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Maintaining Route Tables

When a Windows-based computer is initialized, the route table normally contains only a few entries. One of those entries specifies a default gateway. Datagrams that have a destination IP address with no better match in the route table are sent to the default gateway. However, because routers share information about network topology, the default gateway may know a better route to a given address. When this is the case, then upon receiving a datagram that could take the better path, the router forwards the datagram normally. It then advises the sender of the better route, using an ICMP Redirect message. These messages can specify redirection for one host, a subnet, or for an entire network. When a Windows-based computer receives an ICMP redirect, a validity check is performed to be sure that it came from the first-hop gateway in the current route, and that the gateway is on a directly connected network. If so, a host route with a 10-minute lifetime is added to the route table for that destination IP address. If the ICMP redirect did not come from the first-hop gateway in the current route, or if that gateway is not on a directly connected network, the ICMP redirect is ignored.

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