Difference Between IGRP and EIGRP

As networking environments grow in size and complexity, routing protocols play a critical role in ensuring that data is transmitted over the most efficient paths. Among the most popular routing protocols out there are IGRP and EIGRP, each with its unique features and capabilities.

It’s important to understand the differences between IGRP and EIGRP, as well as their strengths and limitations, to choose the most suitable protocol for your specific networking needs.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • IGRP and EIGRP are two popular routing protocols used in network environments.
  • Understanding their differences and similarities is crucial in choosing the most appropriate protocol for your networking requirements.
  • IGRP and EIGRP have unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, which must be considered before deployment.

What is IGRP?

When it comes to routing protocols, one of the most commonly used ones is the Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP). This protocol was developed by Cisco to provide routing within an autonomous system (AS) and is considered a distance-vector routing protocol.

The IGRP protocol calculates the best path to a destination network based on various factors such as bandwidth, reliability, load, and delay. This makes it a more intelligent and efficient protocol compared to its predecessor, Routing Information Protocol (RIP).

One of the key advantages of IGRP is its ability to support larger networks with multiple routers and diverse topologies. This makes it an ideal choice for enterprise-level networks. Additionally, IGRP is a well-established protocol and is supported by a wide range of Cisco networking equipment.

However, IGRP also has some disadvantages. One of the biggest drawbacks is that it is a Cisco proprietary protocol, which means it is not compatible with non-Cisco devices. IGRP also lacks support for variable-length subnet masks (VLSMs), which can limit its effectiveness in some network configurations.

What is EIGRP?

In this section, we will delve into the details of the Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, or EIGRP for short. EIGRP is a routing protocol developed by Cisco Systems and is used to manage routing tables on a network. EIGRP is an advanced routing protocol and is categorized as a hybrid protocol, incorporating both distance-vector and link-state routing features.

EIGRP Protocol Explained

The EIGRP protocol maintains and shares routing information with other routers on the network, allowing for faster and efficient communication between devices. EIGRP uses Autonomous System (AS) to exchange routing information, which is a collection of networks that are under a single administrative domain.

EIGRP uses a Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL) to calculate the best possible path for data to travel across the network. DUAL ensures that the router with the most reliable and quickest path is chosen for data transmission. EIGRP also uses reliable and fast protocol timers that keep the protocol stable, ensuring efficient routing table updates.

EIGRP Features

EIGRP offers several robust features that make it a popular choice for network administrators:

  • Fast convergence: EIGRP efficiently manages routing tables and allows for quick convergence in case of network topology changes.
  • Low bandwidth utilization: EIGRP uses a Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL) to minimize bandwidth usage, ensuring efficient routing table updates.
  • VLSM support: EIGRP supports Variable Length Subnet Masks (VLSMs), allowing for efficient use of IP address space on the network.
  • Load balancing: EIGRP allows for load balancing across multiple paths, leading to efficient use of network resources and faster data transmission.
  • Reliability: EIGRP uses reliable protocol timers to ensure the protocol is always stable, and network administrators have the necessary information to manage network traffic.

EIGRP Advantages

EIGRP has several advantages that make it a popular choice for network administrators:

  • Fast Convergence: EIGRP’s efficient routing table management leads to fast convergence in case of topology changes, ensuring minimal network downtime.
  • Flexible Metric Calculation: EIGRP allows for customizing the parameters for metric calculation, ensuring network administrators have granular control over network traffic routing.
  • Low Bandwidth Utilization: EIGRP uses a Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL) that minimizes bandwidth usage, ensuring efficient routing table updates and low network congestion.
  • Easy to Configure: EIGRP is easy to configure and manage, making it a popular choice for small to medium-sized networks.

EIGRP Disadvantages

EIGRP has a few limitations and disadvantages that network administrators should consider:

  • Vendor Lock-in: EIGRP is a Cisco proprietary protocol, meaning it is only supported on Cisco devices. This limits the flexibility and interoperability of network devices.
  • Complex Configuration: EIGRP can become complex to configure in larger networks, requiring knowledgeable network administrators to manage and troubleshoot issues.
  • Resource Intensive: EIGRP can be resource-intensive in terms of processing power and memory, making it unsuitable for low-end network devices.

