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3725 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Sep 4, 2011 4:24 PM by Stephen RSS

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Layer 2 Redundancy

Sep 3, 2011 9:36 AM

shanthosh.rk 42 posts since
Oct 5, 2010



I was wondering if redundancy at L3 level through routing protocols can also be ensured at Layer 2 ? STP ofcourse I think works for access switches which are connected to the same Distribution layer switch. But if there is a neccessity to ensure redundancy among  access switches connected to different distibution switches, then what are the possible solutions??


Can any one help with this pl. !!

  • Magnus Holmberg 15 posts since
    Aug 26, 2008
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    1. Sep 3, 2011 9:50 AM (in response to shanthosh.rk)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    In L3 redundency you can use HSRP.


    If you have 2 L3 switches then each of them will have an IP, but they will also have a virtual IP that the active one respond on. Your clients will have the virtual IP as there default gateway.




  • Tambo 6 posts since
    May 16, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Sep 3, 2011 1:12 PM (in response to shanthosh.rk)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    Hi, Shanthosh.rk


    Yes it can be done at L2 through Hot Standby Group protocol (HSRP) cisco proprietary, or Virtual Router Redundancy protocol (VRRP) standard.


    Configure your distribution layer switches with VLANs and assign them individual IP addresses. Then organise those 2 vlans into STANDBY GROUP, by doing that HSRP will generate a virtual IP address and a virtual MAC address.


    One of the distribution layer switches will be active and responding to requests, when the other one will be on standby waiting for the active to fail to become active.


    So the client computers will be configure with the generated HSRP Virtual IP address (VIP) as their default gateway, when the active link fails you do not have to do anything. The standby takes over and resume communication.


    VRRP is a bit different, but the concept is the same.




    B. Tambo

  • pgangoor 91 posts since
    Apr 30, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 3, 2011 1:45 PM (in response to shanthosh.rk)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    Layer 2 and Layer 3 Etherchannels can also be used for Redudancy and load balancing purpose..

  • Martin 13,070 posts since
    Jan 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Sep 3, 2011 5:02 PM (in response to pgangoor)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    I agree with you; Etherchannels is what you want

  • Aninda 302 posts since
    Jun 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 3, 2011 5:57 PM (in response to Martin)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    How would EtherChannels provide redundancy? They just provide extra bandwidth to the same end point. If there were bottleneck issues, EtherChannel would make sense. But not for redundancy.

  • Chad Spears CCNP CCDA CCNAS 752 posts since
    Jul 27, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Sep 3, 2011 6:00 PM (in response to Aninda)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    Etherchannels provide L2 redundancy.  They are a logical bundling of links, which does provide more bandwidth, but it also provides redundancy.  If 1 of the links in the bundle goes down, you never even notice, the only thing that happens is bandwidth is decreased.




  • Aninda 302 posts since
    Jun 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    I think I put my point across incorrectly. You're right, it does provide redundancy in that sense. What I meant here was, it wouldn't provide be an alternate route to the distribution switches. As in, in case of both links in the EtherChannel failing, it is still STP that would provide an alternate path upwards.

  • LeeBrownUSA 102 posts since
    Apr 1, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Sep 4, 2011 8:31 AM (in response to shanthosh.rk)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy

    I think you are asking for MEC (Multi-chassis etherchannel) and to the best of what I know now this won't work unless your distribution switches are a VSS pair.




  • Stephen 488 posts since
    Apr 22, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Sep 4, 2011 4:24 PM (in response to shanthosh.rk)
    Re: Layer 2 Redundancy



    Like many people have said, there are a variety of protocols such as HSRP, VRRP, GLBP that are designed to assist you with redundancy.   I just wanted to pop in an alternative design  for consideration.  If you had the layout below:


    You may want to consider settings 4 default routes on R1 and using tracking on each one.  Each one pointing to the next hop of the opposite side's interface IP, and equally weighted.  That way, if  s1/3 went down, the tracking would remove this default route (one of the 4 you have configured) for this link in the routing table, and allow you to load balance between R2 and R3 with the remaining three links!  The tracking would also allow the link to return to the routing table when the issue is fixed, and again go back to being equally weighted across the 4 routes with no further configuration.


    Hope this helps,



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