Mechanism for implementing multiple logical routers within a single physical router

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A mechanism is disclosed for enabling a plurality of logical routers to be implemented within a single physical router. The logical routers emulate the behavior of interconnected, standalone routers. For example, the logical routers may be made aware of the presence of other logical routers within the same physical router. The logical routers may also have internal "links" to each other. In addition, the logical routers may send routing information to each other. Thus, to each other and to routers external to the single physical router, the logical routers appear as if they are interconnected standalone routers. The logical routers may be further endowed with an ability to determine whether the next hop for a set of information (e.g. a packet) is to a logical router within the same physical router or to an external router. The logical routers take advantage of this distinction to perform routing between logical routers more efficiently.

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