Technology / Networking

What is Route Redistribution?

by Team Nuggets
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Updated on June 17, 2024

Quick Definition: Route redistribution is a process that allows a network to use a routing protocol to dynamically route traffic based on information learned from a different routing protocol. Route redistribution helps increase accessibility within networks.

Imagine a spider web with different rules for each thread. One thread can only move vertically, another can only connect to threads with a specific pattern, and yet another can only link to threads of the same width. The web would become disjointed and ineffective, with no clear understanding of why connections fail. 

In the realm of networking, this mirrors what happens without route redistribution. A network is a complex web of different routing protocols, each operating in isolation. Without a mechanism to communicate across these protocols, vital data might be trapped within silos, leading to inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and even potential outages. 

This fragmentation can severely limit the network's performance and scalability. Route redistribution offers a solution by facilitating seamless communication between disparate routing protocols, ensuring your network remains robust, flexible, and fully accessible. In this article, we'll explore how route redistribution works and why it's essential for maintaining an efficient and resilient network infrastructure.

What is Routing?

Routing is the process of selecting which paths to send data packets along a network. It involves using routing tables and algorithms to determine the most efficient and reliable path for data transmission. It also includes learning routes and determining the most efficient ways to handle network traffic.

Routers can be configured to learn routes in several ways. The simplest method is to configure static routes manually. A static route tells the router exactly where to send packets. For example, a static route tells Router 1 to route packets to Router 2, and then Router 2 is manually configured to send packets to Router 3.

The issue with static routes is that many routes change configurations — and the path from one router to another often changes as a network grows. You can have thousands of different routes, and if one changes, you could be left manually configuring several routers. This can be a time-consuming process, especially when it comes to larger networks.

How Routing Protocols Work

A better option is to allow routers to share configurations with neighboring routers. This enables them to learn the right path for their packets dynamically. For instance, if Router 1 is connected to Router 2 and Router 4, it would share its path with both of them. If anything changed for Router 1 in terms of infrastructure, it would then automatically update Router 2 and Router 4 instead of relying on manual configurations.

Several protocols handle router sharing. The most common is OSPF (Open Shortest Path First), a general standard. However, some vendors, such as Cisco, have their own protocols, such as the EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol).

Each routing protocol can be intermingled, which is why it's important to understand how route redistribution works. You need to be able to determine when and how newly connected networks need new paths.

The Basics of Route Redistribution 

In this MicroNugget, Keith Barker ties it all together by describing routing protocols, routing basics, and how networks share routes from one routing protocol into the other.

How Route Redistribution Works 

Route redistribution allows a network to use a routing protocol to dynamically route traffic based on information learned from a different routing protocol. Route redistribution runs on the router that connects two networks. It's the main "shared" location between the two networks that translates protocols and routes for seamless integration.

When working with routing protocols and redistribution, you might hear it referred to as mutual redistribution. Route redistribution is the process in which one shared resource maps and translates each route — regardless of the protocol used on different network segments.

Typically, route redistribution is only needed on larger networks. However, even small office networks can grow into massive segments that need route redistribution. Think about your network and its connection to the internet.  Why configure your router when its protocols can handle redistribution and find the best path for its network traffic?

The Benefits of Route Redistribution 

Route redistribution offers several significant advantages, including better network efficiency, flexibility, and enhanced connectivity. Here's an in-depth look at each benefit: 

Improved Network Efficiency

Route redistribution enables the sharing of routing information between different routing protocols, allowing networks to adapt to changing conditions quickly. This dynamic adaptability makes it easier to find the most efficient path for data transmission. 


One of route redistribution's primary benefits is the increased flexibility it provides. In environments with multiple routing protocols, route redistribution allows these protocols to coexist and operate seamlessly. This flexibility is particularly valuable in large, complex networks, where different departments or segments might use different protocols.  

Enhanced Connectivity Between Different Network Segments

In a large network, each segment uses routing protocols tailored to their specific needs. Route redistribution acts as a bridge between these segments, allowing them to communicate and share routing information effectively. This enhanced connectivity prevents network isolation and promotes seamless data exchange across the entire network.

How to Mitigate Security Risks in Route Redistribution 

While route redistribution provides significant benefits in terms of network efficiency and flexibility, it can introduce security concerns, including: 

  • Unauthorized Route Updates: Malicious actors can inject false routing information, leading to data interceptions, traffic redirection, or DDoS attacks. 

  • Routing Loops and Instability: Improperly configured route redistribution can lead to routing loops, where data packets loop endlessly between routers. 

  • Route Leaking: If sensitive or internal routes are leaked to external networks or unauthorized segments, the network may be threatened. 

To mitigate the security risks associated with route redistribution, network administrators should follow these best practices:

  • Authentication: Implement authentication for routing protocol exchanges to ensure that only legitimate routers participate in the routing process.

  • Route Filtering: Use route filters to control the redistribution of routes, ensuring that only necessary and authorized routes are advertised between protocols.

  • Monitoring and Logging: Continuously monitor routing updates and maintain logs to promptly detect and respond to suspicious activities.

  • Access Control: Restrict access to routing devices and configurations to authorized personnel only, using access control lists (ACLs)

Learn More About Route Redistribution with CBT Nuggets

Route redistribution plays a critical role in optimizing network performance and reliability. By improving path selection, increasing operational flexibility, and ensuring connectivity across different network segments, route redistribution has become a crucial tool for network administrators. 

The following CBT Nuggets courses cover route redistribution in more detail:


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