A brief introduction to FabricPath

FabricPath is a technology which combines the benefits of Routing protocols, here will be Intermediate-System-to-Intermediate-System (IS-IS), and Layer 2 Network Ethernet environments.

To list some of FabricPath advantages:

  • MAC Address scalability by Conversational Learning
  • No spanning-tree anymore, hurray! Each switch will have its own view of Layer 2 topology and calculates the L2 topology using SPF calculation.
  • Equal cost multipath forwarding for Unicast Layer 2 traffic!
  • Makes any kind of topology possible!
  • Configuration/Administration is not a hassle anymore
  • Loop prevention/mitigation by having a TTL field in the frames


We can refer to FabricPath as “Routing MAC Addresses” or “Layer 2 over Layer 3”, but it doesn’t mean that FabricPath ports have an IP Address! In a FabricPath topology, each device is dynamically assigned a “switch-id” via Dynamic Resource Allocation Protocol (DRAP), and L2 forwarding table is populated based on reachability to each switch-id.

Function types in FabricPath

  • Leaf: This is where Classic Ethernet devices are connected to. It’s the point of “MAC to switch-id” mapping. Traffic is looked up in the L2 forwarding table and then encapsulated into a MAC-in-MAC frame whose destination switch-id is the switch which the destination host is connected to. FabricPath is only supported on Cisco Nexus 5500 with NX-OS 5.1(3)N1(1) and higher as the edge (access) device in FabricPath topology.
  • Spine: Cisco Nexus 7000 is supported as the aggregation device in FabricPath topology with NX-OS 5.1(1) and higher, but only based on F1 line cards. Layer 3 forwarding could be gained by adding M1 series cards.

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IPX Vol.1 Switching Notes

Downstream switches inherit timers from the root (of each VLAN)

  • BPDUgurad blocks incoming BPDUs.
  • BPDUfilter blocks outgoing BPDUs.
  • bpdufilter default and bpduguard default work in conjunction with portfast default.
  • spanning-tree guard loop  is similar to UDLD, but users STP BPDU keepalive.
show spanning-tree mst [detail]
In MST, load-balancing with cost/port-priority is the same as CST, PVST.
interface f0/0
spanning-tree mst 1 cost 1
spanning-tree mst 2 port-p 0

All switches in the L2 transit path should know about the RSPAN remote-vlan, and the interconnections should be trunk. Remember to remove pruning for RSPAN VLAN from trunks.

IPphone tags voice traffic with CoS 5.

switchport voice vlan dot1p instructs the IP-phone to apply VLAN0 and CoS 5, so both Voice & Data share the same VLAN.

switchport voice vlan  automatically applies portfast.

mls qos trust device ciscoipphone means only trust CoS if received from IP-phone which is detected by CDP.

Fallback Bridging is the concept of bridging non-routed protocols between SVIs or native L3 router interfaces on switches. Similar to CBR and IRB on routers.

bridge 1 protocol vlan-bridge
interface f0/1
 bridge 1
  • PVLAN requires Transparent VTP mode.
  • Whenever a task asks us to optimize a switch for memory or routing, it means “sdm prefer routing“
  • Macros do not accept “interface range”!
  • When filtering traffic using mac-access-list remember to allow Spanning-tree and ARP stuff!


  • standby use-bia  : not using the vMAC
  • standby version 2  : Uses for inter-router communications instead of
standby 1 ip
standby 1 priority  : default is 100
standby 1  : not default
standby 1 track 1 decrement  // same as  standby 1 track Serial0/1/0 20

Remember to add static arp for hosts when filtering ARP in LAB exam. (show arp)

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