SonicOS supports equal-cost multi-path (ECMP) routing, a technique for routing packets along multiple paths of equal cost. The forwarding engine identifies paths by next-hop. When forwarding a packet, the router must decide which next-hop (path) to use. Multi-path routing can be used in conjunction with most routing protocols.
In SonicOS, you can use ECMP routing to specify multiple next hops for a given route's destination. In environments with substantial requirements, there are several reasons for doing this. A router could just use one ISP most of the time, and switch to the other when the first one fails for some reason. Another application of multi-path is to keep a path on standby and enable it only when bandwidth requirements surpass a predefined threshold. SonicOS supports up to four next-hop paths.
Various routing protocols, including Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) and Intermediate System to Intermediate System (ISIS), explicitly allow ECMP routing. Some router implementations also allow equal-cost multi-path usage with RIP and other routing protocols.
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