Static route, Default Network, Default gateway, what’s the difference?

New engineers will sometimes find themselves confused when it comes to the  differences of defining a route.   When to use ip default-gateway and ip default-network and lastly when to use ip route [interface] Below is brief breakdown between the three.

1) Default Gateway (ip default-gateway x.x.x.x)
This command serves non-routing network device that need to reach any network outside its own subnet or outside of its local network. The command is to function when the network device is not in routing mode. Typically the command exists in Layer-2 switches or switches that are in bridging mode only.  In order for this command to function in a router, ip routing must be disabled. When the ip routing is disabled, the router becomes merely a host, similar to your regular PC. To reach any network outside its own subnet or outside of its local network, the device needs to have a default-gateway.

2) Default Network (ip default-network a.b.c.d)
This command establishes a default subnet or network for specific routing-speaking network device. Therefore the ip routing must be enabled on the device.With this command in place, your Layer-3 network device will actually route packets unlike the default-gateway command. Second this command does not specify the next hop address, it specifies a network to be considered as default. In order for this command to set a default network, you must already have a static route in your routing table. You can tell if this is working if from a sh ip route there is a “gateway of last resort” configured.

3) Gateway of Last Resort (ip route next-hop-ip/exit-interface)
This command also requires ip routing to be enabled. This command sets a default route for anything not in your routing table. After this command is entered it will show a “gateway of last resort” configured in your ip route table.

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About Ron Staples

Ron has been working in the data, voice technologies field for over 15 years, he obtain his CCNA in 1999 and has worked for several fortune 500 companies. Since then he has re certified his CCNA and earned the following additional certifications, CCNA Voice and CCRMS.

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