LACP is part of an IEEE specification (802.3ad) that allows several physical ports to be bundled to form a single logical channel. LACP allows a switch to negotiate an automatic bundle by sending LACP packets to the peer. It performs a function similar to PAgP with Cisco EtherChannel. Because LACP is an IEEE standard, it can be used to facilitate EtherChannels in multivendor environments. On Cisco devices, both protocols are supported.

Note: LACP was originally defined as IEEE 802.3ad. However, LACP is now defined in the newer IEEE 802.1AX standard for local and metropolitan area networks.

LACP provides the same negotiation benefits as PAgP. LACP helps create the EtherChannel link by detecting the configuration of each side and making sure that they are compatible so that the EtherChannel link can be enabled when needed. The figure shows the modes for LACP.

Just as with PAgP, modes must be compatible on both sides for the EtherChannel link to form. The on mode is repeated, because it creates the EtherChannel configuration unconditionally, without PAgP or LACP dynamic negotiation.