OSPF uses a link-state algorithm in order to build and calculate the shortest path to all known destinations. The algorithm by itself is quite complicated. The following is a very high level, simplified way of looking at the various steps of the algorithm:
Upon initialization or due to any change in routing information, a router will generate a link-state advertisement. This advertisement will represent the collection of all link-states on that router.
All routers will exchange link-states by means of flooding. Each router that receives a link-state update should store a copy in its link-state database and then propagate the update to other routers.
After the database of each router is completed, the router will calculate a Shortest Path Tree to all destinations. The router uses the Dijkstra algorithm to calculate the shortest path tree. The destinations, the associated cost and the next hop to reach those destinations will form the IP routing table.
In case no changes in the OSPF network occur, such as cost of a link or a network being added or deleted, OSPF should be very quiet. Any changes that occur are communicated via link-state packets, and the Dijkstra algorithm is recalculated to find the shortest path
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