This guide covers what dynamic routing is, its benefits and downsides, and the differences between dynamic and static routing.

Learn how to implement dynamic routing with a robust solution for improved workflows and route optimization. A solution, shall we say, like Motive.

What is dynamic routing?

Dynamic routing is the process of selecting the best path a data packet must follow through a network to reach a specific destination.

Known as adaptive routing, dynamic routing is a technique where a router obtains routing information without an administrator’s assistance. The router adds the optimal path to a routing table and determines alternative routes if the primary path becomes less ideal or unavailable.

Dynamic routing also refers to automated path-planning methods that compute routing operations through protocols and complex algorithms.

How dynamic routing works

Here’s how dynamic routing works:

  • The router sends and receives routing messages on the router interfaces.
  • Routers share the messages and information with other routers using the same protocol.
  • Routers exchange routing information to uncover data about remote networks. In this way, when an internetwork gets reconfigured or a router goes down, each router’s routing tables can undergo proper adjustment.
  • When a router discovers topology modifications, the routing protocol advertises these changes to other routers.

Dynamic routing uses two algorithms — distance vector protocols and link state protocols — to calculate multiple possible paths and then choose the optimal route for traffic to travel through the network. Both protocols develop a routing table within the router.

The table includes an entry for every potential destination of a network, specific subnet, or group of networks. Each entry identifies a specific network connection with which to transmit a received data packet.

When using distance vector protocols, every routing table indicates the particular number of hops to every destination. The router relays its table to every directly connected router and receives other routers’ tables in return. Routers employing distance vector protocols regularly exchange their tables with other routers in proximity.

Link state protocols select routes by swapping a link state packet (LSP) with nearby routers. Every router builds an LSP with its preconfigured identifier and information about connected subnets and networks.

The router then transmits the LSP to neighboring routers. Received LSPs hold additional details about link data rates and paths to other networks. Routers integrate this information with known data and store it in their routing tables.

In this way, link state protocols produce a full network view and enable routers in an internetwork to hold identical information.

Understanding dynamic routing protocols

Dynamic routing operates with multiple protocols and algorithms that enable routers to exchange network information with other routers. With that capability, routers can choose the optimal path to arrive at a destination.

The primary dynamic routing protocol is the Open Shortest Path First (OSPF).


OSPF is a link state routing protocol that creates its paths with a mathematical algorithm called the Dijkstra Shortest Path First (SPF).

The SPF algorithm analyzes the link state database. It develops local paths, containing router information, to add to the routing table.

Due to the comprehensive view or topology map it offers, OSPF is best for large networks. It’s also suitable for complex networks composed of multiple subnets that simplify network administration and optimize traffic.

OSPF can compute and identify the shortest route with minimum network traffic when a network topology change happens.

Dynamic routing advantages

The advantages of dynamic routing are listed below.

Exchange of routing information

With dynamic routing, routers can swap routing data when topology adjustments occur. The information exchange empowers routers to learn about new networks automatically and discover substitute paths when connections to current networks fail.

Error reduction

Dynamic routing helps reduce the chances of committing errors. That’s because it runs path-planning methods mechanically.

If you move a network segment, the other routers will accommodate the adjustment. You’ll need to modify the configuration of the router, or routers, connecting the segment that moved.

This capability simplifies the adjustment and minimizes the likelihood of mistakes.


Dynamically routed networks can enlarge quickly, with fewer administrative overhead costs. That’s because network topology adjustments require minimal effort.

Problem rectification

Dynamic routing can correct problems in the network and keep functioning when the network breaks down or the configuration fails.


Dynamic routing’s adaptability relates closely to its scalability. Whether internetwork grows or fails, the network can learn about the change and adjust accordingly. It can also reroute in response to the modification without any manual intervention.

When used with appropriate tools, including a fleet workflow solution, dynamic routing can deliver tangible benefits to your company. These benefits include:

  • Real-time tracking for increased productivity. A dynamic route planning platform uses an updated communication and real-time GPS tracking solution. Accessing these features lets you closely track deliveries and the on-road delivery performance of a route. With this visibility, you can maximize your vehicle utilization, streamline delivery distribution, and minimize idle time, resulting in higher productivity.
  • Additional stops per hour. The more delivery stops per hour, the greater the revenue. A dynamic routing software and the best truck GPS navigation for your business can give you efficient delivery paths to increase your stops per hour.
  • Lower operational expenses. By providing optimal delivery paths, dynamic routing platforms help you consume less fuel and reduce overtime pay. The tool can also generate reports on vehicle maintenance, drivers’ salaries, fuel costs, IFTA compliance, etc. These documents allow you to review your operational expenses and find ways to minimize costs.

