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RIP Tutorial

February 3rd, 2011 Go to comments

In this tutorial we will learn about RIP routing protocol

Routing Information Protocol (RIP) is a distance-vector routing protocol which is based on Bellman-Ford algorithm. Routers using Distance Vector routing protocols do not posses the topological information about the network but instead rely on the neighbors information (so this method is known as routing by rumor). RIP sends the complete routing table out to all active interfaces every 30 seconds. RIP only uses hop count (the number of routers) to determine the best way to a remote network.

Note: RIP v1 is a classful routing protocol but RIP v2 is a classless routing protocol.

Classful routing protocols do not include the subnet mask with the network address in routing updates, which can cause problems with discontiguous subnets or networks that use Variable-Length Subnet Masking (VLSM). Fortunately, RIPv2 is a classless routing protocol so subnet masks are included in the routing updates, making RIPv2 more compatible with modern routing environments.

Distance vector protocols advertise routing information by sending messages, called routing updates, out the interfaces on a router.

RIP Operation

A big problem with distance vector routing protocol is routing loop. Let’s take a look at how a routing loop occurs.

Here we have routers A, B and C. Notice that at the beginning (when a routing protocol is not turned on) there are only directly connected networks in the routing tables of these routers. For example, in the routing table of router A, network has already been known because it is directly connected through interface E0 and the metric (of a directly connected network) is 0 (these 3 parameters are shown in the routing tables below).


Also B knows networks & with a metric of 0.
Also C knows networks & with a metric of 0.

Now we turn on RIP on these routers (we will discuss the configuration later. In the rest of this article, we will call network network 1, network 2 and so on).

RIP sends update every 30 seconds so after 30 sec goes by, A sends a copy of its routing table to B, B already knew about network 2 but now B learns about network 1 as well. Notice the metric we have here for directly connected networks, since we’re using RIP, we’re using a metric of hop count. Remember a hop count (or a hop) is how many routers that these packets will have to go through to reach the destination. For example, from router A to network 1 & 2 (which are directly connected) it goes to 0 hop, router B has now learned about network 1 from A via E0 interface so the metric now will be 1 hop.


Each router receives a routing table from its direct neighbor. For example, Router B receives information from Router A about network 1 and 2. It then adds a distance vector metric (such as the number of hops), increasing the distance vector of these routes by 1.

B also exchanges its routing table with A about network 2 and 3.


B then passes the routing table to its other neighbor, Router C.


C also sends its update to B and B sends it to A.


Now the network is converged.

Now let’s assume network 4 down suddenly.


When network 4 fails, Router C detects the failure and stops routing packets out its E1 interface. However, Routers A and B have not yet received notification of the failure. Router A still believes it can access through Router B. The routing table of Router A still refects a path to network with a distance of 2 and router B has a path with a distance of 1.

There will be no problem if C sends an update earlier than B and inform that network is currently down but if B sends its update first, C will see B has a path to network 4 with a metric of 1 so it updates its routing table, thinking that “if B can go to network 4 by 1 hop than I can go to network 4 by 2 hops” but of course this is totally wrong.


The problem does not stop here. In turn, C sends an update to B and informs it can access network 4 by 2 hops. B learns this and think “if C can access network 4 by 2 hops than I can access by 3 hops”.


This same process occurs when B continually sends its update to C and the metric will increase to infinity so this phenomenon is called “counting to infinity”.

Below lists some methods to prevent this phenomenon:

A router never sends information about a route back in same direction which is original information came, routers keep track of where the information about a route came from. Means when router A sends update to router B about any failure network, router B does not send any update for same network to router A in same direction.

Router consider route advertised with an infinitive metric to have failed ( metric=16) instead of marking it down. For example, when network 4 goes down, router C starts route poisoning by advertising the metric (hop count) of this network as 16, which indicates an unreachable network. When router B receives this advertising, it continue advertising this network with a metric of 16.


The poison reverse rule overwrites split horizon rule. For example, if router B receives a route poisoning of network 4 from router C then router B will send an update back to router C (which breaks the split horizon rule) with the same poisoned hop count of 16. This ensures all the routers in the domain receive the poisoned route update.

Notice that every router performs poison reverse when learning about a downed network. In the above example, router A also performs poison reverse when learning about the downed network from B.


After hearing a route poisoning, router starts a hold-down timer for that route. If it gets an update with a better metric than the originally recorded metric within the hold-down timer period, the hold-down timer is removed and data can be sent to that network. Also within the hold-down timer, if an update is received from a different router than the one who performed route poisoning with an equal or poorer metric, that update is ignored. During the hold-down timer, the “downed” route appears as “possibly down” in the routing table.

