Packets coming from the customer trunk port into the tunnel port on the service-provider edge switch are normally 802.1Q-tagged with the appropriate VLAN ID. The the tagged packets remain intact inside the switch and when they exit the trunk port into the service-provider network, they are encapsulated with another layer of an 802.1Q tag (called the metro tag) that contains the VLAN ID that is unique to the customer. The original customer 802.1Q tag is preserved in the encapsulated packet. Therefore, packets entering the service-provider network are double-tagged, with the outer (metro) tag containing the customer's access VLAN ID, and the inner VLAN ID being that of the incoming traffic.
When the double-tagged packet enters another trunk port in a service-provider core switch, the outer tag is stripped as the switch processes the packet. When the packet exits another trunk port on the same core switch, the same metro tag is again added to the packet. Figure 14-2 shows the tag structures of the double-tagged packets
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