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5.2.1 Forwarding Algorithm Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
5.2.1 Forwarding Algorithm

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5.2.1 Forwarding Algorithm

5.2.1 Forwarding Algorithm

Since none of the primary protocol documents describe the forwarding algorithm in any detail, we present it here. This is just a general outline, and omits important details, such as handling of congestion, that are dealt with in later sections.

It is not required that an implementation follow exactly the algorithms given in sections [5.2.1.1], [5.2.1.2], and [5.2.1.3]. Much of the challenge of writing router software is to maximize the rate at which the router can forward packets while still achieving the same effect of the algorithm. Details of how to do that are beyond the scope of this document, in part because they are heavily dependent on the architecture of the router. Instead, we merely point out the order dependencies among the steps:

  1. A router MUST verify the IP header, as described in section [5.2.2], before performing any actions based on the contents of the header. This allows the router to detect and discard bad packets before the expenditure of other resources.

  2. Processing of certain IP options requires that the router insert its IP address into the option. As noted in Section [5.2.4], the address inserted MUST be the address of the logical interface on which the packet is sent or the router's router-id if the packet is sent over an unnumbered interface. Thus, processing of these options cannot be completed until after the output interface is chosen.

  3. The router cannot check and decrement the TTL before checking whether the packet should be delivered to the router itself, for reasons mentioned in Section [4.2.2.9].

  4. More generally, when a packet is delivered locally to the router, its IP header MUST NOT be modified in any way (except that a router may be required to insert a timestamp into any Timestamp options in the IP header). Thus, before the router determines whether the packet is to be delivered locally to the router, it cannot update the IP header in any way that it is not prepared to undo.


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Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
5.2.1 Forwarding Algorithm

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