Exhibit n.2: The layers of a hierarchical network

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1 3. Advanced Secure Network Design 3.1 Introduction You already know that routers are probably the most critical equipment piece in today s networking. Without routers, internetwork communication would be impossible. However, most network technicians working for small or medium-sized businesses work inside local area networks. A well-designed LAN can be a significant advantage for any organization. To this end, local area networks are usually divided into multiple segments or levels. This can be achieved with the services of a switch. A switch is a type of network device, in many ways similar to the router, but also quite different in other ways. In this chapter, we will learn how to use switches to design safer and more effective local area networks. The first part of this chapter will focus on the concept of hierarchical networks: dividing a network into different parts, each part with a unique function. Such a composition presents multiple benefits which we shall outline. The next part of the chapter will focus on switches and what services they present to each layer of a hierarchical network and its similarities and differences with a router. The last part of this chapter will is reserved for Virtual Local Area Networks, a system which improves the performance and security of a network.

2 3.2 Hierarchical Network When planning to build a small network where the number of devices is limited, you cannot encounter many problems. However, most medium-sized or bigger networks aren t constructed so easily. Oftentimes such Exhibit n.1: Switch icon networks will have fixed performance, bandwidth or security requirements. You also need to account for the possibility of future growth. That s why most networking engineers build their networks according to a pre-defined model. Among these models, the hierarchical model is one of the most widely used. This model divides your network into three layers: - Access Layer: The first layer serves as the interface for the human-network communication. This is where end devices like PCs, printers or IP phones are stored. - Distribution Layer: The distribution layer processes data before it is sent to its final destination. It controls traffic flow using various protocols or security policies and is responsible for routing between Virtual LANs. Most devices on the distribution layer are switches. The distribution layer always makes sure there are several paths open to the core layer. - Core Layer: This layer collects all data from the distribution layer and passes it to the correct device, be it inside the network or in a remote network. The devices on this layer are critical, so they need to be reliable and offer redundancy, in case one of them went down. The devices on this layer are either high quality switches or routers (for Internet access) with high-speed forwarding rates. Exhibit n.2: The layers of a hierarchical network A hierarchical network offers many benefits. First off, such a network is highly scalable. End devices can be connected easily at the access layer. Should the switches at the access layer become overburdened, you can easily add new switches at the distribution layer, to ease off network load. Another important advantage is redundancy. A switch at the access layer can be connected to two switches at the

3 distribution layer, should one of them go down. The same goes for switches on the distribution and core layer. Redundancy is only limited at the access layer, since end devices like PCs cannot be connected to two switches at the same time. Security is another important benefit. Since all data from the access layer passes through the distribution layer, the switches on this level can be easily configured with advanced security settings. For example, you can limit the traffic of HTTP packets from some users and allow it to others. Many security protocols can be used in conjunction with switches. 3.3 Switches in Hierarchical Networks So far, we talked about switches without actually defining what a switch is. A switch is a device similar to a router: it has similar internal components and uses ports to forward data. Switches are used to connect end devices, like routers, but instead of routing packages between different networks, switches operate only inside the local network. This is because they are known as Layer 2 routing devices. They forward data frames by analyzing their source and destination MAC addresses. That s why they are incapable of forwarding packets between networks, they simply do not understand the concept of IP addresses. They do offer other services to a network, though. Choosing the correct switches for each layer of a hierarchical network is fundamental. Thus, switches are primarily defined by three parameters: Exhibit n.3: Fixed configuration switch - Port density: This is the number of ports available on a switch. There are three types of switches according to their port density. Fixed configuration switches usually support 24 or 48 ports, which means you can connect up to 24 or 48 devices. No more ports can be added to a fixed configuration switch, so the number of users it can support is final. This is not true for modular switches. The body of a modular switch offers space for modular line cards. These line cards contain the actual ports. It is similar to buying a graphics card or a RAM card to upgrade your computer. The last type of switch is the stackable switch. These switches can be stacked on top of each other and connected using a special high-bandwidth cable. Together, these switches then operate like a single switch would.

