Comparison Between Layer 2, Layer 3, and Layer 4 switches (1)

Source: Internet
Author: User

(1) Differences Between Layer 2 switches, Layer 3 switches, and Layer 4 switches

The layer-2 switching technology is mature. The layer-2 switch is a data link layer device that can identify the MAC address information in the data packet and forward it according to the MAC address, the MAC addresses and corresponding ports are recorded in an internal address table. The specific workflow is as follows:

(1) When the switch receives a packet from a port, it first reads the source MAC address from the packet header, so that it knows the port on which the machine with the source MAC address is connected;

(2) read the target MAC address in the header and find the corresponding port in the address table;

(3) If the table contains a port corresponding to the destination MAC address, copy the data packet directly to the port;

(4) If no corresponding port is found in the table, the packet is broadcast to all ports. When the target machine responds to the source machine, the switch can learn which port the target MAC address corresponds, the next time you transmit data, you no longer need to broadcast all ports.

In this process, the MAC address information of the entire network can be learned. The second-layer switch creates and maintains its own address table.

The working principle of a L2 Switch can be inferred from the following three points:

(1) because the switch exchanges data on most ports at the same time, it requires a wide switching bus bandwidth. If the L2 Switch has N ports, the bandwidth of each port is M, if the bandwidth of the vswitch bus exceeds N × M, the vswitch can achieve line rate switching;

(2) the MAC address of the machine connected by the Learning port, write the address table, and the size of the address table (two common expressions: one is beffer ram, and the other is the MAC Table value ), the address table size affects the access capacity of the vswitch;

(3) Another layer-2 switch generally contains an ASIC (Application specific Integrated Circuit) chip used to process packet forwarding, so the forwarding speed can be very fast. Because different manufacturers use different ASIC, the product performance is directly affected.

The above three points are also the main technical parameters used to judge the performance of Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches. Please pay attention to the comparison when considering device selection.

(2) routing technology

The router operates on the layer 3 of the OSI model-the network layer. Its working mode is similar to that of the Layer 2 switch, but the router works on the layer 3, this difference determines that routes and switches use different control information when passing packets, and the implementation methods are different. The working principle is that there is also a table inside the vro, which indicates that if you want to go to a certain place, the next step should be to go there, if you can find the data packet from the routing table, add the link layer information and forward it. If you do not know where the next step is, discard the package and return a message to the source address.

In essence, the routing technology has two features: determining the optimal route and forwarding data packets. Various information is written into the routing table. The routing algorithm calculates the Optimal Path to the destination address, and then sends data packets through a simple and direct forwarding mechanism. The next vro that receives data continues to forward according to the same working method, and so on until the data packet reaches the destination vro.

There are two different ways to maintain the route table. One is to update the route information, publish some or all of the route information, and the router learns route information from each other to master the topology of the whole network, this type of routing protocol is called the distance vector routing protocol. The other is that the router broadcasts its own link status information and learns from each other to learn route information across the network, then, the optimal forwarding path is calculated. This type of routing protocol is called the Link State routing protocol.

Because a vro requires a lot of path computing, the performance of a general processor is determined directly. Of course, this judgment is still for low-end routers, because high-end routers often adopt distributed processing system design.

(3) layer-3 Switching Technology

In recent years, three-layer technology has been widely promoted, and many people have shouted three-layer technology. Some people say this is a very new technology. Some people also say that it is a three-layer exchange technology, there is no new things in the stack of routers and L2 switches. Is that true? Next, let's take a look at the working process of a layer-3 Switch through a simple network.

Easy networking

Device A with IP address ---------------------- layer-3 Switch ---------------------- Device B with IP Address

For example, if A wants to send data to B and the target IP address is known, A uses the subnet mask to obtain the network address and determine whether the destination IP address is in the same network segment as itself.

If A is in the same network segment but does not know the MAC address required for data forwarding, A sends an ARP request, B returns its MAC address, and A uses this MAC encapsulation packet to send it to the switch concurrently, the second-layer switch module is used to find the MAC address table and forward data packets to the corresponding port.

If the destination IP address is not displayed in the same CIDR block, A needs to communicate with B, and there is no corresponding MAC address entry in the stream cache entry, send the first normal data packet to a default gateway. This default gateway is usually set in the operating system and corresponds to the layer-3 routing module. Therefore, we can see that for data not in the same subnet, the MAC address of the default gateway is first placed in the MAC table. Then, the layer-3 module receives the packet and queries the route table to determine the route to B. A new frame header is constructed, the MAC address of the default gateway is the source MAC address, and the MAC address of host B is the target MAC address. Through A certain identification trigger mechanism, it establishes the MAC address and forwarding port correspondence between host A and host B, and records the data from host A to host B in the stream cache entry table, it is directly submitted to the layer-2 Switching Module. This is generally referred to as one-time route forwarding.

The above is a brief summary of the three-layer switch process. We can see the characteristics of the three-layer switch:

Hardware is used together to achieve high-speed data forwarding.

This is not a simple superposition of Layer 2 switches and routers. The Layer 3 routing module is directly superimposed on the Layer 2 switching high-speed backplane bus, breaking through the interface speed limit of traditional routers, the speed can reach dozens of Gbit/s. Calculating the backboard bandwidth is two important parameters for the performance of a layer-3 switch.

The simple routing software simplifies the routing process.

Most of the data forwarding, except for the necessary route selection, is handled by the routing software, and is a layer-2 module for high-speed forwarding. Most of the routing software is an efficient optimization software that has been processed, it is not a simple copy of the software in the router.

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