BGP vs OSPF: Difference and Comparison

OSPF and BGP are two of the most common routing protocols used to route traffic on very large networks.

With routers sending information about network topology between each other, OSPF and BGP help your home router know how to get data packets from point A to point B.

Key Takeaways

  1. BGP is a routing protocol for large-scale networks, while OSPF is for smaller networks.
  2. BGP routes traffic between autonomous systems, while OSPF routes traffic within the same system.
  3. BGP uses path vector protocol, while OSPF uses the link-state protocol.


BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) is an exterior gateway routing protocol used for exchanging routing information between autonomous systems on the Internet, focuses on determining the best path for data packets to traverse multiple networks. OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) is an interior gateway routing protocol used within a single autonomous system, calculates the shortest path for data packets to travel within the network.


BGP can be used as a critical element of a company’s strategy for success in today’s global marketplace.

BGP uses a routing table that lists IP addresses and networks along with a preference value associated with each route. BGP is a routing protocol that defines the rules by which routers communicate with each other.

OSPF allows for hierarchical network designs with areas and autonomous systems.

Autonomous systems could be individual companies or separate administrative regions depending upon your organisation’s needs.

Areas are used to segment your network into logical sections capable of being added together to form an autonomous system if needed.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBGPOSPF
Full-FormBorder Gateway ProtocolOpen Shortcut Path First
Port Number17989
StateLink statePath vector
Type of protocolTCP protocolIP protocol

What is BGP?

BGP is the routing protocol used to exchange network reachability information between routers on the Internet.

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It’s an essential part of how the Internet works, and understanding it can help you better understand what makes the Internet work as well as how to troubleshoot problems that might arise.

Based on this preference value, the router selects the best route according to its policies. Generally, BGP looks for the shortest path from one network to another.

The best way to understand this is to think of it as a type of language.

In this case, the people who speak BGP are Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and the language they use to talk to each other is Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).

BGP is a routing protocol that uses the Border Gateway Protocol to allow routers in different autonomous systems to establish paths across the Internet.

Internet Service Providers use it to exchange routing information across the world. In this article, we’ll introduce you to BGP and how it works for you to understand why it’s important for your business.

The primary purpose of BGP is to allow networks to make forwarding decisions based on a global view of the Internet.

What is OSPF?

OSPF is a link-state routing protocol developed by Cisco in the late 1980s. It is widely used in IP internetworks and large corporate intranets.

OSPF provides a mechanism for the dynamic distribution of routing information within an autonomous system (AS). This allows imported routes and their associated metrics to be redistributed with little difficulty.

OSPF uses the shortest path first (SPF) algorithm that is based on Dijkstra’s algorithm for finding the shortest paths between nodes in a graph. OSPFv2 is an open standard protocol for exchanging routing information.

It is used to exchange network reachability information within a single autonomous system (AS) and also between ASes on the Internet.

OSPF to advertise the networks connected to your edge routers so that other ASes can send traffic directly to you via the MPLS backbone without having any explicit knowledge of the actual routes over which packets will be forwarded.

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OSPF is a popular routing protocol used in large networks. It can be used to create an internal backbone for the network, creating areas and summarization routes across them.

OSPF was developed by the organization of systems administrators (OSI). OSPF is a great protocol for routing information between different networks.

The protocol has been around since the days of Windows NT and has been adapted to many different environments, including mobile ad hoc networks.

Main Differences Between BGP and OSPF

  1. The BGP full form is Border Gateway Protocol, but OSPF full form is Open Shortest Path First.
  2. The convergence is slow in BGP compared to OSPF.
  3. BGP uses TCP protocol, but OSPF uses IP protocol.
  4. The port number for BGP is 179, and OSPF is 89.
  5. BGP has a link state, but OSPF has a path vector.
  6. BGP is complex as compared to OSPF in implementation.

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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10 thoughts on “BGP vs OSPF: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The discussion about BGP and OSPF is very helpful. It clarifies their functions and differences, and provides interesting information about how both protocols operate.


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