4 Exhibit n.4: Modular switch Exhibit n.5: Stackable switch - Forwarding rates: This parameter measures the processing capabilities of a switch. It simply means how much data a switch can process per second. It is important for a switch to have sufficient processing power to support the network. For example, if 24 ports are connected to a medium with a bandwidth of 1 Gb/s, the switch practically generates 24 Gb/s of traffic when fully connected. If the switch only has a processing power of 16 Gb/s, it will not be able to run at full speed across all ports simultaneously, which could be a problem for the network. - Link aggregation: Usually, switches are connected to the rest of the network with one port. Using our previous example, it can only send data to the rest of the network with a speed of 1 Gb/s. This might not be sufficient for some networks. Link aggregation allows a switch to connect up to 8 ports to the rest of the network, thus generation 8 Gb/s of traffic, if the switch has free ports that is. Exhibit n.6: Link aggregation Of course, there are other features to look out for when choosing a proper switch for your network. Power over Ethernet (PoE) is one of them. This service allows switches to send power to connected devices via existing network cabling. This is especially useful for IP phones, because you can install them wherever you want. Another useful feature is Layer 3 routing. Earlier, we said that switches are Layer 2 devices. However, some switches have added functionality and can recognize Layer 3 protocols. This can be useful for switches on the distribution layer.

5 Different layers of a hierarchical network have different requirements, so naturally the features of the employed switches should reflect this. For switches at the access layer, port density and relatively fast forwarding rates are important. These switches should also support VLAN routing and PoE if necessary. Switches at the higher layers are different. They don t have to connect a multitude of end devices, so naturally port density isn t as important. Remember that almost all data in the network passes through the distribution and core layers. Link aggregation and very fast forwarding rates are paramount to support the fast bandwidth necessary for these layers. Layer 3 routing is also a key component to properly process data at the distribution and core layer. 3.4 Basic Switch Functionalities So how does a switch work exactly? A switch forwards data frames based on their MAC addresses. Similar to the router s routing table, a switch has its own collection of routing information called the MAC address table. The switch fills up its address table by learning the source MAC addresses of the frames it receives. Note Exhibit n.7. In this scenario, the MAC address table of the switch in the middle is empty. When User A sends a data frame to user B, it travels through the switch. The switch looks up the source MAC address of the frame and notes that the frame came from port Eth1/0/1. This way, the switch learned that the device with that MAC address can be found through port Eth1/0/1. This switch writes this information in its address table. Then the switch looks at the destination MAC address of the frame. Since its address table doesn t have any information about User B, the switch floods the frame through all ports, except the one it came from. User C will discard the frame, Exhibit n.7: A switch connected to three devices because it was not meant for him. User B will accept the frame, because its MAC address is identical to the destination MAC address of the frame. When User B responds to User A with another frame, the switch learns the location of User B, the same way as it did with User A. This information is written down in its address table. Another great benefit of switches is that they negate collisions. When two devices on a network try to send data at the same time, a collision occurs. This is because the two signals get mixed up inside the medium. A medium can only carry one signal. A place in the network where collisions can occur is called a collision domain. When not using switches, the devices compete against each other for the right to transfer signals. This is done by various Layer 2 protocols, like CSMA/CD or CSMA/CA. These protocols make sure that only one device is transferring data at any given time.

6 Switches however are different. When a switch transfers data between two devices, it literally creates a point-to-point connection between them. In a point-to-point network, collisions are nearly impossible to occur, because at any given time one device is sending and the other receiving. That s why a switch is superior to other similar devices like a hub or a bridge. These are also layer 2 devices, but if 20 users were connected to a hub, it would create one giant collision domain. These 20 users would always have to compete with each other for the right to transmit data. If you connect 20 users to a switch however, you would create 20 separate collision domains. Since every user would have its own collision domain. Thus, protocols like CSMA/CD would not be necessary and they wouldn t consume any additional bandwidth. Exhibit n.8: A switch creating four separate collision domains The only thing a switch cannot stop from spreading from one collision domain to others is a broadcast. You already know that a broadcast is a frame destined for all users on the network. Since switches have no understanding of Layer 3 protocols, they are only going to do their job: switch the frame to the correct recipient, i.e. all users on the network. The only device which can stop a broadcast is a router. That s why we say that routers create broadcast domains. Exhibit n.9: Collision and Broadcast domains (the device in the middle is a hub)

