L2 EtherChannel 1

By Chris January 19, 2016 09:05

#EtherChannel takes a big step towards improving STP. With two links between switches, but without using EtherChannel, each instance of STP could use only one of the links blocking the other link. With a layer 2 EtherChannel, STP treats the links as one, balancing the traffic over the links when in a forwarding state. This next lab takes a quick and easy look at Layer 2 EtherChannel Config.



In this lab, you practice the various options to enable a Layer 2 EtherChannel on a Cisco switch. The variety of requirements listed here are used just to exercise all the options. In particular:

  • Use these EtherChannel Numbers:
    • 20 between SW1 and SW2
    • 21 between SW1 and SW3
    • 22 between SW2 and SW4
  • Configure for the following requirements:
    • EC 20: statically enable on both ends
    • EC 21: use PAgP, with SW1 initiating the EC, and SW3 waiting for SW1
    • EC 22: use LACP, with SW2 initiating the EC, and SW4 waiting for SW2
  • The switches have all default configuration with the exception of their hostnames.

Figure 1: Three EtherChannels, with Two Links Each


Initial Configuration

While you might be able to configure EtherChannel based on the information supplied so far, the initial configurations of the three switches can also be helpful. Example 1 and 2 show the beginning configuration state of SW1 and SW2.

Example 1: SW1 Config

Example 2: SW2 Config

Example 3: SW3 Config

Example 4: SW4 Config


Answer on Paper, or Maybe Test in Lab

Next, write your answer on paper. Or if you have some real gear, or other tools, configure the lab with those tools.

Verifying EtherChannel takes just a quick look at the output from the show etherchannel number summary command. This command should list all the ports in the working EtherChannel with a status of P, meaning the port is in the channel. Troubleshooting why a port is not in the EtherChannel requires more effort, such as checking the variety of interface settings that must match on one switch, and on neighboring switches, before a switch will form the channel and add all ports to it. See the ICND2 Official Cert Guide “Troubleshooting EtherChannel” section for more details.


Do This Lab with Cisco’s VIRL

You can do these labs on paper and still get a lot out of the lab. As an extra help, we have added files for the Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) software as well. The .VIRL file found here is a file that when used with VIRL will load a lab topology similar to this lab’s topology, with the initial configuration shown in the lab as well. This section lists any differences between the lab exercise and the .VIRL file’s topology and configuration.

Download this lab’s VIRL file!


Network Device Info:

This lab happens to use some interface numbers that cannot be replicated in VIRL. The .VIRL file supplied here translates the lab to use the ports listed in the following table.

Device Lab Port VIRL Port
SW1 F0/1 G0/3
SW1 G0/3 G1/1
SW1 G0/4 G1/2
SW2 F0/1 G0/3
SW2 G0/3 G1/1
SW2 G0/4 G1/2


Host device info:

This table lists host information pre-configured in VIRL, information that might not be required by the lab but may be useful to you.

Device IP Address Mac Address User/password
PC1 02:00:11:11:11:11 cisco/cisco
PC2 02:00:22:22:22:22 cisco/cisco


Handy Host Commands:

To see PC IP address: ifconfig eth1

Ping example: ping -c 4

Trace example: tracepath

To connect to another node within the topology: telnet




Answers: Standard Named ACL 1
Answers: L2 EtherChannel 1
By Chris January 19, 2016 09:05
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  1. Alex October 19, 02:23

    Regarding the third rule for EC22, I’m confused as to why SW4 would be waiting on SW1 with the LACP EtherChannel setup between only SW2 and SW4.
    I’ve only just finished taking notes through Unit 1 of ICND2, so I could very well be missing something.

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills October 24, 13:14

      Hi Alex,
      I think you might be wondering about technology, rather than just how I’m phrasing things here. SW4 would be waiting because I just made up some requirements for this lab so that we could exercise our configuration skills. It’s not a technology requirement, it’s a choice (by me) to give a variety of requirements to exercise our configuration skills. In short, given the requirements in that statement, what config command(s) do you need to configure? That’s the intent; it’s not making some generalized statement about how EtherChannels work.


      Reply to this comment
      • Bav September 1, 14:11

        HI Wendell – I think what Alex means is that there is potentially a typo in the requirement.

        If SW4 is configured to use LACP, with SW2 initiating the port grouping. Then SW4 would be waiting on SW2 to initiate the port grouping, not SW1. SW4 is connected to SW2, not SW1.

        Reply to this comment
        • certskills September 4, 09:07

          Yep, you’re right – my mistake in the post and in the reading of Alex’s response. My apologies. And fixed as well. Thanks to you both.

          Reply to this comment
          • Alex September 6, 20:39

            Thanks Bav, I felt like I was going crazy when I first skimmed through. Sidenote: huge thank you to Wendell and this community, thanks to these training problems I obtained my CCENT and CCNA in May of this year!

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