Decoding LACP Port State

It’s frustrating when the output to a show command gives exactly the information needed, but in a format which is unintelligible. So it is with the Partner Port State field in the NXOS show lacp neighbor interface command which reports the partner port state as a hexadecimal value. To help with LACP troubleshooting, here’s a quick breakdown of the port states reported on by LACP, and how they might be seen in Junos OS and NXOS.

LACP Port State

The LACP port state (also known as the actor state) field is a single byte, each bit of which is a flag indicating a particular status. In this table, mux (i.e. a multiplexer) refers to the logical unit which aggregates the links into a single logical transmitter/receiver.

The meaning of each bit is as follows:

Bit Name Meaning
0 LACP_Activity Device intends to transmit periodically in order to find potential members for the aggregate. This is toggled by mode active in the channel-group configuration on the member interfaces.
1 = Active, 0 = Passive.
1 LACP_Timeout Length of the LACP timeout.
1 = Short Timeout, 0 = Long Timeout
2 Aggregation Will allow the link to be aggregated.
1 = Yes, 0 = No (individual link)
3 Synchronization Indicates that the mux on the transmitting machine is in sync with what’s being advertised in the LACP frames.
1 = In sync, 0 = Not in sync
4 Collecting Mux is accepting traffic received on this port
1 = Yes, 0 = No
5 Distributing Mux is sending traffic using this port
1 = Yes, 0 = No
6 Defaulted Whether the receiving mux is using default (administratively defined) parameters, if the information was received in an LACP PDU.
1 = default settings, 0 = via LACP PDU
7 Expired In an expired state
1 = Yes, 0 = No

Junos OS and NXOS

Junos OS users are probably smiling right now, as this should look very familiar:

john@switch> show lacp interfaces ae1
Aggregated interface: ae1
    LACP state:       Role   Exp   Def  Dist  Col  Syn  Aggr  Timeout  Activity
      xe-1/0/0       Actor    No    No   Yes  Yes  Yes   Yes     Fast    Active
      xe-1/0/0     Partner    No    No   Yes  Yes  Yes   Yes     Fast    Passive
      xe-2/0/0       Actor    No    No    No   No   No   Yes     Fast    Active
      xe-2/0/0     Partner    No    No    No  Yes  Yes   Yes     Fast    Passive

Cisco users on the other hand may be weeping quietly when viewing a port-channel summary:

us-atl01-z1fa07a# show lacp neighbor interface port-channel 101
Flags:  S - Device is sending Slow LACPDUs F - Device is sending Fast LACPDUs
        A - Device is in Active mode       P - Device is in Passive mode
port-channel101 neighbors
Partner's information
            Partner                Partner                     Partner
Port        System ID              Port Number     Age         Flags
Eth1/6      127,39-0d-12-c2-2b-40  0x3             427434      SA

            LACP Partner           Partner                     Partner
            Port Priority          Oper Key                    Port State
            127                    0x2                         0x3f

Partner's information
            Partner                Partner                     Partner
Port        System ID              Port Number     Age         Flags
Eth2/6      127,39-0d-12-c2-2b-40  0x1             112         SA

            LACP Partner           Partner                     Partner
            Port Priority          Oper Key                    Port State
            127                    0x2                         0x3f

The partner port state is 0x3f, which is not very helpful. The good news is that looking at individual members does reveal the information in a more human-friendly format:

us-atl01-z1fa07a# show lacp interface eth 1/6
Interface Ethernet1/6 is up
Local Port: Eth1/6   MAC Address= 0-de-fb-11-32-a6
  System Identifier=0x8000,  Port Identifier=0x8000,0x106
  Operational key=100
  LACP_Timeout=Long Timeout (30s)
  Partner information refresh timeout=Short Timeout (3s)
Actor Admin State=(Ac-1:To-1:Ag-1:Sy-0:Co-0:Di-0:De-0:Ex-0)
Actor Oper State=(Ac-1:To-0:Ag-1:Sy-1:Co-1:Di-1:De-0:Ex-0)
Neighbor: 0x3
  MAC Address= 39-0d-12-c2-2b-40
  System Identifier=0x7f,  Port Identifier=0x7f,0x3
  Operational key=2
  LACP_Timeout=short Timeout (1s)
Partner Admin State=(Ac-0:To-1:Ag-0:Sy-0:Co-0:Di-0:De-0:Ex-0)
Partner Oper State=(Ac-1:To-1:Ag-1:Sy-1:Co-1:Di-1:De-0:Ex-0)
Aggregate or Individual(True=1)= 1

However, for the sake of anybody who has been sent output from show lacp neighbor interface port-channel X and wants to understand the hex value that’s displayed (0x3F in this case), it’s pretty simple.


  • Convert hexadecimal to binary. Hexadecimal 0x3F is 00111111 in binary.
  • Flip the bits around. 00111111 becomes 11111100
  • Map the bits in this order to the table above:
1 -> ACTIVE mode
1 -> SHORT timeout
1 -> WILL aggregate
1 -> In SYNC
1 -> Mux is Collecting
1 -> Mux is Distributing
0 -> NOT running administratively configured settings
0 -> NOT expired

Alternatively, I suppose, flip the table so that the entries run from 7 to 0 instead of 0 to 7, then you don’t have to flip the bits; either way works. In this case 0x3F indicates a link which is an active part of the aggregated interface.

Clearly what we want from a link is that bit 7 is 0 (not expired) and bits 2-5 are 1 (will aggregate, in sync, collecting, distributing).

A recent port I had trouble with was reported as partner port state 0xC7, which in binary is 11000111, which when flipped to 11100011 means:

1 -> ACTIVE mode
1 -> SHORT timeout
1 -> WILL aggregate
0 -> NOT In Sync
0 -> Mux is NOT Collecting
0 -> Mux is NOT Distributing
1 -> Running administratively configured settings

Clearly this link was not happy, but thankfully a shut / no shut sequence was enough to revive the patient.

Happy aggregating!

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