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DLDP Technology White Paper

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DLDP Technology White Paper
Keywords: DLDP Down, unidirectional link, neighbor
Abstract: The Device Link Detection Protocol (DLDP) can detect the link status of a fiber cable or
twisted pair. Upon detecting a unidirectional link, DLDP shuts down the faulty port
automatically or prompts the user to do so manually depending on the configuration to
avoid forwarding problems. This document introduces the concepts, mechanism, and
typical applications of DLDP.
Acronyms:
Acronym Full spelling
DLDP Device Link Detection Protocol
LACP Link Aggregation Control Protocol
RSY Re-synchronization




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Table of Contents
1 Overview......................................................................................................................................... 3
1.1 Background.......................................................................................................................... 3
1.2 Benefits................................................................................................................................ 3
2 DLDP Implementation.................................................................................................................... 4
2.1 Concepts.............................................................................................................................. 4
2.1.1 DLDP States.............................................................................................................. 4
2.1.2 DLDP Timers............................................................................................................. 5
2.1.3 DLDP Neighbor States.............................................................................................. 7
2.2 Unidirectional Link Detection Mechanism............................................................................ 7
2.2.1 Unidirectional Link Detection on a Port Connected to a Neighbor............................ 7
2.2.2 Unidirectional Link Detection on a Port Connected to Multiple Neighbors ............. 10
2.3 Unidirectional Link Handling Mechanism........................................................................... 11
2.4 Operation Mechanism After Link Recovery....................................................................... 12
2.5 Restrictions ........................................................................................................................ 13
3 Application Scenarios................................................................................................................... 13



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1 Overview
1.1 Background
In actual networks, fibers may be cross connected, one fiber may be not connected,
and a fiber or one cable of a twist pair may be disconnected. Whichever fault occurs,
a unidirectional link will be created where one end on the link can receive packets
from the other end but the other cannot.
As the physical connection of a unidirectional link is up, the detection mechanism
(such as the auto-negotiation mechanism) of the physical layer cannot detect the
communication failure on the link, resulting in traffic forwarding errors. To address the
problem, the Device Link Detection Protocol (DLDP) was developed.
You can use DLDP to monitor fiber-optic or copper twisted pair links for unidirectional
links. Depending on your configuration, upon detecting a unidirectional link, DLDP
shuts down the faulty port automatically or prompt users to shut down the faulty ports
manually to avoid forwarding problems.
1.2 Benefits
As a link layer protocol, DLDP can identify remote devices, detect unidirectional links,
and shut down unreachable ports at the link layer.


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If both ends of a link are operating normally at the physical layer, DLDP detects
whether the link is correctly connected at the link layer and whether the two
ends can exchange packets properly. This is beyond the capability of the auto-
negotiation mechanism at the physical layer.
In conjunction with the physical layer auto-negotiation mechanism where
physical signals and faults can be detected, DLDP can detect and shut down
physically/logically unidirectional links.
2 DLDP Implementation
2.1 Concepts
DLDP identifies remote devices and detect unidirectional links by exchanging
DLDPDUs with its remote peers. This section introduces some concepts of DLDP.
2.1.1 DLDP States
A DLDP-enabled port may be in one of the seven states described in Table 1 .
Table 1 Description on DLDP states
State Description
Initial Initial state before DLDP is enabled.
Inactive DLDP is enabled but the link is down.
Active
DLDP is enabled, and the link is up or
the neighbor entry or entries have been
cleared.
Advertisement
All neighbors are bi-directionally
reachable or the port has been in the
Active state for more than five seconds.
This is a relatively stable state where no
unidirectional link has been detected.
Probe
The port enters this state when DLDP
receives a packet from an unknown
neighbor. In this state, DLDP sends
Probe packets to check whether the link
in-between is unidirectional.
Disable
A port enters this state when a
unidirectional link is detected or the
contact with the neighbor in enhanced
mode gets lost. In this case, the port
does not receive or send packets other
than DLDPDUs.


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State Description
DelayDown
When the port in the Active,
Advertisement, or Probe state detects a
port-down event, it transits to the
DelayDown state rather than removes
the corresponding neighbor entry. A
port in the DelayDown state keeps
DLDP neighbor information and
responds to only port-up events.

