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Manual Chapter: Creating IP Tunnels
Manual Chapter
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About IP tunnels

Using F5 tunneling technologies, you can set up tunneling from devices on different Layer 2 networks, or scale multi-site data centers over Layer 3 pathways. When you know the IP address of the devices at both ends of the tunnel, you can create a point-to-point encapsulation tunnel between a BIG-IP system and another device. When multiple devices feed into a BIG-IP system, you can create a tunnel by specifying only the IP address on the BIG-IP device.

The BIG-IP system provides the following tunneling protocols, available using the browser-based Configuration utility or the Traffic Management shell (tmsh) command-line utility, and iControl.

  • EtherIP
  • GRE
  • IPIP
    • IPv4IPv4
    • IPv4IPv6
    • IPv6IPv4
    • IPv6IPv6
  • PPP
  • WCCPGRE

About point-to-point tunnels

Point-to-point IP encapsulation tunnels carry traffic through a routed network between known devices. For example, you can create a GRE tunnel to connect a BIG-IP system to a remotely located pool member.

Illustration of a point-to-point GRE tunnel Illustration of a point-to-point GRE tunnel

Creating a point-to-point IP tunnel

To create a point-to-point tunnel, you specify the encapsulation protocol and the IP addresses of the devices at both ends of the tunnel.
  1. On the Main tab, click Network > Tunnels > Tunnel List > Create.
  2. In the Name field, type a unique name for the tunnel.
  3. From the Profile list, select the profile that corresponds to the encapsulation protocol you want to use. The selection ipip is the same as ip4ip4, but ipip is compatible with configurations from an earlier release.
  4. In the Local Address field, type the IP address of the BIG-IP system.
  5. In the Remote Address field, type the IP address of the device at the other end of the tunnel.
  6. Click Finished.
After you complete this task, traffic is encapsulated using the protocol you specified between the BIG-IP system and the remote device you specified.

About tunnels between the BIG-IP system and other devices

In a network that has multiple devices connected to a BIG-IP system, you can create an IPIP or GRE encapsulation tunnel between the BIG-IP system and the remote devices without having to specify a remote (or source) IP address for every device. The use cases include situations where the source IP address is unknown or difficult to discover.

IPIP tunnel between a BIG-IP system and multiple unspecified devices Illustration of an IPIP tunnel between a BIG-IP system and multiple unspecified devices

Creating an encapsulation tunnel between a BIG-IP device and multiple devices

You can create a tunnel between a BIG-IP system and multiple remote devices without having to specify a remote (or source) IP address for every device.
  1. On the Main tab, click Network > Tunnels > Tunnel List > Create.
  2. In the Name field, type a unique name for the tunnel.
  3. From the Profile list, select the profile that corresponds to the encapsulation protocol you want to use. The selection ipip is the same as ip4ip4, but ipip is compatible with configurations from an earlier release.
  4. In the Local Address field, type the IP address of the BIG-IP system.
  5. In the Remote Address field, type 0.0.0.0 or any. This entry means that you do not have to specify the IP address of the remote end of the tunnel, which allows multiple devices to use the same tunnel.
  6. Click Finished.
When the BIG-IP system receives an encapsulated packet, the system decapsulates the packet, regardless of the source address, and re-injects it into the IP stack, thus allowing the inner IP address to be associated with a virtual server.
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