router RT1 would use RT4 for traffic to Network N6, RT3 for traffic to Network N10, and would dist from dist from RT3 RT4 __________________________________ to RT3 * 21 to RT4 22 * to RT7 20 14 to RT10 15 22 to RT11 18 25 __________________________________ to Ia 20 27 to Ib 15 22 __________________________________ to RT5 14 8 to RT7 20 14 Table 5: Backbone distances calculated by Routers RT3 and RT4.
Destination RT3 adv. RT4 adv. _________________________________ Ia,Ib 20 27 N6 16 15 N7 20 19 N8 18 18 N9-N11,H1 29 36 _________________________________ RT5 14 8 RT7 20 14 Table 6: Destinations advertised into Area 1 by Routers RT3 and RT4. load share between the two for traffic to Network N8. Router RT1 can also determine in this manner the shortest path to the AS boundary routers RT5 and RT7. Then, by looking at RT5 and RT7's AS-external-LSAs, Router RT1 can decide between RT5 or RT7 when sending to a destination in another Autonomous System (one of the networks N12-N15). Note that a failure of the line between Routers RT6 and RT10 will cause the backbone to become disconnected. Configuring a virtual link between Routers RT7 and RT10 will give the backbone more connectivity and more resistance to such failures. 3.5. IP subnetting support OSPF attaches an IP address mask to each advertised route. The mask indicates the range of addresses being described by the particular route. For example, a summary-LSA for the destination 22.214.171.124 with a mask of 0xffff0000 actually is describing a single route to the collection of destinations 126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52. Similarly, host routes are always advertised with a mask of 0xffffffff, indicating the presence of only a single destination.
Including the mask with each advertised destination enables the implementation of what is commonly referred to as variable- length subnetting. This means that a single IP class A, B, or C network number can be broken up into many subnets of various sizes. For example, the network 184.108.40.206 could be broken up into 62 variable-sized subnets: 15 subnets of size 4K, 15 subnets of size 256, and 32 subnets of size 8. Table 7 shows some of the resulting network addresses together with their masks. Network address IP address mask Subnet size _______________________________________________ 220.127.116.11 0xfffff000 4K 18.104.22.168 0xffffff00 256 22.214.171.124 0xfffffff8 8 Table 7: Some sample subnet sizes. There are many possible ways of dividing up a class A, B, and C network into variable sized subnets. The precise procedure for doing so is beyond the scope of this specification. This specification however establishes the following guideline: When an IP packet is forwarded, it is always forwarded to the network that is the best match for the packet's destination. Here best match is synonymous with the longest or most specific match. For example, the default route with destination of 0.0.0.0 and mask 0x00000000 is always a match for every IP destination. Yet it is always less specific than any other match. Subnet masks must be assigned so that the best match for any IP destination is unambiguous. Attaching an address mask to each route also enables the support of IP supernetting. For example, a single physical network segment could be assigned the [address,mask] pair [126.96.36.199,0xfffffc00]. The segment would then be single IP network, containing addresses from the four consecutive class C network numbers 188.8.131.52 through 184.108.40.206. Such addressing is now becoming commonplace with the advent of CIDR (see [Ref10]).
In order to get better aggregation at area boundaries, area address ranges can be employed (see Section C.2 for more details). Each address range is defined as an [address,mask] pair. Many separate networks may then be contained in a single address range, just as a subnetted network is composed of many separate subnets. Area border routers then summarize the area contents (for distribution to the backbone) by advertising a single route for each address range. The cost of the route is the maximum cost to any of the networks falling in the specified range. For example, an IP subnetted network might be configured as a single OSPF area. In that case, a single address range could be configured: a class A, B, or C network number along with its natural IP mask. Inside the area, any number of variable sized subnets could be defined. However, external to the area a single route for the entire subnetted network would be distributed, hiding even the fact that the network is subnetted at all. The cost of this route is the maximum of the set of costs to the component subnets. 3.6. Supporting stub areas In some Autonomous Systems, the majority of the link-state database may consist of AS-external-LSAs. An OSPF AS-external- LSA is usually flooded throughout the entire AS. However, OSPF allows certain areas to be configured as "stub areas". AS- external-LSAs are not flooded into/throughout stub areas; routing to AS external destinations in these areas is based on a (per-area) default only. This reduces the link-state database size, and therefore the memory requirements, for a stub area's internal routers. In order to take advantage of the OSPF stub area support, default routing must be used in the stub area. This is accomplished as follows. One or more of the stub area's area border routers must advertise a default route into the stub area via summary-LSAs. These summary defaults are flooded throughout the stub area, but no further. (For this reason these defaults pertain only to the particular stub area). These summary default routes will be used for any destination that is not
