A direct Ethernet connection has several advantages, such as being immune and secure to radio wave interference. However, newer available Ethernet standards such as 10 Gbps are quite limited in the market. An affordable and available method for exploring the transition from 1Gbps to 10Gbps wired Ethernet is port aggregation, link bundling, or link aggregation. Multiple ethernet connections are combined into a single logical connection using this method. As an IEEE standard, link aggregation was first introduced in 2000 as “IEEE 802.3ad”. After that, in 2008, it was renamed as “Link Aggregation Revision” or 802.1AX.
Now, we will understand the concept of link aggregation in more detail. So, let’s start!
What is Link Aggregation in networking
Link aggregation permits network connections to be combined to boost performance and offer redundancy if one link fails. Furthermore, link aggregation load balancing distributes the communication and processing activity across multiple links in a trunk, which avoids overloading a single link.
With the current hardware, you can enhance the link, eliminating the need to change to a higher capacity link.
What are the common terminologies of Link Aggregation
Here are some common terms that are used in the discussion of link aggregation in networking:
- A Link Aggregation Group (LAG) is a collection of ports combined in a networking system. It is also called a team, bond, or port channel.
- Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) is a monitoring protocol that permits devices to add or delete individual links from the Link Aggregation Group.
- The scheduling algorithm is the rule that determines which packets are sent along with which link.
Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP)
An IEEE standard that is established in “IEEE 802.3ad” is known as Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). By communicating Link Aggregation Control Protocol Data Units (LACPDUs) to each other, the LACP protocol permits devices to form a link aggregation connection. Although you still have to specify the LAG on each device. LACP assists in avoiding one of the most prevalent issues, which is misconfigured LAG settings that might arise during the link aggregation setup process. If the devices are unable to create a link aggregation connection, they do not attempt to network the devices and classify the link as “down.”
LACP also offers the functionality to remove a member link from the LAG if it stops sending LACPDUs, such as when the cable is unplugged. In this regard, LACP plays its part in minimizing packet loss.
What are the main types of LAGs
LAGs have two main types: Dynamic and Static LAGs. The difference between Dynamic and Static LAG is that the Dynamic LAG utilizes the LACP to negotiate the settings between the connected devices. You can set up a dynamic LAG instead of a static LAG if both devices support LACP.
To know if a particular device supports Dynamic LAG or not, you have to check its user manual.
Benefits of link aggregation in networking
The following are some of the benefits of link aggregation in networking:
- In networking, link aggregation is cost-effective. For instance, a physical network upgrade can be costly, especially if it needs new cables. However, link aggregation boosts bandwidth without requiring additional hardware.
- Physical resources are better utilized in link aggregation. Load-balancing traffic across physical links is possible in this networking system.
- If one of the physical links fails, traffic is transparently and dynamically reallocated to another physical link, proving that link aggregation can tolerate fault or failover.
- In link aggregation, the physical links that are aggregated offer more bandwidth as compared to individual links.
- Your network traffic loads will be divided into connections that seem like a single connection in link aggregation.
Link aggregation is a networking technique that aggregates multiple separate Ethernet links into a single logical link. It is utilized to increase performance by sending multiple packets to separate lines simultaneously. In this post, you have learned about link aggregation, its common terminologies, Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP), types of link aggregation groups, and the benefits of link aggregation in networking.