While studying for my SEC+ certification, I kept coming across the term, “OSPF.” I really had a hard time grasping what it meant and admittedly, didn’t try to study too hard. The SEC+ exam was free, and just a smaller part of the curriculum during my Signal Branch Officer’s Leadership Course. My method for passing the exam and getting the certification was purely memorization, so whenever I would see OSPF come up, I would think about one of my friends who had a similar Russian last name.

Here’s what it means:

OSPF stands for Open Shortest Path First. It is a dynamic routing protocol used in IP networks, specifically for Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). OSPF is a link-state routing protocol that enables routers to exchange information about their network topology and calculate the shortest path to each destination. This protocol is widely used in large enterprise networks due to its scalability, fast convergence, and support for hierarchical network designs. OSPF is classified as an Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP), which means it operates within a single autonomous system or network domain.

So basically, OSPF, or Open Shortest Path First, is like a GPS system for computers to talk to each other on the internet. It helps computers find the quickest way to send messages, kind of like how we use Google Maps. OSPF is used in large networks, and it’s fast at finding the best paths for messages to travel.


Once upon a time in the land of Internetia, there were many computer friends who loved to send messages to each other. They lived far and wide, so they needed a clever way to find the quickest routes to deliver their messages.

In this magical land, there was a wise and helpful guide named OSPF – the Open Shortest Path Friend. OSPF was like the wise old owl of Internetia, always knowing the best and fastest paths for messages to travel.

One sunny day, a computer named Compy wanted to send a message to his best friend, Lappy. Compy asked OSPF for help, and OSPF spread its wings, soaring high above the land to see the entire network below. With its keen eyes, OSPF found the shortest path for Compy’s message to reach Lappy.

As Compy’s message traveled through Internetia, it passed by beautiful lakes of data and valleys of information. The message moved quickly, hopping from one computer to the next, following OSPF’s directions.

In no time at all, Compy’s message arrived at Lappy’s home. Lappy was delighted to receive the message, and he knew it must have been OSPF who guided it safely and swiftly to him.

So, thanks to the wise and helpful OSPF, the computer friends of Internetia could always count on their messages finding the fastest and best routes to their destinations. And they all lived happily ever after, sending messages back and forth in the magical land of Internetia.