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What is VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol)?

Redundancy is crucial for dealing with common network issues, maintaining uptime, and ensuring seamless operations. The Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, commonly known as VRRP, plays a significant role in providing network redundancy.

What is VRRP?

The Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) is a computer networking protocol that increases the availability of the default gateway servicing hosts on a wireless LAN. This protocol operates by establishing a virtual router, an abstract representation of multiple routers acting as a group. The group presents itself as a single default gateway to the hosts on the subnet.

The virtual router’s member possessing the highest priority becomes the master and forwards packets sent to the virtual router’s IP address. The remaining members operate in standby, ready to take over should the master become unavailable. Thus, the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol enhances network reliability through router redundancy.

How does VRRP work?

VRRP creates a virtual router, known as a default gateway, which acts as a backup if the main router fails. The master router sends out advertisements at regular intervals. Backup routers monitor these advertisements to determine the status of the master router. If the master router fails, the backup router with the highest priority becomes the new master router.

HSRP and VRRP protocols compared

While both Hot Standby Routing Protocol (HSRP) and VRRP serve similar functions, there are notable differences. HSRP is a proprietary protocol developed by Cisco, while VRRP is an open standard. This means that VRRP can be used on routers from different manufacturers, while HSRP is limited to Cisco devices. Additionally, VRRP supports more active virtual routers on the same network than HSRP.

VRRP applications

  • Network redundancy: One of the most critical applications of VRRP is providing network redundancy. By using a virtual router as a default gateway, VRRP ensures that the network remains operational even if the primary router fails.
  • Load balancing: VRRP can also be used for load balancing. Different virtual routers can be assigned to different sets of hosts, distributing the network load across multiple routers.
  • High availability networks: VRRP is crucial in high-availability networks where downtime is unacceptable. It provides the necessary redundancy to minimize the risk of network failures.

VRRP configuration process

  • Enable VRRP: The first step in configuring VRRP is to enable it on the router. This is typically done through the router’s command-line interface.
  • Configure the virtual router: Next, you must configure the virtual router by specifying its IP address and other parameters.
  • Set VRRP priorities: You then need to set priorities for each router. The router with the highest priority will become the master router.
  • Test the configuration: Finally, test the configuration by simulating a master router failure. If the backup router takes over smoothly, your VRRP configuration is successful.


VRRP is a vital protocol for maintenance and to reduce network downtime. By understanding its operation and applications, you can leverage it to create robust, reliable networks.

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