I'm a CCNA student and during a LAB I found that for some rules on an incoming extended ACL using a rule like permit tcp any any eq (protocol) would work fine while on other rules I needed to use the format permit tcp any eq (protocol) any.

Just wondering what the difference is?

permit tcp any any eq <protocol-port>

Allows any traffic with a destination TCP port == protocol-port

permit tcp any eq <protocol-port> any

Allows any traffic with a source TCP port == protocol-port


ACLs tend to use fixed ports for the server-side of a client-server connection. Typically, the client connects to a well-known port on a server; when you posted to Stack Exchange, your web-browser (client) connected to the Stack Exchange server on TCP port 80.

            POS1/0        Gi0/0
Internet -----|   Router  |----- Webserver (listening on TCP/80)

So pretend Stack Exchange was applying these ACLs to the router above, they could use this inbound on their POS1/0 interface; because traffic to the Stack Exhange webserver would be going to TCP/80

ip access-list extended WEB_in
 permit tcp any any eq 80
 deny ip any any log

They could apply this outbound on POS1/0, because traffic leaving the Stack Exhange webserver would be sourced from TCP/80

ip access-list extended WEB_out
 permit tcp any eq 80 any
 deny ip any any log

In this example, keep in mind that applying an ACL to "any eq 80" isn't terribly useful; normally you would limit it to specific IP addresses that you want to expose TCP 80 to the internet.

  • 2
    Also note that ACLs like this are pretty stone-age from a security perspective... Stateful packet inspection is considered the standard approach to securing a network border. In Cisco IOS, you'd use ZBF to get stateful packet inspection – This Jul 6 '13 at 5:38
  • Thanks Mike, That was really helpful. I understand that using "any any" is not best practice, I just used it for an example, I would be more specific in my actual ACLs. Thanks again. – Jake Nelson Jul 6 '13 at 5:43
  • You're most welcome... good luck with your studies – This Jul 6 '13 at 5:48

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