I think I understand these concepts but I'm a little rusty. Can someone give a concise, easy-to-understand explanation of these concepts? The planes are logical concepts, correct? Is this a cisco only thing?

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    Data plane is usually called user plane in the mobile network business. Also, the term forwarding plane is occasionally used. Because this doesn't answer the question, I posted it as a comment so that people googling for the different terms can find this question. – juhist Feb 2 '17 at 18:30
  • Thanks! Very interesting. I can google this question myself, but there was no answer on this site :) – stets Feb 2 '17 at 19:45
  • Also "plane" just means "layer", if you were wondering. – immibis Feb 3 '17 at 11:01

These terms are abstract logical concepts, much like the OSI model.

Data plane refers to all the functions and processes that forward packets/frames from one interface to another.

Control plane refers to all the functions and processes that determine which path to use. Routing protocols, spanning tree, ldp, etc are examples.

Management plane is all the functions you use to control and monitor devices.

These are mostly logical concepts but things like SDN separate them into actual devices.

Finally, all manufacturers use these concepts.


Forwarding Plane - Moves packets from input to output

Control Plane - Determines how packets should be forwarded

Management Plane - Methods of configuring the control plane (CLI, SNMP, etc.)

Undestand the difference between Forwarding, Control and Management Plane

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