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Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) is a network management protocol that is used to increase the availability of default gateway servicing hosts on the same subnet. VRRP improves the reliability and performance of the host network by enabling a virtual router to act as the default gateway for that network.
VRRP is specifically designed to enable data routing, forwarding and switching among a pool of virtual routers. VRRP was created to solve the problem of static addresses, which proved inefficient when the route or path was unavailable.
Network performance is improved by dynamically assigning one of the virtual routers as a default gateway using a VRRP election algorithm. This algorithm increases reliability and provides a fail-over mechanism and support for static routing. The VRRP assigns one of the routers as the master router, which manages the forwarding and routing of traffic toward all the virtual IPs associated with these routers. It also dynamically switches over to another router if the master is unavailable.
VRRP creates a pool of physical routers to be advertised as a single virtual router, allowing hosts to configure the virtual router as their default gateway. VRRP selects the virtual router from the group, assigns a virtual IP to that router and, once the hosts have configured their default gateway, it enables packet forwarding. The routing/forwarding is performed by the master router, which is also elected by the VRRP from the VRRP group. The VRRP monitors and manages the entire communication, which is forwarded to the group and its associated virtual router IP addresses and Address Resolution Protocol requests. A new master router is immediately elected if the primary router goes offline.
VRRP increases redundancy, making it significantly beneficial in situations where the availability of the default path for network hosts is critical. VRRP can be implemented in Ethernet, multiprotocol label switching and token ring networks.