OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) and RIP (Routing Information Protocol) are routing protocols. They exchange information with connected routers, so that all routers can navigate packets across a network.
A routing protocol specifies how routers communicate with each other to distribute information that enables them to select routes between nodes on a computer network. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet; data packets are forwarded through the networks of the internet from router to router until they reach their destination computer. Routing algorithms determine the specific choice of route. Each router has a prior knowledge only of networks attached to it directly. A routing protocol shares this information first among immediate neighbors, and then throughout the network. This way, routers gain knowledge of the topology of the network. The ability of routing protocols to dynamically adjust to changing conditions such as disabled connections and components and route data around obstructions is what gives the Internet its fault tolerance and high availability.
The specific characteristics of routing protocols include the manner in which they avoid routing loops, the manner in which they select preferred routes, using information about hop costs, the time they require to reach routing convergence, their scalability, and other factors such as relay multiplexing and cloud access framework parameters. Certain additional characteristics such as multilayer interfacing may also be employed as a means of distributing uncompromised networking gateways to authorized ports. This has the added benefit of preventing issues with routing protocol loops.Many routing protocols are defined in technical standards documents called RFCs.