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Hot Standby Router Protocol HSRP Tutorial


November 7th, 2013 Go to comments
In this tutorial we will learn what is HSRP and the need of HSRP in a network.
Most of the company in the world has a connection to the Internet. The picture below shows a most
simple topology of such a company:

To make above topology work we need to:


+ Configure IP addresses on two interfaces of the Router. Suppose the IP address of Fa0/0 interface (the
interface connecting to the switch) is 192.168.1.1.
+ Assign the IP addresses, default gateways and DNS servers on all PCs. In this case we have to set the
default gateways to Fa0/0 interface (with the IP address 192.168.1.1) of the router. This can be done
manually or automatically via DHCP.
After some time, your boss wants to implement some redundant methods so that even the Router fails,
all PCs can still access the Internet without any manual configuration at that time. So we need one more
router to connect to the Internet as the topology below:

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But now we have a problem: There is only one default gateway on each host, so if Router1 is down and
we want to access the Internet via Router2, we have to change the default gateway (to 192.168.1.2).
Also, when Router1 comes back we have to manually change back to the IP address on Router1. And no
one can access to the Internet in the time of changing the default gateway. HSRP can solve all these
problems!
HSRP Operation
With HSRP, two routers Router1 and Router2 in this case will be seen as only one router. HSRP uses a
virtual MAC and IP address for the two routers to represent with hosts as a single default gateway. For
example, the virtual IP address is 192.168.1.254 and the virtual MAC is 0000.0c07.AC0A. All the hosts
will point their default gateway to this IP address.

One router, through the election process, is designated as active router while the other router is
designated as standby router. Both active and standby router listen but only the active router proceeds
and forwards packets. Standby router is backup when active router fails by monitoring periodic hellos

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sent by the active router (multicast to 224.0.0.2, UDP port 1985) to detect a failure of the active router.

When a failure on the active router detected, the standby


router assumes the role of the forwarding router. Because the new forwarding router uses the same
(virtual) IP and MAC addresses, the hosts see no disruption in communication. A new standby router is
also elected at that time (in the case of there are more than two routers in a HSRP group).
Note: All routers in a HSRP group send hello packets. By default, the hello timer is set to 3 seconds and
the dead timer is set to 10 seconds. It means that a hello packet is sent between the HSRP standby group
devices every 3 seconds, and the standby device becomes active when a hello packet has not been
received for 10 seconds

Note: The virtual MAC address of HSRP version 1 is 0000.0C07.ACxx, where xx is the HSRP group
number in hexadecimal based on the respective interface. For example, HSRP group 10 uses the HSRP
virtual MAC address of 0000.0C07.AC0A. HSRP version 2 uses a virtual MAC address of
0000.0C9F.FXXX (XXX: HSRP group in hexadecimal). But please notice that the virtual MAC address
can be configured manually.

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HSRP version 1 hello packets are sent to multicast address 224.0.0.2 while HSRP version 2 hello
packets are sent to multicast address 224.0.0.102. Currently HSRPv1 is the default version when running
HSRP on Cisco devices.
HSRP States
HSRP consists of 5 states:
State

Description

Initial

This is the beginning state. It indicates HSRP is not running. It happens when the
configuration changes or the interface is first turned on

Listen

The router knows both IP and MAC address of the virtual router but it is not the active or
standby router. For example, if there are 3 routers in HSRP group, the router which is not in
active or standby state will remain in listen state.

Speak

The router sends periodic HSRP hellos and participates in the election of the active or standby
router.

