LLDP / 802.1AB-2009 blows

If you're designing L2 discovery protocol, I suppose one of your mandatory requirements is, that you can 'machine walk' the network, after you find one box. I.e. you are able to know your neighbor devices and their ports. LLDP makes no such guarantees

You have 4 mandatory TLVs, [0123], End of LLDPDU, Chassis ID, Port ID and TTL. Chassis ID has 7 subtypes which implementation is free to choose, EntPhysicalAlias (two distinct cases), IfAlias, MAC address, networkAddress, ifName or locally assigned. Port ID also has 7 subtypes which implementation is free to choose, ifAlias, entPhysicalAlias, MAC address, networkAddress, ifName, agent circuit ID, locally assigned.

Now you can send what ever trash via locally assigned and be fully compliant implementation. It seems that it would be wise to mandate sending management address (networkAddress) in ChassisID and SNMP ifindex in PortID (and any _additional_ ones you may want to send, i.e. more than 1, which is not allowed). This way you'd immediately know what OID to query and from which node. Obviously this makes assumption that we have IP address always and SNMP implementation always. If we absolutely must support some corner cases where this is not true, we should specify different mandatory requirements for devices without networkAddress and SNMP implementation. Now because of some corner cases we can never trust LLDP implementation to be useful.

Clear sign that LLDP is not actually meeting real-world demands is that PortID often is locally assigned which is populated with SNMP index, you just have to know it that given device works like this, there is no way to programmatically know it beforehand.

1 comment:

  1. I find this infuriating.

    Most implementations seem to send hostname + ifIndex or hostname + ifAlias though, which is nice.