explicitly reachable by an intra-area or inter-area path (i.e., AS external destinations). An area can be configured as a stub when there is a single exit point from the area, or when the choice of exit point need not be made on a per-external-destination basis. For example, Area 3 in Figure 6 could be configured as a stub area, because all external traffic must travel though its single area border router RT11. If Area 3 were configured as a stub, Router RT11 would advertise a default route for distribution inside Area 3 (in a summary-LSA), instead of flooding the AS-external-LSAs for Networks N12-N15 into/throughout the area. The OSPF protocol ensures that all routers belonging to an area agree on whether the area has been configured as a stub. This guarantees that no confusion will arise in the flooding of AS- external-LSAs. 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. 3.7. Partitions of areas OSPF does not actively attempt to repair area partitions. When an area becomes partitioned, each component simply becomes a separate area. The backbone then performs routing between the new areas. Some destinations reachable via intra-area routing before the partition will now require inter-area routing. However, in order to maintain full routing after the partition, an address range must not be split across multiple components of the area partition. Also, the backbone itself must not partition. If it does, parts of the Autonomous System will become unreachable. Backbone partitions can be repaired by configuring virtual links (see Section 15). Another way to think about area partitions is to look at the Autonomous System graph that was introduced in Section 2. Area IDs can be viewed as colors for the graph's edges. Each edge
of the graph connects to a network, or is itself a point-to- point network. In either case, the edge is colored with the network's Area ID. A group of edges, all having the same color, and interconnected by vertices, represents an area. If the topology of the Autonomous System is intact, the graph will have several regions of color, each color being a distinct Area ID. When the AS topology changes, one of the areas may become partitioned. The graph of the AS will then have multiple regions of the same color (Area ID). The routing in the Autonomous System will continue to function as long as these regions of same color are connected by the single backbone region.
4. Functional Summary A separate copy of OSPF's basic routing algorithm runs in each area. Routers having interfaces to multiple areas run multiple copies of the algorithm. A brief summary of the routing algorithm follows. When a router starts, it first initializes the routing protocol data structures. The router then waits for indications from the lower- level protocols that its interfaces are functional. A router then uses the OSPF's Hello Protocol to acquire neighbors. The router sends Hello packets to its neighbors, and in turn receives their Hello packets. On broadcast and point-to-point networks, the router dynamically detects its neighboring routers by sending its Hello packets to the multicast address AllSPFRouters. On non-broadcast networks, some configuration information may be necessary in order to discover neighbors. On broadcast and NBMA networks the Hello Protocol also elects a Designated router for the network. The router will attempt to form adjacencies with some of its newly acquired neighbors. Link-state databases are synchronized between pairs of adjacent routers. On broadcast and NBMA networks, the Designated Router determines which routers should become adjacent. Adjacencies control the distribution of routing information. Routing updates are sent and received only on adjacencies. A router periodically advertises its state, which is also called link state. Link state is also advertised when a router's state changes. A router's adjacencies are reflected in the contents of its LSAs. This relationship between adjacencies and link state allows the protocol to detect dead routers in a timely fashion. LSAs are flooded throughout the area. The flooding algorithm is reliable, ensuring that all routers in an area have exactly the same link-state database. This database consists of the collection of LSAs originated by each router belonging to the area. From this database each router calculates a shortest-path tree, with itself as root. This shortest-path tree in turn yields a routing table for the protocol.
4.1. Inter-area routing The previous section described the operation of the protocol within a single area. For intra-area routing, no other routing information is pertinent. In order to be able to route to destinations outside of the area, the area border routers inject additional routing information into the area. This additional information is a distillation of the rest of the Autonomous System's topology. This distillation is accomplished as follows: Each area border router is by definition connected to the backbone. Each area border router summarizes the topology of its attached non- backbone areas for transmission on the backbone, and hence to all other area border routers. An area border router then has complete topological information concerning the backbone, and the area summaries from each of the other area border routers. From this information, the router calculates paths to all inter-area destinations. The router then advertises these paths into its attached areas. This enables the area's internal routers to pick the best exit router when forwarding traffic inter-area destinations. 4.2. AS external routes Routers that have information regarding other Autonomous Systems can flood this information throughout the AS. This external routing information is distributed verbatim to every participating router. There is one exception: external routing information is not flooded into "stub" areas (see Section 3.6). To utilize external routing information, the path to all routers advertising external information must be known throughout the AS (excepting the stub areas). For that reason, the locations of these AS boundary routers are summarized by the (non-stub) area border routers.
