Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol is an advanced distance-vector routing protocol that is used on a computer network for automating routing decisions and configuration. The protocol was designed by Cisco Systems as a proprietary protocol, available only on Cisco routers. Partial functionality of EIGRP was converted to an open standard in 2013 and was published with informational status as RFC 7868 in 2016.
It is used on a router to share routes with other routers within the same autonomous system. Unlike other well known routing protocols, such as RIP, EIGRP only sends incremental updates, reducing the workload on the router and the amount of data that needs to be transmitted.
EIGRP replaced the Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP) in 1993. One of the major reasons for this was the change to classless IPv4 addresses in the Internet Protocol, which IGRP could not support.
Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol is an interior gateway protocol suited for many different topologies and media. In a well designed network, EIGRP scales well and provides extremely quick convergence times with minimal network traffic.
EIGRP Theory of Operation
Some of the many advantages of EIGRP are:
- very low usage of network resources during normal operation; only hello packets are transmitted on a stable network
- when a change occurs, only routing table changes are propagated, not the entire routing table; this reduces the load the routing protocol itself places on the network
- rapid convergence times for changes in the network topology (in some situations convergence can be almost instantaneous)
EIGRP is an enhanced distance vector protocol, relying on the Diffused Update Algorithm (DUAL) to calculate the shortest path to a destination within a network.
Major Revisions of the Protocol
There are two major revisions of EIGRP, versions 0 and 1. Cisco IOS versions earlier than 10.3(11), 11.0(8), and 11.1(3) run the earlier version of EIGRP; some explanations in this paper may not apply to that earlier version. We highly recommend using the later version of EIGRP, as it includes many performance and stability enhancements.
A typical distance vector protocol saves the following information when computing the best path to a destination: the distance (total metric or distance, such as hop count) and the vector (the next hop). For instance, all the routers in the network in Figure 1 are running Routing Information Protocol (RIP). Router Two chooses the path to Network A by examining the hop count through each available path.