Network administrators working on network devices come across terms “IP Default-Gateway” and “IP route” while configuring IP communication in the network.This article will help understand comparison between both  “IP Default-Gateway” and “IP route“.With both the terms being configured in the Global configuration mode of Router or Switch ,they may be used on based on type of requirement. “IP Default-Gateway” is generally configured on Layer 2 switches for management access while “IP Route” is used for Layer 3 Switches and Routers for gateway of last resort on a router.

Below table shares the differences between “IP Default-Gateway” and “IP route” –




Terminology To reach any network outside its own subnet or outside of itsPost to Post Links II error: Unrecognized type: ”slug” network, the device needs to have a default-gateway. This command sets a default route for destination subnets not in routing table. After this command is entered it will show a “gateway of last resort” configured in your ip route table.
Command format  ip default-gateway x.x.x.x  ip route next-hop-ip/exit-interface
Entries allowed Only one entry of “IP Default-gateway” is allowed in each device Multiple entries of “IP Route” can be configured however with different Administrative Distance (AD)
IP Routing It should only be used when ip routing is disabled on the Cisco router. ip routing must be enabled on the router/L3 Switch.
Layer 3 / Layer 2 devices “IP Default-Gateway” is usually used on switches that are not L3 switches/routers or on “hosts  “IP Route” is usually used on devices that are L3 eg Layer 3 switches/routers etc
Related terms  Layer 2,IP management AD, floating default Route
General Usage The default gateway on the switch is for management purposes only IP Route is used as another way to set the gateway of last resort on a router.
Transitive traffic Does not allow Routing of transitive traffic i.e. cannot route packets from downstream networks to Upstream networks. The device configured with “IP Default-Gateway” can only route its packets to other networks. Allows Routing of transitive traffic i.e. routes packets from downstream networks to Upstream networks.
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