Information About Performing Switch Setup Configuration
This chapter describes how to perform your initial switch configuration tasks that include IP address assignments and DHCP autoconfiguration.
Switch Boot Process
To start your switch, you need to follow the procedures in the Hardware Installation Guide for installing and powering on the switch and for setting up the initial switch configuration (IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, secret and Telnet passwords, and so forth).
The normal boot process involves the operation of the boot loader software, which performs these activities:
- Performs low-level CPU initialization—Initializes the CPU registers, which control where physical memory is mapped, its quantity and its speed.
- Performs power-on self-test (POST) for the CPU subsystem—Tests the CPU DRAM and the portion of the flash device that makes up the flash file system.
- Initializes the flash memory card file system on the system board.
- Loads a default operating system software image into memory and boots up the switch.
The boot loader provides access to the flash file system before the operating system is loaded. Normally, the boot loader is used only to load, uncompress, and launch the operating system. After the boot loader gives the operating system control of the CPU, the boot loader is not active until the next system reset or power-on.
The switch supports a flash memory card that makes it possible to replace a failed switch without reconfiguring the new switch. The slot for the flash memory card is hot swappable and front-accessed. A cover protects the flash card and holds the card firmly in place. The cover is hinged and closed with a captive screw, which prevents the card from coming loose and protects against shock and vibration.
Use the show flash: privileged EXEC command to display the flash memory card file settings. For information about how to remove or replace the flash memory card on the switch, see the Hardware Installation Guide.
The boot loader also provides trap-door access into the system if the operating system has problems serious enough that it cannot be used. The trap-door mechanism provides enough access to the system so that if it is necessary, you can format the flash file system, reinstall the operating system software image by using the Xmodem Protocol, recover from a lost or forgotten password, and finally restart the operating system. For more information, see “Recovering from Software Failures” and the “Recovering from a Lost or Forgotten Password”.
Note You can disable password recovery. For more information, see “Disabling Password Recovery”.
Before you can assign switch information, make sure you have connected a PC or terminal to the console port, and configured the PC or terminal-emulation software baud rate and character format to match these of the switch console port:
- Baud rate default is 9600.
- Data bits default is 8.
Note If the data bits option is set to 8, set the parity option to none.
- Stop bits default is 1.
- Parity settings default is none.
Default Switch Boot Settings
Operating system software image
The switch attempts to automatically boot up the system using information in the BOOT environment variable. If the variable is not set, the switch attempts to load and execute the first executable image it can by performing a recursive, depth-first search throughout the flash file system.
The Cisco IOS image is stored in a directory that has the same name as the image file (excluding the.bin extension).
In a depth-first search of a directory, each encountered subdirectory is completely searched before continuing the search in the original directory.
Configured switches use the config.text file stored on the system board in flash memory.
A new switch has no configuration file.
Switch Boot Optimization
The normal switch boot process involves a memory test, file system check (FSCK), and power-on self-test (POST).
The boot fast command in global configuration mode is enabled by default to permit switch boot optimization, which disables these tests and minimizes the bootup time. However, after a system crash this feature is automatically disabled.
Reload sequences occur immediately if your switch is set up to automatically bring up the system by using information in the BOOT environment variable. Otherwise, these reload sequences occur after you enter the manual boot command in bootloader configuration mode.
The switch disables the boot fast feature and displays the following warning message:
“Reloading with boot fast feature disabled”
After the system message appears, the system saves the crash information and automatically resets itself for the next reload cycle.
The boot loader performs its normal full memory test and FSCK check with LED status progress. If the memory and FSCK tests are successful, the system performs additional POST tests and the results are displayed on the console.
The boot fast feature is reenabled after the system comes up successfully.
Switch Information Assignment
You can assign IP information through the switch setup program, through a DHCP server, or manually.
Use the switch setup program if you want to be prompted for specific IP information. With this program, you can also configure a hostname and an enable secret password. The program gives you the option of assigning a Telnet password (to provide security during remote management) and configuring your switch as a command or member switch of a cluster or as a standalone switch. For more information about the setup program, see the Hardware Installation Guide.
Use a DHCP server for centralized control and automatic assignment of IP information after the server is configured.
Note If you are using DHCP, do not respond to any of the questions in the setup program until the switch receives the dynamically assigned IP address and reads the configuration file.