By understanding the features, advantages, and disadvantages of EIGRP, network administrators can make informed decisions when it comes to selecting a routing protocol that best meets their networking needs.

Comparison of IGRP and EIGRP

Now that we have introduced IGRP and EIGRP, let’s compare these two routing protocols and outline their key differences and similarities.

Key Differences between IGRP and EIGRP

The main differences between IGRP and EIGRP are:

IGRPEIGRP
Classful routing protocolClassless routing protocol
Only supports IP protocolsSupports multiple protocols (IP, IPX, and AppleTalk)
Maximum hop count of 100Maximum hop count of 224
Does not support VLSM (Variable Length Subnet Masking)Supports VLSM
Does not support authenticationSupports authentication

As we can see, IGRP is a simpler, classful routing protocol that only supports IP, while EIGRP is a more advanced, classless routing protocol that supports IP, IPX, and AppleTalk as well as VLSM and authentication.

Similarities and Dissimilarities of IGRP and EIGRP

While IGRP and EIGRP have some differences, they also share some similarities:

  • Both are distance vector routing protocols that calculate the best path to a destination based on distance metrics.
  • Both use bandwidth and delay as metrics for calculating the cost of a route.
  • Both have limitations in terms of scalability and convergence time.
  • IGRP and EIGRP both allow load balancing over multiple paths.

However, EIGRP’s use of more advanced metrics, such as reliability and load, makes it more scalable than IGRP. Additionally, EIGRP’s use of Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL) allows for faster convergence times than IGRP’s Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP).

IGRP and EIGRP Compared and Contrasted

Overall, while IGRP is a simpler, classful routing protocol suitable for small networks, EIGRP offers more advanced features and is better-suited for larger, more complex networks.

When deciding between these two protocols, it’s important to consider factors such as network size, the number of protocols to be supported, and the need for VLSM and authentication. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your specific network requirements and goals.

IGRP vs EIGRP Routing Protocol Features

Both IGRP and EIGRP are distance vector routing protocols that calculate the best path to a destination based on a variety of factors, including bandwidth, delay, reliability, and load. However, they differ in several ways.

IGRP Features:

FeatureDescription
Administrative distanceDistance metric of 100 for directly connected networks, with a maximum hop count of 100.
Classful routingDoes not support variable-length subnet masks (VLSMs).
Metric calculationCalculates path cost based on bandwidth and delay with optional configurations for reliability and load.
Topology updatesUpdates the entire routing table every 90 seconds or when changes occur.
Network size limitationsBest suited for small to medium-sized networks due to its maximum hop count limit of 100.

EIGRP Features:

FeatureDescription
Administrative distanceDistance metric of 90 for directly connected networks, with a maximum hop count of 224.
Classless routingSupports variable-length subnet masks (VLSMs) and classless inter-domain routing (CIDR).
Metric calculationCalculates path cost based on bandwidth, delay, reliability, and load with support for equal and unequal load balancing.
Topology updatesUpdates only the changes in topology, resulting in faster convergence times and reduced bandwidth usage.
Network size limitationsCapable of supporting large networks due to its hop count limit of 224.

IGRP vs EIGRP Routing Protocol Features: Key Takeaways

  • Both IGRP and EIGRP use distance vector routing protocols to determine the best path to a destination.
  • IGRP has an administrative distance of 100, while EIGRP has a distance metric of 90 for directly connected networks.
  • IGRP is classful, while EIGRP is classless, meaning it supports variable-length subnet masks (VLSMs) and classless inter-domain routing (CIDR).
  • EIGRP is capable of supporting larger networks due to its higher maximum hop count limit of 224.
  • EIGRP calculates path cost based on bandwidth, delay, reliability, and load, while IGRP calculates it based on bandwidth and delay with optional configurations for reliability and load.
  • EIGRP updates only the changes in topology, resulting in faster convergence times and reduced bandwidth usage compared to IGRP, which updates the entire routing table every 90 seconds or when changes occur.