4.3. Routing protocol packets The OSPF protocol runs directly over IP, using IP protocol 89. OSPF does not provide any explicit fragmentation/reassembly support. When fragmentation is necessary, IP fragmentation/reassembly is used. OSPF protocol packets have been designed so that large protocol packets can generally be split into several smaller protocol packets. This practice is recommended; IP fragmentation should be avoided whenever possible. Routing protocol packets should always be sent with the IP TOS field set to 0. If at all possible, routing protocol packets should be given preference over regular IP data traffic, both when being sent and received. As an aid to accomplishing this, OSPF protocol packets should have their IP precedence field set to the value Internetwork Control (see [Ref5]). All OSPF protocol packets share a common protocol header that is described in Appendix A. The OSPF packet types are listed below in Table 8. Their formats are also described in Appendix A. Type Packet name Protocol function __________________________________________________________ 1 Hello Discover/maintain neighbors 2 Database Description Summarize database contents 3 Link State Request Database download 4 Link State Update Database update 5 Link State Ack Flooding acknowledgment Table 8: OSPF packet types. OSPF's Hello protocol uses Hello packets to discover and maintain neighbor relationships. The Database Description and Link State Request packets are used in the forming of adjacencies. OSPF's reliable update mechanism is implemented by the Link State Update and Link State Acknowledgment packets.
Each Link State Update packet carries a set of new link state advertisements (LSAs) one hop further away from their point of origination. A single Link State Update packet may contain the LSAs of several routers. Each LSA is tagged with the ID of the originating router and a checksum of its link state contents. Each LSA also has a type field; the different types of OSPF LSAs are listed below in Table 9. OSPF routing packets (with the exception of Hellos) are sent only over adjacencies. This means that all OSPF protocol packets travel a single IP hop, except those that are sent over virtual adjacencies. The IP source address of an OSPF protocol packet is one end of a router adjacency, and the IP destination address is either the other end of the adjacency or an IP multicast address. 4.4. Basic implementation requirements An implementation of OSPF requires the following pieces of system support: Timers Two different kind of timers are required. The first kind, called "single shot timers", fire once and cause a protocol event to be processed. The second kind, called "interval timers", fire at continuous intervals. These are used for the sending of packets at regular intervals. A good example of this is the regular broadcast of Hello packets. The granularity of both kinds of timers is one second. Interval timers should be implemented to avoid drift. In some router implementations, packet processing can affect timer execution. When multiple routers are attached to a single network, all doing broadcasts, this can lead to the synchronization of routing packets (which should be avoided). If timers cannot be implemented to avoid drift, small random amounts should be added to/subtracted from the interval timer at each firing.
LS LSA LSA description type name ________________________________________________________ 1 Router-LSAs Originated by all routers. This LSA describes the collected states of the router's interfaces to an area. Flooded throughout a single area only. ________________________________________________________ 2 Network-LSAs Originated for broadcast and NBMA networks by the Designated Router. This LSA contains the list of routers connected to the network. Flooded throughout a single area only. ________________________________________________________ 3,4 Summary-LSAs Originated by area border routers, and flooded through- out the LSA's associated area. Each summary-LSA describes a route to a destination outside the area, yet still inside the AS (i.e., an inter-area route). Type 3 summary-LSAs describe routes to networks. Type 4 summary-LSAs describe routes to AS boundary routers. ________________________________________________________ 5 AS-external-LSAs Originated by AS boundary routers, and flooded through- out the AS. Each AS-external-LSA describes a route to a destination in another Autonomous System. Default routes for the AS can also be described by AS-external-LSAs.
