Bonding is a technology that allows aggregation of multiple ethernet-like interfaces into a single virtual link, thus getting higher data rates and providing failover.
- Packages required: system
- License required: Level1
- Submenu level:
- Standards and Technologies: None
- Hardware usage: Not significant
Quick Setup Guide
Let us assume that we have 2 NICs in each router (Router1 and Router2) and want to get maximum data rate between 2 routers. To make this possible, follow these steps:
- Make sure that you do not have IP addresses on interfaces which will be enslaved for bonding interface!
- Add bonding interface on Router1:
[admin@Router1] interface bonding> add slaves=ether1,ether2
And on Router2:
[admin@Router2] interface bonding> add slaves=ether1,ether2
Add addresses to bonding interfaces:
[admin@Router1] ip address> add address=172.16.0.1/24 interface=bonding1 [admin@Router2] ip address> add address=172.16.0.2/24 interface=bonding1
Test the link from Router1:
[admin@Router1] interface bonding> /pi 172.16.0.2 172.16.0.2 ping timeout 172.16.0.2 ping timeout 172.16.0.2 ping timeout 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms
It is critical that one of the available link monitoring options is enabled. In the above example, if one of the bonded links were to fail, the bonding driver will still continue to send packets over the failed link which will lead to network degradation. Bonding in RouterOS currently supports two schemes for monitoring a link state of slave devices: MII and ARP monitoring. It is not possible to use both methods at the same time due to restrictions in the bonding driver.
ARP monitoring sends ARP queries and uses the response as an indication that the link is operational. This also gives assurance that traffic is actually flowing over the links. If balance-rr and balance-xor modes are set, then the switch should be configured to evenly distribute packets across all links. Otherwise all replies from the ARP targets will be received on the same link which could cause other links to fail. ARP monitoring is enabled by setting three properties link-monitoring, arp-ip-targets and arp-interval. Meaning of each option is described later in this article. It is possible to specify multiple ARP targets that can be useful in High Availability setups. If only one target is set, the target itself may go down. Having additional targets increases the reliability of the ARP monitoring.
Enable ARP monitoring
[admin@Router1] interface bonding> set 0 link-monitoring=arp arp-ip-targets=172.16.0.2 [admin@Router2] interface bonding> set 0 link-monitoring=arp arp-ip-targets=172.16.0.1
We will not change arp-interval value in our example, RouterOS sets arp-interval to 100ms by default.
Unplug one of the cables to test if the link monitoring works correctly, you will notice some ping timeouts until arp monitoring detects link failure.
[admin@Router1] interface bonding> /pi 172.16.0.2 172.16.0.2 ping timeout 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms 172.16.0.2 ping timeout 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms 172.16.0.2 ping timeout 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms 172.16.0.2 64 byte ping: ttl=64 time=2 ms
MII monitoring monitors only the state of the local interface. MII Type 1 - device driver determines whether link is up or down. If device driver does not support this option then link will appear as always up. Main disadvantage is that MII monitoring can't tell if the link can actually pass packets or not, even if the link is detected as being up.
MII monitoring is configured by setting the variables link-monitoring mode and mii-interval.
Enable MII Type1 monitoring:
[admin@Router1] interface bonding> set 0 link-monitoring=mii [admin@Router2] interface bonding> set 0 link-monitoring=mii
We will leave mii-interval to it's default value (100ms)
When unplugging one of the cables, the failure will be detected almost instantly compared to ARP link monitoring.
802.3ad mode is an IEEE standard also called LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol). It includes automatic configuration of the aggregates, so minimal configuration of the switch is needed. This standard also mandates that frames will be delivered in order and connections should not see mis-ordering of packets. The standard also mandates that all devices in the aggregate must operate at the same speed and duplex mode.
LACP balances outgoing traffic across the active ports based on hashed protocol header information and accepts incoming traffic from any active port. The hash includes the Ethernet source and destination address and if available, the VLAN tag, and the IPv4/IPv6 source and destination address. How this is calculated depends on transmit-hash-policy parameter. The ARP link monitoring is not recommended, because the ARP replies might arrive only on one slave port due to transmit hash policy on the LACP peer device. This can result in unbalanced transmitted traffic, so MII link monitoring is the recommended option.
