The protocol described in this document is intended to interoperate with routed and other existing implementations of RIP. However, a different viewpoint is adopted about when to increment the metric than was used in most previous implementations. Using the previous perspective, the internal routing table has a metric of 0 for all directly-connected networks. The cost (which is always 1) is added to the metric when the route is sent in an update message. By contrast, in this document directly-connected networks appear in the internal routing table with metrics equal to their costs; the metrics are not necessarily 1. In this document, the cost is added to the metrics when routes are received in update messages. Metrics from the routing table are sent in update messages without change (unless modified by split horizon).
These two viewpoints result in identical update messages being sent. Metrics in the routing table differ by a constant one in the two descriptions. Thus, there is no difference in effect. The change was made because the new description makes it easier to handle situations where different metrics are used on directly-attached networks.
Implementations that only support network costs of one need not change to match the new style of presentation. However, they must follow the description given in this document in all other ways.