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Source routing is a specific routing process where senders can specify the route that data packets take through a network. This allows for troubleshooting and various transmission goals. Source routing is an alternative to traditional routing where packets just move through a network based on their destination.
Source routing is also known as path addressing.
There are two different types of source routing – loose and strict. In loose source routing, the packet has to pass through specific listed hops, but in strict source routing, the sender specifies every step on a hop-by-hop basis.
While there are some uses for source routing that experts would term legitimate, such as clearly laying out transmission trajectories, there are also uses that could be beneficial to hackers in smurfing or related attacks. Although source routing is typically not needed, it is an alternative for senders to establish specific broadcast goals.