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Internet Routing

However, the interesting case is when the destination is not directly reachable. In this case, the host or gateway attempts to send the datagram to a gateway that is nearer the destination. The goal of a routing protocol is very simple: It is to supply the information that is needed to do routing.

- C. Hedrick; Routing Information Protocol; RFC 1058; June 1988.

How does Internet routing work? IP addresses and packet switching provide the technical infrastructure which routing protocols use to transmit packets across the Internet. The Internet Protocol transfers packets between networks and provides the software bridge that knits the whole thing together.

Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf invented the basic architecture of Internet routing along with their development of the TCP/IP networking protocol. Ginny Strasizar at BBN then developed the first Internet router, on an LSI/11 computer system. RFC 898 provides an interesting description of the status of a wide range of "gateways: from 1984, including the BBN Butterfly Gateway which was subsequently deployed across the ARPANET. The following subsections provide more information.

Other resources. The RADB List of All Routing Registries provides a list of the basic routing tables that enables the DNS to bootstrap itself.


Living Internet content is (c) Copyright William Stewart