Standby

In this state, the router monitors hellos from the active router and it will take the active state
when the current active router fails (no packets heard from active router)

Active

The router forwards packets that are sent to the HSRP group. The router also sends periodic
hello messages

Please notice that not all routers in a HSRP group go through all states above. In a HSRP group, only
one router reaches active state and one router reaches standby state. Other routers will stop at listen
state.
Now lets take an example of a router passing through these states. Suppose there are 2 routers A and B
in the network; router A is turned on first. It enters the initial state. Then it moves to listen state in
which it tries to hear if there are already active or standby routers for this group. After learning no one
take the active or standby state, it determines to take part in the election by moving to speak state. Now
it starts sending hello messages containing its priority. These messages are sent to the multicast address
224.0.0.2 (which can be heard by all members in that group). When it does not hear a hello message
with a higher priority it assumes the role of active router and moves to active state. In this state, it
continues sending out periodic hello messages.
Now router B is turned on. It also goes through initial and listen state. In listen state, it learns that
router A has been already the active router and no other router is taking standby role so it enters speak
state to compete for the standby router -> it promotes itself as standby router.
Suppose router A is in active state while router B is in standby state. If router B does not hear hello
messages from router A within the holdtime (10 seconds by default), router B goes into speak state to
announce its priority to all HSRP members and compete for the active state. But if at some time it
receives a message from the active router that has a lower priority than its priority (because the
administrator change the priority in either router), it can take over the active role by sending out a hello
packet with parameters indicating it wants to take over the active router. This is called a coup hello
message.
Quick summarization:

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+ HSRP is Cisco proprietary which allows several routers or multilayer switches to appear as a single
gateway IP address.
+ HSRP has 5 states: Initial, listen, speak, standby and active.
+ HSRP allows multiple routers to share a virtual IP and MAC address so that the end-user hosts do not
realize when a failure occurs.
+ The active (or Master) router uses the virtual IP and MAC addresses.
+ Standby routers listen for Hellos from the Active router. A hello packet is sent every 3 seconds by
default. The hold time (dead interval) is 10 seconds.
+ Virtual MAC of 0000.0C07.ACxx , where xx is the hexadecimal number of HSRP group.
+ The group numbers of HSRP version 1 range from 0 to 255. HSRP does support group number of 0
(we do check it and in fact, it is the default group number if you dont enter group number in the
configuration) so HSRP version 1 supports up to 256 group numbers. HSRP version 2 supports 4096
group numbers.
(Reference and good resource:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk648/tk362/technologies_tech_note09186a0080094a91.shtml)
We wrote a GNS3 lab of HSRP and you can read it here: http://www.networktut.com/hsrp-ip-routetracking.
Comments (144) Comments
Comment pages
Previous 1 2 3 1997
1. Thinker
March 26th, 2015
Thanks for the review material. Very helpful.
2. jalal
March 31st, 2015
very useful article. thanks
3. bryam
April 3rd, 2015
gracias, muchas gracias por su aporte.
4. T.Mathary
April 4th, 2015
grande artigo obrigado
5. ahmed
April 5th, 2015
thank you

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6. saman
April 12th, 2015
very very very useful.thank you very much
7. kory
April 18th, 2015
Helpful, precise explanation.
8. Sandy
April 20th, 2015
Great artical. Thanks
9. Mahi
April 21st, 2015
Please add configure file.
10. Phani
April 24th, 2015
This is good article to know theory about the HSRP but some people like me wants to configure
the HSRP. For that I want steps to configure the HSRP. Please add that configure steps also.
11. Phani
April 24th, 2015
This is good article to know theory about the HSRP but some people like me wants to configure
the HSRP. For that I want steps to configure the HSRP. Please add that configure steps also.
12. Thibeau
April 29th, 2015
AR(config)#int f0/0
AR(config)#ip add 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
AR(config)#no sh
SR(config)#ip add 192.168.2.1 255.255.255.0
SR(config)#no sh
AR(config)#ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 1.1.1.1
SR(config)#ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 2.2.2.2
Internet(config)#ip route 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 1.1.1.1
Internet(config)#ip route 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 2.2.2.2
AR(config)#int f0/0
AR(config)#standby 12 ip 192.168.1.254
AR(config)#standby 12 priority 120
AR(config)#standby 12 preempt
AR(config)#standby track s1/0 30

