IP SLA for Single Default Route Change

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The scenario goes like this. You are working at your office (R1) and need to change the IP address and default route on the remote device (R2). The issue a factor of two things. The first is the fact that R2 is connected to your network with only one link. The other issue is R2 cannot use any dynamic routing protocols so you are stuck with a default route that is pointing at the next hop. If you are to change either of these facts you lose connectivity to R2. While there are other solutions to making this change, I am going to take the concept of floating static routes and an IP SLA to change both the IP address and the default route.


Lets start out with the configuration of our current network. The details behind the Company Network are arbitrary in this case as we can safely assume full routing is in place. The key aspects are the links between R4 and R2 as well as the default route on R2.

R4 Link to R2

R2 Configuration

The first thing I am going to do in this scenario is to create a loopback interface on R1 with an arbitrary IP address (unique to the environment) that I can advertise into our routing domain. The routing protocol of choice is irrelevant in this case to which I will not post the advertisements configuration. The point of using the loopback is two-fold. The first, it is going to be the target point of the IP SLA. The second is placing that target on a device that is accessible to anyone else in the case someone may need to take over. Or heaven forbid your laptop dies. You could just as easy track the IP SLA against any other address, however the purpose is for it to be controllable in the sense that we can remove it’s reachability easily.

R1 Loopback configuration

At this point the best bet is to ping this loopback from R2 to verify you can indeed reach it. Again, I have advertised this address into our routing protocol, whichever you choose for the IGP is fine.

From here we need to create our IP SLA in which we will track our new default route which will also be a floating route. Our goal is to have the new default route in place for when we change the IP address on the interface. Tracking the old default route will allow us to remove it when it no longer has reachability to our newly created loopback address.

R2 IP SLA Configuration

After our IP SLA has been configured and scheduled to run it is a good idea to make sure it is working as we desire. At this point I will issue show ip sla statistics. Here we can see the IP SLA is returning a successful “OK” code.

R2 IP SLA Verification

Our next step is to create a track object. The track object is the item we will track the old default route against. When the track fails, it will ultimately leave the new floating static route to be entered into the routing table. We will then verify the track objects success code.

R2 Track Object and verification

At this point we can create our new default route pointing at what will be the next hop of the new Interface IP address. In this case I am going to move the IP address from to with the first address being the interface on R4. Remember, for it to be a floating static route we need to make sure the metric is higher than the old default route and we will use 5 in this instance.

R2 New Default Route

Now I am going to add a default route mirroring the original but adding the tracked object to remove the route once the IP SLA fails. I will also remove the original default route without the object tracking.

R2 Modified Original Default Route

[warning]Be sure not to type no ip route without any other arguments. It will remove all default routes in some parsers leaving you dead in the water.[/warning]

By issuing the show ip route command we can determine if we are still using the correct tracked route.

R2 Show IP Route

We are now ready to do the scary part. We are going to change the IP address of the single interface connecting R2 to the rest of the network. If we have down our job right, the default route pointing to will fail its tracking and be withdrawn from the routing table. This is due to the mismatched IP addresses on the link between R2 and R4. This is preventing reachability to In turn, the route with the higher metric of 5 pointing at is installed in the routing table. At this point we will eliminate our IP SLA target residing on the loopback to prevent that route from coming back. At that point we can change R4’s interface towards R2 to reflect the correct IP address and repair connectivity. From there we can play cleanup and remove the unnecessary routes.

R2 Change IP Address

R1 Confirm R2 is unreachable

R1 Shutdown Loopback Interface for IP SLA

R4 Change Interface IP between R4 and R2

[warning]Don’t forget to advertise the new IP address of R4 into your routing protocol[/warning]

R1 Verify Reachability to R2’s new address

R2 Verify Track and SLA failed and new default route in RIB

At this point we can remove the Loopback interface from R1, and the old default routes from R2 as well as fix the new routes metric.

R1 Remove Loopback

R2 Remove Old Routes and fix new route.


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