The IEEE standard 802.3ad defines the use of multiple transmission paths between network devices with the objective of potentially increasing Ethernet speeds. The practice of establishing a wider transmission path is commonly known as link aggregation. The Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) for Ethernet is specified in the original IEEE 802.3ad, and its successor, 802.1AX. Through IEEE specifications, physical ports can be bundled to create one logical channel. The IEEE standards do not provide a specific algorithm for frame distribution but do offer guidelines for the data communications.
Link Aggregation Combines Multiple Networks
The term link aggregation refers to the combining of multiple network connections in parallel. This process is also commonly called port trunking or link bundling. Link aggregation is designed to boost throughput and support network redundancy. If failure occurs in a network port or line, any additional paths remain functional. To establish link aggregation, the server will need multiple network adapters. Multiple-port devices may also be utilised. Link aggregation can establish a high-speed network with the capability to transmit larger amounts of data than a single port.
802.3ad Standards and LACP
The LACP 802.3ad standards define the method for combining LAN cables in parallel. LACP bundles individual Ethernet links into a single logical link that provides the aggregate bandwidth. Aggregation can be implemented at any of the lowest three layers of the OSI model. The 802.3-based specifications support a wider transmission path between servers, switches and routers. The advantages of link aggregation over single-cable connections include both improved transmission speeds and accessibility.