Split Multi-Link Trunking

What Does Split Multi-Link Trunking Mean?

Split multi-link trunking (SMLT) is an advanced form of multi-link trunking (MLT) that provides enhanced flexibility through bandwidth scaling and/or link aggregation. It avoids link failures and multiplexing a port among two switches.


SMLT was developed by Nortel Networks. It is a link aggregation technique incorporating the switching functionalities of layer two by combining multiple network ports in parallel. This increases speed and bandwidth and also provides fault tolerance and redundancy in case of a failure. SMLT is an enhancement over MLT because it allows link aggregation to be performed on two different switches together.

Techopedia Explains Split Multi-Link Trunking

Computer networks employ many techniques and procedures to improve the speed, capacity, redundancy and flexibility of data communication. Link aggregation or multi-link trunking is a productive technique significantly improving the performance and reliability of a network. It does this by allowing multiple physical network links between switches, which are coupled together as a single link for load balancing and improving redundancy. This provides an alternate link in the case of a failure. Links are selected using a load-balancing algorithm to determine the load and requirements of each packet sent.

SMLT is an advanced form of link aggregation. It provides the capability of selecting two physical links from different switches, which splits the load among different links/switches. SMLT greatly removes routing loops because of its link aggregation and redundancy technique. It performs its core operation with the help of an inter-switch trunk, which connects to switches together with one or more point-to-point connections to form a single link.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.