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The ICMP Redirect message is generated to inform a local host the it should use a different next hop router for a certain class of traffic.

Routers MUST NOT generate the Redirect for Network or Redirect for Network and Type of Service messages (Codes 0 and 2) specified in [INTERNET:8]. Routers MUST be able to generate the Redirect for Host message (Code 1) and SHOULD be able to generate the Redirect for Type of Service and Host message (Code 3) specified in [INTERNET:8].


If the directly connected network is not subnetted (in the classical sense), a router can normally generate a network Redirect that applies to all hosts on a specified remote network. Using a network rather than a host Redirect may economize slightly on network traffic and on host routing table storage. However, the savings are not significant, and subnets create an ambiguity about the subnet mask to be used to interpret a network Redirect. In a CIDR environment, it is difficult to specify precisely the cases in which network Redirects can be used. Therefore, routers must send only host (or host and type of service) Redirects.

A Code 3 (Redirect for Host and Type of Service) message is generated when the packet provoking the redirect has a destination for which the path chosen by the router would depend (in part) on the TOS requested.

Routers that can generate Code 3 redirects (Host and Type of Service) MUST have a configuration option (which defaults to on) to enable Code 1 (Host) redirects to be substituted for Code 3 redirects. A router MUST send a Code 1 Redirect in place of a Code 3 Redirect if it has been configured to do so.

If a router is not able to generate Code 3 Redirects then it MUST generate Code 1 Redirects in situations where a Code 3 Redirect is called for.

Routers MUST NOT generate a Redirect Message unless all the following conditions are met:

  • The packet is being forwarded out the same physical interface that it was received from,

  • The IP source address in the packet is on the same Logical IP (sub)network as the next-hop IP address, and

  • The packet does not contain an IP source route option.

The source address used in the ICMP Redirect MUST belong to the same logical (sub)net as the destination address.

A router using a routing protocol (other than static routes) MUST NOT consider paths learned from ICMP Redirects when forwarding a packet. If a router is not using a routing protocol, a router MAY have a configuration that, if set, allows the router to consider routes learned through ICMP Redirects when forwarding packets.


ICMP Redirect is a mechanism for routers to convey routing information to hosts. Routers use other mechanisms to learn routing information, and therefore have no reason to obey redirects. Believing a redirect which contradicted the router's other information would likely create routing loops.

On the other hand, when a router is not acting as a router, it MUST comply with the behavior required of a host.

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