What is OSPF Priority – Exclusive Explanation

Each broadcast and Non-Broadcast Multi-Access (NBMA) network has a designated router. It is the central point for the collection and distribution of LSAs; so, this router must have enough CPU and memory capability to handle the workload. It is possible to control the DR/BDR election process through configurations.

The designated router decreases the amount of routing protocol traffic by enabling a decrease in the number of adjacencies required on a broadcast or non-broadcast multi-access (NBMA) network.

Two routers connected to a multi-access network attempts to become the designated router, the router with the highest OSPF priority becomes the designated router. If the interface priorities are the same on all routers, the router with the highest router ID is elected the DR. We can manually configure the router ID to manipulate the DR/BDR election.

Another way to manipulate the DR/BDR election process is the configuration of interface priorities. It is an interface-specific value, which provides better control on a multiaccess network. This also allows a router to be the DR in one network and a DROTHER in other networks. The OSPF priority values are between 0 – 255. When the priority value is 0, the interface cannot become a DR or BDR.  The router interface with a higher OSPF priority value becomes the DR and BDR. To manipulate the default priorities use the following commands:

  • ip ospf priority <value>– OSPFv2 Command
  • ipv6 ospf priority <value>– OSPFv3 command

In figure 1, all routers have the defaults OSPF priority. Therefore, the router ID is used to decide the DR (R1) and BDR (R2). We can change the priority value on an interface from 1 to a higher value, which could change a specific router to become a DR or BDR during the next election. It is important to know that when OSPF is running and enabled, the administrator must shut down the OSPF process on all router and then re-enable the OSPF process to force a new DR and BDR election.

The OSPF Priority

Changing the OSPF Priority

In the topology in Figure 1, R1 is the DR and R2 is the BDR. It has been decided that:

  • R1 should never be a DR or BDR and will be configured with a priority of 0.
  • R2 should be on the default priority value.
  • R3 should be the DR and will be configured with a priority of 200.
  • R4 should be the BDR and will be configured with the priority of 199.

Configuration on R1


R1#config terminal

R1(config)#interface gig 0/0

R1(config-if)#ip ospf priority 0



R1#clear ip ospf process

 Configuration on R3


R3#config terminal

R3(config)#interface gig 0/0

R3(config-if)#ip ospf priority 200



R3#clear ip ospf process

Configuration on R4


R4#config terminal

R4(config)#interface gig 0/0

R4(config-if)#ip ospf priority 199



R4#clear ip ospf process

Also clear the OSPF process on Router R2 and then check the output of “show ip ospf interface” command. Figure 2 and figure 3 illustrates the output of this command for R3 (DR) and R4(BDR) even with small router ID.

What is OSPF Priority - Exclusive Explanation 3
What is OSPF Priority - Exclusive Explanation 4