7 3.5 Switch Forwarding Methods Now that we know how a switch knows where to send a data frame, we can explore the forwarding process in greater detail. Every switch can operate in several forwarding modes, each with different effects: - Store-and-Forward Switching: In this mode, the switch stores the frame in its memory until all the bits of the frame have been received. When the switch analyzes the MAC addresses of the frame, it also conducts a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC). CRC is a mathematical formula which calculates the bits (the 1s) of the frame to see whether it contains any errors. If it does, the frame is discarded, to save bandwidth. If not, it is forwarded to the correct port. This method is used in networks which employ packet prioritization, i.e. when some packets have a higher priority over others (example: voice over IP vs. regular HTTP traffic). - Cut-Through Switching: Cut-Through switching is the exact opposite of Store-and- Forward switching. Once the switch receives enough bytes of the frame to properly analyze its destination MAC address, it forwards the frame out the correct port, even if it was not yet completely received. The rest of the frame just follows after. This method prioritizes speed over quality, so no CRC is performed. This means that even corrupt frames will be forwarded immediately. Exhibit n.10: Forwarding methods The switch can also forward data symmetrically or asymmetrically. In symmetric switching, equal bandwidth is reserved for every port. In asymmetric switching, one port may be granted greater bandwidth than others. This is done by storing entire frames in the switch s memory and forwarding them one-by-one.

8 3.6 Virtual Local Area Networks As you can imagine, performance is of key importance in today s network services. Some professions have truly extraordinary performance requirements, but even in normal user networks some activities can be difficult to perform when the bandwidth of your network is subpar. Different user groups have different performance requirements. This is the primary reason why Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) are created. A VLAN allows you to connect multiple devices logically. This creates the impression that they are located on a network of their very own, even though they share the medium with other VLANs on the same network. This can be an enormous advantage. You can configure each VLAN independently and divide multiple groups of users. For example, you can create one VLAN for students and one for the employees of a university. These two virtual networks are completely independent from each other. Virtual networks also create smaller broadcast domains. We covered these in a previous section. A broadcast will not leave the VLAN it originated in. Security is also improved by using VLANs. Users in the student network would have no access to confidential data on the employee network. Last but not least, using VLANs is very cost effective, as there is no need to buy any expensive network upgrades or new devices. Exhibit n.11: Network configured with three VLANs Each VLAN must have its own IP address, just like a standard network. Devices inside a VLAN can send data to each other without any problems. However, devices in different virtual networks can only communicate with the help of a router, as only routers can handle Layer 3 routing. Every VLAN has its own ID. This ID is usually a number ranging from 1 to These are called the normal-range IDs. IDs 1 and 1002 to 1005 are reserved. There are also extended-range IDs, from 1006 to These usually have fewer configuration options than normal-range and are reserved for large-scale companies and organizations.

