A friend of mine asked me about the OSPF forwarding address. The question was why
must the network type be broadcast for the FA to be set? Why is not point to point
and point to multipoint network type valid?

First of all, what is the point of having a forwarding address? Look at the topology


R3 is the only one running BGP to R4. If the FA is not set then there will be an
extra hop compared to R2 sending the traffic directly to R4.

Because the forwarding address is set to 0 the traffic must flow through the
ASBR originating the LSA.

Which conditions must be met to set the FA?

The interface on the ASBR must have OSPF enabled. It must not be passive and it
must be broadcast. Let’s enable this on R3.

Now check the external LSA on R1 and a traceroute.

The traffic is now flowing directly via R2. The key point here is that in broadcast
networks all routers can communicate with each other (full mesh). We can see this by
looking at the type2 LSA.

Why isn’t a point to point network valid? Well, the name pretty much says it all.
With point-to-point there can only be two routers connected so there is no use
in setting the FA because the traffic must flow through the router originating
the LSA.

If we look at the router LSA from R2 when we have broadcast network type it looks
like this:

You can see that the is a transit network and then the type 2 LSA shows
which routers are connected and the network mask. Now if we change to point to point.

The network is now a stub network which means it can’t be used for transit.
Usually there should only be two routers connected here, we shouldn’t use P2P network
type if there is an Ethernet segment with multiple routers.

So finally why is P2MP not valid? Because P2MP is used in NBMA networks. These networks
are usually partially meshed and from the perspective of OSPF it is a collection of
point to point links. This is how the LSA looks.

It looks very similar to P2P with the difference that the stub network has a mask
of /32. This is useful in partial mesh where spokes need to reach each other via
the hub and don’t have a DLCI between them.

So it only makes sense to use FA in broadcast networks because that is the only
place where routers are guaranteed to be able to communicate to each other because
it is by nature fully meshed.

Why OSPF FA is only set on broadcast networks
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6 thoughts on “Why OSPF FA is only set on broadcast networks

  • April 11, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Daniel nice explanation friend and I hope u keep your good work going now I have one kore good blog to follow

  • April 14, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for the elaboration.

  • April 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    For non-broadcast networks special provisions for configuration facilitate neighbor … Generally an interface is only configured in a single area, however you can …. If the priority setting on an OSPF router is set to 0, that means it can NEVER.

  • April 5, 2015 at 6:17 pm


    Could someone explain why the redistributed route on the asbr is removed from the routing table of the routers inside the ospf area if we configure a static route to the forwarding address on the router in the ospf area that connects to the asbr ?
    The route is still present in the database though.

    I had this problem with a static redistributed route and not a bgp route.

    I had this problem in production and I reproduced it in lab.
    When I remove the static route, the redistributed route is back in the routing table.

    • April 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      “and not a bgp route.” I meen I did not test it

    • April 6, 2015 at 12:58 am

      Answer is in RFC 2328 page 173

      If the forwarding address is non-zero, look up the forwarding address in the routing table. The matching routing table entry must specify an intra-area or inter-area path; if no such path exists, do nothing with the LSA and consider the next in the list.

      So if there is a redundant static route, it will be in the routing table in place of the ospf one due to the AD, the external LSA will not be selected to be in the routing table


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