IS-IS is an Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP) based on Standardization (ISO)/International Engineering Consortium (IEC) 10589. Cisco NX-OS supports Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and IPv6. IS-IS is a dynamic link-state routing protocol that can detect changes in the network topology and calculate loop-free routes to other nodes in the network. Each router maintains a link-state database that describes the state of the network and sends packets on every configured link to discover neighbors. IS-IS floods the link-state information across the network to each neighbor. The router also sends advertisements and updates on the link-state database through all the existing neighbors.
IS-IS sends a hello packet out every configured interface to discover IS-IS neighbor routers. The hello packet contains information, such as the authentication, area, and supported protocols, which the receiving interface uses to determine compatibility with the originating interface. The hello packets are also padded to ensure that IS-IS establishes adjacencies only with interfaces that have matching maximum transmission unit (MTU) settings. Compatible interfaces form adjacencies, which update routing information in the link-state database through link-state update messages (LSPs). By default, the router sends a periodic LSP refresh every 10 minutes and the LSPs remain in the link-state database for 20 minutes (the LSP lifetime). If the router does not receive an LSP refresh before the end of the LSP lifetime, the router deletes the LSP from the database.
The LSP interval must be less than the LSP lifetime or the LSPs time out before they are refreshed.
IS-IS sends periodic hello packets to adjacent routers. If you configure transient mode for hello packets, these hello packets do not include the excess padding used before IS-IS establishes adjacencies. If the MTU value on adjacent routers changes, IS-IS can detect this change and send padded hello packets for a period of time. IS-IS uses this feature to detect mismatched MTU values on adjacent routers. For more information, see the Configuring the Transient Mode for Hello Padding section.
You can design IS-IS networks as a single area that includes all routers in the network or as multiple areas that connect into a backbone or Level 2 area. Routers in a nonbackbone area are Level 1 routers that establish adjacencies within a local area (intra-area routing). Level 2 area routers establish adjacencies to other Level 2 routers and perform routing between Level 1 areas (inter-area routing). A router can have both Level 1 and Level 2 areas configured. These Level 1/Level 2 routers act as area border routers that route information from the local area to the Level 2 backbone area (see the figure below).
Within a Level 1 area, routers know how to reach all other routers in that area. The Level 2 routers know how to reach other area border routers and other Level 2 routers. Level 1/Level 2 routers straddle the boundary between two areas, routing traffic to and from the Level 2 backbone area. Level1/Level2 routers use the attached (ATT) bit signal Level 1 routers to set a default route to this Level1/Level2 router to connect to the Level 2 area.
In some instances, such as when you have two or more Level1/Level 2 routers in an area, you may want to control which Level1/Level2 router that the Level 1 routers use as the default route to the Level 2 area. You can configure which Level1/Level2 router sets the attached bit. For more information, see the Verifying the IS-IS Configuration section.
Each IS-IS instance in Cisco NX-OS supports either a single Level 1 or Level 2 area, or one of each. By default, all IS-IS instances automatically support Level 1 and Level 2 routing.
An autonomous system boundary router (ASBR) advertises external destinations throughout the IS-IS autonomous system. External routes are the routes redistributed into IS-IS from any other protocol.
NET and System ID
Each IS-IS instance has an associated network entity title (NET). The NET is comprised of the IS-IS system ID, which uniquely identifies this IS-IS instance in the area and the area ID. For example, if the NET is 47.0004.004d.0001.0001.0c11.1111.00, the system ID is 0000.0c11.1111.00 and the area is ID 47.0004.004d.0001.
Designated Intermediate System
IS-IS uses a designated intermediate system (DIS) in broadcast networks to prevent each router from forming unnecessary links with every other router on the broadcast network. IS-IS routers send LSPs to the DIS, which manages all the link-state information for the broadcast network. You can configure the IS-IS priority that IS-IS uses to select the DIS in an area.
No DIS is required on a point-to-point network.