Example connects two ethernet interfaces on a router to the Edimax switch as a single, load balanced and fault tolerant link. More interfaces can be added to increase throughput and fault tolerance. Since frame ordering is mandatory on Ethernet links then any traffic between two devices always flows over the same physical link limiting the maximum speed to that of one interface. The transmit algorithm attempts to use as much information as it can to distinguish different traffic flows and balance across the available interfaces.
Router R1 configuration:
/inteface bonding add slaves=ether1,ether2 mode=802.3ad lacp-rate=30secs link-monitoring=mii \ transmit-hash-policy=layer-2-and-3
Configuration on a switch:
Intelligent Switch : Trunk Configuration ================== 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 M1 M2 1 - v - v - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 7 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - TRK1 LACP TRK2 Disable TRK3 Disable TRK4 Disable TRK5 Disable TRK6 Disable TRK7 Disable
Notice that LACP is enabled on first trunk group (TRK1) and switch ports on first trunk group are bound with 'v' flag. In our case port 2 and port4 will run LACP.
Verify if LACP is working: On the switch we should first verify if LACP protocol is enabled and running:
Intelligent Switch : LACP Port State Active Configuration ================== Port State Activity Port State Activity --------------------------- --------------------------- 2 Active 4 Active
After that we can ensure that LACP negotiated with our router. If you don't see both ports on the list then something is wrong and LACP is not going to work.
Intelligent Switch : LACP Group Status ================== Group [Actor] [Partner] Priority: 1 65535 MAC : 000E2E2206A9 000C42409426 Port_No Key Priority Active Port_No Key Priority 2 513 1 selected 1 9 255 4 513 1 selected 2 9 255
After we verified that switch successfully negotiated LACP with our router, we can start traffic from Client1 and Client2 to the Server and check how traffic is evenly forwarded through both bonding slaves:
[admin@test-host] /interface> monitor-traffic ether1,ether2,bonding1 rx-packets-per-second: 8158 8120 16278 rx-drops-per-second: 0 0 0 rx-errors-per-second: 0 0 0 rx-bits-per-second: 98.8Mbps 98.2Mbps 197.0Mbps tx-packets-per-second: 4833 4560 9394 tx-drops-per-second: 0 0 0 tx-errors-per-second: 0 0 0 tx-bits-per-second: 2.7Mbps 3.0Mbps 5.8Mbps
If this mode is set, packets are transmitted in sequential order from the first available slave to the last.
Balance-rr is the only mode that will send packets across multiple interfaces that belong to the same TCP/IP connection.
When utilizing multiple sending and multiple receiving links, packets are often received out of order, which result in segment retransmission, for other protocols such as UDP it is not a problem if client software can tolerate out-of-order packets.
If switch is used to aggregate links together, then appropriate switch port configuration is required, however many switches do not support balance-rr.
Quick setup guide demonstrates use of the balance-rr bonding mode. As you can see, it is quite simple to set up. Balance-rr is also useful for bonding several wireless links, however it requires equal bandwidth for all bonded links. If bandwidth of one bonded link drops, then total bandwidth of bond will be equal to the bandwidth of the slowest bonded link.
This mode uses only one active slave to transmit packets. The additional slave only becomes active if the primary slave fails. The MAC address of the bonding interface is presented onto the active port to avoid confusing the switch. Active-backup is the best choice in high availability setups with multiple switches that are interconnected.
This mode balances outgoing traffic across the active ports based on the hashed protocol header information and accepts incoming traffic from any active port. Mode is very similar to LACP except that it is not standardized and works with layer-3-and-4 hash policy.
When ports are configured with broadcast mode, all slave ports transmit the same packets to the destination to provide fault tolerance. This mode does not provide load balancing.
