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EIGRP vs. OSPF: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 25, 2024
EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) is a Cisco proprietary routing protocol known for fast convergence and scalability; OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) is an open standard protocol emphasizing hierarchical design and efficient routing.

Key Differences

EIGRP, developed by Cisco, is a proprietary protocol, meaning it's largely used in Cisco environments. OSPF is an open standard protocol, widely used in various networking environments beyond Cisco.
EIGRP uses a unique algorithm called DUAL (Diffusing Update Algorithm) for quick route computation and convergence. OSPF uses Dijkstra's algorithm to compute the shortest path, which is efficient but can be slower in convergence.
EIGRP is known for its scalability and efficiency in both small and large networks. OSPF, while scalable, is better suited for larger networks due to its hierarchical design.
EIGRP tends to use less bandwidth and has lower CPU usage compared to OSPF. OSPF, with its detailed LSA (Link State Advertisement) updates, can be more resource-intensive.
EIGRP offers more flexibility in configuration and is often considered easier to set up and manage. OSPF, with its area concept and LSA types, requires more planning and is complex to configure.

Comparison Chart

Type of Protocol

Proprietary (Cisco)
Open standard

Routing Algorithm

DUAL (Diffusing Update Algorithm)
Dijkstra's algorithm

Ideal Network Size

Efficient in both small and large networks
Better suited for larger, hierarchical networks

Resource Usage

Generally lower bandwidth and CPU usage
Higher resource usage due to LSA updates

Configuration Complexity

Easier to configure and manage
More complex, requires detailed planning

EIGRP and OSPF Definitions


Offers rapid route convergence.
EIGRP’s fast convergence minimizes downtime during network rerouting.


A widely used open standard routing protocol.
OSPF was chosen for our multi-vendor network due to its open standard nature.


Uses a composite metric for route calculation.
EIGRP considers bandwidth and delay in its metric calculation.


Uses Dijkstra's algorithm for efficient path finding.
OSPF ensures optimal routing decisions in our extensive network.


Combines features of distance vector and link-state protocols.
EIGRP’s hybrid nature offers a balance between efficiency and resource usage.


Supports a hierarchical network structure with areas.
OSPF's area-based design simplifies our network management.


Suitable for both small and large-scale networks.
Our network's expansion was seamless thanks to EIGRP's scalability.


Ideal for large, complex networks.
The scalability of OSPF accommodates our growing network needs.


A proprietary routing protocol developed by Cisco.
We implemented EIGRP to enhance routing efficiency in our Cisco network.


Can be more demanding on network resources.
We upgraded our hardware to support OSPF's resource requirements.


Is EIGRP limited to Cisco devices?

EIGRP was proprietary to Cisco, but there are implementations available for non-Cisco devices.

What algorithm does EIGRP use?

EIGRP uses the DUAL (Diffusing Update Algorithm) for route computation.

Can OSPF be used in a non-Cisco environment?

Yes, OSPF can be used in various networking environments, including non-Cisco ones.

How does EIGRP handle network changes?

EIGRP quickly reconverges and updates routes in response to network changes.

What does OSPF stand for?

OSPF stands for Open Shortest Path First, an open standard routing protocol.

What algorithm does OSPF use?

OSPF uses Dijkstra's algorithm to determine the shortest path.

Is OSPF suitable for small networks?

OSPF can be used in small networks, but it's more suited for larger, structured networks.

Does EIGRP support load balancing?

Yes, EIGRP supports equal and unequal cost load balancing.

What is EIGRP?

EIGRP is a Cisco proprietary routing protocol known for fast convergence and flexibility.

Can EIGRP and OSPF work together?

EIGRP and OSPF can interoperate through proper network design and redistribution.

How does OSPF handle different areas in a network?

OSPF divides a network into areas to optimize route calculation and scalability.

What type of protocol is EIGRP?

EIGRP is a hybrid routing protocol, combining distance vector and link-state features.

How does OSPF handle large networks?

OSPF efficiently manages large networks through its hierarchical design and area concept.

What is route summarization in EIGRP?

Route summarization in EIGRP allows aggregation of routes for efficient routing.

How does EIGRP determine the best path?

EIGRP uses a composite metric based on bandwidth, delay, and other factors to determine the best path.

What is OSPF area 0?

OSPF area 0, or the backbone area, is central to OSPF's hierarchical structure, interconnecting other areas.

What are OSPF LSAs?

OSPF LSAs (Link State Advertisements) are packets used to share routing and topology information.

Does EIGRP have a hierarchical structure like OSPF?

EIGRP does not inherently have a hierarchical structure like OSPF but can be designed for hierarchical routing.

How are OSPF routes prioritized?

OSPF prioritizes routes based on the cost metric, with lower cost routes preferred.

What is the primary advantage of EIGRP over OSPF?

EIGRP’s primary advantage is its faster convergence time and flexibility in various network sizes.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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