Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.4. Basic implementation requirements

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4.4. Basic implementation requirements

4.4. Basic implementation requirements

An implementation of OSPF requires the following pieces of system support:


Two different kind of timers are required. The first kind, called single shot timers, fire once and cause a protocol event to be processed. The second kind, called interval timers, fire at continuous intervals. These are used for the sending of packets at regular intervals. A good example of this is the regular broadcast of Hello packets (on broadcast networks). The granularity of both kinds of timers is one second.

Interval timers should be implemented to avoid drift. In some router implementations, packet processing can affect timer execution. When multiple routers are attached to a single network, all doing broadcasts, this can lead to the synchronization of routing packets (which should be avoided). If timers cannot be implemented to avoid drift, small random amounts should be added to/subtracted from the timer interval at each firing.

IP multicast

Certain OSPF packets take the form of IP multicast datagrams. Support for receiving and sending IP multicast datagrams, along with the appropriate lower-level protocol support, is required. The IP multicast datagrams used by OSPF never travel more than one hop. For this reason, the ability to forward IP multicast datagrams is not required. For information on IP multicast, see [RFC 1112].

Variable-length subnet support

The router's IP protocol support must include the ability to divide a single IP class A, B, or C network number into many subnets of various sizes. This is commonly called variable-length subnetting; see Section 3.5 for details.

IP supernetting support

The router's IP protocol support must include the ability to aggregate contiguous collections of IP class A, B, and C networks into larger quantities called supernets. Supernetting has been proposed as one way to improve the scaling of IP routing in the worldwide Internet. For more information on IP supernetting, see [RFC 1519].

Lower-level protocol support

The lower level protocols referred to here are the network access protocols, such as the Ethernet data link layer. Indications must be passed from these protocols to OSPF as the network interface goes up and down. For example, on an ethernet it would be valuable to know when the ethernet transceiver cable becomes unplugged.

Non-broadcast lower-level protocol support

Remember that non-broadcast networks are multi-access networks such as a X.25 PDN. On these networks, the Hello Protocol can be aided by providing an indication to OSPF when an attempt is made to send a packet to a dead or non- existent router. For example, on an X.25 PDN a dead neighboring router may be indicated by the reception of a X.25 clear with an appropriate cause and diagnostic, and this information would be passed to OSPF.

List manipulation primitives

Much of the OSPF functionality is described in terms of its operation on lists of link state advertisements. For example, the collection of advertisements that will be retransmitted to an adjacent router until acknowledged are described as a list. Any particular advertisement may be on many such lists. An OSPF implementation needs to be able to manipulate these lists, adding and deleting constituent advertisements as necessary.

Tasking support

Certain procedures described in this specification invoke other procedures. At times, these other procedures should be executed in-line, that is, before the current procedure is finished. This is indicated in the text by instructions to execute a procedure. At other times, the other procedures are to be executed only when the current procedure has finished. This is indicated by instructions to schedule a task.

Next: 4.5. Optional OSPF capabilities

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.4. Basic implementation requirements