This mode balances outgoing traffic by peer. Each link can be a different speed and duplex mode and no specific switch configuration is required as for the other modes. Downside of this mode is that only MII link monitoring is supported (ARP link monitoring is ignored when configured) and incoming traffic is not balanced. Incoming traffic will use the link that is configured as "primary".
Lets assume than router has two links - ether1 max bandwidth is 10Mbps and ether2 max bandwidth is 5Mbps.
First link has more bandwidth so we set it as primary link
/interface bonding add mode=balance-tlb slaves=ether1,ether2 primary=ether1
No additional configuration is required for the switch.
Image above illustrates how balance-tlb mode works. As you can see router can communicate to all the clients connected to the switch with a total bandwidth of both links (15Mbps). But as you already know, balance-tlb is not balancing incoming traffic. In our example clients can communicate to router with total bandwidth of primary link which is 10Mbps in our configuration.
Mode is basically the same as balance-tlb but incoming traffic is also balanced. Only additional downside of this mode is that it requires device driver capability to change MAC address. Most of the cheap cards do not support this mode.
Image above illustrates how balance-alb mode works. Compared to balance-tlb mode, traffic from clients can also use the secondary link to communicate with the router.
|arp (disabled | enabled | proxy-arp | reply-only; Default: enabled)|| Address Resolution Protocol for the interface.
|arp-interval (time; Default: 00:00:00.100)||Time in milliseconds which defines how often to monitor ARP requests|
|arp-ip-targets (IP address; Default: )||IP target address which will be monitored if link-monitoring is set to arp. You can specify multiple IP addresses, separated by comma|
|comment (string; Default: )||Short description of the interface|
|disabled (yes | no; Default: no)||Changes whether the bonding interface is disabled|
|down-delay (time; Default: 00:00:00)||If a link failure has been detected, bonding interface is disabled for down-delay time. Value should be a multiple of mii-interval|
|forced-mac-address (MAC address; Default: none)|| By default, bonding interface will use MAC address of the first selected slave interface. This property allows to configure static MAC address for the bond interface (all zeros, broadcast or multicast addresses will not apply). RouterOS will automatically change the MAC address for slave interfaces and it will be visible in
|lacp-rate (1sec | 30secs; Default: 30secs)||Link Aggregation Control Protocol rate specifies how often to exchange with LACPDUs between bonding peer. Used to determine whether link is up or other changes have occurred in the network. LACP tries to adapt to these changes providing failover.|
|link-monitoring (arp | mii | none; Default: mii)|| Method to use for monitoring the link (whether it is up or down)
|min-links (integer: 0..4294967295; Default: 0)||How many active slave links needed for bonding to become active|
|mii-interval (time; Default: 00:00:00.100)||How often to monitor the link for failures (parameter used only if link-monitoring is mii)|
|mode (802.3ad | active-backup | balance-alb | balance-rr | balance-tlb | balance-xor | broadcast; Default: balance-rr)|| Specifies one of the bonding policies
|mtu (integer; Default: 1500)||Maximum Transmit Unit in bytes. Must be smaller or equal to the smallest L2MTU value of a bonding slave.|
|name (string; Default: )||Name of the bonding interface|
|primary (string; Default: )||Interface is used as primary output interface. If primary interface fails, only then are other slaves used. This value works only with active-backup mode|
|slaves (string; Default: none)||At least two ethernet-like interfaces separated by a comma, which will be used for bonding|
|up-delay (time; Default: 00:00:00)||If a link has been brought up, bonding interface is disabled for up-delay time and after this time it is enabled. Value should be a multiple of mii-interval|
|transmit-hash-policy (layer-2 | layer-2-and-3 | layer-3-and-4; Default: layer-2)|| Selects the transmit hash policy to use for slave selection in balance-xor and 802.3ad modes
Link failure detection and failover is working significantly better with expensive network cards, for example, made by Intel, then with more cheap ones. On Intel cards for example, failover is taking place in less than a second after link loss, while on some other cards, it may require up to 20 seconds. Also, the Active load balancing (
mode=balance-alb) does not work on some cheap cards.
L2 MTU of bonding interface is determined by taking smallest value of all slaves.