If you are an experienced user familiar with the switch configuration steps, manually configure the switch. Otherwise, use the setup program.
Switch Default Settings
Table 4-1 Switch Default Settings
IP address and subnet mask
No IP address or subnet mask is defined.
No default gateway is defined.
Enable secret password
No password is defined.
The factory-assigned default hostname is Switch.
No password is defined.
Cluster command switch functionality
No cluster name is defined.
DHCP-Based Autoconfiguration Overview
DHCP provides configuration information to Internet hosts and internetworking devices. This protocol consists of two components: one for delivering configuration parameters from a DHCP server to a device and a mechanism for allocating network addresses to devices. DHCP is built on a client-server model, in which designated DHCP servers allocate network addresses and deliver configuration parameters to dynamically configured devices. The switch can act as both a DHCP client and a DHCP server.
During DHCP-based autoconfiguration, your switch (DHCP client) is automatically configured at startup with IP address information and a configuration file.
With DHCP-based autoconfiguration, no DHCP client-side configuration is needed on your switch. However, you need to configure the DHCP server for various lease options associated with IP addresses. If you are using DHCP to relay the configuration file location on the network, you might also need to configure a Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server and a Domain Name System (DNS) server.
The DHCP server for your switch can be on the same LAN or on a different LAN than the switch. If the DHCP server is running on a different LAN, you should configure a DHCP relay device between your switch and the DHCP server. A relay device forwards broadcast traffic between two directly connected LANs. A router does not forward broadcast packets, but it forwards packets based on the destination IP address in the received packet.
DHCP-based autoconfiguration replaces the BOOTP client functionality on your switch.
DHCP Client Request Process
When you boot up your switch, the DHCP client is invoked and requests configuration information from a DHCP server when the configuration file is not present on the switch. If the configuration file is present and the configuration includes the ip address dhcp interface configuration command on specific routed interfaces, the DHCP client is invoked and requests the IP address information for those interfaces.
Figure 4-1 shows the sequence of messages that are exchanged between the DHCP client and the DHCP server.
Figure 4-1 DHCP Client and Server Message Exchange
The client, Switch A, broadcasts a DHCPDISCOVER message to locate a DHCP server. The DHCP server offers configuration parameters (such as an IP address, subnet mask, gateway IP address, DNS IP address, a lease for the IP address, and so forth) to the client in a DHCPOFFER unicast message.
In a DHCPREQUEST broadcast message, the client returns a formal request for the offered configuration information to the DHCP server. The formal request is broadcast so that all other DHCP servers that received the DHCPDISCOVER broadcast message from the client can reclaim the IP addresses that they offered to the client.
The DHCP server confirms that the IP address has been allocated to the client by returning a DHCPACK unicast message to the client. With this message, the client and server are bound, and the client uses configuration information received from the server. The amount of information the switch receives depends on how you configure the DHCP serverd in conjunction with the TFTP server. For more information, see the “TFTP Server” section.
If the configuration parameters sent to the client in the DHCPOFFER unicast message are invalid (a configuration error exists), the client returns a DHCPDECLINE broadcast message to the DHCP server.
The DHCP server sends the client a DHCPNAK denial broadcast message, which means that the offered configuration parameters have not been assigned, that an error has occurred during the negotiation of the parameters, or that the client has been slow in responding to the DHCPOFFER message. (The DHCP server assigned the parameters to another client.)
A DHCP client might receive offers from multiple DHCP or BOOTP servers and can accept any of the offers; however, the client usually accepts the first offer it receives. The offer from the DHCP server is not a guarantee that the IP address is allocated to the switch. However, the server usually reserves the address until the client has had a chance to formally request the address. If the switch accepts replies from a BOOTP server and configures itself, the switch broadcasts, instead of unicasts, TFTP requests to obtain the switch configuration file.
The DHCP hostname option allows a group of switches to obtain hostnames and a standard configuration from the central management DHCP server. A client (switch) includes in its DCHPDISCOVER message an option 12 field used to request a hostname and other configuration parameters from the DHCP server. The configuration files on all clients are identical except for their DHCP-obtained hostnames.
