How does your data travel from one device on your network to another? Networks are comprised of several nodes that hold and transfer data between each other. To determine the optimal route for data to travel, networks employ a system called routing. Network routing examines every possible path that data can take across a network and chooses the route that the data will take. By setting up routers in your network’s architecture, your network creates multiple different pathways for data to travel through.
Routing is important for networks to get data where it needs to go as quickly as possible. However, it also provides a lot of benefits to a network’s performance. Optimal network routing procedures help keep your network running efficiently. Below, we list some ways that good routing protocols aid in effective network performance.
Fast data access
The most obvious performance advantage that network routing brings is faster access to data. When a device sends a request to access information, the network has to determine the optimal route the info needs to travel. It decides the best pathway based on the location where the data is stored and the location of the device asking for it. By plotting out the route the data should travel, the network can transmit the data as fast as possible.
Preventing bandwidth overload
Your network can only handle so much traffic at one time. The bandwidth is the maximum rate of data transfer that a network is able to reach. In order to avoid overloading your network, networks choose routes for data packets based on the bandwidth space available. If a route is currently bogged down with too many data transferals, the network will send packets down an alternate pathway. Since networks are comprised of several nodes with multiple paths between them, it’s easy for a network to determine a backup route if it needs to.
Avoiding downed devices
Nodes on your network aren’t always available, even if you take steps to maintain their uptime. If a sudden occurrence or accident happens that disables a node, you need data to be directed down a different path. Network routing tables store information in your routers about where data can go, so they always have another pathway for data to take if a node is unavailable. This means that a damaged or otherwise unavailable device won’t have a drastic impact on your network’s performance.
Dynamic or static routing?
Network routing can be either dynamic or static, and for most purposes, dynamic routing is better for performance. Dynamic routing automatically updates routing information based on your network’s topography. That allows routing to be scalable and modifiable, meaning adding or removing nodes will be automatically reflected. Conversely, static routing needs to be configured manually to adjust for new nodes. If your router supports dynamic routing and your network performance monitor (NPM) sends information to the router, your NPM can help the router determine the best data path to maintain peak network performance.
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