Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
2.2.1. Split horizon

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2.2.1. Split horizon

2.2.1. Split horizon

Note that some of the problem above is caused by the fact that A and C are engaged in a pattern of mutual deception. Each claims to be able to get to D via the other. This can be prevented by being a bit more careful about where information is sent. In particular, it is never useful to claim reachability for a destination network to the neighbor(s) from which the route was learned. "Split horizon" is a scheme for avoiding problems caused by including routes in updates sent to the gateway from which they were learned. The "simple split horizon" scheme omits routes learned from one neighbor in updates sent to that neighbor. "Split horizon with poisoned reverse" includes such routes in updates, but sets their metrics to infinity.

If A thinks it can get to D via C, its messages to C should indicate that D is unreachable. If the route through C is real, then C either has a direct connection to D, or a connection through some other gateway. C's route can't possibly go back to A, since that forms a loop. By telling C that D is unreachable, A simply guards against the possibility that C might get confused and believe that there is a route through A. This is obvious for a point to point line. But consider the possibility that A and C are connected by a broadcast network such as an Ethernet, and there are other gateways on that network. If A has a route through C, it should indicate that D is unreachable when talking to any other gateway on that network. The other gateways on the network can get to C themselves. They would never need to get to C via A. If A's best route is really through C, no other gateway on that network needs to know that A can reach D. This is fortunate, because it means that the same update message that is used for C can be used for all other gateways on the same network. Thus, update messages can be sent by broadcast.

In general, split horizon with poisoned reverse is safer than simple split horizon. If two gateways have routes pointing at each other, advertising reverse routes with a metric of 16 will break the loop immediately. If the reverse routes are simply not advertised, the erroneous routes will have to be eliminated by waiting for a timeout. However, poisoned reverse does have a disadvantage: it increases the size of the routing messages. Consider the case of a campus backbone connecting a number of different buildings. In each building, there is a gateway connecting the backbone to a local network. Consider what routing updates those gateways should broadcast on the backbone network. All that the rest of the network really needs to know about each gateway is what local networks it is connected to. Using simple split horizon, only those routes would appear in update messages sent by the gateway to the backbone network. If split horizon with poisoned reverse is used, the gateway must mention all routes that it learns from the backbone, with metrics of 16. If the system is large, this can result in a large update message, almost all of whose entries indicate unreachable networks.

In a static sense, advertising reverse routes with a metric of 16 provides no additional information. If there are many gateways on one broadcast network, these extra entries can use significant bandwidth. The reason they are there is to improve dynamic behavior. When topology changes, mentioning routes that should not go through the gateway as well as those that should can speed up convergence. However, in some situations, network managers may prefer to accept somewhat slower convergence in order to minimize routing overhead. Thus implementors may at their option implement simple split horizon rather than split horizon with poisoned reverse, or they may provide a configuration option that allows the network manager to choose which behavior to use. It is also permissible to implement hybrid schemes that advertise some reverse routes with a metric of 16 and omit others. An example of such a scheme would be to use a metric of 16 for reverse routes for a certain period of time after routing changes involving them, and thereafter omitting them from updates.