Configuring 802.1Q tunnneling (Q-in-Q) on Cisco switches

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Overview

The 802.1Q tunnneling technology also known as Q-in-Q is an extension to the well known 802.1Q standard which allows service providers to transport customers VLANs by simply adding another layer of IEEE 802.1Q tag to the original 802.1Q tagged packets that enter the ISP network. Customer VLAN IDs are preserved and traffic from different customers is segregated within the service-provider infrastructure even when they appear to be on the same VLAN. The primary benefit for the service provider is reduced number of VLANs supported for the same number of customers. By using 802.1Q tunneling the layer 2 domain of a customer can be extended across multiple sites. A Q-in-Q frame can be identified by the Ethertype field 0x8100 in the Ethernet header and it’s called a double-tagged frame. One outer ISP VLAN tag can carry 4096 customer VLAN tags and this brings the total number of available VLANs to approximately 16.8 million.

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