Integrated Intermediate System – Intermediate System routing protocol is a link state protocol similar to OSPF that is used with large enterprise and ISP customers. An intermediate system is a router and IS-IS is the routing protocol that routes packets between intermediate systems. IS-IS utilizes a link state database and runs the SPF Dijkstra algorithm to select shortest paths routes. Neighbor routers on point to point and point to multipoint links establish adjacencies by sending hello packets and exchanging link state databases. IS-IS routers on broadcast and NBMA networks select a designated router that establishes adjacencies with all neighbor routers on that network. The designated router and each neighbor router will establish an adjacency with all neighbor routers by multicasting link state advertisements to the network itself. That is different from OSPF, which establishes adjacencies between the DR and each neighbor router only. IS-IS uses a hierarchical area structure with level 1 and level 2 router types. Level 1 routers are similar to OSPF intra-area routers, which have no direct connections outside of its area. Level 2 routers comprise the backbone area which connects different areas similar to OSPF area 0. With IS-IS a router can be an L1/L2 router which is like an OSPF area border router (ABR) which has connections with its area and the backbone area. The difference with IS-IS is that the links between routers comprise the area borders and not the router. Each IS-IS router must have an assigned address that is unique for that routing domain. An address format is used which is comprised of an area ID and a system ID. The area ID is the assigned area number and the system ID is a MAC address from one of the router interfaces. There is support for variable length subnet masks, which is standard with all link state protocols. Note that IS-IS assigns the routing process to an interface instead of a network.
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