Thursday, 25 October 2012


Access Control Lists (ACLs)

  • Thursday, 25 October 2012
  • Share
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs)

    Access Control List (ACL) are filters that enable you to control which routing updates or packets are permitted or denied in or out of a network. They are specifically used by network administrators to filter traffic and to provide extra security for their networks. This can be applied on routers (Cisco).
    ACLs provide a powerful way to control traffic into and out of your network; this control can be as simple as permitting or denying network hosts or addresses.  You can configure ACLs for all routed network protocols.
    The most important reason to configure ACLs is to provide security for your network. However, ACLs can also be configured to control network traffic based on the TCP port being used.

     How ACLs work

    A router acts as a packet filter when it forwards or denies packets according to filtering rules. As a Layer 3 device, a packet-filtering router uses rules to determine whether to permit or deny traffic based on source and destination IP addresses, source port and destination port, and the protocol of the packet. These rules are defined using access control lists or ACLs.
     To simplify how ACL or a router uses packet filtering work, imagine  a guard stationed at a locked door. The guard's instruction is to allow only people whose names appear on a quest list to pass through the door. The guard is filtering people based on the condition of having their names on the authorized list.
    When a packet arrives at the router, the router extracts certain information from the packet header and makes decisions according to the filter rules as to whether the packet can pass through or be dropped. Packet filtering process works at the Network layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, or the Internet layer of TCP/IP.

    Books on Cisco Networking, Certifications and Exam Resources
     Why use ACLs
    *   Limits network traffic to increase network performance.
    *   ACLs provides traffic flow control by restricting the delivery of routing updates.
    *   It can be used as additional security.
    *   Controls which type of traffic are forwarded or blocked by the router.
    *   Ability to control which areas a client access.
    Types of Access Control Lists

    Standard access-list
    Standard access lists create filters based on source addresses and are used for server based filtering. Address based access lists distinguish routes on a network you want to control by using network address number (IP). Address-based access lists consist of a list of addresses or address ranges and a statement as to whether access to or from that address is permitted or denied.
    Example of the command syntax for configuring a standard numbered IP ACL:

    R1(config)# access-list {1-99} {permit | deny} source-addr [source-wildcard]
    i.         The first value {1-99} specifies the standard ACL number range.
    ii.       The second value specifies whether to permit or deny the configured source IP address traffic.
    iii.      The third value is the source IP address that must be matched.
    iv.     The fourth value is the wildcard mask to be applied to the previously configured IP address to indicate the range.
    Extended access lists
    Extended access lists create filters based on source addresses, destination addresses, protocol, port number and other features and are used for packet based filtering for packets that traverse the network.
    Example of the command syntax for configuring an extended numbered IP ACL:
    Router(config)# access-list {100-199} {permit | deny} protocol source-addr [source-wildcard] [operator operand] destination-addr [destination-wildcard] [operator operand] [established]
    i.   Like the standard ACLs, the first value {100-199 or 2000 - 2699} specifies the ACL number range.
    ii.  The next value specifies whether to permit or deny according to the criteria that follows.
    iii. The third value specifies protocol type ( IP, TCP, UDP, or other specific IP sub-protocols). The source IP address and wildcard mask determine traffic source. The destination IP address and its wildcard mask are used to indicate the final destination of the network traffic. When the destination IP address and mask are configured, the port number  must be specified to match, either by number or by a well-known port name, otherwise all traffic to that destination will be dropped.
    Standard and Extended access lists can be applied base on the use of ip access-list command.
    Access lists use the deny or permit statement to define which packet is allowed or denied entry into a server or network.


    Masks are used with IP addresses in IP ACLs to specify what should be permitted and denied. Masks in order to configure IP addresses on interfaces start with 255 and have the large values on the left side, for example, IP address with a mask. Masks for IP ACLs are the reverse, for example, mask This is sometimes called an inverse mask or a wildcard mask. When the value of the mask is broken down into binary (0s and 1s), the results determine which address bits are to be considered in processing the traffic. A 0 indicates that the address bits must be considered (exact match); a 1 in the mask is a "no".
    Note these ACL equivalents.
    · The source/source-wildcard of means "any".
    · The source/wildcard of is the same as "host".
    If you subtract (normal mask) from, it yields
    Read about Wildcards
    The command below defines an ACL that permits this network
    access-list acl_permit permit ip
    Inbound traffic to the router is compared to access lists entries based on the order that the entries occur in the router. The router looks through the entries until it has a match. If the router found no match when it reaches the end of the list, the traffic is denied. For this reason, you should have the frequently hit entries at the top of the list. There is an implied deny for traffic that is not permitted. Single-entry access lists with only one deny entry has the effect of denying all traffic. You must have at least one permit statement in an ACL or all traffic is blocked.
    Access lists implicitly deny all access that is not expressly permitted. The following line is auto-appended to all access-lists:

    deny ip any any

    If it is desirable to over-ride this implicit denial statement, enter a permit ip any any statement as the last entry in the access-list.

    0 Responses to “ Access Control Lists (ACLs) ”

    Post a Comment