Network Working Group G. Malkin
Request for Comments: 1721 Xylogics, Inc.
Obsoletes: 1387 November 1994
RIP Version 2 Protocol Analysis
Status of this Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo
does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of
this memo is unlimited.
As required by Routing Protocol Criteria (RFC 1264), this report
documents the key features of the RIP-2 protocol and the current
implementation experience. This report is a prerequisite to
advancing RIP-2 on the standards track.
The RIP-2 protocol owes much to those who participated in the RIP-2
working group. A special thanks goes to Fred Baker, for his help on
the MIB, and to Jeffrey Honig, for all his comments.
The RIP-2 applicability statement is defined in RFC 1722 .
The RIP-2 protocol description is defined in RFC 1723 . This memo
obsoletes RFC 1388, which specifies an update to the "Routing
Information Protocol" RFC 1058 (STD 34).
The RIP-2 MIB description is defined in RFC 1724 . This memo
obsoletes RFC 1389.
While RIP-2 shares the same basic algorithms as RIP-1, it supports
several new features. They are: external route tags, subnet masks,
next hop addresses, and authentication.
The significant change from RFC 1388 is the removal of the domain
field. There was no clear agreement as to how the field would be
used, so it was determined to leave the field reserved for future
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RFC 1721 RIP-2 Analysis November 1994
The route tag field may be used to propagate information acquired
from an EGP. The definition of the contents of this field are beyond
the scope of this protocol. However, it may be used, for example, to
propagate an EGP AS number.
Inclusion of subnet masks was the original intent of opening the RIP
protocol for improvement. Subnet mask information makes RIP more
useful in a variety of environments and allows the use of variable
subnet masks on the network. Subnet masks are also necessary for
implementation of "classless" addressing, as the CIDR work proposes.
Support for next hop addresses allows for optimization of routes in
an environment which uses multiple routing protocols. For example,
if RIP-2 were being run on a network along with another IGP, and one
router ran both protocols, then that router could indicate to the
other RIP-2 routers that a better next hop than itself exists for a
One significant improvement RIP-2 offers over RIP-1, is the addition
of an authentication mechanism. Essentially, it is the same
extensible mechanism provided by OSPF. Currently, only a plain-text
password is defined for authentication. However, more sophisticated
authentication schemes can easily be incorporated as they are
RIP-2 packets may be multicast instead of being broadcast. The use
of an IP multicast address reduces the load on hosts which do not
support routing protocols. It also allows RIP-2 routers to share
information which RIP-1 routers cannot hear. This is useful since a
RIP-1 router may misinterpret route information because it cannot
apply the supplied subnet mask.
The MIB for RIP-2 allows for monitoring and control of RIP's
operation within the router. In addition to global and per-interface
counters and controls, there are per-peer counters which provide the
status of RIP-2 "neighbors".
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RFC 1721 RIP-2 Analysis November 1994
The MIB was modified to deprecate the domain, which was removed from
the protocol. It has also been converted into version 2 format.
Currently, there are three complete implementations of RIP-2: GATED,
written by Jeffrey Honig at Cornell University; Xylogics's Annex
Communication server; and an implementation for NOS, written by Jeff
White. The GATED implementation is available by anonymous FTP from
gated.cornell.edu as pub/gated/gated-alpha.tar.Z. The implementation
for NOS is available by anonymous FTP from ucsd.edu as
Additionally, Midnight Networks has produced a test suite which
verifies an implementation's conformance to RFC 1388 implemented over
The author has conducted interoperability testing between the GATED
and Xylogics implementations and found no incompatibilities. This
testing includes verification of protection provided by the
authentication mechanism described in section 2.4.
Xylogics has been running RIP-2 on its production systems for five
months. The topology includes seven subnets in a class B address and
various, unregistered class C addresses used for dial-up access. Six
systems, in conjunction with three routers from other vendors and
dozens of host systems, operate on those subnets.
The only problem which has appeared is the reaction of some routers
to Version 2 RIP packets. Contrary to RFC 1058, these routers
discard Version 2 packets rather than ignoring the fields not defined
for Version 1.