Advantages of IGRP

Using the IGRP routing protocol offers several advantages for network administrators and operators. Here are some of the main benefits:

  • Fast convergence: IGRP has a rapid convergence time, which is the time it takes for the network to adjust to changes and resume forwarding traffic. This is particularly important in large networks where delays can cause significant downtime.
  • Efficient use of bandwidth: IGRP is designed to minimize the bandwidth use by sending only the essential updates. This reduces the risk of network congestion, resulting in faster and more reliable communication among network devices.
  • Route summarization: IGRP enables route summarization, which allows networks with multiple subnets to be summarized into a single connection. This simplifies network design and minimizes routing overhead.
  • Scalability: IGRP is scalable, meaning it can support a large number of routers and adapt to changing network conditions.
  • Reliability: IGRP is known for its reliability, as it can detect and avoid routing loops and prevent packet loss.

Advantages of EIGRP

Now, let’s take a look at the advantages and benefits of implementing the EIGRP routing protocol in your network infrastructure.

Quick convergence: EIGRP has the ability to converge quickly, making it an efficient protocol for large networks. With its Dual-Stack, it can work with both IPv4 and IPv6. Additionally, EIGRP uses Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL), a sophisticated algorithm that enables the protocol to quickly adapt to network topology changes, reducing the risk of network instability.

Scalability: EIGRP is highly scalable, allowing it to be used in networks of all sizes, from small to large enterprise networks. The protocol uses advanced metrics to determine the best path for data to travel, ensuring efficient and reliable routing.

Low bandwidth usage: EIGRP uses low network bandwidth by sending only incremental updates when there are changes in the network. This means that the protocol uses less network resources, making it ideal for networks with limited bandwidth.

Easy configuration: EIGRP is easy to configure and customize according to your network requirements. With its auto-summary feature, you can easily summarize the network topology, reducing the complexity of the routing table and improving network efficiency.

Compatibility with other protocols: EIGRP is compatible with other routing protocols, allowing it to be used in complex networks that use multiple protocols.

Overall, EIGRP is an efficient, scalable, and reliable routing protocol that provides numerous benefits to network administrators. Consider implementing EIGRP in your network infrastructure to improve network performance and reliability.

Disadvantages of IGRP

While IGRP has its benefits, there are also drawbacks to using this routing protocol.

One major disadvantage of IGRP is its limited scalability. Large networks with numerous routers can quickly overwhelm IGRP, leading to slow performance and routing issues. Additionally, IGRP is a distance-vector protocol, meaning it can take longer to converge in the event of changes to the network topology.

Another disadvantage of IGRP is its lack of support for newer technologies. As a legacy protocol, IGRP does not support features like Virtual LANs (VLANs), Quality of Service (QoS), and IPv6. This can limit the functionality and flexibility of networks that rely on IGRP for routing.

Lastly, the use of IGRP is restricted to Cisco devices only, limiting its compatibility with other network equipment from different vendors.

When considering the use of IGRP, it is essential to remember these drawbacks and how they may impact your network’s performance and capabilities.

Disadvantages of EIGRP

While EIGRP offers numerous advantages, there are also several disadvantages to consider:

  • Vendor-dependent: EIGRP is a Cisco proprietary protocol, which means it can be used only on Cisco devices. This limits interoperability with devices from other vendors.
  • Complexity: EIGRP has a higher level of complexity compared to other routing protocols, which requires additional resources and knowledge to configure and manage.
  • Resource-intensive: EIGRP consumes more resources than other routing protocols, including CPU cycles and memory. This can lead to performance issues in network environments with limited resources.
  • Scaling limitations: While EIGRP offers good scalability for medium-sized networks, it can become difficult to manage and maintain in larger networks due to the complex nature of the protocol.

