VLAN Trunk Protocol (VTP) reduces administration in a switched network. When you configure a new VLAN on one VTP server, the VLAN is distributed through all switches in the domain. This reduces the need to configure the same VLAN everywhere.
You can configure a switch to operate in any one of these VTP modes:
Server—In VTP server mode, you can create, modify, and delete VLANs and specify other configuration parameters, such as VTP version and VTP pruning, for the entire VTP domain. VTP servers advertise their VLAN configuration to other switches in the same VTP domain and synchronize their VLAN configuration with other switches based on advertisements received over trunk links. VTP server is the default mode.
Client—VTP clients behave the same way as VTP servers, but you cannot create, change, or delete VLANs on a VTP client.
Transparent—VTP transparent switches do not participate in VTP. A VTP transparent switch does not advertise its VLAN configuration and does not synchronize its VLAN configuration based on received advertisements, but transparent switches do forward VTP advertisements that they receive out their trunk ports in VTP Version 2.
If you configure a password for VTP, you must configure the password on all switches in the VTP domain. The password must be the same password on all those switches. The VTP password that you configure is translated by algorithm into a 16-byte word (MD5 value) that is carried in all summary-advertisement VTP packets.
VTP ensures that all switches in the VTP domain are aware of all VLANs. However, there are occasions when VTP can create unnecessary traffic. All unknown unicasts and broadcasts in a VLAN are flooded over the entire VLAN. All switches in the network receive all broadcasts, even in situations in which few users are connected in that VLAN. VTP pruning is a feature that you use in order to eliminate or prune this unnecessary traffic.
Broadcast traffic in a switched network without pruning
This figure shows a switched network without VTP pruning enabled. Port 1 on Switch A and Port 2 on Switch D are assigned to the Red VLAN. If a broadcast is sent from the host connected to Switch A, Switch A floods the broadcast and every switch in the network receives it, even though Switches C, E, and F have no ports in the Red VLAN.
Broadcast traffic in a switched network with pruning
This figure shows the same switched network with VTP pruning enabled. The broadcast traffic from Switch A is not forwarded to Switches C, E, and F because traffic for the Red VLAN has been pruned on the links shown (Port 5 on Switch B and Port 4 on Switch D).
The configuration revision number is a 32-bit number that indicates the level of revision for a VTP packet. Each VTP device tracks the VTP configuration revision number that is assigned to it. Most of the VTP packets contain the VTP configuration revision number of the sender.
This information is used in order to determine whether the received information is more recent than the current version. Each time that you make a VLAN change in a VTP device, the configuration revision is incremented by one. In order to reset the configuration revision of a switch, change the VTP domain name, and then change the name back to the original name.
By default, Catalyst switches issue summary advertisements in five-minute increments. Summary advertisements inform adjacent Catalysts of the current VTP domain name and the configuration revision number.
When the switch receives a summary advertisement packet, the switch compares the VTP domain name to its own VTP domain name. If the name is different, the switch simply ignores the packet. If the name is the same, the switch then compares the configuration revision to its own revision. If its own configuration revision is higher or equal, the packet is ignored. If it is lower, an advertisement request is sent.
If a switch is configured as a VTP server without a VTP domain name, you cannot configure a VLAN on the switch.
Note: It is applicable only for CatOS. You can configure VLAN(s) without having the VTP domain name on the switch which runs on IOS.
If a new Catalyst is attached in the border of two VTP domains, the new Catalyst keeps the domain name of the first switch that sends it a summary advertisement. The only way to attach this switch to another VTP domain is to manually set a different VTP domain name.
Dynamic Trunking Protocol (DTP) sends the VTP domain name in a DTP packet. Therefore, if you have two ends of a link that belong to different VTP domains, the trunk does not come up if you use DTP. In this special case, you must configure the trunk mode as on or nonegotiate, on both sides, in order to allow the trunk to come up without DTP negotiation agreement.
If the domain has a single VTP server and it crashes, the best and easiest way to restore the operation is to change any of the VTP clients in that domain to a VTP server. The configuration revision is still the same in the rest of the clients, even if the server crashes. Therefore, VTP works properly in the domain.