A loopback interface is a virtual interface that can be configured on a router. When we say it is a virtual interface this means that it logically exists but it does not exist physically (there is no physical interface and no cable to plug into it). One important aspect of the loopback interface is that it removes physical dependencies - you can not unplug a cable and have the interface go down (unless the cable was the power cable for the router).
The loopback interface can have many uses. Some routing protocols have the concept of a routerID and we frequently want a loopback interface address to be the RID (because it is more stable than any physical interface). We frequently want to use a loopback interface addresses for management purposes. We may want to source our SNMP messages from the loopback. If we want to ping an interface on the router to determine whether the router is up or not it is good to ping the loopback interface. If you want to telnet to the router you do not have to be concerned whether you are accessing it by its serial interface, its Ethernet interface, or any other interface if you telnet to the loopback interface address. If you are using AAA and an ACS server for authentication it is good to source the authentication packets using the loopback interface. Some protocols need to specify peer addresses (BGP, and GRE tunnels and IPSec are examples that come to mind) and it may be advantageous to use the loopback interface address as the peer address.
There are more uses for loopback interfaces but this gets the discussion started.
To add to the previous post a loopback interface is usefull when you are using tunnels between sites. you can have your tunnel source the loopback interface, another good thing is you can configuer more than one loopback interface on your routers thsi overcomes physical hardware restrictions. HTH
Hi everyone, I would like to thank you in advance for any help you can provide a newcomer like myself!
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