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AR(config)#standby timers 3 10
SR(config)#int f0/0
SR(config)#standby 12 ip 192.168.1.254
SR(config)#standby 12 preempt
SR(config)#standby 12 timers 3 10
AR#sh standby
AR#sh standby brief
SR#sh standby
SR#sh standby brief
on PC
192.168.1.2
gateway: 192.168.1.254
192.168.2.1
gateway: 192.168.1.254
ping 192.168.1.254
ping 192.168.1.1
ping 192.168.2.1
13. sawan kumar
May 6th, 2015
really very helpfull for me
14. Divya singh
May 12th, 2015
Amazing. Its very helpful to get understand HSRP easily. Thanks
15. hussy
May 17th, 2015
great
16. Alisher
May 25th, 2015
Kop rakhmet.
17. Thandie Maano
May 28th, 2015
Kindly advise on which Router the Virtual Router IP and Mac addresses are configured.
18. nickson
May 30th, 2015

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For those needing to configure HSRP refer to this link also http://www.danscourses.com/CCNA3/hsrp-hot-standby-routing-protocol-packet-tracer-activity.html
19. malungab
June 19th, 2015
nice
20. Sonaki
July 15th, 2015
This site is very useful for CCNA preparations. Do it well to clear your CCNA/CCNP exams
21. Abdulilah
July 22nd, 2015
Thanks
22. bhavan
July 26th, 2015
nice,its worth
23. ghafleks
July 28th, 2015
@9tut..whats the full meaning of HSRP?
24. Abhimanyu Singh
August 26th, 2015
Awesomei got this just when it was needed the most.
25. Abdullah
September 3rd, 2015
great lesson
26. Anonymous
September 11th, 2015
Hi let us
27. siraulo
September 11th, 2015
great bullsheet. nothing learned
28. jayz

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September 11th, 2015


how to implement actually ???
can we do it in cisco e 3000 router
29. Faizal IIM
September 15th, 2015
KIDU..kalakkeetta..!!
30. NAYDIZZLE
September 16th, 2015
I just want you to know you rock!!
Thank you so much for your efforts.
31. allan
September 17th, 2015
i so love this.
but how do i do the configuration?
32. max123
September 21st, 2015
nice 1
33. Navin
September 23rd, 2015
Brief but much useful knowledge.
34. Vikram Kashyap
September 27th, 2015
Great Stuff..
35. Prabha
October 12th, 2015
Very Nice Explanation Thanks!
36. Anonymous
October 15th, 2015
very precise explanation.
37. Amila
October 15th, 2015

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Perfect
38. iamhobbyist
October 17th, 2015
this is the only blog easy to understand cisco protocols! thumbs UP 9tut
39. Nidhiraj
October 22nd, 2015
Great.. Very helpful..
I have a query how many interfaces we can assign on single HSRP group???
40. siva
October 28th, 2015
great, your explanation
41. tee
November 11th, 2015
If u need current ccna 200-120 dumps send me a mail Temitolawilliams@gmail.com
42. clem
November 16th, 2015
On of the question from the Quiz mentions master for HSRP, it should be referred to as active
instead , pretty confusing, I jsut hope that they will use correct terms during the exam .
43. ARIF
December 9th, 2015
very good
44. NightEye
December 10th, 2015
Hello guys,
I have a question related to this topic:
I created a simulator lab in PT, with 2 PCs (VLANs 10 and 20), 4 redundant switches, 2 routers
and a WAN connection to a remote site.
The 2 routers should be responsible for routing packets between the VLANs plus to be
functioning as a HSRP group. The two PCs in the two VLANs are in different subnets, therefore
each of them need a different default gateway IP.
My question: if I have two subnets which actually need two separate gateway IPs but Id like to
configure the routers to act as one HSRP group with one virtual IP and MAC (!), how can I

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accomplish the goal to make PCs from two separate VLANs use the same gateway IP of the
HSRP group?
I thought about connecting one more link between the routers (a total of 2 links), with each link
configured with two IPs from two separate subnets >> two HSRP groups, one for each VLAN.
If Im wrong, pls help me!
Thanks in advance :)
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