Babel (protocol)

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Babel logo black.svg
Developer(s)Juliusz Chroboczek
Operating systemLinux, BSD, Mac OS X
TypeRouting protocol
LicenseMIT License

The Babel routing protocol is a distance-vector routing protocol for Internet Protocol packet-switched networks that is designed to be robust and efficient on both wireless mesh networks and wired networks. Babel is described in RFC 8966.[1]

Babel is based on the ideas in Destination-Sequenced Distance Vector routing (DSDV), Ad hoc On-Demand Distance Vector Routing (AODV), and Cisco's Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), but uses different techniques for loop avoidance. Babel has provisions for using multiple dynamically computed metrics; by default, it uses hop-count on wired networks and a variant of ETX on wireless links, but can be configured to take radio diversity into account [2] or to automatically compute a link's latency and include it in the metric.[3]

Babel operates on IPv4 and IPv6 networks. It has been reported to be a robust protocol and to have fast convergence properties.[4][5]

In October 2015, Babel was chosen as the mandatory-to-implement protocol by the IETF Homenet working group, albeit on an Experimental basis.[6] In June 2016, an IETF working group was created whose main goal is to produce a standard version of Babel.[7]


Several implementations of Babel are freely available:

  • The standalone "reference" implementation
  • A version integrated into the FRR routing suite[8] (previously Quagga, from which Babel has been removed[9])
  • A minimal reimplementation in Python[10]
  • An implementation integrated in the BIRD routing platform[11]
  • An independent implementation in Java,[12] part of the freeRouter project[13]

Both BIRD and the reference version have support for Source-specific routing.[14] Both BIRD and the reference version[15] have support for an extension to do authentication,[16] but it has not been merged yet into the mainline version.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Chroboczek <>, Juliusz. "Diversity Routing for the Babel Routing Protocol".
  3. ^ Jonglez, Baptiste; Boutier, Matthieu; Chroboczek, Juliusz (2014). "A delay-based routing metric". arXiv:1403.3488. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ M. Abolhasan; B. Hagelstein; J. C.-P. Wang (2009). "Real-world performance of current proactive multi-hop mesh protocols". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ David Murray, Michael Dixon & Terry Koziniec (2010). "An Experimental Comparison of Routing Protocols in Multi Hop Ad Hoc Networks" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Babel routing protocol".
  8. ^ "Merge pull request #624 "Babel" · FRRouting/frr@e885ed8". GitHub.
  9. ^ "babeld: Remove babeld from Quagga · 6WIND/quagga@336724d". GitHub. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  10. ^ "Archive".
  11. ^ "proto/babel · master · labs / BIRD Internet Routing Daemon". GitLab.
  12. ^ "dirlist".
  13. ^ "freeRouter - networking swiss army knife".
  14. ^ Matthieu Boutier; Juliusz Chroboczek (2015). Source-Specific Routing. Proc. IFIP Networking. arXiv:1403.0445. Bibcode:2014arXiv1403.0445B.
  15. ^ "jech/babeld". GitHub.
  16. ^ Do, Clara; Chroboczek, Juliusz; Kolodziejak, Weronika. "MAC authentication for the Babel routing protocol".

External links[edit]