Default Routing

If you want to communicate to anything other than your connected network, you must have routes for the destinations. This can be a scale issue when one wants to communicate with random IP addresses like when surfing around on the Internet. Basically you have two options to do this. Either you know all the destinations, or you have a default route® that blindly takes care of reachability for you. I’d like to walk through the various protocols to see how you can inject a default route.


OSPF has many knobs to turn for default routing. Let’s explore them:

Default-Information Originate

You might be familiar with the default-information originate command under the OSPF process. Yes this is how you can inject a Type-5 LSA into OSPF – either unconditionally using the keyword¬ always or based on having a default route in the routing table before it will inject one into OSPF. This is basic default routing with OSPF. What most people do

Conditional Route Injection

OSPF supports conditional route injection using a route-map. When the route-maps condition is satisfied, OSPF will inject a default route.

We can illustrate this using a single router and look in the OSPF LSDB. Let’s say we want do inject a default route only if we have a route to some destination. Below is a configuration example for R2 who has a static route to R1s Lo0 IP addresss of We will configure R2 to inject a default route only if the route is installed in its routing table.

! R2 inject default route:
R2(config)#ip prefix-list r1lo0 permit
R2(config)#route-map ospfdef permit 10
R2(config-route-map)#match ip address prefix r1lo0
R2(config-route-map)#router ospf 1
R2(config-router)#default-information originate route-map ospfdef

Let’s see if R2 did inject a default route:

! R2 verification:

R2#sh ip ospf database external

             OSPF Router with ID ( (Process ID 1)

                 Type-5 AS External Link States

  LS age: 693
  Options: (No TOS-capability, DC, Upward)
  LS Type: AS External Link
  Link State ID: (External Network Number )
  Advertising Router:
  LS Seq Number: 80000001
  Checksum: 0x801A
  Length: 36
  Network Mask: /0
        Metric Type: 2 (Larger than any link state path)
        MTID: 0
        Metric: 1
        Forward Address:
        External Route Tag: 1


Yes, we have a default route. Let’s try to remove the route from the routing table by configuring an AD of 255 and look at what happens:

! R2 delete route:
R2#debug ip ospf spf
R2#conf t
R2(config)#ip route 255

! Wait a while and we see this debug message:

*Dec 14 20:02:42.413: OSPF-1 EXTER: Process partial spfQ: type 5, LSID, mask, adv_rtr, age 3600, seq 0x80000002, area dummy area 

And if we look at the LSDB of R2 again:

! R2 LSDB without a route to R1:

R2#sh ip ospf database external

OSPF Router with ID ( (Process ID 1)

Nothing because our condition is not met.


Jacob Zartmann avatar
Jacob Zartmann
Passionate Network Engineer thriving for challenges and knowledge.