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Also known as the gateway of last resort, a default route is a special type of static route with an all-zeros network and network mask. The default route is used to route any packets to a network that a router does not directly know about to a next-hop router. By default, if a router receives a packet to a destination network that is not in its routing table, it drops the packet. When a default route is specified, the router does not drop the packet. Instead, it forwards the packet to the IP address specified in the default route.
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