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Link Aggregation with macOS

HarryCartel
Aspirant

Link Aggregation with macOS

Hi,

 

I've got two ethernet ports on my Mac mini and have bonded them together with the virtual interface. I've then plugged them both into my GS116Ev2. If I have LAG turned off the Ethernet bond from macOS connects just fine - if I turn LAG on, it disconnects and reports that my switch doesn't support link aggregation.

 

What's going on here? Why are they working with LAG turned off, but not on? Are they even working with an aggregated connection with LAG turned off (is the Mac doing it instead?) should they work with it on? 

 

Model: GS116Ev2|ProSAFE Plus 16-port Gigabit Switch
Message 1 of 6

Accepted Solutions
Hopchen
Prodigy

Re: Link Aggregation with macOS

Hi,

There are several different types of Bonds/LAGs in existence. I will refer to these as LAGs from here on. Some LAGs will require that the other end is configured with the same type of LAG.

Namely an LACP LAG will check and require that LACP is configured in the other end as well. Since your switch does not support LACP, then your MacOS complains. Given the error that you see, my guess is that your MacOS is set to use LACP currently.

Your switch only support Static LAG. Also, often referred to as Round Robin. So, here are your options for a LAG configuration.

1. Use Static LAG/Round Robin on the switch and the same type of LAG in MacOS.
2. Use Load balacing LAG in MacOS. This will require no LAG setup on the switch.
3. Use Active backup LAG in MacOS. This will require no LAG setup on the switch.


Cheers

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Message 2 of 6

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Hopchen
Prodigy

Re: Link Aggregation with macOS

Hi,

There are several different types of Bonds/LAGs in existence. I will refer to these as LAGs from here on. Some LAGs will require that the other end is configured with the same type of LAG.

Namely an LACP LAG will check and require that LACP is configured in the other end as well. Since your switch does not support LACP, then your MacOS complains. Given the error that you see, my guess is that your MacOS is set to use LACP currently.

Your switch only support Static LAG. Also, often referred to as Round Robin. So, here are your options for a LAG configuration.

1. Use Static LAG/Round Robin on the switch and the same type of LAG in MacOS.
2. Use Load balacing LAG in MacOS. This will require no LAG setup on the switch.
3. Use Active backup LAG in MacOS. This will require no LAG setup on the switch.


Cheers

Message 2 of 6
HarryCartel
Aspirant

Re: Link Aggregation with macOS

Percect, that makes sense.

 

What are the differences between static LAG and LACP? 

 

Does this mean that the Mac is using a reduced version of LAG with the Load Balancing version (option 2) ?

 

Would there be any benefit to buying a full LACP switch and connecting that to the two ports?

Model: GSS116E|ProSAFE 16-port Gigabit Click Switch
Message 3 of 6
Hopchen
Prodigy

Re: Link Aggregation with macOS

Hi again,

LACP is a type of LAG, just like Static/Round Robin LAG, Load Balancing and Active Backup are all types of LAGs as well. There are more LAG types by the way, but the mentioned are the most popular ones.

LACP is generally considered the best LAG type, for various reasons. It will check the other end so it provides fault-checks. Also, it is a dynamic LAG meaning that if there is an issue with one of the connections, LACP will revert to use only the good connections in the LAG. This is very handy when it comes to cable failure, etc. Lastly, on higher end switches, LACP can intelligently load balance the traffic between the connections/cables/ports in the LAG.

So yeah, LACP is awesome. However, it is only really important in a business setting. I am not sure what setting you have (home/business), but for "smaller" operations any of the aforementioned LAG types would be just fine! I think buying a new switch, JUST for LACP capabilities, is an overkill in your case. LACP LAGs would be considered important to use when linking switches together in the core of the business network.


Cheers

Message 4 of 6
HarryCartel
Aspirant

Re: Link Aggregation with macOS

My Mac mini I use as a server for work that pulls quite a few files from it - so my idea was to give it a bit more bandwidth to do this - especially as it also takes backups from multiple machines, streams stuff out and provides data downloads. I figured that whilst the other computers only have 1gbit links, it would mean two could access at full 1gbit speeds at the same time without effectively only getting 500 each.

 

Ideally as well it would be nice to copy files (and backup) quicker to it. In this current setup if I connect two 1gbit bonded ports to the switch from another Mac - would the two Macs be able to then copy data to each other as if they are connected with 2gbit ports or will it not work like that with the current switch?

Message 5 of 6
Hopchen
Prodigy

Re: Link Aggregation with macOS

Hey,

It is important to note that a LAG, LACP or otherwise, does not increase the speed/throughput from A to B. Each packet will still have to travel over one of the links in the LAG and those links are still 1Gbit/s. I can understand why you would think this. In fact it is the most common misconception about LAGs.

Instead certain LAGs, such as LACP or Static or Load Balancing, will increase the total bandwidth. It will be able to carry a higher total amount of packets. Think of it like a motorway with two or more lanes. In each lane you can only travel the speed limit, but with more lanes you can carry more cars simultaneously. Same with a LAG, you increase the overall bandwidth, but the speed from one device to another remains the same. The LAG can just serve more connections at the same time.

You are right that a LAG would be good to help carry multiple connections from your Mac Mini to other devices. Here the LAG bandwidth-increase will come in handy.

So, for your setup, use Static/Robin LAG or Load Balancing LAG. You will probably see better overall bandwidth with a Static LAG over Load Balancing and even over LACP. Static LAG has the downside, compared to LACP, that it does not do fault-checks. For example, if it is configured incorrectly it won't tell you, whereas LACP would. However, fault tolerance is not worth buying a new switch for, in your case.

If the MacOS can do it, use Static LAG here. That will serve you well!

Any questions, let me know.

 


Thanks

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