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Chapter 13
Configuring EtherChannels
Table 13-1 EtherChannel Modes
Mode
on
auto
desirable
passive
active
Understanding Manual EtherChannel Configuration
Manually configured EtherChannel ports do not exchange EtherChannel protocol packets. A manually
configured EtherChannel forms only when you enter configure all ports in the EtherChannel compatibly.
Understanding PAgP EtherChannel Configuration
PAgP supports the automatic creation of EtherChannels by exchanging PAgP packets between LAN
ports. PAgP packets are exchanged only between ports in auto and desirable modes.
The protocol learns the capabilities of LAN port groups dynamically and informs the other LAN ports.
Once PAgP identifies correctly matched Ethernet links, it facilitates grouping the links into an
EtherChannel. The EtherChannel is then added to the spanning tree as a single bridge port.
Both the auto and desirable modes allow PAgP to negotiate between LAN ports to determine if they can
form an EtherChannel, based on criteria such as port speed and trunking state. Layer 2 EtherChannels
also use VLAN numbers.
LAN ports can form an EtherChannel when they are in different PAgP modes if the modes are
compatible. For example:
Understanding IEEE 802.3ad LACP EtherChannel Configuration
Release 12.1(13)E and later releases support IEEE 802.3ad LACP EtherChannels. LACP supports the
automatic creation of EtherChannels by exchanging LACP packets between LAN ports. LACP packets
are exchanged only between ports in passive and active modes.
78-14099-04
Description
Mode that forces the LAN port to channel unconditionally. In the on mode, a usable
EtherChannel exists only when a LAN port group in the on mode is connected to another
LAN port group in the on mode. Because ports configured in the on mode do not negotiate,
there is no negotiation traffic between the ports. You cannot configure the on mode with
an EtherChannel protocol.
PAgP mode that places a LAN port into a passive negotiating state, in which the port
responds to PAgP packets it receives but does not initiate PAgP negotiation. (Default)
PAgP mode that places a LAN port into an active negotiating state, in which the port
initiates negotiations with other LAN ports by sending PAgP packets.
LACP mode that places a port into a passive negotiating state, in which the port responds
to LACP packets it receives but does not initiate LACP negotiation. (Default)
LACP mode that places a port into an active negotiating state, in which the port initiates
negotiations with other ports by sending LACP packets.
A LAN port in desirable mode can form an EtherChannel successfully with another LAN port that
is in desirable mode.
A LAN port in desirable mode can form an EtherChannel with another LAN port in auto mode.
A LAN port in auto mode cannot form an EtherChannel with another LAN port that is also in auto
mode, because neither port will initiate negotiation.
Catalyst 6500 Series Switch Cisco IOS Software Configuration Guide—Release 12.1 E
Understanding How EtherChannels Work
13-3

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