An introduction to Linux network routing

Have you ever had a road trip with your friends? By using road signs, GPS and maps, it must be a comfortable journey. You should have reached your desired locations smoothly without misleading paths. Likewise, LINUX systems have well-designed tools and techniques to route data seamlessly through a network to the destination computer.

Talking about prodigious uptime and not so complicated configuration, Linux operating system is a perfect choice for your routing needs. It can provide you with relief from routing problems in your networks.

The last several years have witnessed the popularity of Linux as a network operating system. Created by Linus Torvalds, the kernel was released as a free resource. Linux operating system grew at a fast pace with thousands of programmers contributing for free. The popularity of Linux grew tremendously and is followed by developers who want a notable control on the operating system they use.

According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow 21.7% of programmers prefer Linux over other operating systems.

What is routing?

Whenever your computer is connected to a network, you are handling a routing issue. Routing is a technique of sending IP packet from one point to another. You might not be aware of the underlying details of the routing techniques;

For example, whenever you send an e-mail to somebody, it is transmitted in the form of packets and datagrams to the other system. System Administrators manage these techniques with proper Linux system administrator training, who are well aware of the configuration of the networking operating system.

Each computer system attached to a network needs instructions about routing for TCP/IP packets after they leave the localhost. “Local” network is defined as the logical and the physical network in which the localhost is located. Connecting physically to the local network means that the host is connected to switches that reside in the same local network. Whereas logically implies that the host is assigned with one of the local subnet’s IP addresses.

Network environments are mostly quite straightforward. Thus the procedure is primarily simple. The destination devices reside either on the local network or to some other device on a remote network.

How does routing work?

Going back to the example of sending an e-mail, the packets carrying your e-mail are sent over by your system to the specified gateway. These packets are forwarded to another router or gateway. The same procedure is repeated unless the datagrams reach the destination system. This process is the same for all the protocols, including IRC, FTP, HTTP and any other.

A computer not connected to any network uses the IP address of the gateway, assigned by the ISP. In this case, routing is a simple procedure with no complications.

On the other hand, if your computer is connected to a network, routing is a bit more complicated. Moreover, another layer of configuration is needed if there is a firewall in front of your network of computers. Packets are dealt with special techniques for forwarding the packets to destinations. The reason is the involvement of two networks: the internet and your local network. 

Whenever you want to connect to other computers over a network, a table in the system is needed to be manipulated. In Linux and UNIX operating systems, all the specifications about the forwarding of packets are stored in kernel in the form of a table called a routing table. The routing table is used for static as well as dynamic routing. Information about the destination IP addresses of other routers is kept in the form of a small database. The routing table is utilized as a map to figure out the most appropriate route for forwarding data to the destination. 

 Basically, there are three Linux distribution operating systems: Red Hat, SUSE, Debian/Ubuntu. Most recent Stats shared by W3Techs reveal the share of these distributors as

Ubuntu having a share of 38.2%, 21.5% of users use Debian and 2.2% rely on Red Hat. There are multiple formal certifications (Linux Foundation Certified Engineer exam) available that cover the above mentioned Linux operating systems distribution families.

How to grow as a Linux expert?

Currently, the IT job market has shown encouraging prospects for Linux networking and system administrators. Statistics revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have estimated the growth of 6% until the year 2026 for Linux system administrators.

In the United States, the Linux networking and system administrator earns about $100,425 per year. Ziprecruiter reveals this figure. Mostly, Linux administrators’ salaries range lie between $81,500 (25th percentile) to $120,000 (75th percentile).

According to Linux experts in the industry, candidates having the right skills set with a command on the latest technologies, including the cloud computing architecture, would be in high demand as the world runs towards networking in every possible way. Candidates who have earned relevant certifications such as LFCS Certification would be growing exponentially in the future. You can master the tools and techniques by learning Configuration, Administration, and Updation of Linux operating systems in the right place.


  • Linux is sought after as an open-source operating system with a strong structure for networks. It has been in the market for decades with a reputable and robust audience for developers who want to have control over the operating system.
  • Linux network routing is one of the salient features of this free operating system. Routing is defined as the process of selecting a path for data packets in a network. Particularly in Linux, routing is performed with the help of a small database called a routing table.
  • If you have a single computer, this is a simple process, but complicated techniques are used of your computer is in a network, and especially when firewalls are deployed with the network.
  • Linux system administration is a growing profession with a promising scope in the current IT job market. Fortunately, there are various professional certifications available to prepare students who want to work as a system administrator and advanced certifications for professionals who want to enhance their skills as a systems engineer.