VLAN Access List can be used to filter traffic within a VLAN. A feature that is easily overlooked when troubleshooting connectivity problems at L2. It is configured a bit like a route-map. Let’s have a look at a simple topology to demonstrate how it works:

Say we want to not allow any devices on Vlan 12 to be able to ping each other. We can achieve this using a VACL.

! SW1 VACL to block ICMP:
SW1(config)#ip access-list extended ping
SW1(config-ext-nacl)#permit icmp any any echo
SW1(config)#vlan access-map vlan12acl 10
SW1(config-access-map)#match ip address ping
SW1(config-access-map)#action drop
SW1(config-access-map)#vlan access-map vlan12acl 20
SW1(config-access-map)#action forward
SW1(config)#vlan filter vlan12acl vlan-list 12

As always verify your configuration:

! SW1 VACL verification:
SW1#sh vlan filter
VLAN Map vlan12acl is filtering VLANs:
SW1#sh vlan access-map
Vlan access-map "vlan12acl" 10
  Match clauses:
    ip address: ping
Vlan access-map "vlan12acl" 20
  Match clauses:

Now let’s verify that we have achieved our goal by pinging R2 from R1:

! R1 pings R2:
Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to, timeout is 2 seconds:
Success rate is 0 percent (0/5)
R1#sh ip arp
Protocol  Address      Age (min)    Hardware Addr    Type   Interface
Internet            -    aabb.cc00.f000   ARPA   Ethernet0/0
Internet            0    aabb.cc01.0000   ARPA   Ethernet0/0

It did not work!

! SW1 access-list counter:
SW1#sh access-l ping
Extended IP access list ping
    10 permit icmp any any echo (4 matches)

We have matches on our ping ACL on SW1.

Notice the configuration of SW1. I used a catch-all sequence to allow all other traffic except the traffic that matches the ACL in sequence 10. I’ve enabled the http server on R1 to demonstrate that the two routers in fact can communicate with each other:

! R2 access web server on R1:

R2#telnet 80
Trying, 80 ... Open

! R1 verify the connection from R2:

R1#sh ip http server connection

HTTP server current connections:
local-ipaddress:port remote-ipaddress:port in-bytes out-bytes 2        0


With VACLs you can match based on:

  • IP ACLs
  • IPv6 ACLs
  • MAC ACLs

And you have two actions in general (some platforms have additional actions like capture and redirect):

  • forward
  • drop

And remember just like a route-map you have an implicit deny sequence in the end, meaning that you must define a catch-all sequence to forward the rest of the traffic – unless you are doing a restrictive approach where you only allow certain traffic defined and drop the rest.

That’s pretty much all there is to VACLs. Straight forward feature, but a silent killer when troubleshooting.

Jacob Zartmann avatar
Jacob Zartmann
Passionate Network Engineer thriving for challenges and knowledge.