A key element of NSF is packet forwarding. The OSPF protocol depends on CEF to continue forwarding packets during switchover while the routing protocols rebuild the Routing Information Base (RIB) tables. Once OSPF has converged, CEF updates the Forwarding Information Base (FIB) table and removes stale route entries. CEF then updates the line cards with the new FIB information. CEF maintains the FIB and uses the FIB information that was current at the time of a switchover to continue forwarding packets during the switchover. This feature reduces traffic interruption during the switchover.
During normal NSF operation, CEF on the active RP synchronizes its current FIB and adjacency databases with the FIB and adjacency databases on the standby RP. Upon switchover of the active RP, the standby RP initially has FIB and adjacency databases that are mirror images of those that were current on the active RP. For platforms with intelligent line cards, the line cards maintain the current forwarding information over a switchover; for platforms with forwarding engines, CEF keeps the forwarding engine on the standby RP current with changes that are sent to it by CEF on the active RP. In this way, the line cards or forwarding engines can continue forwarding after a switchover as soon as the interfaces and a data path are available.
As the OSPF routing protocol starts to repopulate the RIB on a prefix-by-prefix basis, the updates in turn cause prefix-by-prefix updates that CEF uses to update the FIB and adjacency databases. Existing and new entries receive the new version number, indicating that they have been refreshed. The forwarding information is updated on the line cards or forwarding engines during convergence. The RP signals when the RIB has converged. The software removes all FIB and adjacency entries that have an epoch older than the current switchover epoch. The FIB now represents the newest routing protocol forwarding information.
The OSPF routing protocol runs on only the active RP, and OSPF receives routing updates from OSPF neighbor routers. The OSPF routing protocol does not run on the standby RP. Following a switchover, OSPF requests that the NSF-aware neighbor devices send state information to help rebuild the routing tables.
For NSF operation, OSPF depends on CEF to continue forwarding packets while OSPF rebuilds the routing information.