9 3.6.1 Types of virtual local area networks There are five different types of VLANs: - Data VLAN: Also called a user VLAN. User generated data travels only through this type of virtual network. If you wanted to send some files to another user, a video file or an audio file, you would use a data VLAN. - Default VLAN: At the startup of a switch, all of its ports are part of the default VLAN, to make them all a part of one broadcast domain. The default VLAN usually has an ID of 1. Different types of Layer 2 control information travels through this type of virtual network. It has all the properties of a standard VLAN, except you cannot rename or delete it. Usually, though not necessarily, the default VLAN is moved to a different ID other than 1. - Native VLAN: Traffic which is not generated on any VLAN is placed on a native VLAN. This allows virtual networks to maintain backward compatibility with networks that are not separated into VLANs. A native VLAN is always placed on the trunk ports of a switch. Trunks are links which forward frames that originate from any VLAN (tagged traffic), as well as no VLAN (untagged traffic). Untagged traffic is always placed on the native VLAN. We will learn more about trunks later on. - Management VLAN: A management VLAN allows a user to connect to a switch to change its configuration without using a standard console cable, for example via HTTP, Telnet or other wireless connection service. The Management VLAN usually has the same ID as the native VLAN, which is no problem, since management VLAN traffic does not interfere with standard traffic. - Voice VLAN: You might wonder why a separate category of VLAN is reserved specifically for VoIP (voice over IP). This is because this technology usually has certain bandwidth requirements which, when not met, cause the audio to become almost impossible to understand. Traffic on a voice VLAN has a fixed bandwidth allocation and a higher priority over other types of VLAN traffic. Exhibit n.12: A network using three data VLANs (VLAN 10, 20, 30), as well as a native VLAN (VLAN 99) to carry data between all VLANs

10 You can configure the type of your VLANs and their respective IP addresses inside a switch. Now is the time to ask oneself: How does a switch know which VLAN can be found at the other end of each port? The answer is that usually specific ports of a switch are reserved for a specific VLAN. For example, in exhibit n.12, ports 11 to 17 on switches S2 and S3 are reserved for VLAN 10. This means that PC1, which is configured as part of VLAN 10, needs to be connected to S2 through those ports. The same is true for PC4 and S3. Network administrators usually configure manually which ports are part of which VLAN. When a port is configured in this manner, we say that it is in the static VLAN mode. There is also a dynamic VLAN mode which uses a special server called a VLAN Membership Policy Server (VMPS). Ports are thus assigned to VLANs dynamically, though this is not widely used VLAN Trunks It s pretty hard to imagine today s VLANs without trunks. A trunk is a point-to-point connection that carries signals from multiple VLANs. What advantage does this bring? Look back to exhibit n.12. If you wanted to forward data from S2 through S1 to S3 without the use of trunks, you would need 3 physical cable connections on S2 and S3 to connect to S1. This means you have to reserve two more ports on these switches. It is even worse on S1, since that switch is connected to both S2 and S3. You would require 4 more ports on S1 to support the additional cabling instead of the standard 2 ports you would require by using trunks. Exhibit n.13: Same network as in exhibit n.12, but also showing which ports belong to which VLAN and which ports are configured as 802.1Q trunk ports

11 Remember that switches are layer 2 devices. They do not understand layer 3 addressing. A layer 2 data frame is distinguished by its MAC address, it does not carry any VLAN information. If a trunk carries data from all VLANs and from non- VLANs, how can a switch remember the destination VLAN of a data frame? It knows because this information is added to the layer 2 frame by an 802.1Q header. This header contains a tag that specifies which VLAN the frame belongs to, thus we recognize two types of traffic: tagged and untagged. Note exhibit n.13. What happens exactly when PC1 attempts to send a frame to PC4? S2 receives the frame and tags it with the ID of the VLAN PC1 belongs to: VLAN 10. It places the frame on the trunk. When S1 receives the frame, it broadcasts them through all ports configured to forward data from VLAN 10, in this case, only the trunk port. When S3 receives the frame, it does the same. Ports 11 to 17 are reserved for VLAN 10, so the tag is removed and forwarded through these ports. PC4 is connected through one of these ports, so it will accept the frame. If a data frame is untagged, meaning it does not originate in a VLAN, it is placed on the native VLAN which handles all untagged traffic. Should a tagged frame arrive on the native VLAN, it will be dropped. Should a PC be configured with an IP address which falls into the native VLAN, its frames will always be untagged Trunk modes and protocols A port which has been configured as a trunk port can be configured to use either the 802.1Q trunking mode or the ISL trunking mode. We already explained how the 802.1Q mode works: by using tagged and untagged traffic. When a frame is tagged, then the tag is removed upon leaving the trunk. The ISL trunking mode is seldom used however and most networking companies no longer support it. All frames arriving on an ISL trunk port are expected to already have the ISL header and they are sent with it. Thus, all traffic is tagged and untagged frames are always automatically dropped. There are also various trunk protocols which facilitate communication between the trunk ports on various switches. An example of such a port is DTP (dynamic trunking protocol), a protocol developed by Cisco. You don t need to worry about trunking protocols. We only mentioned them because the switches we are going to use in the practice session of this chapter are all automatically configured with DTP. To get at least some idea of how this protocol works, know that a trunk port is always associated with a certain mode or state: - Dynamic auto: ready to become a trunk port - Desirable: ready to become a trunk port, informs the other port to become a trunk port - On (default): is a trunk port - Off: Turns off DTP Thus, for example, if one port is configured as desirable and the other as dynamic auto or on, then both of them will start trunking.

