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Layer 3 Switches

3/26/2012

Nariman Mohammed

Topics Covered
Definitions Characteristics Comparison between Routers and Layer 3 Switches Functionality The Benefits of Layer 3 Switching Cost

3/26/2012

Nariman Mohammed

Router

A router is a computer networking device that buffers and forwards data packets across an internetwork toward their destinations, through a process known as routing. Routing occurs at layer 3 (Network layer )

3/26/2012

Nariman Mohammed

Network Switches
A network

switch is a networking device that performs transparent connection of multiple network segments with forwarding based on MAC addresses at up to the speed of the hardware.

3/26/2012

Nariman Mohammed

Layer 3 Switches

A Layer 3 switch is a high-performance device for network routing. It is relatively new term, was conceived as a technology to improve on the performance of routers used in large local area networks (LANs). It can support the same routing protocols as network routers do. Both inspect incoming packets and make dynamic routing decisions based on the source and destination addresses inside.

3/26/2012

Nariman Mohammed

Characteristic

It is designed to handle high-performance LAN traffic, so Layer 3 switch can be placed anywhere within a network core or backbone, easily and cost-effectively replacing the traditional backbone router. The switches run routing protocols, such as open shortest path first (OSPF) or routing information protocol (RIP), to communicate with other Layer 3 switches or routers and to build their routing/forwarding tables. These tables are looked up to determine the route for an incoming packet a Layer 3 switch can reprogram the hardware dynamically with the current Layer 3 routing information. This is what allows much faster packet processing.
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3/26/2012

Similarities
A Layer 3 switch does everything to a packet that a traditional router does: Determines forwarding path based on Layer 3 information Validates the integrity of the Layer 3 header via checksum Verifies packet expiration and updates accordingly Processes and responds to any option information Updates forwarding statistics in the Management Information Base (MIB) Applies security controls if required Both types of boxes share a similar appearance

3/26/2012

Nariman Mohammed

Differences

The key difference between Layer 3 switches and routers lies in the hardware technology used to build the unit. The hardware inside a Layer 3 switch merges that of traditional switches and routers, replacing some of a router's software logic with hardware to offer better performance in some situations. In general-purpose routers, packet switching takes place using a microprocessor, whereas a Layer 3 switch performs this using application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) hardware. Another differentiating feature between a router and a Layer 3 switch is the number of ports to which individual terminal devices can be connected. A Layer 3 switch usually has a significantly greater port density. Layer 3 switches often cost less than traditional routers
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Functionality

The principle of a Layer 3 is "route once, switch many". A Layer 3 switch can actually store MAC to IP Address associations for the source and destination of the packet. when there is a packet with a new source destination pair, it is routed (which means that the routing table is referred to for determining the best path ) which is time consuming, and this source destination pair information is stored in the router cache. when the next packet arrives with the same source destination pair, no routing lookup is needed and the packet is directly switched (which is much faster).
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The benefits of Layer 3 switching


The benefits of layer 3 switching include the following: Hardware-based packet forwarding High-performance packet switching High-speed scalability Low latency Latency is the time taken for a packet of data from the sending application to the receiving application. This includes both transit time over the network, and computer processing time at both the source and destination computers. Lower per-port cost

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Cont
Flow accounting Security Quality of service ( QoS) refers to control mechanisms that can provide different priority to different users or data flows, or guarantee a certain level of performance to a data flow in accordance with requests from the application program

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$$$ Cost $$$

Cost Savings A traditional router may run U.S. $8,000 to $10,000 per Fast Ethernet interface, while a Layer 3 switch costs less than U.S. $1,000 per port. Layer 3 switching is cheap because Layer 3 switches are targeted specifically for inter-VLAN routing, where only Ethernet access technologies are used in high densities

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What is VLAN

A virtual LAN, is a method of creating independent logical networks within a physical network. Several VLANs can co-exist within such a network. This helps in reducing the broadcast domain and aids in network administration by separating logical segments of a LAN (like company departments) that should not exchange data using a LAN

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Do Layer 3 Switches Completely Eliminate Need for the Traditional Router

Routers are still needed, especially where connections to the wide area are required. Layer 3 switches may still connect to such routers to learn their tables and route packets to them when these packets need to be sent over the WAN.

The switches will be very effective on the workgroup and the backbone within an enterprise, but most likely will not replace the router at the edge of the WAN .
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Routers perform numerous other functions like filtering with access lists, inter-Autonomous System (AS) routing with protocols such as the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Some Layer 3 switches may completely replace the need for a router if they can provide all these functions

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The End

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