For example, in the above example, when B receives a route poisoning update from C, it marks network 4 as “possibly down” in its routing table and starts the hold-down timer for network 4. In this period if it receives an update from C informing that the network 4 is recovered then B will accept that information, remove the hold-down timer and allow data to go to that network. But if B receives an update from A informing that it can reach network by 1 (or more) hop, that update will be ignored and the hold-down timer keeps counting.

Note: The default hold-down timer value = 180 second.

When any route failed in network ,do not wait for the next periodic update instead send an immediate update listing the poison route.

Maximum count 15 hops after it will not be reachable.

RIP Timers

RIP uses several timers to regulate its operation. These timers are described below:

Update timer: how often the router sends update. Default update timer is 30 seconds
Invalid timer (also called Expire timer): how much time must expire before a route becomes invalid since seeing a valid update; and place the route into holddown. Default invalid timer is 180 seconds
Holddown timer: When a route is expired, it enters “holddown”, which means the router will not believe any new updates with a hop count equal to or higher (poorer) than the hop count recording in the routing table. Hold down is intended to assist in avoiding inaccurate routing by rumor information while the network converges. Default holddown timer is 180 seconds
Flush timer: how much time since the last valid update, until RIP deletes that route in its routing table. Default Flush timer is 240 seconds


Note: From the image above, you can see that when a route expires, in fact the Holddown timer only works in its first 60 seconds (not 180 seconds), then the route is removed from the routing table when the Flush timer is expired.

Configuring RIP

Router(config)#router rip Enter router RIP configuration mode
Router(config-router)#network <address> Identify networks that will participate in the router protocol. Notice that you identify networks, and not interfaces.

NOTE: You need to advertise only the classful network number, not a subnet:

If you advertise a subnet, you will not receive an error message, because the router will automatically convert the subnet to the classful network address.

To learn more about configuring RIP, please read my Configuring RIP GNS3 Lab tutorial

Key points:

+ RIP uses hop counts to calculate optimal routes (a hop is a router).
+ RIP routing is limited to 15 hops to any location (16 hops indicates the network is unreachable).
+ RIP uses the split horizon with poison reverse method to prevent the count-to-infinity problem.
+ RIP uses only classful routing, so it uses full address classes, not subnets.
+ RIP broadcasts updates to the entire network.
+ RIP can maintain up to six multiple paths to each network, but only if the cost is the same.
+ RIP supports load balancing over same-cost paths.
+ The update interval default is 30, the invalid timer default is 180, the holddown timer default is 180, and the flush timer default is 240.

Comments (50) Comments
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  1. kushal arora
    August 16th, 2012

    @BITE same prob yaar !! i also dint understand debug ip RIP output !

  2. Bite
    August 19th, 2012


    Well the explanation about rip is best understood from this website without a doubt.

    Just to add, when we see the output of #debug ip rip.

    We will never see metric 0!!. I would advise if you make a note of it because when we try to interpret the output of debug ip rip it is really confusing.

  3. Bite
    August 20th, 2012

    @kushal arora

    Finally i understood the output.What you can do is use PT, design a network with rip and enable debug ip rip and you will be able to understand.Posting here with the diagram is very hard for me. If you know any site where i can put my network diagram pls let me knoe. If you have an email id i can send you the info

  4. Bite
    August 21st, 2012

    I do not know if this works or not but pls copy and paste the below link. I have explained it to the best of my knowledge Debug ip rip in PT.


  5. 9tut
    August 28th, 2012

    @Tosain: You should start using GNS3 with my first tutorial: https://www.9tut.com/configure-cisco-router-passwords-gns3-lab

  6. kushal arora
    September 11th, 2012

    thnx buddy !! really awesome explanation …i understood now !

  7. alexme
    October 3rd, 2012

    “Also within the hold-down timer, if an update is received from a different router than the one who performed route poisoning with an equal or poorer metric, that update is ignored.”
    The route is poisoned (16), how can be update with a POOR metric? Or you mean a metric POOR than the metric before poisoning? What happens then if any router other than the one who performed route poisoning will send update with a better metric than “route metric before being poisoned”?

  8. alexme
    October 3rd, 2012

    “The route is poisoned (16), how can be update with a POOR metric? Or you mean a metric POOR than the metric before poisoning? What happens then if any router other than the one who performed route poisoning will send update with a better metric than “route metric before being poisoned?”

    Sorry, my bad! Now I got it.

