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The Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) is designed to eliminate the single point of failure inherent in the static default routed environment. VRRP specifies an election protocol that dynamically assigns responsibility for a virtual router to one of the VRRP routers on a LAN. The VRRP router controlling the IP address(es) associated with a virtual router is called the Master, and forwards packets sent to these IP addresses. The election process provides dynamic fail-over in the forwarding responsibility should the Master become unavailable. Any of the virtual router's IP addresses on a LAN can then be used as the default first hop router by end-hosts. The advantage gained from using VRRP is a higher availability default path without requiring configuration of dynamic routing or router discovery protocols on every end-host.

See http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3768.txt