Overall, while EIGRP offers numerous advantages, the disadvantages should be carefully considered before implementing the protocol in a networking infrastructure.

Similarities and Dissimilarities between IGRP and EIGRP

When comparing IGRP and EIGRP routing protocols, it is important to consider both the similarities and differences between them. Understanding these similarities and dissimilarities can help you choose the best protocol for your networking needs. Let’s take a closer look:

Similarities

Both IGRP and EIGRP are Interior Gateway Protocols (IGPs) that use Distance Vector (DV) routing algorithms. They also have the ability to support multiple network layer protocols, including IP and IPX.

Additionally, both IGRP and EIGRP use metrics to determine the best path to a given destination. IGRP uses a composite metric that takes into account bandwidth, delay, reliability, load, and MTU, while EIGRP uses a metric based on bandwidth and delay.

Dissimilarities

One of the biggest differences between IGRP and EIGRP is that EIGRP supports not only DV but also Link-State (LS) routing algorithms, making it a Hybrid Routing Protocol. This allows EIGRP to have more flexibility and scalability in larger networks.

Another key difference is in their metric calculation. As mentioned, IGRP uses a composite metric, which can sometimes lead to less optimal path choices. EIGRP, on the other hand, uses a more efficient metric calculation, which takes into account not only bandwidth and delay but also reliability, load, and MTU.

Comparison Guide and Table

To help you compare IGRP and EIGRP routing protocols, we’ve provided a handy guide and table below:

IGRP vs EIGRP similarities: Both are Interior Gateway Protocols that use Distance Vector routing algorithms and support multiple network layer protocols

IGRP and EIGRP differences explained: EIGRP is a Hybrid Routing Protocol that uses both Distance Vector and Link-State routing algorithms, while IGRP only uses Distance Vector. EIGRP also has a more efficient metric calculation, taking into account more factors than IGRP’s composite metric.

IGRP and EIGRP comparison table:

ProtocolTypeMetricsScalability
IGRPDistance VectorComposite metric (bandwidth, delay, reliability, load, MTU)Less scalable in larger networks
EIGRPHybrid (Distance Vector and Link-State)Efficient metric (bandwidth, delay, reliability, load, MTU)More scalable in larger networks

By understanding the similarities and dissimilarities between IGRP and EIGRP routing protocols, you can make an informed decision on which one is right for your networking environment.

Key Considerations when Choosing between IGRP and EIGRP

When deciding between IGRP and EIGRP, it is important to consider the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each routing protocol.

IGRP vs EIGRP Characteristics

IGRP is a distance-vector protocol that uses a routing algorithm based on the Bellman-Ford algorithm. It supports up to 224 hops and utilizes bandwidth and delay metrics to calculate the best path for routing. EIGRP, on the other hand, is a hybrid protocol that uses both distance-vector and link-state algorithms. It supports up to 255 hops and uses bandwidth, delay, reliability, load, and MTU metrics to determine the best path for routing.

IGRP vs EIGRP Advantages

One of the advantages of IGRP is its ability to support large networks without losing performance. It also has simple configuration and management, making it easier for network administrators to deploy. EIGRP, on the other hand, offers a faster convergence time, meaning that it can adapt more quickly to changes in the network topology and optimize the routing path faster. It also has lower overhead than IGRP, making it more efficient for larger networks.

IGRP vs EIGRP Disadvantages

IGRP’s main disadvantage is that it has limited scalability, meaning it can become sluggish and inefficient as the network grows in size. It also has a limited number of supported metrics, which can restrict its ability to find the optimal path for routing. EIGRP’s main disadvantage is that it is a proprietary protocol, meaning it can only be used with Cisco devices. This can limit the flexibility of the network and make it harder to integrate with non-Cisco devices.

In conclusion, when choosing between IGRP and EIGRP, it’s important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your network. If you have a large network with complex routing requirements, EIGRP may be the better choice. However, if you need a simpler protocol that can handle a smaller network, IGRP may be the more suitable option.

