About Layer 2 Switching
See the Cisco Nexus 3600 Series NX-OS Interfaces Configuration Guide, for information on creating interfaces.
You can configure Layer 2 switching ports as access or trunk ports. Trunks carry the traffic of multiple VLANs over a single link and allow you to extend VLANs across an entire network. All Layer 2 switching ports maintain MAC address tables.
Layer 2 Ethernet Switching Overview
The device supports simultaneous, parallel connections between Layer 2 Ethernet segments. Switched connections between Ethernet segments last only for the duration of the packet. New connections can be made between different segments for the next packet.
The device solves congestion problems caused by high-bandwidth devices and a large number of users by assigning each device (for example, a server) to its own collision domain. Because each LAN port connects to a separate Ethernet collision domain, servers in a switched environment achieve full access to the bandwidth.
Because collisions cause significant congestion in Ethernet networks, an effective solution is full-duplex communication. Typically, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet operates in half-duplex mode, which means that stations can either receive or transmit. In full-duplex mode, which is configurable on these interfaces, two stations can transmit and receive at the same time. When packets can flow in both directions simultaneously, the effective Ethernet bandwidth doubles.
Switching Frames Between Segments
Each LAN port on a device can connect to a single workstation, server, or to another device through which workstations or servers connect to the network.
To reduce signal degradation, the device considers each LAN port to be an individual segment. When stations connected to different LAN ports need to communicate, the device forwards frames from one LAN port to the other at wire speed to ensure that each session receives full bandwidth.
To switch frames between LAN ports efficiently, the device maintains an address table. When a frame enters the device, it associates the media access control (MAC) address of the sending network device with the LAN port on which it was received.
Building the Address Table and Address Table Changes
The device dynamically builds the address table by using the MAC source address of the frames received. When the device receives a frame for a MAC destination address not listed in its address table, it floods the frame to all LAN ports of the same VLAN except the port that received the frame. When the destination station replies, the device adds its relevant MAC source address and port ID to the address table. The device then forwards subsequent frames to a single LAN port without flooding all LAN ports.
You can configure MAC addresses, which are called static MAC addresses, to statically point to specified interfaces on the device. These static MAC addresses override any dynamically learned MAC addresses on those interfaces. You cannot configure broadcast addresses as static MAC addresses. The static MAC entries are retained across a reboot of the device.
You must manually configure identical static MAC addresses on both devices connected by a virtual port channel (vPC) peer link. The MAC address table display is enhanced to display information on MAC addresses when you are using vPCs.
See the Cisco Nexus 3600 Series NX-OS Interfaces Configuration Guide for information about vPCs.
The address table can store a number of MAC address entries depending on the hardware I/O module. The device uses an aging mechanism, defined by a configurable aging timer, so if an address remains inactive for a specified number of seconds, it is removed from the address table.
Consistent MAC Address Tables on the Supervisor and on the Modules
Optimally, all the MAC address tables on each module exactly match the MAC address table on the supervisor. When you enter the show forwarding consistency l2 command or the show consistency-checker l2 command, the device displays discrepant, missing, and extra MAC address entries.
Layer 3 Static MAC Addresses
You can configure a static MAC address for the following Layer 3 interfaces:
Layer 3 interfaces
Layer 3 subinterfaces
Layer 3 port channels
VLAN network interface
You cannot configure static MAC address on tunnel interfaces.
See the Cisco Nexus 3600 Series NX-OS Interfaces Configuration Guide for information on configuring Layer 3 interfaces.
High Availability for Switching
You can upgrade or downgrade the software seamlessly, with respect to classical Ethernet switching. If you have configured static MAC addresses on Layer 3 interfaces, you must unconfigure those ports in order to downgrade the software.