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A routing table is a type of data file that acts as a map and is often installed on a router, networked computer or other hardware. The routing table contains information about various routes between devices in order to present the most efficient paths for data packets.
A routing table uses static and dynamic Internet protocol or IP addresses to identify devices, and works with an ARP cache that holds these addresses. The routing table is commonly referred to as a resource for finding the next hop, or subsequent route for a data packet. Static or dynamic routes may be compared in order to find the best path for data.
Part of the challenge of designing a routing table is in recording information on many devices with a fixed memory or storage space. There’s also the issue of working with an ARP cache and correctly maintaining lists of available routes for data. This is often referred to as incorrect definition of the topology of a network. Other routing problems, such as black holes, which cause ineffective delivery, should also be considered when using a routing table.