Implementation and Deployment of IGRP and EIGRP

When it comes to implementing and deploying IGRP and EIGRP, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved in getting these routing protocols up and running.

IGRP Implementation

The first step in implementing IGRP is to ensure that all devices in the network support the protocol. Next, you’ll need to configure IGRP on each router in the network by defining the autonomous system number and configuring the routing metrics. Once IGRP is configured, the protocol will dynamically exchange routing information with other devices in the network.

EIGRP Implementation

Implementing EIGRP is similar to implementing IGRP, but with a few added steps. First, you’ll need to enable EIGRP on each router and configure the autonomous system number. Next, you’ll need to define the metric weights that will be used for route calculations. EIGRP also requires the use of a unique router ID on each device. Once all routers are configured, EIGRP will dynamically exchange routing information throughout the network.

IGRP Deployment

Deployment of IGRP involves rolling out the protocol to the entire network. This may involve configuring new routers with IGRP or switching existing routers from other routing protocols to IGRP. It’s important to ensure that all devices in the network are running the same version of IGRP and that the routing metrics are consistent across all devices.

EIGRP Deployment

EIGRP deployment is similar to IGRP deployment, but with a few extra steps. In addition to configuring routers with EIGRP, you’ll also need to ensure that all devices are using the same routing metric weights and that each router has a unique ID. Like IGRP, it’s important to ensure consistency across all devices in the network.

Overall, the implementation and deployment of IGRP and EIGRP requires careful planning and execution. But with the right configuration and attention to detail, these routing protocols can provide reliable and efficient network communications.

Performance and Scalability of IGRP and EIGRP

When it comes to choosing a routing protocol for your network, performance and scalability are crucial factors to consider. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at how IGRP and EIGRP stack up in terms of their performance and scalability capabilities.

IGRP Performance

IGRP is a distance-vector routing protocol that uses a metric known as composite metric to calculate the shortest path between a source and destination network. While IGRP is relatively fast and efficient for small-scale networks, it may struggle to keep up with larger, more complex networks.

One potential performance issue with IGRP is that it has a maximum hop count of 100. If a router needs to send a packet to a destination that’s located beyond the 100-hop limit, the packet will be dropped, resulting in a network outage. Additionally, because IGRP relies on periodic updates to maintain network topology, it can be susceptible to convergence issues when there are frequent changes in the network.

EIGRP Performance

EIGRP is an advanced distance-vector routing protocol that uses a composite metric algorithm to calculate the shortest path between a source and destination network. Because EIGRP uses Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL), it can provide faster convergence times and greater network stability than IGRP. This is because EIGRP only sends updates when there is a change in the network, reducing the amount of bandwidth required for communication.

Another advantage of EIGRP is its support for equal-cost load balancing, which allows multiple paths to be used to transmit traffic across the network. This can improve network performance and reduce congestion by distributing traffic across multiple paths.

IGRP Scalability

As mentioned earlier, IGRP is suitable for small-scale networks but may struggle to keep up with larger, more complex ones. While IGRP can support up to 100 hops, it may not be able to handle networks with thousands of routers or multiple paths.

EIGRP Scalability

EIGRP is more scalable than IGRP and can support networks with thousands of routers. This is because EIGRP supports hierarchical network designs, which can help reduce the complexity of large networks. Additionally, EIGRP’s support for equal-cost load balancing can help distribute traffic across multiple paths, improving network performance and reducing congestion.

In summary, while IGRP may be suitable for small-scale networks, EIGRP is the better choice for larger, more complex networks due to its advanced features and greater scalability.

Conclusion

After exploring the key differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the IGRP and EIGRP routing protocols, we can conclude that both have their specific uses and applications in different network environments.

While IGRP is best suited for smaller networks with fewer devices, EIGRP is a more advanced protocol that can handle larger networks and more complex configurations.

