A key task of the BIG-IP®
system configuration is the configuration of BIG-IP system interfaces. The interfaces
on a BIG-IP system are the physical ports that you use to connect the BIG-IP system to other devices on the network. These other devices can be next-hop routers, Layer 2 devices, destination servers, and so on. Through its interfaces, the BIG-IP system can forward traffic to or from other network devices.
Every BIG-IP system includes multiple interfaces. The exact number of
interfaces that you have on the BIG-IP system depends on the platform type. For information on BIG-IP platform types, see the relevant platform guide.
One of the interfaces on the BIG-IP system is a special interface dedicated
to performing a specific set of system management functions. This interface is called the management interface
, named MGMT
. All other interfaces on the BIG-IP system are known as TMM switch interfaces. TMM switch interfaces
are those interfaces that the BIG-IP system uses to send or receive application traffic, that is, traffic slated for load balancing. The remainder of this chapter describes how to configure TMM switch interfaces. For information on how to configure and use the management interface, see Chapter 2, Configuring the BIG-IP Platform and General Properties
Each of the interfaces on the BIG-IP system has unique properties, such as
media speed, duplex mode, VLAN tagging, and spanning tree protocol settings. You can use the Configuration utility to configure these properties. For more information, see Configuring interfaces
In addition to configuring interface properties, you can implement a feature
known as interface mirroring, which you can use to duplicate traffic from one or more interfaces to another. You can also view statistics about the traffic on each interface. For more information, see Configuring interface mirroring
and Displaying interface statistics
Once you have configured the properties of each interface, you can
configure several other features of the BIG-IP system that control the way that interfaces operate. For example, by creating a virtual local area network (VLAN) and assigning interfaces to it, the BIG-IP system can insert a VLAN ID, or tag
, into frames passing through those interfaces. In this way, a single interface can forward traffic for multiple VLANs. For more information on configuring other BIG-IP features related to interfaces, see Related configuration tasks
Each interface on the BIG-IP system has a set of properties that you can
configure, such as enabling or disabling the interface, setting the requested media type and duplex mode, and configuring flow control. Configuring the properties of each interface is one of the first tasks you do after running the Setup utility on the BIG-IP system. While you can change some of these properties, such as media speed and duplex mode, you cannot change other properties, such as the media access control (MAC) address.
By convention, the names of the interfaces on the BIG-IP system use the
is the slot number of the network interface card (NIC), and p
is the port number on the NIC. Examples of interface names are 1.1, 1.2, and 2.1. BIG-IP system interfaces already have names assigned to them; you do not explicitly assign them.
Using the Configuration utility, you can display a screen that lists all of the
BIG-IP system interfaces, as well as their current status (UP
. You can also view other information about each interface:
This information is useful when you want to assess the way that a particular
interface is forwarding traffic. For example, you can use this information to determine the specific VLANs for which an interface is currently forwarding traffic. You can also use this information to determine the speed at which an interface is currently operating.
On the General Properties screen for interfaces, you can view the media
speed and the duplex mode of an interface. Use the following procedures to view the list of interfaces and related information, and to view the media properties of an interface.
On the Main tab of the navigation pane, expand Network
, and click Interfaces
. This displays a list of the interfaces on the BIG-IP system, along with their status and related information.
You can configure a number of general properties for each interface. When
you configure these properties, you customize the way that the interface forwards traffic. For example, if you want the interface to operate as part of a trunk, you can set the Requested Duplex
mode to full
, which is a requirement for trunk participation. Table 9.1
lists and describes these properties.
Use the following procedure to configure the general properties of an
interface. For detailed information on these individual properties, see the sections following the procedure.
You can either enable or disable an interface on the BIG-IP system, by
configuring the State
property. By default, each interface is set to Enabled
, where it can accept ingress or egress traffic. When you set the state to Disabled
, the interface cannot accept ingress or egress traffic.
You can configure the Requested Media
property to specify the media type and duplex mode of the interface card, or you can use the auto
setting for auto-detection. The values that you can choose from when configuring the Requested Media
property are: auto
, 10baseT full
, 10baseT half
, 100baseTX full
, 100baseTX half,
and 1000baseT full
, and 1000baseT half
The default setting for this property is auto
. If the media type is set to auto
and the card does not support auto-detection, the default type for that interface is used, for example 1000BaseT half
mode means that traffic on that interface can travel in both directions simultaneously, while half duplex
mode means that traffic on that interface can only travel in one direction at any given time. Note that if you want the interface to be part of a trunk, the media type must be set to one with full duplex mode.
If the media type of the interface does not allow the duplex mode to be set,
this is indicated by an on-screen message. If setting the duplex mode is not supported for the interface, the duplex setting is not saved to the bigip_base.conf
You can configure the Flow Control
property to manage the way that an interface handles pause frames for flow control. Pause frames
are frames that an interface sends to a peer interface as a way to control frame transmission from that peer interface. Pausing a peers frame transmissions prevents an interfaces First-in, First-out (FIFO) queue from filling up and resulting in a loss of data. Possible values for this property are:
| || |Pause TX/RX
Specifies that the interface honors pause frames from its peer, and also generates pause frames when necessary. This is the default value.
| || |Pause TX
Specifies that the interface ignores pause frames from its peer, and generates pause frames when necessary.
| || |Pause RX
Specifies that the interface honors pause frames from its peer, but does not generate pause frames.
For reliability reasons, you can configure a feature known as interface
mirroring. When you configure interface mirroring
, you cause the BIG-IP system to copy the traffic on one or more interfaces to another interface that you specify. By default, the interface mirroring feature is disabled.
| |From the Interface Mirroring State
list, select Enabled
This displays additional configuration settings.
| |From the Destination Interface
list, select the interface that you want the BIG-IP system to use for mirrored traffic.
| |For the Mirrored Interfaces
setting, click an interface number in the Available
box, and using the Move button (<<
), move the interface number to the Selected
box. Repeat this step for each interface that you want to mirror.
| |For the Data Format
setting, retain the default value (Normalized
), or select Unformatted
from the list.
| |For the Auto Refresh
setting, retain the default value of Disabled
, or select an automatic refresh interval from the list.
Setting the Auto Refresh
value to a short interval could impact system performance.
After you have configured the interfaces on the BIG-IP system, one of the
primary tasks you perform is to assign those interfaces to the virtual LANs (VLANs) that you create. A VLAN
is a logical subset of hosts on a local area network (LAN) that reside in the same IP address space. When you assign multiple interfaces to a single VLAN, traffic destined for a host in that VLAN can travel through any one of these interfaces to reach its destination. Conversely, when you assign a single interface to multiple VLANs, the BIG-IP system can use that single interface for any traffic that is intended for hosts in those VLANs. For more information on VLANs and assigning interfaces to them, see Chapter 7, Configuring VLANs and VLAN Groups
Another powerful feature that you can use for BIG-IP system interfaces is
trunking, with link aggregation. A trunk
is an object that logically groups physical interfaces together to increase bandwidth. Link aggregation, through the use of the industry-standard Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP), provides regular monitoring of link status, as well as failover if an interface becomes unavailable. For more information on using trunks and LACP, see Chapter 13, Working with Trunks
Finally, you can configure your BIG-IP system interfaces to work with one
of the spanning tree protocols (STP, RSTP, and MSTP). Spanning tree protocols
reduce traffic on your internal network by blocking duplicate routes to prevent bridging loops. Chapter 15, Configuring Spanning Tree Protocols
, describes the spanning tree protocols and the procedure for configuring these protocols on the BIG-IP system. The chapter also includes information on setting spanning tree-related properties on individual interfaces.