2.1.2 DLDP Timers
DLDP uses the timers described in Table 2 :
Table 2 DLDP timers
Timer Description
Active timer
Specifies the interval at which a port in
the Active state sends RSY-tagged
Advertisement packets, which is fixed to
one second.
Advertisement timer
Specifies the interval at which a port in
the Advertisement state sends common
Advertisement packets, which defaults
to five seconds. The Advertisement
timer is configurable.
Probe timer
Specifies the interval at which a port in
the Probe state sends two Probe
packets. The Probe timer is fixed to one
second.
Echo timer
The Echo timer is triggered when DLDP
enters the Probe state or when
enhanced detection is enabled. The
Echo timer is fixed to 10 seconds.
If the port has not received any Echo
packet from its neighbor before the
Echo timer expires, the port enters the
Disable state and sends Disable
packets. Depending on the configured
DLDP Down mode, DLDP shuts down
the port automatically, or prompts you
to shut down the port manually, and
DLDP deletes the neighbor entry at the
same time.


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Timer Description
Neighbor aging timer
When DLDP creates an entry for a
newly detected neighbor, a Neighbor
aging timer starts.
When a DLDPDU is received from a
neighbor, the device updates the
corresponding neighbor entry and re-
starts the Neighbor aging timer.
In normal mode, if no packet is received
from a neighbor when the Neighbor
aging timer expires, DLDP sends an
RSY-tagged Advertisement packet, and
deletes the neighbor entry.
In enhanced mode, if no packet is
received from a neighbor when the
Neighbor aging timer expires, DLDP
starts the Enhanced timer.
The Neighbor aging timer is three times
the Advertisement timer.
Enhanced timer
In Enhanced mode, if no packet is
received from a neighbor when the
Neighbor aging timer expires, DLDP
starts the Enhanced timer. The
Enhanced timer is one second.
After the Enhanced timer starts, the
device sends up to eight Probe packets
to the neighbor at the frequency of one
packet per second. If no Echo packet is
received from the neighbor when the
Echo timer expires, the port transits to
the Disable state and sends Disable
packets. Depending on the user-defined
DLDP Down mode, DLDP shuts down
the port automatically or prompts you to
shut down the port manually, and at the
same time deletes the neighbor entry.
DelayDown timer
The DelayDown timer starts for a DLDP
port when a port-down event is detected
on the port.
If no port-up event is detected on the
port when the DelayDown expires, the
system deletes the DLDP entry and
places the port in the Inactive state. If a
port-up event is detected before the
timer expires, the port resumes its
previous DLDP state.


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Timer Description
RecoverProbe timer
Specifies the interval at which a port in
the Disable state sends RecoverProbe
packets (used for detecting link
recovery). The timer is fixed to two
seconds.

2.1.3 DLDP Neighbor States
If a local port can receive link layer packets from a remote port, the remote port is
called the neighbor of the local port. Two ports that can exchange packets with each
other are the neighbors of each other. There are three DLDP neighbor states, as
shown in Table 3 .
Table 3 DLDP neighbor state
State Description
Unknown
A neighbor just detected is placed in
unknown state. The state indicates that
the neighbor is being probed and no
reply has been received from it yet.
After the probe finishes, the neighbor is
placed in bidirectional (two-way) state
or unidirectional state depending on the
probe result.
Two way (bidirectional)
A neighbor is placed in this state after a
probe reply is received from it. This
state indicates that the link is a
bidirectional one. A neighbor can be in
this state for a long time stably.
One way (unidirectional)
A neighbor is placed in this state after
the link connecting it is detected to be
unidirectional. A neighbor in one-way
state will be removed.

2.2 Unidirectional Link Detection Mechanism
2.2.1 Unidirectional Link Detection on a Port Connected to a Neighbor
This section describes how unidirectional link detection is conducted on a port
connected to a single neighbor in the following two cases:


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Unidirectional link appears before DLDP is enabled
Unidirectional link appears after DLDP is enabled
1. Unidirectional link appears before DLDP is enabled
As shown in Figure 1 , fibers connecting Device A and Device B are cross-connected
but the connected ports are in up state.

Figure 1 A network with cross-connected fibers
After DLDP is enabled, the four ports transit to the DLDP Active state and sends out
RSY-tagged Advertisement messages to declare their existence and discover
neighbors. The following describes how DLDP works, taking Port 1 for example.
(1) Upon receiving the RSY-tagged Advertisement from Port 4, Port 1 considers
that it has discovered a new DLDP neighbor. It thus starts the Echo timer,
creates an entry for the neighbor and at the same time starts the aging timer of
the entry. Then, Port 1 enters the Probe state, and sends out Probe packets to
explore for Port 4.
(2) As Port 4 cannot receive the Probe packets from Port 1, it does not send Echo
packets to Port 1. After the Echo timer on Port 1 expires, Port 1 enters the
Disable state.
The detection process on the other ports is the same as that on Port 1. At last, the
four ports are all in the Disable state.
2. Unidirectional link appears after DLDP is enabled
As shown in Figure 2 , Device A and Device B are fiber-connected correctly.