Table 9: OSPF link state advertisements (LSAs). IP multicast Certain OSPF packets take the form of IP multicast datagrams. Support for receiving and sending IP multicast datagrams, along with the appropriate lower-level protocol support, is required. The IP multicast datagrams used by OSPF never travel more than one hop. For this reason, the ability to forward IP multicast datagrams is not required. For information on IP multicast, see [Ref7]. Variable-length subnet support The router's IP protocol support must include the ability to divide a single IP class A, B, or C network number into many subnets of various sizes. This is commonly called variable-length subnetting; see Section 3.5 for details. IP supernetting support The router's IP protocol support must include the ability to aggregate contiguous collections of IP class A, B, and C networks into larger quantities called supernets. Supernetting has been proposed as one way to improve the scaling of IP routing in the worldwide Internet. For more information on IP supernetting, see [Ref10]. Lower-level protocol support The lower level protocols referred to here are the network access protocols, such as the Ethernet data link layer. Indications must be passed from these protocols to OSPF as the network interface goes up and down. For example, on an ethernet it would be valuable to know when the ethernet transceiver cable becomes unplugged. Non-broadcast lower-level protocol support On non-broadcast networks, the OSPF Hello Protocol can be aided by providing an indication when an attempt is made to send a packet to a dead or non-existent router. For example, on an X.25 PDN a dead neighboring router may be
indicated by the reception of a X.25 clear with an appropriate cause and diagnostic, and this information would be passed to OSPF. List manipulation primitives Much of the OSPF functionality is described in terms of its operation on lists of LSAs. For example, the collection of LSAs that will be retransmitted to an adjacent router until acknowledged are described as a list. Any particular LSA may be on many such lists. An OSPF implementation needs to be able to manipulate these lists, adding and deleting constituent LSAs as necessary. Tasking support Certain procedures described in this specification invoke other procedures. At times, these other procedures should be executed in-line, that is, before the current procedure is finished. This is indicated in the text by instructions to execute a procedure. At other times, the other procedures are to be executed only when the current procedure has finished. This is indicated by instructions to schedule a task. 4.5. Optional OSPF capabilities The OSPF protocol defines several optional capabilities. A router indicates the optional capabilities that it supports in its OSPF Hello packets, Database Description packets and in its LSAs. This enables routers supporting a mix of optional capabilities to coexist in a single Autonomous System. Some capabilities must be supported by all routers attached to a specific area. In this case, a router will not accept a neighbor's Hello Packet unless there is a match in reported capabilities (i.e., a capability mismatch prevents a neighbor relationship from forming). An example of this is the ExternalRoutingCapability (see below). Other capabilities can be negotiated during the Database Exchange process. This is accomplished by specifying the optional capabilities in Database Description packets. A
capability mismatch with a neighbor in this case will result in only a subset of the link state database being exchanged between the two neighbors. The routing table build process can also be affected by the presence/absence of optional capabilities. For example, since the optional capabilities are reported in LSAs, routers incapable of certain functions can be avoided when building the shortest path tree. The OSPF optional capabilities defined in this memo are listed below. See Section A.2 for more information. ExternalRoutingCapability Entire OSPF areas can be configured as "stubs" (see Section 3.6). AS-external-LSAs will not be flooded into stub areas. This capability is represented by the E-bit in the OSPF Options field (see Section A.2). In order to ensure consistent configuration of stub areas, all routers interfacing to such an area must have the E-bit clear in their Hello packets (see Sections 9.5 and 10.5). 5. Protocol Data Structures The OSPF protocol is described herein in terms of its operation on various protocol data structures. The following list comprises the top-level OSPF data structures. Any initialization that needs to be done is noted. OSPF areas, interfaces and neighbors also have associated data structures that are described later in this specification. Router ID A 32-bit number that uniquely identifies this router in the AS. One possible implementation strategy would be to use the smallest IP interface address belonging to the router. If a router's OSPF Router ID is changed, the router's OSPF software should be restarted before the new Router ID takes effect. In this case the router should flush its self-originated LSAs from the routing domain (see Section 14.1) before restarting, or they will persist for up to MaxAge minutes.
Area structures Each one of the areas to which the router is connected has its own data structure. This data structure describes the working of the basic OSPF algorithm. Remember that each area runs a separate copy of the basic OSPF algorithm. Backbone (area) structure The OSPF backbone area is responsible for the dissemination of inter-area routing information. Virtual links configured The virtual links configured with this router as one endpoint. In order to have configured virtual links, the router itself must be an area border router. Virtual links are identified by the Router ID of the other endpoint -- which is another area border router. These two endpoint routers must be attached to a common area, called the virtual link's Transit area. Virtual links are part of the backbone, and behave as if they were unnumbered point-to-point networks between the two routers. A virtual link uses the intra-area routing of its Transit area to forward packets. Virtual links are brought up and down through the building of the shortest-path trees for the Transit area. List of external routes These are routes to destinations external to the Autonomous System, that have been gained either through direct experience with another routing protocol (such as BGP), or through configuration information, or through a combination of the two (e.g., dynamic external information to be advertised by OSPF with configured metric). Any router having these external routes is called an AS boundary router. These routes are advertised by the router into the OSPF routing domain via AS-external-LSAs. List of AS-external-LSAs Part of the link-state database. These have originated from the AS boundary routers. They comprise routes to destinations external to the Autonomous System. Note that, if the router is itself an AS boundary router, some of these AS-external-LSAs have been self-originated.
