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Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) is a protocol for the collective handling of multiple physical ports that can be seen as a single channel for network traffic purposes. This serves the general principle of link aggregation, which describes the effort of setting up parallel network structures to provide redundancy, or to improve performance.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has its own 802.3ad LACP standard, but there are also proprietary types of LACP developed by companies like Cisco. LACP developed throughout the 1990s, and the initial release of IEEE standards happened in the year 2000. Experts feel that LACP has advantages over some other types of backup, like conventional failover systems.
In terms of actual methodology, aggregation can be performed at layers two and three of the OSI model, and devices can share one logical IP or MAC address. Link aggregation can help with limitations on bandwidth in cabled networks. In general, these systems help to support more powerful and efficient networks, where the drive toward big data has left tech companies scrambling to offer ever more capable network systems built in radically different ways.