How To Internet & Network What Are TCP/IP Router (Routing) Tables? Share Pin Email Print Internet & Network Key Concepts Basics Guides & Tutorials Installing & Upgrading Tips & Tricks What Are Bitcoins? The Wireless Connection by Bradley Mitchell An MIT graduate who brings years of technical experience to articles on SEO, computers, and wireless networking. Updated May 23, 2019 23 23 people found this article helpful A router table (also called routing table) is stored data used by TCP/IP network routers to calculate the destinations of messages they are responsible for forwarding. A router table is a small in-memory database managed by the router's built-in hardware and software. Router Table Entries and Sizes Router tables contain a list of IP addresses. Each address in the list identifies a remote router (or another network gateway) that the local router is configured to recognize. For each IP address, the router table additionally stores a network mask and other data that specifies the destination IP address ranges that remote device will accept. Home network routers utilize a very small router table because they simply forward all outbound traffic to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) gateway which takes care of all other routing steps. Home router tables typically contain ten or fewer entries. By comparison, the largest routers at the core of the internet backbone must maintain the full Internet routing table that contains several hundred thousand entries. (See the CIDR Report for latest Internet routing statistics.) Dynamic vs. Static Routing Home routers set up their routing tables automatically when connected to the Internet provider, a process called dynamic routing. They generate one router table entry for each of the service provider's DNS servers (primary, secondary, and tertiary, if available) and one entry for routing among all the home computers. They may also generate a few additional routes for other special cases including multicast and broadcast routes. Some residential network routers prevent you from manually overriding or changing the router table. However, business routers allow network administrators to manually update or manipulate routing tables. This so-called static routing can be useful when optimizing for network performance and reliability. On a home network, the use of static routers is not required except in unusual circumstances (such as when setting up multiple subnetworks and a second router). Viewing the Contents of Routing Tables On home broadband routers, routing table contents are typically shown on a screen inside the administrative console. An example IPv4 table is shown below. Destination LAN IP Subnet Mask Gateway Interface 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 xx.yyy.86.1 WAN (Internet) xx.yyy.86.1 255.255.255.255 xx.yyy.86.1 WAN (Internet) xx.yyy.86.134 255.255.255.255 xx.yy.86.134 WAN (Internet) 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.101 LAN & Wireless Routing Table Entry List (Example) In this example, the first two entries represent routes to the Internet provider's gateway address ('xx' and 'yyy' represent real IP address values that are hidden for the purpose of this article). The third entry represents the route to the home router's public-facing IP address assigned by the provider. The last entry represents the route for all computers within the home network to the home router, where the router has IP address 192.168.1.101. On Windows and Unix/Linux computers, the netstat -r command also displays the contents of the router table configured on the local computer. Continue Reading How to Work With IP Address 192.168.1.0 How Do You Work With 192.168.1.101 and 192.168.1.x IP Address Ranges? Why Don't Most Devices Use the 192.168.0.0 IP Address? Your Printer Has Its Own IP Address What Is a Router (Residential Gateway) and How Does It Work? What to do with 'DNS Server Not Responding' issues on your network Top 5 Network Routing Protocols Explained The Internet Protocol (IP) Explained Need to Know Your IP Address? Here's How to Find It How Data Gets Transmitted on an IP Network MAC Addresses Can Be Turned Into IP Addresses (Sort Of) Is There Any Way to Find a MAC Address by Using an IP Address? Easy Ways to Look Up an IP Address What Is the Default IP Address of a Belkin Router? How to Keep Using the Same IP Address On Your Network What's so Special About 127.0.0.1 in Computer Networking?