When choosing between IGRP and EIGRP, it is essential to consider factors such as network size, type of applications, and scalability requirements. It is also critical to evaluate the implementation and deployment processes and performance and scalability capabilities of each protocol.

In summary, the decision to use IGRP or EIGRP routing protocols depends on specific needs and requirements. However, both protocols are reliable and efficient in their respective applications, providing a solid foundation for network communication.

FAQ

Q: What is the difference between IGRP and EIGRP?

A: IGRP and EIGRP are both routing protocols used in network configurations. The main difference between them is that IGRP is a distance-vector routing protocol, while EIGRP is an advanced distance-vector routing protocol that incorporates features of both distance-vector and link-state routing protocols.

Q: What is IGRP?

A: IGRP (Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) is a distance-vector routing protocol developed by Cisco Systems. It uses the Bellman-Ford algorithm to calculate the best path for data packets within a network. IGRP provides efficient routing and supports load balancing across multiple paths.

Q: What is EIGRP?

A: EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) is a hybrid routing protocol developed by Cisco Systems. It combines features of both distance-vector and link-state routing protocols, offering faster convergence, scalable routing, and reduced bandwidth consumption compared to traditional routing protocols.

Q: How do IGRP and EIGRP compare?

A: IGRP and EIGRP differ in their routing algorithm, convergence time, scalability, and support for advanced features. While IGRP is a simpler distance-vector protocol, EIGRP offers more sophisticated routing capabilities and better scalability. EIGRP also supports features like authentication, route summarization, and unequal-cost load balancing, which IGRP lacks.

Q: What are the key features of IGRP and EIGRP?

A: IGRP features include support for classful routing, automatic summarization, load balancing, and fast convergence. EIGRP features include support for classless routing, route summarization, unequal-cost load balancing, fast convergence, and enhanced scalability through the use of Diffusing Update Algorithm (DUAL).

Q: What are the advantages of using IGRP?

A: Some advantages of IGRP include its simplicity, ease of configuration, and efficient use of network resources. IGRP also performs well in smaller network environments and supports load balancing, helping to distribute traffic across multiple paths.

Q: What are the advantages of using EIGRP?

A: EIGRP offers several advantages, including fast convergence, efficient bandwidth usage, support for advanced features like route summarization and unequal-cost load balancing, and enhanced scalability. EIGRP also provides increased network stability and reduced routing overhead.

Q: What are the disadvantages of IGRP?

A: IGRP has some drawbacks, such as its limited scalability in larger network configurations and lack of support for classless routing. Automatic summarization can also lead to suboptimal routing decisions in certain scenarios.

Q: What are the disadvantages of EIGRP?

A: EIGRP’s disadvantages include its proprietary nature, as it is only supported on Cisco devices. This can limit interoperability with non-Cisco networking equipment. Additionally, EIGRP may require more memory and processing power compared to other routing protocols.

Q: What are the similarities and dissimilarities between IGRP and EIGRP?

A: IGRP and EIGRP share similarities in that they are both Cisco routing protocols and use the same metric, bandwidth, delay, reliability, and load. However, they differ in terms of routing algorithm, convergence time, scalability, support for advanced features, and compatibility with non-Cisco devices.

Q: What should I consider when choosing between IGRP and EIGRP?

A: When deciding between IGRP and EIGRP, important factors to consider include the size and complexity of your network, the need for advanced routing features, compatibility with non-Cisco devices, and the level of support and familiarity within your organization.

Q: How do I implement and deploy IGRP and EIGRP?

A: Implementing and deploying IGRP and EIGRP involves configuring the routing protocols on Cisco networking devices and ensuring network connectivity. This process requires knowledge of the specific configuration commands and best practices for each protocol.

Q: How do I assess the performance and scalability of IGRP and EIGRP?

A: Assessing the performance and scalability of IGRP and EIGRP involves monitoring network traffic, analyzing routing tables and metrics, and evaluating the routing protocols’ ability to handle increased network load. It is important to consider factors such as convergence time, bandwidth usage, and route stability.

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Deepak Vishwakarma

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