Etherchannel Explained …Simply, Easily

Do you need more bandwidth on your network devices but don't have the bigger bandwidth interfaces on your actual network equipment that you can use?

Watch this video to learn all about ether channels and link aggregation (it's basically the same thing) and how they can be used to expand your bandwidth immensely and make your network humm.

If you don't understand ether channels and/or link aggregations on networking devices and why they're used and needed by the end of this video you'll have a complete understanding and knowledge of them and you can be the go-to expert that's there when others are asking for help from YOU.

I shared this information about ether channels with one of my past clients and they were able to save their company twenty thousand dollars in new equipment purchases by just utilizing the networking equipment and components they already had and that they were already using.

So first of all understanding ether channels or link aggregations they're sometimes called depending on the manufacturer of the devices that you're dealing with and the company that you're working for (they may be called ether channels they may be called link aggregations but) understanding them requires you to think of a computer network like a sophisticated plumbing or looking at city traffic from like 5,000 feet up.

What do I mean by that?

If you look at the flow of data on a network like water in pipes or like cars on roads and highways in a city you can easily see why link aggregations or ether channels are used and needed.

So that's the first concept you need to look at to understand them.

Think of a network like a set of pipes in plumbing or like a bunch of streets or highways in a city.

Secondly if you have network equipment (switches, routers, etc.) that only have certain speeds and bandwidths on their physical interfaces - in other words they can only go at a certain speed on each interface - but you need more bandwidth on certain connections say between a switch and another switch or between two network devices…

You need more bandwidth on those connections to keep the data and the traffic from actually doing what they call bottlenecking which is the same as if you're dealing with traffic.

If traffic all bottlenecks and I'll say a construction zone is all bottlenecked down to one single lane, it almost comes to a complete stop until all of that traffic can filter through one lane of traffic so you don't want bottle necking so you may want to increase the bandwidth on certain connections to keep that bottlenecking from happening you can aggregate or either channel multiple physical interfaces together into a "bigger" and
I'm gonna put that in quotes a "bigger" interface or pipe if you look at it like plumbing by grouping them together into either channels or link aggregations.

If you think of networking like sophisticated plumbing (like I was talking about second ago) you can logically configure multiple interfaces on two network devices into an ether channel or link aggregation to allow them to work like a larger pipe on your network and allow more bandwidth usage or flow across that connection.

And if you think of network traffic like traffic in a city, think of ether channels or link aggregations kind of like adding more lanes to a freeway or you're actually creating a freeway with multiple lanes by creating an ether channel or a link aggregation.

Each physical interface in that ether channel is like a single lane on that freeway but the freeway has multiple lanes.

So the lanes are the physical interfaces in the ether channel that you configure on each device facing each other and the ether channel is like the freeway itself.

Network devices will use one of those lanes or one of those connections if you're using network cabling typically that's the case you're they're gonna use one network cable in that ether channel primarily until more traffic flow is necessary or more bandwidth is needed.

Then they will start using the other lanes or the interfaces or the cables in between to provide more bandwidth.

Now keep in mind that the ether channel is considered a LOGICAL interface and is only seen by the configured devices using them as a single BIG interface containing multiple physical interfaces configured into it.

Not multiple physical connections that are actually seen when you physically look at a networking device. Like let's say you have five cables running between two switches…on both of those switches you configure those five interfaces into the same ether channel on both.

The switches see them as one single big ether channel interface.

They don't see them as five separate connections anymore so that's kind of how you want to look at that when it comes to networking.

You know exactly how either channels link aggregations work, why they're needed, but what about when you get some tricky questions on the certification exams about them?

I've put together a series of videos that go further in depth about ether channels and link aggregation and how to use and tweak them on a computer network from planning them to using them.

Also if you want to join a community of networkers just like you that are learning about the technologies and getting started I have a "Secret Society" where I have up-to-date networking know-how to help you navigate and get started right down this sometimes tricky career or business path in life.

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