Answer: Overlapping Connected and Routing Protocol Routes

 In 200-301 V1 Appendices, Q&A

This post wraps up the #CCNA Q&A focused on how routers add routes to their routing tables. What happens when a router happens to learn three separate routes for the same subnet ID – but with different masks? And how does yet another overlapping subnet – same subnet ID, different mask – affect the router’s logic, if that route is that special type of route for a connected subnet? Today’s post walks through the answer to the question and the reasons.




(Same disclaimer as the previous question!) First, for emphasis, the design used for this question is poor and not recommended. I just used it as a way to make one router receive routing updates for three subnets that have the same subnet ID but different masks, as learned with three different routing protocols, just as an exercise. Don’t use a similar design in a real network! The goal of the question is to let us focus on how a router thinks about adding routes to its IP routing table.


Compared to the previous question and answer, this question just adds a connected route for subnet, to the other three learned routes. This additional route begs the question: does a connected route somehow change the rules a router uses when choosing what routes to add to the routing table? The short answer: no.

To review, a router must think about how to choose amongst competing routes to the same subnet. The subnet is not considered the “same subnet” unless both the subnet ID and mask are the same. In this question, and the previous question, none of the subnets were the same subnet! As a result, the router never had to use any logic to decide which of the multiple routes to the same subnet was better, because the router knew of only one route to each individual subnet.

The Correct Answer

The correct answer, F, states that the router will add routes to all four subnets. None of the subnets – including the connected subnet – is the exact same subnet. So, the router simply adds routes for each.

But… But…

If you’re already thinking this, great! But what would have happened if the question had made all four of those subnets use the same mask? If that were the case:

  • All four subnets would appear to be the same subnet: the same subnet ID and same mask.
  • The router would have to choose between all four competing routes
  • The router would use the administrative distance of the route to choose the best route, so the connected route would win.



Question: Overlapping Connected and Routing Protocol Routes
Switch Learning Vs. Switch Forwarding Question
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Hello, had a quick question for you unrelated to this question on overlapping subnets. The old CCNA exam that expired in September/October of 2013 happened as I was studying to take the exam. It changed and I had to get the new book for the new ICND1 exam. Which I passed in February of 2014. 🙂 My question is… Are these new exams going to change in the near future or will it be another 5 years before another change is made. I haven’t been able to find any information regarding this so I’m assuming that no announcement has been made in regards to this. I know Cisco can change the exams whenever they would like to. Do you know where they would post this information first if they plan on changing the exams again? Any insight would be gratefully appreciated. By the way, love the books! 😉


Hi Wendell,
I’ve loved your books too (thumbs-up) so far. Great work.
On to the question. I really laughed when I read the “But… But” BUT mine is slightly different.
What will happen if a packet arrives at R1 with destination IPv4 address of and why?

I simulated the lab in PT and the packet chooses the “EIGRP-path” if R1’s LAN is not set and “Connected-path” with R1’s LAN configured using /24.

Thank you,

Karim Kanso

Hi Wendell,

Thanks for these questions, they really are useful.

Just noticed what must be a typo in the question that changes the answer. If the interface is configured with “ip address” the command will be rejected as it’s not a valid up address, so it’s connected route is not added.

Probably it was intended to be “ip address”.

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