Figure 2 A correctly fiber-connected single-neighbor network


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Enable DLDP, assuming that both the Tx line and the Rx line are working normally
and the four ports are in up state. DLDP works as follows:
(1) Port A transits to the Active state and sends out an RSY-tagged Advertisement
message to declare its existence and discover neighbors.
(2) Upon receiving the RSY-tagged Advertisement from Port A, Port B considers
that it has discovered a new neighbor. It thus starts the Echo timer, creates an
entry for the neighbor, and at the same time starts the aging timer of the entry.
Then, Port B enters the Probe state, and sends out a Probe packet.
(3) Upon receiving the Probe packet from Port B, Port A creates an entry for the
neighbor, enters the Probe state, and returns an Echo packet to Device B.
(4) Upon receiving the Echo packet, Port B checks the Echo packet and finds that
the entry for Port A already exists and the neighbor information in the Echo
packet is the same as that saved locally. Thus, Port B regards Port A as a
bidirectional neighbor. As a result, the DLDP state of Port B transits from Probe
to Advertisement, and Port B sends out common Advertisement packets
periodically. In Advertisement state, Port B restarts the aging timer of the Entry
each time it receives an Advertisement packet from the neighbor.
(5) DLDP works in the same way on Port A.
(6) Finally Port A and Port B consider each other as its bidirectional neighbor and
both enter the Advertisement state.
If the Rx line of Port B fails after that, as shown in Figure 3 , Port B goes down
physically, and enters the Inactive state, not sending or receiving any packet.
However, the Tx line of Port B can still send signals, and Port A can receive signals.
Therefore, Port A is still up. When Port A fails to receive any DLDP packet from Port
B before the Neighbor aging timer expires, Port A performs the subsequent
unidirectional link detection process depending on the configured DLDP mode.

Figure 3 Unidirectional link in a single-neighbor network


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In the normal DLDP mode, after the Neighbor aging timer expires, Port A
deletes the neighbor entry, enters the Active state, and sends an RSY-tagged
Advertisement packet to request for neighbor information. Port A stays in the
Active state for five seconds and then enters the Advertisement state. Then Port
A remains in the Advertisement state and has no neighbor. Port B remains in
the Inactive state. In this case, DLDP in the normal mode cannot detect
unidirectional links.
In the enhanced DLDP mode, Port A starts the Enhanced timer and the Echo
timer when the Neighbor aging timer expires, and sends Probe packets to its
neighbor. As the Tx line of Port A has been broken, Port A cannot receive any
Echo packet from Port B. Thus, when the Echo timer expires, Port A enters the
Disable state and sends a Disable packet to the notify Port B of its state. At the
same time, Port A deletes the neighbor entry and starts the Probe timer to
detect link recovery. During this process, Port B remains in the Inactive state.

Note:
DLDP cannot detect the physically down event of a remote port. To enable DLDP to
get aware of the connectivity problem with a remote end as fast as possible rather
than when the Neighbor aging timer expires, the Link Down Alert mechanism was
introduced to the enhanced DLDP mode. In this mechanism, upon detecting a
psychically down event of the remote port, the physical layer sends a Link Down
packet to the local port. Upon receiving the Link Down packet, the local port enters
the Disable state directly.

2.2.2 Unidirectional Link Detection on a Port Connected to Multiple
Neighbors
DLDP supports detecting unidirectional links on a port connected to multiple devices
through a hub. In this case, more than one neighbor can be detected for the port.
Figure 4 shows a typical multi-neighbor network, where Device B, Device C, and
Device D are either copper-wire connected or fiber connected to Device A through a
hub.
To have DLDP detect unidirectional links properly in a multi-neighbor environment,
you must enable it on all ports connected to the hub.


