Virtual routers refer to a routing framework, based on software, which acts a normal hardware router. When virtual router software is installed in a device, such as a laptop or a server, it utilizes the hardware of the host to perform the network and packet routing functionalities, performed by a general router. Each virtual router is identified through a unique virtual router identifier, which is present at the last byte of the address. To improve the reliability of the network, virtual routers may be implemented by the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP).
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The VRRP functions to automatically assign to a participating host, any available Internet Protocol (IP) router. Virtual routers thus enables virtual routing, a form of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Virtual routing instances are independent in nature and hence allows for overlapping of IP addresses, without any conflict with each other. Virtual routers are software which can be run on commercial off-the shelf (COTS) hardware and enable the hardware to function like a general hardware based network appliance.
Virtual routing enables the free relocation of routing functions across a network, since IP routing function is liberated from any specific software. In case of basic routing functions, addition of virtual router software to a commodity server allows the server to function as a router. In complex and advanced distributed routing environments, parts of the virtual router can be moved across the whole network, while being controlled from a centralized control location.
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Also several virtual routers have penetrated the market, which has Wide Area Networking (WAN) applications. Also, these advanced virtual router solutions can be installed in industry standard hardware, allowing for wider applications. Such features have been promoting the applications of virtual routers globally, leading to growth of the market across the globe. Additionally, application of virtual router leads to higher cost saving since dedicated hardware solutions are not required to be installed for routing purposes.
This factor has also been positively impacting the demand for virtual routers globally. Furthermore, the growing demand for virtual routers as a replacement for WAN based routers has also been promoting the global market for virtual routers. However, the fact that virtual routers are unable to perform the functions of a heavy duty core IP router has been restraining the growth of the market to some extent.