Dynamic routing vs. static routing: what is the difference?

1. Path selection

Dynamic routing offers several available routes to the destination. It considers thousands of real-time factors to choose the most efficient paths.

Dynamically routed networks can work with real-time and last-minute plan adjustments in the route, traffic, or weather conditions.

Despite these changes, dynamic routing takes into account any cancellations and ad hoc requests and keeps ETAs precise.

Static routing uses one preconfigured path to relay traffic to the destination. Your vehicles visit the same location address every time and the prepared route doesn’t change until completion.

Static routing doesn’t factor in any modification learned from actual route implementation. You can only update the routes semi-annually or yearly.

2. Routing tables

Dynamic routing requires routers to transmit all their routing tables to determine path availability.

Static routing has a smaller table with a single entry only for every destination.

3. Algorithms and protocols

Dynamic routing uses distance vector protocols and link state protocols to adjust paths.

Static routing doesn’t use protocols or complex routing algorithms.

4. Route updating capability

Dynamically routed networks use algorithms to update the preferred path adjustment automatically.

Static network administrators need to reconfigure static routes manually to modify routes.

5. Bandwidth and computation requirements

Dynamic routing entails more calculations and bandwidth to create several route options.

Static routing requires less bandwidth and computer power since it only has a single pre-configured path.

6. Security

Dynamic routing involves a greater security risk since it distributes complete routing tables throughout the network.

Static routing is safer since it doesn’t share paths across the whole network.

7. Use cases

Dynamic routing is ideal for more extensive and complex networks with several routers. Its flexibility is suitable for frequently changing network architectures.

Static routing is best for smaller networks with fixed network architectures and fewer routers. Static routing can also work well if your logistics company has a definite number of stops.

Are there limitations with dynamic routing?

Dynamic routing has these limitations:

  • Complexity. Dynamic routing is complex to implement initially. When a router adapts to network changes, it must always remove unwanted information from the routing table. This kind of scenario increases the complexity in the routing protocol.
  • Resources. Dynamically routed networks require additional resources, e.g., CPU, memory, or RAM, and link bandwidth, to calculate dynamic routes, hold routing tables, and perform other tasks. Dynamic routing also requires knowledge of supplementary commands.
  • Communication. Some or all machines in a network might not speak any dynamic routing protocol or a common protocol.
  • Bandwidth shortages. Dynamic routers constantly communicate with one another (using a dynamic routing protocol) to share network topology information. This continuous exchange requires more bandwidth. The messages can also cause bandwidth shortages when routers communicate with a low-speed link, especially in expansive and unstable networks.
  • Security. Dynamic routes pose network security hazards because of the broadcasting and multicasting updates. Routers constantly exchange and advertise (or send out) complete routing tables and critical information (e.g., IP addresses of two routers) across the network. Securing dynamic routes requires added configuration settings, such as routing protocol authentication and passive interfaces.

Dynamic routing examples

Dynamic route planning creates numerous path options unique to the orders to be sent. A route optimization system does so through advanced calculations and algorithms that static routing and manual planning can’t achieve.

Here’s a dynamic routing example that demonstrates that capability:

Suppose your customer needs a package delivered between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to a location six miles away.

The dynamic routing platform’s algorithm can instantly factor in those requirements. It does so while computing the best direction for your drivers. The tool can also consider traffic jams, a driver’s coffee breaks, roadblocks, and last-minute cancellations.

Another dynamic routing example is a typical vehicle routing problem involving 10 commercial vehicles and 10 calls per vehicle.

To find the optimal delivery path, you have to produce more than 125 quintillion route permutations. Even if you can assess 1,000 choices in a second, it’ll take you nearly 4 billion years to pick the best option.

A dynamic route planning software, however, can analyze the problem and present the best delivery paths in minutes.

How to implement dynamic routing with Motive

Leverage dynamic routing by using fleet management technology with route optimization features.

Motive’s real-time dispatch, GPS tracking, and navigation capabilities can help you select the best driver for your truckload and send instant dispatch updates. Motive also gives you full, up-to-the-minute visibility into your fleet’s status and location. It can alert you of conditions that can adversely impact your deliveries and present efficient route alternatives.

These dynamic routing functionalities make acquiring a truck GPS worth the investment. Functionality grows when coupled with geofencing, theft prevention, and automated reporting. Motive has ELDs, AI Dashcams, fuel monitoring, maintenance management, IFTA reporting, and several other functionalities.

Request a free demo of Motive’s fleet management solution. We can help you optimize your routes and deliveries, operational expenses, and overall fleet performance.