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Figure 4 A multi-neighbor network
In a multi-neighbor environment, a port enters the Disable state immediately after it
finds out that one of its neighbors is in the Disable state or receives a Disable packet.
As shown in Figure 4 , when Device A, Device B, and Device C find that the
connection to Device D fails, they set Port A, Port B, and Port C to the Disable state.
This implementation prevents the traffic forwarding error caused by delayed response
of a neighbor to topology changes. As shown in Figure 4 , for example, if the Rx
optical fiber connecting Device B to the hub fails when Device A is forwarding traffic
to Device B, Device A will shut down Port A to stop forwarding traffic to Device B, and
as a result, Device A stops forwarding traffic to Device C and Device D at the same
time. If there is any redundant link between Device A and Device B, STP can switch
traffic to the redundant link after Port A is shut down.
You can replace the hub shown in Figure 4 with a DLDP-disabled device capable of
forwarding DLDPDUs. In this case, the network is still considered as a multi-neighbor
network.
2.3 Unidirectional Link Handling Mechanism
After DLDP detects a unidirectional link, it shuts down the port directly or notifies the
user to do so depending on the configured shutdown mode.


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In manual mode, DLDP recommends the user to shut down the port by
outputting log and trap message but does not shut down the port directly.
In automatic mode, DLDP sets the state of the port to DLDP Down in addition to
outputting log and trap messages. A port in DLDP Down state cannot receive or
send any packets except DLDPDUs.

Note:
The automatic mode is recommended in a high-performance network. In a low-
performance network, however, the manual mode is recommended because
DLDPDUs may be delayed, which can cause some links to be mistaken as
unidirectional links.

2.4 Operation Mechanism After Link Recovery
After a unidirectional link recovers, you can restore the port in one of the following
ways:
If the port was shut down manually, you need to use the undo shutdown
command to enable the port to receive and send packets.
If the port was set to the DLDP Down state by DLDP automatically, you can use
the dldp reset command to re-enable the port or leave the work to DLDP.
The link auto-recovery mechanism of DLDP allows it to automatically bring up a port
in DLDP Down state after the link is recovered.
The following describes how the link auto-recovery mechanism works:
1) A DLDP Down port sends out a RecoverProbe packet every two seconds. The
RecoverProbe packets only carries the local port information.
2) Upon receiving a RecoverProbe packet, the remote end returns a RecoverEcho
packet.
3) Upon receiving the RecoverEcho packet, the local port checks whether the
neighbor information in the RecoverEcho packet is the same as the neighbor
information of the local port. If they are the same, DLDP considers that the link
between the local port and the neighbor port has restored the bidirectional state,
and thus transits from the Disable state to the Active state and re-establishes the
neighborship with the remote port.


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2.5 Restrictions
Follow these guidelines when configuring DLDP:
DLDP can detect unidirectional state only on links physically connected.
Therefore, before enabling DLDP, make sure that devices are fiber-connected
or copper-wire connected.
To guard against network attacks and malicious probes, you can authenticate
DLDPDUs with clear text authentication or MD5 authentication. To ensure
unidirectional links can be detected, make sure the authentication mode and
password are the same on both sides.
To ensure unidirectional links can be detected, make sure that DLDP is enabled
on both sides and the same interval is adopted on both sides for sending
Advertisement packets.
Reasonably adjust the interval for sending Advertisement packets depending on
your network environment so that unidirectional links can be detected in time. If
the interval is too long, unidirectional links cannot be terminated in time; if the
interval is too short, network traffic will increase.
LACP (the Link Aggregation Control Protocol) events have no effect on DLDP.
Links in an aggregation group are treated individually by DLDP.
When connecting two DLDP-enabled devices, make sure they are using the
same DLDP software version. Otherwise, DLDP may operate improperly.
You can connect DLDP-enabled devices by using transparent-transmission
devices (hubs or DLDP-disabled devices for example). However, you are
strongly recommended not to connect DLDP devices to a transparent-
transmission device through aggregate links, because doing so may cause the
DLDP state machine to become instable resulting in continual up/down of the
DLDP ports.
3 Application Scenarios
Figure 5 shows a typical DLDP application scenario. Device A and Device B are
connected through two fiber pairs. Because the Rx line of Port B is broken, Port B is
physically down. However, as Port A cannot detect this problem, it still forwards data
packets to Port B. As a result, packet loss occurs.


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To detect such unidirectional links, you can enable DLDP on the two devices
respectively. In this example, upon detecting the unidirectional link, DLDP shuts down
the it automatically to avoid packet loss. After the administrator repairs the link, the
unidirectional link recovers automatically and continues to forward packets.

Figure 5 DLDP application scenario











Copyright 2008 Hangzhou H3C Technologies Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.
No part of this manual may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of
Hangzhou H3C Technologies Co., Ltd.
The information in this document is subject to change without notice.