Difference between Adaptive and Non Adaptive routing algorithms

Have you ever wondered how routers perform various tasks for us? For example, when searching for something on the Internet or fetching some data, routers perform some functions. There are different ways to do the same function as we do in day-to-day life. Similarly, routers also have different ways of delivering the data packets to us. Two such ways are −

  • Adaptive or Dynamic Routing algorithms, and

  • Non-Adaptive or Static Routing algorithms.

Read this article to find out more about adaptive and non-adaptive routing algorithms and how they are different from each other.

What is Adaptive Routing Algorithm?

An adaptive routing algorithm is one that makes routing decisions dynamically depending on the network conditions. Therefore, the adaptive routing algorithm is also known as dynamic routing algorithm. The adaptive or dynamic routing algorithm constructs the routing table depending upon the network traffic and topology.

Adaptive routing algorithm is based on the principle of dynamic routing, i.e. its routing paths are refreshed based on the network traffic. Therefore, its complexity level is relatively high. However, the adaptive routing algorithms are most frequently developed in computer networking because the real world computer networks are prone to frequent changes.

What is Non-Adaptive Routing Algorithm?

A non-adaptive routing algorithm is one that does not change the selected routing paths for transferring data packets from the source to the destination. Therefore, it is also known as static routing algorithm. Non-adaptive routing algorithms construct a static routing table in advance to determine the path through which messages are to be transferred.

Non-adaptive routing algorithms are based on the principle of static routing. The routing paths are stored in static routing tables that constructed depending upon the routing information stored in the routers when the network is booted up.

Non-adaptive routing algorithms use static routing tables for decision making, hence their complexity is lower. Non-adaptive routing algorithms are preferred for those computer networks that are not susceptible to changes. Therefore, the usage of non-adaptive routing algorithms is limited.

Differences between Adaptive and Non-Adaptive routing algorithms

The following table highlights the major differences between Adaptive and Non-adaptive routing algorithms −


Adaptive Routing Algorithm

Non-Adaptive Routing Algorithm


It is used when more importance is given to the data being transported than the speed it takes to deliver it.

It is used when more importance is given to speed for transferring the data.


Finds the path suitable for transporting by analyzing the network congestion and the nodes taking part in it.

The paths are not automatically found. The network admin assigns it.


Data delivery can be slow because of the processing time taken to find the best route with less traffic.

The delivery of data is faster than in an adaptive routing algorithm, as the system can save the type for processing the algorithm to find the best route. The route that the admin finds may not be the best in terms of network traffic.


Sometimes, there will be more usage of software and hardware in this type of routing. So, the admin must supply it, increasing the expense of system components.

There is less software and hardware usage as the system does not find the best route by doing the processing.


It is less secure compared to NonAdaptive routing because it needs more information about the network topology to work on it and find the best route.

It is more secure than the Adaptive routing algorithm, as this algorithm doesn't need more information about the network topology.


It reduces the work of the admin by partially automating the process. The admin doesn't want to add each route manually to the routing table.

It is hectic work for the admin to assign the route to transfer data packets manually.


The system admin can have some less knowledge about the network topology as the algorithm is automated.

The system admin should have very high knowledge about the system used for the transfer to assign routes manually.


It is divided into Centralized algorithm, Isolation algorithm and Distributed algorithm.

They are of two types: Flooding and Random walks.


It is more complex than Non-Adaptive routing algorithm.

It is less complex than Adaptive routing algorithm.


The most significant difference that you should note here is that adaptive routing algorithms use the principle of dynamic routing and construct dynamic routing tables, whereas nonadaptive routing algorithms use the principle of static routing and construct static routing tables.

Updated on: 20-Feb-2023

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