Book Review :: OSPF and IS-IS: Choosing an IGP for Large-Scale Networks


OSPF and IS-IS: Choosing an IGP for Large-Scale Networks
by Jeff Doyle
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
ISBN-13: 978-0321168795

5starsA welcome addition to any networking library

If you consider yourself a student of routing protocols and enjoy coverage of graph theory from the perspective of its application to link-state routing protocols, this text will certainly be a welcome addition to your library. This book not only provides information regarding ‘how’ link-state routing protocols work, it also provides information regarding ‘why’ the link-state routing protocols behave as they do, and why the protocol designers made certain choices in the development of these protocols. While it might seem a daunting task especially to the novice reader to learn about two routing protocols side-by-side, it is this treatment which makes this text so worthwhile. Being able to compare these two protocols and identify their similarities and differences simultaneously will ultimately help the network designer pick the right protocol for the job in a given network environment.

This book goes beyond IGP fundamentals by giving practical advice to the network designer which can assist in the planning and implementation of a scalable IGP deployment. For example, in the chapter on Area Design, the author states that “a useful guideline when designing a network is that network control traffic should never exceed 5 percent of the available bandwidth of any link in the network, and in normal circumstances should not exceed 1 percent”. The author then presents various formulas which can be used to determine the amount of bandwidth used by the protocol control traffic based on the number and type of LSAs which are expected to be present in a given network. Arguably one of the best chapters in the book is the chapter on Scaling. This chapter has some of the best coverage of the various modifications which router vendors make to their link-state protocol implementations in order to make routers perform calculations more rapidly, enhance flooding of Link-State updates, and other changes designed to make the protocols scale to support very large networks.

I am a stickler for accuracy, especially when it comes to technical textbooks. I pride myself on my ability to spot technical and grammatical errors in texts such as these, however I must say as I read this book I was very impressed that I found very little errors beyond just the simple grammatical and typographical. Jeff Doyle is an experienced writer, and it should come as no surprise that the technical content in this book is extremely well-vetted, accurate, and error-free. Ultimately, if you are a network operator, designer or architect and are interested in broadening your understand of link-state protocols coupled with the ability to more fully understand the technical distinctions between OSPF and IS-IS, this book is without a doubt one of the best options on the market today.

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