Meaning – The term ‘open shortest path first, refers to a function that provides intradomain information transfer. An alternative to the Routing Information Protocol (RIP), OSPF allows the lowest-cost routing and handles routing in large regional or corporate networks.
The OSPF protocol is a link-state routing protocol, which means that the routers exchange topology information with their nearest neighbors. The topology information is flooded throughout the AS so that every router within the AS has a complete picture of the topology of the AS. This picture is then used to calculate end-to-end paths through the AS, normally using a variant of the Dijkstra algorithm.
Example of usage – “Each OSPF router distributes information about its local state (usable interfaces and reachable neighbors, and the cost of using each interface) to other routers using a Link State Advertisement (LSA) message. Each router uses the received messages to build up an identical database that describes the topology of the AS.”