The routing table Derived from the link-state database. Each entry in the routing table is indexed by a destination, and contains the destination's cost and a set of paths to use in forwarding packets to the destination. A path is described by its type and next hop. For more information, see Section 11. Figure 9 shows the collection of data structures present in a typical router. The router pictured is RT10, from the map in Figure 6. Note that Router RT10 has a virtual link configured to Router RT11, with Area 2 as the link's Transit area. This is indicated by the dashed line in Figure 9. When the virtual link becomes active, through the building of the shortest path tree for Area 2, it becomes an interface to the backbone (see the two backbone interfaces depicted in Figure 9). 6. The Area Data Structure The area data structure contains all the information used to run the basic OSPF routing algorithm. Each area maintains its own link-state database. A network belongs to a single area, and a router interface connects to a single area. Each router adjacency also belongs to a single area. The OSPF backbone is the special OSPF area responsible for disseminating inter-area routing information. The area link-state database consists of the collection of router- LSAs, network-LSAs and summary-LSAs that have originated from the area's routers. This information is flooded throughout a single area only. The list of AS-external-LSAs (see Section 5) is also considered to be part of each area's link-state database. Area ID A 32-bit number identifying the area. The Area ID of 0.0.0.0 is reserved for the backbone. List of area address ranges In order to aggregate routing information at area boundaries, area address ranges can be employed. Each address range is specified by an [address,mask] pair and a status indication of either Advertise or DoNotAdvertise (see Section 12.4.3).
+----+ |RT10|------+ +----+ \+-------------+ / \ |Routing Table| / \ +-------------+ / \ +------+ / \ +--------+ |Area 2|---+ +---|Backbone| +------+***********+ +--------+ / \ * / \ / \ * / \ +---------+ +---------+ +------------+ +------------+ |Interface| |Interface| |Virtual Link| |Interface Ib| | to N6 | | to N8 | | to RT11 | +------------+ +---------+ +---------+ +------------+ | / \ | | | / \ | | | +--------+ +--------+ | +-------------+ +------------+ |Neighbor| |Neighbor| | |Neighbor RT11| |Neighbor RT6| | RT8 | | RT7 | | +-------------+ +------------+ +--------+ +--------+ | | +-------------+ |Neighbor RT11| +-------------+ Figure 9: Router RT10's Data structures Associated router interfaces This router's interfaces connecting to the area. A router interface belongs to one and only one area (or the backbone). For the backbone area this list includes all the virtual links. A virtual link is identified by the Router ID of its other endpoint; its cost is the cost of the shortest intra-area path through the Transit area that exists between the two routers.
List of router-LSAs A router-LSA is generated by each router in the area. It describes the state of the router's interfaces to the area. List of network-LSAs One network-LSA is generated for each transit broadcast and NBMA network in the area. A network-LSA describes the set of routers currently connected to the network. List of summary-LSAs Summary-LSAs originate from the area's area border routers. They describe routes to destinations internal to the Autonomous System, yet external to the area (i.e., inter-area destinations). Shortest-path tree The shortest-path tree for the area, with this router itself as root. Derived from the collected router-LSAs and network-LSAs by the Dijkstra algorithm (see Section 16.1). TransitCapability This parameter indicates whether the area can carry data traffic that neither originates nor terminates in the area itself. This parameter is calculated when the area's shortest-path tree is built (see Section 16.1, where TransitCapability is set to TRUE if and only if there are one or more fully adjacent virtual links using the area as Transit area), and is used as an input to a subsequent step of the routing table build process (see Section 16.3). When an area's TransitCapability is set to TRUE, the area is said to be a "transit area". ExternalRoutingCapability Whether AS-external-LSAs will be flooded into/throughout the area. This is a configurable parameter. If AS-external-LSAs are excluded from the area, the area is called a "stub". Within stub areas, routing to AS external destinations will be based solely on a default summary route. The backbone cannot be configured as a stub area. Also, virtual links cannot be configured through stub areas. For more information, see Section 3.6.
StubDefaultCost If the area has been configured as a stub area, and the router itself is an area border router, then the StubDefaultCost indicates the cost of the default summary-LSA that the router should advertise into the area. See Section 12.4.3 for more information. Unless otherwise specified, the remaining sections of this document refer to the operation of the OSPF protocol within a single area.