Meaning – The term routing, refers to the forwarding of a message unit along a particular path through a network, as determined by parameters carried in the message unit, such as the destination network address in a transmission header.

In packet switching networks, routing is the higher-level decision-making that directs network packets from their source toward their destination through intermediate network nodes by specific packet forwarding mechanisms. Packet forwarding is the transit of network packets from one network interface to another. Intermediate nodes are typically networked hardware devices such as routers, gateways, firewalls, or switches. General-purpose computers also forward packets and perform routing, although they have no specially optimized hardware for the task.

Routing, in a narrower sense of the term, often refers to IP routing and is contrasted with bridging. IP routing assumes that network addresses are structured and that similar addresses imply proximity within the network.

Example of usage“With static routing, small networks may use manually configured routing tables. Larger networks have complex topologies that can change rapidly, making the manual construction of routing tables unfeasible.”