Routing refers to the process of transferring packets of data through a network or an interconnection of networks. The Internet is the most well-known example of a system where routing is applied.
Routing is a process which operates within the OSI model’s network layer. This is in contrast to other similar processes known as switching and bridging. The said processes occur on the data link layer.
Routing involves a number of tasks. First is the process of defining the paths for the moving of data packets through the interconnection of networks. In this process, the source and the target destination are identified. The other nodes which the packet may go through may be identified as well.
The second step entails the forwarding of the packets based on the determined paths. This is the final process in routing. Here, data is sent out by the source and is passed through the network until it reaches the destination. Depending on the network settings, other nodes may be informed that the transfer is being done. The target will provide a confirmation when the packet of data has been received successfully.
Routing has two major types: static and dynamic routing. In static routing, the information needed by packets to reach their destination is entered manually. Static routing requires the updating of the routing table whenever the network topology changes. This type of routing is ideal for smaller networks.
Dynamic routing is an automatic means of moving packets through networks. Dynamic routing uses a set of protocols in creating and managing the routing tables. Hence, dynamic routing is more responsive to network changes and even failures.