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Routing Overview

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Routing overview

Routing and Remote Access is a full-featured software router and an open platform for routing and internetworking. It offers routing services to businesses in local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) environments or over the Internet by using secure virtual private network (VPN) connections.

An advantage of the Routing and Remote Access service is integration with the Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 family. The Routing and Remote Access service delivers many cost-saving features and works with a wide variety of hardware platforms and hundreds of network adapters. The Routing and Remote Access service is extensible with application programming interfaces (APIs) that developers can use to create custom networking solutions and that new vendors can use to participate in the growing business of open internetworking.


  • A computer running a member of the Windows Server 2003 family and the Routing and Remote Access service that provides LAN and WAN routing services is hereafter referred to as a server running Routing and Remote Access.

The server running Routing and Remote Access is intended for use by system administrators who are already familiar with routing protocols and routing services. Through Routing and Remote Access, administrators can view and manage both routers and remote access servers on their networks. For security information about enabling the routing features of Routing and Remote Access, see Security information for routing.

Routing and Remote Access includes the following features:

  • Multiprotocol unicast routing for Internet Protocol (IP) and AppleTalk. For more information, see Unicast routing overview.

  • Industry-standard unicast IP routing protocols:

    • Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) This feature is not available on the Itanium-based versions of the Windows operating systems. This content is not available in this preliminary release.

    • Routing Information Protocol (RIP) versions 1 and 2

    For more information, see Unicast routing overview.

  • IP multicast services (Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) router mode and IGMP proxy mode) to enable the forwarding of IP multicast traffic. For more information, see Multicast Forwarding and Routing Overview.

  • The Routing And Remote Access Server Setup Wizard, which includes a set of common server configurations to help meet your network needs. For more information, see Common server configurations for remote access servers.

  • Support for multiple network interfaces. For more information, see Network interfaces.

  • IP network address translation (NAT) services to simplify the connection of small office or home office (SOHO) networks to the Internet. For more information, see Internet Connection Sharing and network address translation.

  • A simple packet filtering service that can be enabled for any public interface, even one that is also configured for network address translation. For more information, see Basic Firewall.

  • Static IP packet filtering for security and performance. For more information, see Packet filtering.

  • Demand-dial routing over dial-up WAN links. For more information, see Demand-dial routing.

  • Virtual private network (VPN) support with the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and the Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) over Internet Protocol security (IPSec), referred to as L2TP/IPSec. For more information, see Routing over VPN connections.

  • Industry standard support for a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Relay Agent for IP. For more information, see DHCP Relay Agent.

  • Industry standard support for router advertisement by using Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) router discovery. For more information, see ICMP router discovery.

  • A graphical user interface for remote monitoring and configuration. For more information, see Administration and management tools.

  • A command-line interface for running scripts and automating configuration and remote monitoring. For more information, see Administration and management tools.

  • Support for Windows power management capabilities. For more information, see Power management support.

  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) management capabilities with support for popular management information bases (MIBs). For more information, see SNMP support.

  • Extensive support for media, including Ethernet, token ring, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), T-Carrier, Frame Relay, xDSL, cable modems, X.25, and analog modems.

  • APIs for routing protocols, administration, and the user interface to enable value-added development.

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