Intermediate System to Intermediate System (IS-IS) is a link-state routing protocol used in computer networks to determine the best paths for data packet forwarding within a single autonomous system (AS). Similar to OSPF (Open Shortest Path First), IS-IS is designed for interior gateway routing and is commonly used within large and complex networks, including Internet Service Provider (ISP) networks and enterprise environments.
Key characteristics and aspects of IS-IS include:
- Link-State Protocol: IS-IS operates as a link-state routing protocol, which means that routers within the network exchange information about the state and topology of network links. This information is used to build a comprehensive map of the network.
- Hierarchical Design: IS-IS supports hierarchical network design by dividing the network into areas. This helps reduce routing traffic and enhances scalability, making it suitable for large and geographically diverse networks.
- Fast Convergence: IS-IS is known for its rapid convergence capabilities, ensuring that routers can quickly adapt to network changes and update their routing tables in response to link or network failures.
- Metric Calculation: IS-IS uses a metric called the “link cost” or “metric value” to calculate the shortest path to destination networks. The metric is based on factors like link bandwidth and can be adjusted to reflect various network conditions.
- Support for IPv4 and IPv6: IS-IS is compatible with both IPv4 and IPv6, making it a versatile choice for networks transitioning to IPv6.
- Support for Multiple Network Protocols: While IS-IS is commonly associated with IP routing (IPv4 and IPv6), it can also be used for routing other network layer protocols, such as IPX (Internetwork Packet Exchange).
- Authentication and Security: IS-IS offers authentication mechanisms to secure the exchange of routing information among routers, helping to protect against unauthorized access or attacks.
IS-IS is typically used in networks where scalability and efficient routing are critical, such as large-scale ISP networks and complex enterprise environments. It provides a robust and flexible routing solution for maintaining reliable data packet forwarding within autonomous systems.