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Understanding Port Mirroring


On routers containing an Internet Processor II application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or T Series Internet Processor, you can send a copy of an IP version 4 (IPv4) or IP version 6 (IPv6) packet from the router to an external host address and a packet analyzer for analysis. This is known as port mirroring.

Port mirroring is different from traffic sampling. In traffic sampling, a sampling key based on the IPv4 header is sent to the Routing Engine. There, the key can be placed in a file or cflowd packets based on the key can be sent to a cflowd server. In port mirroring, the entire packet is copied and sent out through a next-hop interface.

You can configure simultaneous use of traffic sampling and port mirroring, and set an independent sampling rate and run-length for port-mirrored packets. However, if a packet is selected for both sampling and port mirroring, only one action can be performed and port mirroring takes precedence. For example, if you configure an interface to sample every packet input to the interface and a filter also selects the packet to be port mirrored to another interface, only the port mirroring process is executed. All other packets not matching the port-mirroring criteria continue to be sampled when they are forwarded.