System Administration Guide: IP Services

Assured Forwarding (AF) PHB

Assured forwarding (AF) provides four different classes of forwarding behaviors that you can specify to the marker. The next table shows the classes, the three drop precedences that are provided with each class, and the recommended DSCPs that are associated with each precedence. Each DSCP is represented by its AF value, its value in decimal, and its value in binary.

Table 37–2 Assured Forwarding Codepoints


Class 1 

Class 2 

Class 3 

Class 4 

Low-Drop Precedence

AF11 = 

10 (001010) 

AF21 = 

18 (010010) 

AF31 = 

26 (011010) 

AF41 = 

34 (100010) 

Medium-Drop Precedence

AF12 = 

12 (001100) 

AF22 = 

20 (010100) 

AF32 = 

28 (011100) 

AF42 =  

36 (100100) 

High-Drop Precedence

AF13 = 

14 (001110) 

AF23 = 

22 (010110) 

AF33 = 

30 (011110) 

AF43 = 

38 (100110) 

Any Diffserv-aware system can use the AF codepoint as a guide for providing differentiated forwarding behaviors to different classes of traffic.

When these packets reach a Diffserv router, the router evaluates the packets' codepoints along with DSCPs of other traffic in the queue. The router then forwards or drops packets, depending on the available bandwidth and the priorities that are assigned by the packets' DSCPs. Note that packets that are marked with the EF PHB are guaranteed bandwidth over packets that are marked with the various AF PHBs.

Coordinate packet marking between any IPQoS systems on your network and the Diffserv router to ensure that packets are forwarded as expected. For example, suppose IPQoS systems on your network mark packets with AF21 (010010), AF13 (001110), AF43 (100110), and EF (101110) codepoints. You then need to add the AF21, AF13, AF43, and EF DSCPs to the appropriate file on the Diffserv router.

For a technical explanation of the AF codepoint table, refer to RFC 2597. Router manufacturers Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks have detailed information about setting the AF PHB on their web sites. You can use this information to define AF PHBs for IPQoS systems as well as routers. Additionally, router manufacturers' documentation contains instructions for setting DS codepoints on their equipment.