Distance Vector Routing vs. Link State Routing: What’s the difference?

Distance vector routing and link state routing are both methods of finding the most efficient route from one network to another, but they function in very different ways. The critical difference between distance vector routing and link state routing is how each protocol obtains information about other networks on the Internet. This article will look at how distance vector routing and link state routing work and examine their features and weaknesses when compared against each other to help you decide which routing protocol might be better suited to your particular needs.

Main Difference

In computer networking, routing is selecting network paths to carry network traffic. Routing is performed for many kinds of network traffic, including data packets on the Internet.


There are two primary types of routing protocols: distance vector and link state. Distance vector routing protocols use a simple algorithm to choose the best route for each packet. Link state routing protocols maintain a more complex database of available courses and use a more sophisticated algorithm to select the best way for each packet.

Distance vector routing is more straightforward than link state routing, but it can be less efficient because it does not have access to as much information about the network. Link state routing is more complex but can be more efficient because it has access to more details on the web.


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What is Distance Vector Routing?

In a network, each router has a vector of distances to other routers in the network. When a router wants to send data to another, it uses this vector to determine the best route. The main advantage of this method is that it is relatively simple to implement and understand.

However, it can be slow to converge on a new route if there are changes in the network, and it is also susceptible to routing loops. As with any protocol, there are advantages and disadvantages. The two methods discussed here have different strengths and weaknesses that should be considered when determining which will work best for your situation.

What is Link State Routing?

Link state routing is a routing protocol that uses link-state packets to share information about the network with other routers. The main advantage of link state routing is that it is very scalable and can be used in large networks. The downside of link state routing is that it is more complex than distance vector routing and can be more challenging to configure.

Differences Between DVR and LSR

  1. Distance vector routing (DVR) is a network layer protocol that uses link state information to determine how packets should be forwarded across a network. In DVR, each router maintains a table of reachable IP addresses, called the forwarding table, which contains routes to destinations. When a packet arrives at a router, it looks up the destination address in its forwarding table. If the goal is not listed in the table, the router forwards the packet to the default gateway.
  2. Link state routing (LSR) is a routing protocol that relies on routers to exchange their current knowledge about the network’s topology. Routers send updates to neighboring routers, informing them of changes in the network. These updates allow routers to maintain accurate tables of reachability.
  3. Both protocols use similar algorithms to calculate paths between two nodes. However, they differ in how they handle loops. In distance vector routing, if a node receives a packet destined for itself, it simply drops the packet. In link state routing, however, the node sends back an update message to the router that sent the original packet, indicating that the node is now aware of the loop. The router then removes the entry for the node from its forwarding table.
  4. Because LSR requires fewer messages than DVR, it is faster. Also, since LSR does not need a central authority to keep track of the network, it is less susceptible to attacks.
  5. Since LSR is based on a distributed system, it is easier to implement and maintain. Additionally, because LSR can eliminate loops automatically, there is no need for the split horizon or poison reverse rules. Finally, as a result of these properties, while LSR has a higher bandwidth requirement than DVR, it can achieve higher throughput rates and better latency performance.
  6. DVR does not require any configuration changes to existing routers. Instead, it relies on using BGP to advertise the best paths to neighboring routers.
  7. DVR is often used in wireless networks since it prevents interference among devices.
  8. DVR is less complex than LSR but requires more processing power.
  9. DVR works well with mesh networking technologies like IEEE 802.11s.
  10. DVR is generally used for point-to-point links, whereas LSR is used for broadcast domains.
  11. DVR is commonly used in enterprise networks, while LSR is used in consumer networks.
  12. DVR is used primarily in wired networks, while LSR works well in wired and wireless networks.
  13. DVR is used in IPv4 networks, while LSR supports IPv4 and IPv6.

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Key Features of DVR routing protocol

The Distance Vector Routing Protocol (DVRP) is a routing protocol that uses the Bellman-Ford algorithm to calculate the shortest path between nodes. The main advantage of DVRP is that it is relatively simple to implement and does not require a lot of processing power.

However, one downside of DVRP is that it can be susceptible to routing loops. In contrast, Link State Routing Protocols use the SPF algorithm to calculate the shortest paths based on link states and node states. Unlike DVRP, LSRP is more complicated but offers improved performance.

Key Features of Link State Routing

Link state routing is a routing protocol that computes the best path to a destination based on knowledge of the entire network. This makes it more accurate than distance vector routing, which only considers the next hop. However, link state routing can be more resource-intensive since it requires each router to have a complete network map. These maps take up space and require processing power. For this reason, there are two types of link state routing protocols:

First, there are topology-driven protocols like OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) and IS-IS (Intermediate System to Intermediate System). These networks self-organize by creating shortest paths between routers with the help of a metric such as bandwidth or delay.


So, what’s the difference between these two types of routing protocols? In a nutshell, link state routing is more efficient and accurate, but distance vector routing is simpler and easier to implement. There are many different flavors of each type of routing protocol; we have focused on the most popular ones in this post. In most cases, both protocols can coexist because they have different strengths and weaknesses. They each serve different purposes depending on your use case; one may be better than the other.

About Alisha John

A Nature Lover and Freelance Writer! I write about daily practices for optimizing both happiness and health.

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