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11274 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2012 4:19 PM by netreflect RSS

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trunk and access ports

Mar 22, 2013 10:11 AM

Steverino 375 posts since
May 3, 2010

What is the difference between a trunk and access port?  Does a switch do one of them by default?  I read that if you want to disable trunking so that a switch will not dynamically decide to use trunking on an interface and will remain an access interface, you want to use the switchport mode access interface subcommand.  Does anyone have an example of all commands that need to be entered if you have just logged into the switch and need to get to an interface and put in this command?


Also, what does the following command do, I dont understand what the last two lines do  and the difference between the last two lines.

interface FastEthernet0/13

switchport access vlan 2

switchport mode access




  • CiscoLoco - CCNP 956 posts since
    Feb 11, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Apr 23, 2012 9:58 AM (in response to Steverino)
    Re: trunk and access ports

    A trunk allows pretagged packets to passthrough without changing the tag while an access port takes the packets it receives and retags them.


    Ex.  To setup a trunk to allows all vlans(pretagged) traffic to flow to and from it


    int fa0/0

    switchport mode trunk <------ explicitly making this port a trunk rather than allowing it to "negotiate" its role (only command needed)


    Ex.  To setup an access port and telling to tag the traffic as vlan 10


    int f0/1

    switchport mode access <----- explicitly making this an access port rather than allowing it to "negotiate" its role

    switchport access vlan 10  <--------- tell this interface to tag any traffic entering the port as vlan 10

  • 80 posts since
    Oct 8, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Apr 23, 2012 10:09 AM (in response to Steverino)
    Re: trunk and access ports

    As to teh difference between a trunk and an access port, pull up this link


    Actually one would expect commands to follow this convention


    interface FastEthernet0/13 (specifically addresses port 13)

    switchport access vlan 2 (places the previously defined port in vlan 2)

    switchport mode access (defines the port as an access port)


    Simply put, it places the fastethernet port f0/13 in vlan 2 and defines it as an access port.

  • Roland Schmid 291 posts since
    Sep 5, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Apr 23, 2012 11:06 AM (in response to Steverino)
    Re: trunk and access ports

    I think the switch port is by default dynamic auto, but it depends on the model


    Kind regards,


  • CiscoLoco - CCNP 956 posts since
    Feb 11, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Apr 23, 2012 11:11 AM (in response to Steverino)
    Re: trunk and access ports

    I think most switches will negotiate to determine there port type by default.  As for as your other questions. One isnt better than than the other, they are just used in different scenarios.  You would use a trunk when connecting to another switch so you can send mutiple VLAN across the link without worrying about the packet being retagged when it gets to the other end.  Access port are generally used on end devices like work PCs.  The reason you would want to retag something is for added security.   You wouldn't want a device to tag its own packets (just about any PC NIC can do this) with your Managent vlan when its suppose to be on your GUEST vlan.  So generally an access port is tagging traffic with doesnt already have a tag but in the event that the traffic already has a tag it will retag it unlike a trunk.

  • Diallo 198 posts since
    Feb 16, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Apr 23, 2012 2:09 PM (in response to CiscoLoco - CCNP)
    Re: trunk and access ports

    Hi CiscoLoco-CCNP,

    You have said that if an access port receive the frame it will remove the tag and retag them.In my understanding the access port will just remove the tag before forwarding the frame ,but I'm not sure about retaging them.I may be wrong please correct me with some explaination if I'm wrong.

  • netreflect 1 posts since
    Jun 12, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Apr 23, 2012 4:19 PM (in response to Diallo)
    Re: trunk and access ports

    Yeah, I saw that comment about retagging too and thought "hold on a minute"...


    My understanding is that a frame received on an access port (i.e., sent from a host) is not already VLAN tagged. It is the switch that tags the frame (with the VLAN number that is assigned to the receiving access port), if it needs to send that frame out on the trunk port. If the frame is destined for another access port, the frame is not tagged.


    If a frame comes in on a trunk port it should already be tagged with a VLAN number (unless it is in the native VLAN which is not tagged). The switch then strips the VLAN tag and sends it out on the appropriate access port (or ports if broadcast) to its destination.


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