Network - Flapping

"Flapping" in the context of networking refers to a situation where a network device or service, such as a router or a network interface, repeatedly loses and regains connectivity, often in a rapid and consistent manner. This behavior is problematic because it can cause instability in the network, leading to issues like routing instability, frequent route recalculations, and unnecessary network traffic.

Flapping in networking can be categorized into several types based on the cause and nature of the instability. Here are some common types of flapping:

  1. Route Flapping: This occurs when network routes are repeatedly advertised and withdrawn, causing instability in routing tables. Route flapping is often observed in dynamic routing environments or IP SLA implementations, and can be caused by unstable network links, misconfigurations, or hardware issues.

  2. Interface Flapping: Interface flapping happens when a network interface (like an Ethernet port) on a router or switch goes up and down repeatedly. This can be due to physical layer issues such as faulty cables, connectors, or network cards, as well as power fluctuations.

  3. Link Flapping: Similar to interface flapping, link flapping refers to the frequent up-and-down state of a physical link. This is usually caused by problems in the physical network infrastructure, such as unstable fiber links or issues with transceivers.

  4. VPN Flapping: In a virtual private network (VPN), flapping can occur when VPN tunnels become unstable, repeatedly establishing and dropping connections. This could be due to configuration errors, unreliable internet connections, or issues with the VPN endpoints.

  5. BGP Session Flapping: In Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), session flapping is when BGP sessions between routers are repeatedly established and torn down. This can be caused by misconfigured route dampening, unstable links, or issues with the BGP configuration on the routers.

  6. Neighbor Flapping in OSPF/EIGRP: In dynamic routing protocols like OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) or EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol), neighbor flapping occurs when router adjacencies are frequently formed and lost. This could be due to network instability, misconfiguration, or timing issues.

  7. MAC address flapping: MAC address] flapping occurs when a switch sees the same MAC address being used on multiple switch ports. This results in the MAC address entry in the MAC address table continually changing from port to port.

Each type of flapping can have a significant impact on network performance and stability. Identifying and addressing the specific type of flapping is crucial for network administrators to maintain a stable and efficient network environment.