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# Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks

Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Prepbytes

In computer networks, routing is the process of selecting the path along which the data will be transferred from the source node(device) to the destination node. This path is determined by the help of Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks. This article aims to provide an overview of routing algorithms in computer networks, the types of routing algorithms, and their advantages and disadvantages.

## What do you mean by Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks?

Routing algorithms are a crucial part of computer networks as they determine the path of data packets from the source to the destination node. The primary function of routing algorithms is to manage the flow of data packets, minimize delay and congestion, and optimize the utilization of network resources.

## Types of Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks

There are two main categories of routing algorithms in computer networks: adaptive and non-adaptive routing algorithms. Adaptive routing algorithms adjust the routing decisions based on network conditions, whereas non-adaptive routing algorithms use a fixed set of rules to determine the path of data packets.

### Adaptive Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks

These are the algorithms that change their routing decisions in response to changes in network topology or traffic load. Changes in routing decisions are reflected in the network’s topology as well as its traffic. These are also known as dynamic routing, as they determine routes based on dynamic information such as current topology, load, latency, etc.

• Isolated
In these types of algorithms, each node determines its routing decisions based on the information it receives without consulting other nodes. The sending nodes have no information of the state of a specific link. The drawback is that packets may be routed over a busy network, causing delays.
Example: Hot potato routing and backward learning.

• Centralized
In these types of routing Algorithms, a centralized node has all network information and makes all routing decisions. The benefit is that only one node is necessary to retain the information of the whole network, but the disadvantage is that if the central node fails, the entire network is destroyed.
Example: The link state algorithm is sometimes referred to as a centralized algorithm as it contains information of all the nodes present in the network.

• Distributed
In Distributed Adaptive Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks, the node collects information from its neighbors before deciding how to route the packets. One disadvantage is that the packet may be delayed if the intervals at which it receives information and delivers packets change.

### Non-Adaptive Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks

Non-adaptive routing algorithms use a fixed set of rules to determine the optimal path for data packets. They do not consider network conditions and do not adjust routing decisions based on feedback from the network. Examples of non-adaptive routing algorithms include flooding and random walk.

• Flooding
The flooding technique uses the practice of sending every incoming packet on every outgoing line except the one from which it arrived. One disadvantage of this algorithm is that packets can get stuck in a loop, leading a node to receive duplicate packets. These issues can be solved using sequence numbers, hop counts, and spanning trees.

• Random Walk
Each node in the network sends the data packet to a randomly picked neighbor in the random walk algorithm. This is repeated until the packet arrives at the target node. Random walk is a simple algorithm, however, it might result in inefficient routing and unnecessary traffic.

### Hybrid Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks

Hybrid routing algorithms combine the benefits of adaptive and non-adaptive routing algorithms. These algorithms use a feedback mechanism to change routing decisions depending on network conditions and a fixed set of rules as a fallback option.

Each node in the network keeps a map of the network topology and uses Dijkstra’s algorithm to determine the most efficient path for data packets in the link-state routing algorithm. The map is updated regularly based on information received from neighboring nodes.

• Distance Vector Routing Algorithm
In the distance vector routing algorithm, each node in the network has a table that records the distance and the next hop for each destination node. The table is periodically updated based on information received from surrounding nodes. The Bellman-Ford method is used to select the best route for data packets.

Here are the differences between the two types of Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks.

Decision Making Adjusts routing decisions based on network conditions and feedback Uses a fixed set of rules to determine routing decisions
Routing Efficiency More efficient routing This may lead to suboptimal routing
Congestion Can reduce congestion May increase congestion
Network Performance Can improve network performance This may lead to increased delay and decreased performance
Utilization of Network Resources Can optimize the utilization of network resources May not be as efficient in utilizing network resources

Conclusion
Routing algorithms are important to the efficient functioning of computer networks. They determine the path of data packets from the source to the destination node, regulate data packet flow, minimize delay and congestion, and improve network resource use. In this article, we have studied different types of Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks i.e. Adaptive and Non-Adaptive Routing Algorithms, and their examples in detail.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions related to “Routing Algorithms in Computer Networks”.
Ques 1. What are the types of routing algorithms in computer networks?
Ans. There are three types of routing algorithms in computer networks: adaptive routing algorithms, non-adaptive routing algorithms, and hybrid routing algorithms.

Ques 2. What are the advantages of adaptive routing algorithms in computer networks?
Ans. The advantages of adaptive routing algorithms in computer networks are increased network performance, reduced congestion, improved fault tolerance, and better utilization of network resources.