If a client has a default hostname (the hostname name global configuration command is not configured or the no hostname global configuration command is entered to remove the hostname), the DHCP hostname option is not included in the packet when you enter the ip address dhcp interface configuration command. In this case, if the client receives the DCHP hostname option from the DHCP interaction while acquiring an IP address for an interface, the client accepts the DHCP hostname option and sets the flag to show that the system now has a hostname configured.
DHCP-Based Autoconfiguration and Image Update
You can use the DHCP image upgrade features to configure a DHCP server to download both a new image and a new configuration file to one or more switches in a network. This helps ensure that each new switch added to a network receives the same image and configuration.
There are two types of DHCP image upgrades: DHCP autoconfiguration and DHCP auto-image update.
DHCP autoconfiguration downloads a configuration file to one or more switches in your network from a DHCP server. The downloaded configuration file becomes the running configuration of the switch. It does not over write the bootup configuration saved in the flash, until you reload the switch.
DHCP Auto-Image Update
You can use DHCP auto-image upgrade with DHCP autoconfiguration to download both a configuration and a new image to one or more switches in your network. The switch (or switches) downloading the new configuration and the new image can be blank (or only have a default factory configuration loaded).
If the new configuration is downloaded to a switch that already has a configuration, the downloaded configuration is appended to the configuration file stored on the switch. (Any existing configuration is not overwritten by the downloaded one.)
Note To enable a DHCP auto-image update on the switch, the TFTP server where the image and configuration files are located must be configured with the correct option 67 (the configuration filename), option 66 (the DHCP server hostname) option 150 (the TFTP server address), and option 125 (description of the file) settings.
For procedures to configure the switch as a DHCP server, see the “DHCP Server Configuration Guidelines” section and the “Configuring DHCP” section of the “IP addressing and Services” section of the Cisco IOS IP DHCP Configuration Guide, Release 15.0.
After you install the switch in your network, the auto-image update feature starts. The downloaded configuration file is saved in the running configuration of the switch, and the new image is downloaded and installed on the switch. When you reboot the switch, the configuration is stored in the saved configuration on the switch.
DHCP Server Configuration Guidelines
Follow these guidelines if you are configuring a device as a DHCP server:
- Configure the DHCP server with reserved leases that are bound to each switch by the switch hardware address.
- If you want the switch to receive IP address information, you must configure the DHCP server with these lease options:
– IP address of the client (required)
– Subnet mask of the client (required)
– Router IP address (default gateway address to be used by the switch) (required)
– DNS server IP address (optional)
- If you want the switch to receive the configuration file from a TFTP server, you must configure the DHCP server with these lease options:
– TFTP server name (required)
– Boot filename (the name of the configuration file that the client needs) (recommended)
– Hostname (optional)
- Depending on the settings of the DHCP server, the switch can receive IP address information, the configuration file, or both.
- If you do not configure the DHCP server with the lease options described previously, it replies to client requests with only those parameters that are configured.
If the IP address and the subnet mask are not in the reply, the switch is not configured. If the router IP address or the TFTP server name are not found, the switch might send broadcast, instead of unicast, TFTP requests. Unavailability of other lease options does not affect autoconfiguration.
- The switch can act as a DHCP server. By default, the Cisco IOS DHCP server and relay agent features are enabled on your switch but are not configured. These features are not operational. If your DHCP server is a Cisco device, for additional information about configuring DHCP, see the “Configuring DHCP” section of the “IP Addressing and Services” section of the Cisco IOS IP Configuration Guide on Cisco.com.
Based on the DHCP server configuration, the switch attempts to download one or more configuration files from the TFTP server. If you configured the DHCP server to respond to the switch with all the options required for IP connectivity to the TFTP server, and if you configured the DHCP server with a TFTP server name, address, and configuration filename, the switch attempts to download the specified configuration file from the specified TFTP server.
If you did not specify the configuration filename, the TFTP server, or if the configuration file could not be downloaded, the switch attempts to download a configuration file by using various combinations of filenames and TFTP server addresses. The files include the specified configuration filename (if any) and these files: network-config, cisconet.cfg, and hostname.config (or hostname.cfg), where hostname is the switch’s current hostname. The TFTP server addresses used include the specified TFTP server address (if any) and the broadcast address (255.255.255.255).
For the switch to successfully download a configuration file, the TFTP server must contain one or more configuration files in its base directory. The files can include these files:
- The configuration file named in the DHCP reply (the actual switch configuration file).
