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Source routing originates from the days when routers did not exist and hosts had to know how to reach the destination computers they were communicating with. This was most common in networks utilizing mainframes.

Source routing is handled by the end station (a computer, workstation or mainframe). Each end station keeps track of the paths to all destinations it needs to reach. All routing intelligence is in the transmitting host. Source routing protocols generally do a better job of picking the best path, however source routing protocols usually require a lot of traffic transmission to discover these paths. Often the end station hardware needs to be a bit more sophisticated (better CPU and more RAM) to be able to process this routing information and choose optimal paths to a destination.


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