The Data Plane Explained

The term data plane refers to all tasks the networking devices perform to receive, process, and forward data. It includes all forms of data, such as frame, packet, segment, and message.

There are two types of networking environments: traditional and SDN. The traditional networking environment uses a flat network architecture. The SDN networking environment uses a layered architecture. It divides network functionality into three types: data plane, control plane, and management plane.

In the data plane, it keeps all the functions that move data between devices. We will discuss, this plane in this tutorial.

In the control plane, it keeps all the functions that generate and provide the information the data plane needs to move the data. The following tutorial explains this plane in detail.

The Control Plane Explained

In the management plane, it keeps all the functions we use to manage the networking devices. The following tutorial explains this plane in detail.

The Management Plane Explained

The data plane

Forwarding data is the primary job of all network devices. Different network devices use separate logic to make forwarding decisions. For example, routers use the routing table, while switches use the cam table to make forwarding decisions.

Let us take an example.

data plane

PC1 sends a data packet to PC2. Lower layers (Transport, Network, Data Link, and Physical) on PC1 take various actions to prepare and load the data packet on the wire. The packet reaches the connected switch. The switch uses its cam table to forward it to the router R1. R1 receives it from the switch and reads the routing table to make the forwarding decision. R2 gets it from the R1, processes it, and forwards it to R3. R3 processes and forwards it to PC2.

All functions, actions, and steps that move the data packet from PC1 to PC2 are part of the data plane. In other words, the data plane describes how a data packet moves from one device to another device on the network.

Since it includes everything a router or switch does when receiving, processing, and forwarding a data packet, it is also known as the forwarding plane.

Key points:-

In an SDN network, a data plane is responsible for the following things and functions.

  • Creating a packet and frame
  • Encapsulating and de-encapsulating a packet in a data-link frame
  • Adding or removing an 802.1Q or ISL trunking header
  • Finding forwarding ports in the CAM and routing tables
  • Making forwarding decisions based on the destination address
  • De-encrypting data packets to learn the header data
  • Encrypting the data and adding a new IP header
  • Updating the source or destination IP address
  • Discarding data packets that do not match the forwarding criteria

ComputerNetworkingNotes CCNA Study Guide The Data Plane Explained