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Virtual router is a software-based routing framework that allows the host machine to perform as a typical hardware router over a local area network.
A virtual router can enable a computer/server to have the abilities of a full-fledged router by performing the network and packet routing functionality of the router via a software application. Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) may implement virtual routers to increase the reliability of the network. This is done by advertising a virtual router as the default gateway, backed by a group of physical routers.
Virtual routers are normally backed by two physical routers. One router performs the typical routing while the other provides redundancy in case of fail-over. Each virtual router that is created is identified with a unique virtual router identifier. The last byte of the address is the virtual router identifier (VRID); each virtual router in the network has a different number. This address is used by only one physical router at a time. A router will reply with this media access control (MAC) address when an Adress Resolution Protocol request is sent for the virtual router's IP address. Physical routers within the virtual router communicate using packets with multicast IP address 188.8.131.52 and IP protocol number 112.