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What Is LLDP And How Can It Help With Network Automation? Exploring LLDP-MED Protocols

What Is LLDP And How Can It Help With Network Automation? Exploring LLDP-MED Protocols

For every IT professional, automation is increasingly becoming the norm. Network administrators need to be able to quickly and easily configure, manage and monitor their networks in order to ensure they are running at optimal performance levels. One of the key technologies that can help with network automation is Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP). This protocol enables devices on a network to negotiate link configurations and make decisions about media access. In this article, we will explore LLDP-MED protocols and how they can help with network automation.

What is LLDP?

LLDP is a standards-based neighbor discovery protocol that is used by network devices to advertise their identity, capabilities, and neighbors on a local area network. The protocol is designed to be vendor-neutral and works with all major operating systems. LLDP can be used for a variety of applications including network inventory, troubleshooting, and security.

LLDP uses a simple set of TLV (type-length-value) structures to exchange information between neighboring devices. Each TLV has a specific purpose and can be used to convey information such as the device’s chassis ID, port ID, MAC address, IP address, and system description. LLDP also supports optional TLVs for more advanced features such as VLAN and link aggregation configuration.

LLDP is an important tool for network automation because it allows devices to discovery their neighbors and automatically configure themselves accordingly. For example, switches can use LLDP to discover which ports are connected to other switches and automatically configure link aggregation accordingly. This reduces the need for manual configuration and reduces the chances of human error.

In addition to automating the configuration of physical links, LLDP can also be used to automate the configuration of virtual links such as VPNs and VLANs. For example, LLDP can be used to dynamically discover which devices are connected to a particular VLAN and automatically configure the VLAN accordingly. This eliminates the need for manually configuring VLANs and reduces the chances of human error.

The Different Types of LLDP Protocols

LLDP is a Layer 2 discovery protocol that is used to help network devices automatically configure themselves. There are different types of LLDP protocols, each with their own unique set of features and benefits. Here is a look at the different types of LLDP protocols:

– LLDP-MED: This protocol is specifically designed for use in VoIP networks. It helps to automatically configure VoIP devices and can provide QoS information.

– CDP: CDP is a Cisco proprietary protocol that is similar to LLDP. It can be used to discover other Cisco devices on the network and configure them accordingly.

– EDP: EDP is an Extreme Networks proprietary protocol that is also similar to LLDP. It can be used to discover Extreme Networks devices on the network and configure them accordingly.

How Can LLDP Help With Network Automation?

LLDP is a Layer 2 protocol that allows devices on a network to share information about themselves with each other. This information can be used by network automation software to help manage and configure the network.

LLDP can help with network automation by providing information about the devices on the network. This information can be used by the automation software to determine the best way to configure the network. For example, if a new device is added to the network, the automation software can use LLDP to automatically configure the new device.

In addition, LLDP can help troubleshoot networking problems. If there is an issue with a device on the network, the information shared by LLDP can be used to identify the problem and resolve it quickly.

What Are the Benefits of Using LLDP Protocols?

LLDP is an industry standard protocol that allows network devices to discover one another and exchange information about their capabilities. This discovery process is known as neighbor discovery, and it can be used to automatically configure devices and applications on the network.

LLDP-MED is an extension of LLDP that adds support for media-specific capabilities, such as VoIP phones and printers. By using LLDP-MED, network administrators can more easily provision and manage these types of devices on the network.

The benefits of using LLDP protocols include:

* Reduced complexity – by automating the discovery and configuration of devices on the network, LLDP can help reduce the overall complexity of managing a network.

* Improved efficiency – LLDP can help improve the efficiency of networking by reducing or eliminating manual tasks, such as physically connecting devices or reconfiguring settings.

* Greater flexibility – LLDP provides a standardized way for devices to communicate with each other, which gives administrators more flexibility in how they deploy and manage their networks.

How to Implement LLDP Protocols in Your Network

Since its inception in 2004, the Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) has become the standard for network discovery and management in enterprise environments. LLDP allows devices to automatically discover and configure themselves on the network, providing a plug-and-play experience for users.

In addition to simplifying network administration, LLDP can also be used for network automation. By programmatically querying LLDP data, it is possible to dynamically build inventory databases and perform automated troubleshooting.

To implement LLDP in your network, you will need to enable the protocol on each device. This can be done via the device’s web interface or command line interface. Once LLDP is enabled, it will begin sending out periodic broadcasts containing information about the device and its connected neighbors.

Receivers on the network will store this information in a database, which can then be accessed by network administrators or other tools for use in automated tasks.


In conclusion, LLDP and its related protocols on the LLDP-MED standard are powerful tools for network automation. By providing a standardized format for device discovery, LLDP enables organizations to streamline their networking management processes and quickly deploy new systems with minimal disruption. As networks become more complex, having an effective solution like LLDP will be invaluable in keeping them running efficiently.



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