Hold Down Timer


A Hold Down Timer is a networking method used in routing protocols to prevent unnecessary network traffic and route flapping in case of unstable routes. It specifies a certain period during which all changes to a particular route are ignored after an initial change is identified. This ensures the stability of the route by not accepting any changes until the timer expires.


The phonetics of the keyword “Hold Down Timer” would be:Hold: /hoʊld/ Down: /daʊn/Timer: /’taɪmər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Hold Down Timer is a feature used in routing protocols to prevent unnecessary frequent updates and instability within networks. It provides stability in the routing table by delaying the advertisement of routes in the event of a link failure.
  2. The Hold Down Timer begins when a router receives notification that a previously accessible route has become unreachable. Any updates that are received by the router for the same route during the hold-down period are ignored, so as to avoid possible routing loops.
  3. This timer is typically set for a certain time period, for example 180 seconds in RIP. At the end of the hold down period, if no further updates have been received for the failed route, the router removes the route from its routing table. If an update is received with a better metric, the hold down timer is disregarded and the new route is added to the routing table.


Hold Down Timer is a critical term in networking technology, particularly in routing protocols. It is a predesignated period during which routers temporarily suppress any route information from being shared after receiving notification about a network failure. During this timer period, routers do not accept any updates for the faulty route. This functionality prevents the continuous fluctuation of data and enables network stability, reducing unnecessary network traffic, and preventing the propagation of incorrect information throughout the network. Therefore, the main importance of the Hold Down Timer is to assure the smooth and efficient operation of the network, minimizing disruptions and errors.


The Hold Down Timer is an essential feature in the operation of routing protocols, designed to enhance the stability of the routing information within a network. It functions to prevent the rapid fluctuation of data – in other words, unnecessary ‘flopping’ – by maintaining control over the acceptance and processing of route updates. This technology is crucial in managing the responsiveness and reliability of network systems. It helps to avoid routing loops and data congestion, providing ample time for routers to receive and acknowledge changes.When a router fails or loses connection, it typically sends a signal across the network to notify all other routers of the disruption. When this occurs, the Hold Down Timer is initialized. For a certain period – predetermined by network administrators – this timer stops any updated information related to the lost route from being disseminated, allowing the network to stabilize. By suppressing premature or faulty route updates, the Hold Down Timer ensures that accurate routing information is shared, reducing the chance of misinformation spreading and causing further network instability.


1. Computer Networking: In computer networking and specifically routing protocols, a hold down timer is used to prevent unnecessary traffic and network congestion. For instance, in OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) protocol, when a router goes down, a hold-down timer begins. Until this timer expires, any updates regarding this router are ignored. This prevents routers from making rapid changes to routes that may be temporarily unavailable, creating more stability within the network.2. Wireless Communication: In wireless communication like LTE (Long-Term Evolution), a hold down timer is used during the Handover process from a source cell to a target cell. The timer is activated to avoid the ping-pong effect (rapid and repetitive transfers) between two cells. Until the hold down timer expires, the source cell will not perform another handover to the target cell.3. Voicemail Systems: In voicemail systems, a hold down timer can be used when a message has been received. If the recipient does not access their voicemail within a certain time period, the system may send a reminder notification. The interval between the reception of the voicemail and the reminder is set by the hold down timer.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q1: What is a Hold Down Timer?**A1: A Hold Down Timer is a mechanism used in routing protocols to prevent unnecessary network traffic and routing loops. It sets a specific period a router must wait, despite any routing updates, before changing the state of a route.**Q2: Why is a Hold Down Timer important?**A2: The Hold Down Timer helps stabilize routing information, minimize routing loops, and prevent constant fluctuations in the network topology. It allows the network to converge properly before any changes can be made, improving network performance.**Q3: How does a Hold Down Timer work?**A3: When a route becomes unreachable, the router starts a hold down timer. During this time, if any update arrives regarding the invalid route, it will be ignored unless it is a better metric than the previous one. This process helps to stabilize the routing environment.**Q4: In what types of networks are Hold Down Timers used?**A4: Hold Down Timers are mainly used in routed networks implementing dynamic routing protocols like RIP, EIGRP or OSPF.**Q5: Can the length of a Hold Down Timer be adjusted?**A5: Yes, in most routing protocols the length of the Hold Down Timer is adjustable. However, it should be adjusted with care as an inappropriate timer value may cause instability in the network.**Q6: Are there any potential drawbacks to using Hold Down Timers?**A6: While Hold Down Timers help stabilize the network, they can also delay route convergence in larger and faster networks. They might prevent the quick propagation of valid routing updates, potentially leading to sub-optimal routing. **Q7: How is Hold Down Timer different from other timers in routing protocols?**A7: Unlike other timers such as Route Invalid Timer or Route Flush Timer, a Hold Down Timer directly influences the acceptance of routing updates, providing an “ignore period” for changes in the state of a route. **Q8: What happens when the Hold Down Timer expires?**A8: Once the Hold Down Timer expires, the router will accept new updates for the route. This allows the router to learn about newer, better paths to the destination if any have been established during the hold down period.

Related Tech Terms

  • Routing Protocol
  • Convergence
  • Flapping
  • Route Poisoning
  • Network Topology

Sources for More Information

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