  9. Bushybro
    October 13th, 2012

    Awesome info, thank you 9tut. I got the premium membership for just that reason. Alot of this stuff used to go right over my head but now I’m starting to really understand. Passed ICND1 because of 9tut and I’m getting real confident about ICND2. Packet tracer is also my best friend :-)

  10. ABC
    November 14th, 2012

    Thanks for the help.

  11. Mitesh
    November 18th, 2012

    Thanks 9tut ,,,,simply great Explaination of RIP……..

  12. Anonymous
    December 5th, 2012

    Thanks guys

    January 31st, 2013


  14. vas
    February 4th, 2013

    Great job, thanks so much 9nut

  15. manoj
    February 9th, 2013

    Thanks, nice explanation of Rip

  16. deepi
    February 14th, 2013

    pls anyone clearly tel me about discontiguos network

  17. vivek
    March 7th, 2013

    Vast explanation in a simple way…really great!!

  18. Anonymous
    March 29th, 2013

    Nice explanation!!!!!!!

  19. Sunil Sharma
    March 29th, 2013

    Outstanding explanation!!!!!

  20. TeeyaC
    April 26th, 2013

    Taking my CCNA exam June 1st.

  21. Richard
    May 8th, 2013

    Hi 9tut,
    I just want to clarify things about split-horizon and poison reverse. if poison reverse breaks the split horizon, it doesn’t make any sense discussing split horizon if it is already superseded. Is split horizon the default config to all routers? when do we use split horizon?

  22. abhishek
    May 28th, 2013

    Please send me the latest dumps of CCNA …Thanks in advance ,,,

  23. Ethan
    June 19th, 2013

    @9tut I need a tutorial about IP ROUTING PROCESS… & ya thanks for such a great tutorials

  24. Pratik Paran
    June 25th, 2013

    Can any one give me the link for IGRP tutorial

  25. Anonymous
    July 18th, 2013

    Well explained…easy to understand

  26. sridevi.p
    September 3rd, 2013

    It is very useful to us!

  27. Joshua
    September 10th, 2013

    I have a question…a very serious question but before I ask it, I need to explain why I’m even considering Computer Networking in the first place.

    My dad is a certified Cisco guy…he’s somewhere above the Entry Level stage.

    I am 25 years old, I’ve NEVER done Computer Networking before, NEVER been interested in it. I’ve never known what to do in life and I’ve already tried several other things that I quit.

    My dad seems to believe that I can actually get an ENTRY LEVEL Cisco Network Certification WITHOUT any College education. Like I can just study at home by myself reading 9tut and whatever other online sources I can find.

    Is this possible or is my dad crazy?

  28. Sagar Dalvi
    September 21st, 2013

    Thank your Man!!

  29. dan
    September 22nd, 2013

    very good explanation,.. thanx 9tut

  30. mystic
    September 27th, 2013

    contact me for your ccna exam dumps is helpful @ 2go username keleomega tx

  31. Anushka
    November 1st, 2013

    thanking you sir. you are awesome

    December 11th, 2013

    Thank you! it is really very good

  33. Ashutoshh singh
    December 19th, 2013

    thanks alot …….

  34. koushik
    December 26th, 2013

    too good and lucid… thanks

  35. pooja
    January 13th, 2014

    pl any one explain how to config rip

  36. Anonymous
    January 22nd, 2014

    please send fully explanation of ROUTE POISONING and split horizon to
    my email babancharak@gmail.com

  37. jilla
    January 27th, 2014

    is GNS3 same as packet tracer or any difference between them ?

  38. visa
    March 11th, 2014

    very nice site for rip basics… :)

  39. nazah
    April 11th, 2014

    thanx for these

  40. reza
    April 24th, 2014

    great job! thank you

  41. Anonymous
    May 21st, 2014

    thank you!

  42. Anonymous
    May 25th, 2014

    good explaination with diagram

  43. Anonymous
    June 13th, 2014


  44. ISHITA
    November 4th, 2014


  45. San
    November 7th, 2014

    Great explanation

  46. Ihsan
    November 20th, 2014

    Good explanation

  47. SHAH
    November 21st, 2014

    Great job good explain i read this topic in my ccnp course but little confused Now i clear my concept here

  48. Satish Naraharasetty
    November 26th, 2014

    In loop prevention phenomenon,split horizon is one of those techniques which prevent loops.But while discussing about poison reverse,why it violates split horizon rule (since it should not route back)

    Thanks in advance

    searching answer for this question from a long time…still i didnt get answer :(

  49. Anonymous
    January 4th, 2015

    Dear all
    Please anyone send a recently dump because the next week I Have the exam CCNA , my mail is aribi_walid@yahoo.fr

  50. hotspot
    February 26th, 2015

    thankuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu……/……………./????? dear thax alots

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