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Benjamin Bartsch

Hi - Can somebody point me to the technical details on how ASR9k refreshes the ARP cache as the cache timeout is about to expire?  We are trying to understand the exact process and timing of what happens to an IP to MAC mapping in the ARP cache when the cache timeout is reached.


My understanding of the ARP cache procedure:

ASR9k receives an IP / Layer 3 packet with a destination IP address within a 'connected' prefix as shown by 'show route'

ASR9k checks the ARP cache on the connected interface to see if there is an IP to MAC mapping.  If so, traffic is sent to that MAC.  If not, ASR9k sends out L2 broadcast asking 'who has' the IP that's needed.

The device with the IP responds with an L2 unicast message indicating the MAC and IP.

ASR9k installs the IP to MAC mapping in ARP table and the ARP cache timer starts counting up.  Packets are now flowing towards the MAC in the ARP table for the destination IP.

Assume there is traffic passing from the internet through the router and down to a subscriber/CPE for a time longer than the ARP cache timeout.

**As the timer approaches the configured ARP cache timeout value, ASR9k refreshes the IP to MAC**


I don't understand the last step.  When does the ASR9k refresh the IP to MAC mapping?  It appears the 9k sends out an ARP broadcast 'who is' at some time just before the timer expires, but I can't find this documented anywhere.


I have read some other posts indicating that in IOS, the device calculates some random time value that it subtracts off each individual ARP entry where the device will then ARP for the IP.  This prevents a flooding of ARP broadcasts if all the mappings expire at the same time, which could be really bad if you have huge broadcast domains across hardware with limited packet processing power.

(search for 'jitter')


I have read ASR9k documentation that states the ARP cache timeout simply ages out the entry upon timer expiration and the 9k will simply ARP again after the timer expires.  I'm not seeing this in practice.

(ARP Cache Entries on page 38)


I have read that the ARP cache can be updated through other means, such as certain traffic seen on the wire that maps IP to MAC (such as from CPE when he ARPs for his gateway).


This is what we see on our ASR9k when things are working as expected:

The ARP table gets populated with an IP to MAC and the ARP cache timer starts counting up from 0.

L3 traffic flows between the Internet, through the 9k, to the CPE

At some time just before our 5 minute ARP cache timer expires, we see the timer associated with the IP to MAC get it's counter reset to 0.  **this is the part we are trying to understand**


TAC SR 689865214

ASR9006 32bit 6.6.3

Bundle-ether subinterface with IP

300s ARP cache timeout set to match downstream Calix E7-2 shelf


Any links to documentation that explain the ARP 'refresh' process would be appreciated.


Thanks in advance,


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