OSPF RID (Router ID) Explained

Each router in an OSPF network requires a unique ID. This ID is known as the OSPF Router ID or OSPF RID. The OSPF RID must be unique across the entire OSPF network. Routers use OSPF RID to identify other OSPF routers in the network. All messages generated and processed by OSPF routers include OSPF RID.

A router uses the following process to choose its OSPF RID.

It checks the running configuration to find the manually configured OSPF RID. Administrators can configure a custom OSPF RID using the router-id rid command. If the router finds a custom OSPF RID, it uses that. It does not check the next option.

If it does not find a custom OSPF RID, it uses loopback interfaces as the second option. If a loopback interface has an IP configuration and the interface status is up, the router uses its IP address as the OSPF RID. If multiple loopback interfaces are up and have an IP configuration, it picks the highest numeric IP address among these loopback interfaces and uses it as the OSPF RID.

Unlike physical interfaces, loopback interfaces do not use any hardware. Once you change their status to up, they always remain up until you manually update their status to down again.

If no loopback interface exists or all loopback interfaces with an IP configuration are down, the router uses the third option. It picks the highest IP address on its active interfaces and uses it as the OSPF RID.

If no active interface exists, the OSPF process will not start.

Unlike the first and second options, this option does not provide a fixed OSPF RID. If the interface whose IP address is selected as the OSPF RID goes down or receives a new IP configuration, the router must select the OSPF RID again.

Since the third option does not provide a fixed OSPF RID, administrators do not prefer this option. They either configure a custom OSPF RID or a loopback interface, change its status to up, and assign an IP configuration.

ospf rid process

OSPF Router ID (RID) configuration example

Build a simple network topology using two routers. Connect the first router's FastEthernet interface to the second router's FastEthernet interface. Start both routers. We will use this topology to practice all three methods a router can use to determine OSPF RID.

ospf rid process example

Using the router-id command

  • Since the routers have configuration, they cannot determine the RID.
  • An OSPF process starts only when an OSPF RID exists. Without an OSPF RID, the OSPF process will not start.
  • To verify it, use the following steps.
  • Run the 'show ip ospf' command. It lists all running OSPF processes.
  • Run the 'router ospf 1' command to enable OSPF with process ID 1.
  • Since the router has no valid configuration (custom RID, loopback, and physical interfaces with an IP configuration) to determine OSPF RID, it will not start the OSPF process.
  • Assign a custom OSPF RID.
  • Run the 'show ip ospf' command again to list all running OSPF processes. If the router starts OSPF process 1 with the custom OSPF RID, it verifies this exercise.

The following image shows the above exercise.

router-id rid command

Using a loopback interface for OSPF RID

If the custom OSPF RID is not present, the router uses the IP configuration of active loopback interfaces to determine the RID. To verify it, use the following steps.

  • Use the 'no router-id RID' command to remove the previously configured OSPF RID.
  • Use the 'no router ospf 1' command to stop the running OSPF process.
  • Run the 'interface loopback 0' to create the first loopback interface.
  • Assign the IP address 10.0.0.1 255.0.0.0 to the loopback interface.
  • Use the 'no shutdown' command to bring the loopback interface up.
  • Start another OSPF process with process ID 2.
  • Run the 'show ip ospf' command again to view the OSPF RID the router used to start the OSPF process 2.
  • If the router uses the OSPF RID 10.0.0.1 to start the OSPF process 2, it verifies the router uses the loopback interface's IP address as OSPF RID if a custom OSPF RID is not present.

using loopback interface for rid

Using a physical interface for OSPF RID

If the custom OSPF RID and loopback interfaces are absent, the router uses the IP configuration of active interfaces to determine the RID. To verify it, use the following steps.

  • Use the 'no router ospf 2' command to stop the OSP process 2.
  • Use the 'no interface loopback 0' command to remove the loopback interface.
  • Assign the IP address 20.0.0.1 to the FastEthernet 0/0 interface.
  • Start the interface.
  • Start another OSPF process with the process ID 3.
  • Run the 'show ip ospf' command again to view the OSPF RID the router used to start the OSPF process 3.
  • If the router uses the OSPF RID 20.0.0.1 to start the OSPF process 3, it verifies the router uses the FastEthernet interface's IP address as OSPF RID.

using a physical interface for rid

Key points:-

OSPF assigns an RID to each OSPF running router on the OSPF router.

  • OSPF RID is a 32-bit numeric identity.
  • If we don't manually specify an OSPF RID, the router automatically picks an OSPF RID for the router.
  • A router does not start any OSPF process until it has an OSPF RID.
  • OSPF uses three elements to determine an OSPF RID for the router.
  • In the first step, it checks the value of the router-id command. If it presents, it uses it as the OSPF RID and does not check the second option.
  • It uses the second option only if the first option is not available.
  • In the second step, it checks the IP address of an active loopback interface. If a loopback interface with the IP configuration is present, it uses the loopback interface's IP address as the OSPF RID.
  • If the router does not have a loopback interface or all loopback interfaces are down, it uses the third option.
  • In the third step, it checks the IP addresses of active interfaces. If only one interface is present, it uses the interface's IP address as the OSPF RID. If multiple interfaces are available, it uses the IP address that has the highest numeric value.
  • If it fails to determine the OSPF RID, it does not start an OSPF process.

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