12 3.7 Inter-VLAN Routing In the previous parts of this chapter, we analyzed how a VLAN works and how it can help segment a network into independent units, all of them with their own IP range and broadcast domain. Because of this, we can say that a VLAN is almost identical to a standard network. Unfortunately, this also means that when sending data from one VLAN to another, the layer 2 services which a switch provides are not going to be sufficient. When attempting to route data from one VLAN to the next you are going to need, just like a normal network would, the functionalities which only a router can support. As you know, a VLAN is usually associated with a certain port, or multiple ports, of switch. In traditional inter-vlan routing, this is also true for the physical interfaces of a router. One VLAN equals one interface. In exhibit n.14, PC1 on VLAN 10 sends a frame to PC3 on VLAN 30. The frame crosses through S2 to S1. It leaves S1 through port F0/6, the port reserved for VLAN 10. It reaches router R1 through interface F0/0, Exhibit n.14: Traditional inter-vlan routing which is also reserved for VLAN 10. The router analyzes the frame and recognizes that it is meant for VLAN 30. Thus, it leaves R1 through F0/1 which has been configured to forward frames to and from VLAN 30. It crosses F0/5 on S1 and reaches S2 through the trunk port. S2 sends it to PC3 through port F0/6. This is known as Traditional inter-vlan routing. Traditional inter-vlan routing is fine for situations where you only have a few VLANs. However, a router does not have as many interfaces as a switch has ports. A switch can easily have more than 48 ports, but a router seldom has as many Ethernet interfaces. This means that reserving one interface for one VLAN is not going to work for long. The best and simplest solution would be to make one router interface a trunk link which can route frames for all VLANs. This is called a Router-ona-stick. Exhibit n.15: Router-on-a-stick

13 In the case of traditional inter-vlan routing, the router acts exactly as a gateway would. Every interface is configured as a gateway for the VLAN it belongs to, with an appropriate IP address. We can observe this in exhibit n.14. Router interface F0/0 is configured with an IP address of , since this interface serves to route data for VLAN 10. When employing a router-on-a-stick solution however, you only have one physical interface connected to the network which routers data for all VLANs. An interface can only have one IP address though. How can we configure one interface with an IP address of many VLANs? The solution is to divide the interface into multiple subinterfaces. Exhibit n.16: Router-on-a-stick configured with three sub-interfaces A sub-interface is a logical interface which functions the same way as its physical counterpart. A router physical interface can be divided into as many sub-interfaces as you need, each sub-interface routing data for one VLAN. In exhibit n.16, the router interface has been divided into three separate sub-interfaces: - F0/0.10: With an IP address of which corresponds with VLAN 10. All data coming to and from VLAN 10 is forwarded through this sub-interface - F0/0.20: With an IP address of which corresponds with VLAN 20. All data coming to and from VLAN 20 is forwarded through this sub-interface - F0/0.30: With an IP address of which corresponds with VLAN 30. All data coming to and from VLAN 30 is forwarded through this sub-interface You might be wondering: how many sub-interfaces can be created by dividing one physical interface? The sub-interface ID, which differentiates one sub-interface from the other, is a 32-bit identifier which means it can support around 4296 billion possible values. You probably won t encounter a network with that many VLANs.

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