- The network-confg or the cisconet.cfg file (known as the default configuration files).
- The router-confg or the ciscortr.cfg file (These files contain commands common to all switches. Normally, if the DHCP and TFTP servers are properly configured, these files are not accessed.)
If you specify the TFTP server name in the DHCP server-lease database, you must also configure the TFTP server name-to-IP-address mapping in the DNS-server database.
If the TFTP server to be used is on a different LAN from the switch, or if it is to be accessed by the switch through the broadcast address (which occurs if the DHCP server response does not contain all the required information described previously), a relay must be configured to forward the TFTP packets to the TFTP server. For more information, see the “Relay Device” section. The preferred solution is to configure the DHCP server with all the required information.
The DHCP server uses the DNS server to resolve the TFTP server name to an IP address. You must configure the TFTP server name-to-IP address map on the DNS server. The TFTP server contains the configuration files for the switch.
You can configure the IP addresses of the DNS servers in the lease database of the DHCP server from where the DHCP replies will retrieve them. You can enter up to two DNS server IP addresses in the lease database.
The DNS server can be on the same or on a different LAN as the switch. If it is on a different LAN, the switch must be able to access it through a router.
You must configure a relay device, also referred to as a relay agent, when a switch sends broadcast packets that require a response from a host on a different LAN. Examples of broadcast packets that the switch might send are DHCP, DNS, and in some cases, TFTP packets. You must configure this relay device to forward received broadcast packets on an interface to the destination host.
If the relay device is a Cisco router, enable IP routing (ip routing global configuration command), and configure helper addresses by using the ip helper-address interface configuration command.
For example, in Figure 4-2, configure the router interfaces as follows:
On interface 10.0.0.2:
router(config-if)# ip helper-address 18.104.22.168
router(config-if)# ip helper-address 22.214.171.124
router(config-if)# ip helper-address 126.96.36.199
On interface 188.8.131.52:
router(config-if)# ip helper-address 10.0.0.1
Figure 4-2 Relay Device Used in Autoconfiguration
How to Obtain Configuration Files
Depending on the availability of the IP address and the configuration filename in the DHCP reserved lease, the switch obtains its configuration information in these ways:
- The IP address and the configuration filename is reserved for the switch and provided in the DHCP reply (one-file read method).
The switch receives its IP address, subnet mask, TFTP server address, and the configuration filename from the DHCP server. The switch sends a unicast message to the TFTP server to retrieve the named configuration file from the base directory of the server and upon receipt, it completes its boot-up process.
- The IP address and the configuration filename is reserved for the switch, but the TFTP server address is not provided in the DHCP reply (one-file read method).
The switch receives its IP address, subnet mask, and the configuration filename from the DHCP server. The switch sends a broadcast message to a TFTP server to retrieve the named configuration file from the base directory of the server, and upon receipt, it completes its boot-up process.
- Only the IP address is reserved for the switch and provided in the DHCP reply. The configuration filename is not provided (two-file read method).
The switch receives its IP address, subnet mask, and the TFTP server address from the DHCP server. The switch sends a unicast message to the TFTP server to retrieve the network-confg or cisconet.cfg default configuration file. (If the network-confg file cannot be read, the switch reads the cisconet.cfg file.)
The default configuration file contains the hostnames-to-IP-address mapping for the switch. The switch fills its host table with the information in the file and obtains its hostname. If the hostname is not found in the file, the switch uses the hostname in the DHCP reply. If the hostname is not specified in the DHCP reply, the switch uses the default Switch as its hostname.
After obtaining its hostname from the default configuration file or the DHCP reply, the switch reads the configuration file that has the same name as its hostname ( hostname -confg or hostname.cfg, depending on whether network-confg or cisconet.cfg was read earlier) from the TFTP server. If the cisconet.cfg file is read, the filename of the host is truncated to eight characters.
If the switch cannot read the network-confg, cisconet.cfg, or the hostname file, it reads the router-confg file. If the switch cannot read the router-confg file, it reads the ciscortr.cfg file.
Note The switch broadcasts TFTP server requests if the TFTP server is not obtained from the DHCP replies, if all attempts to read the configuration file through unicast transmissions fail, or if the TFTP server name cannot be resolved to an IP address.
How to Control Environment Variables
With a normally operating switch, you enter the boot loader mode only through a switch console connection configured for 9600 b/s. Unplug the switch power cord, and press the switch Express Setup Button while reconnecting the power cord. You can release the Express Setup Button a second or two after the LED above port 1 turns off. Then the boot loader switch: prompt appears.
The switch boot loader software provides support for nonvolatile environment variables, which can be used to control how the boot loader or any other software running on the system behaves. Boot loader environment variables are similar to environment variables that can be set on UNIX or DOS systems.
Environment variables that have values are stored in flash memory outside of the flash file system.
Each line in these files contains an environment variable name and an equal sign followed by the value of the variable. A variable has no value if it is not listed in this file; it has a value if it is listed in the file even if the value is a null string. A variable that is set to a null string (for example, “ ”) is a variable with a value. Many environment variables are predefined and have default values.
Environment variables store two kinds of data:
- Data that controls code, which does not read the Cisco IOS configuration file. For example, the name of a boot loader helper file, which extends or patches the functionality of the boot loader can be stored as an environment variable.
- Data that controls code, which is responsible for reading the Cisco IOS configuration file. For example, the name of the Cisco IOS configuration file can be stored as an environment variable.
You can change the settings of the environment variables by accessing the boot loader or by using Cisco IOS commands. Under normal circumstances, it is not necessary to alter the setting of the environment variables.
Note For complete syntax and usage information for the boot loader commands and environment variables, see the command reference for this release.
Common Environment Variables
Table 4-2 describes the function of the most common environment variables.
Table 4-2 Environment Variables
Cisco IOS Global Configuration Command
set BOOT filesystem :/ file-url...
A semicolon-separated list of executable files to try to load and execute when automatically booting. If the BOOT environment variable is not set, the system attempts to load and execute the first executable image it can find by using a recursive, depth-first search through the flash file system. If the BOOT variable is set but the specified images cannot be loaded, the system attempts to boot the first bootable file that it can find in the flash file system.
boot system f ilesystem:/file-url...
Specifies the Cisco IOS image to load during the next boot cycle. This command changes the setting of the BOOT environment variable.
set MANUAL_BOOT yes
Decides whether the switch automatically or manually boots up.
Valid values are 1, yes, 0, and no. If it is set to no or 0, the boot loader attempts to automatically boot up the system. If it is set to anything else, you must manually boot up the switch from the boot loader mode.
Enables manually booting up the switch during the next boot cycle and changes the setting of the MANUAL_BOOT environment variable.
The next time you reboot the system, the switch is in boot loader mode. To boot up the system, use the boot flash: filesystem :/ file-url boot loader command, and specify the name of the bootable image.
set CONFIG_FILE flash:/ file-url
Changes the filename that Cisco IOS uses to read and write a nonvolatile copy of the system configuration.
boot config-file flash: / file-url
Specifies the filename that Cisco IOS uses to read and write a nonvolatile copy of the system configuration. This command changes the CONFIG_FILE environment variable.
Scheduled Reload of the Software Image
You can schedule a reload of the software image to occur on the switch at a later time (for example, late at night or during the weekend when the switch is used less), or you can synchronize a reload network-wide (for example, to perform a software upgrade on all switches in the network).
Note A scheduled reload must take place within approximately 24 days.
You have these reload options:
- Software reload to take effect in the specified minutes or hours and minutes. The reload must take place within approximately 24 days. You can specify the reason for the reload in a string up to 255 characters in length.
- Software reload to take place at the specified time (using a 24-hour clock). If you specify the month and day, the reload is scheduled to take place at the specified time and date. If you do not specify the month and day, the reload takes place at the specified time on the current day (if the specified time is later than the current time) or on the next day (if the specified time is earlier than the current time). Specifying 00:00 schedules the reload for midnight.
The reload command halts the system. If the system is not set to manually boot up, it reboots itself.
If your switch is configured for manual booting, do not reload it from a virtual terminal. This restriction prevents the switch from entering the boot loader mode and thereby taking it from the remote user’s control.
If you modify your configuration file, the switch prompts you to save the configuration before reloading. During the save operation, the system requests whether you want to proceed with the save if the CONFIG_FILE environment variable points to a startup configuration file that no longer exists. If you proceed in this situation, the system enters setup mode upon reload.
To cancel a previously scheduled reload, use the reload cancel privileged EXEC command.