Cisco ASA 5506-X: Bridged BVI Interface

KB ID 0001422

Problem

When the ASA 5506-X appeared there was much grumbling, “This is not a replacement for the ASA 5505, I need to buy a switch as well!”  and “I have six ports on the firewall I cant use” etc.

While I understand that, and if truth be told the ASA 5505, was SUPPOSED to be used in SOHO environments where an all in one device, (with PoE) was a great fit. The problem was, people started throwing them in everywhere, I’ve seen them in large businesses, and in data centres. Because it’s easier to sell a firewall that cost less than 500 quid, than it is to sell a firewall that fits the network requirements! 

ASA 5506-X

To ‘fix’ the problem would probably mean changing hardware, so Cisco gave us a BVI, Bridge Virtual Interface instead (with version 9.7). Well not strictly true, Cisco ASA has had BVI interfaces in ‘transparent mode‘ for some time. So on the ASA 5506-X with a default configuration, it ‘Bridges’ interfaces Ge0/2 to Ge0/8, into one interface which you can call the inside interface an give it an IP address.

Oh Great! So Just Like an ASA5505 Then? Well no sorry, I don’t like it because it needs an access-group/ACL for each bridged interface, and a NAT statement for each bridged interface. Unless you have a very simple network that can get very complicated, very quickly! Also note, the same holds true for remote management via SSH/ADSM etc.

Changes to ASA for BVI Interface

I’ll shorten the default firewall config and show you the ‘added commands’ that are used for this configuration.

!
interface GigabitEthernet1/2
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_1
 security-level 100
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/3
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_2
 security-level 100
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/4
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_3
 security-level 100
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/5
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_4
 security-level 100
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/6
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_5
 security-level 100
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/7
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_6
 security-level 100
!
interface GigabitEthernet1/8
 bridge-group 1
 nameif inside_7
 security-level 100
!
interface BVI1
 nameif inside
 security-level 100
 ip address 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0
!
same-security-traffic permit inter-interface
!
object network obj_any1
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
object network obj_any2
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
object network obj_any3
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
object network obj_any4
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
object network obj_any5
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
object network obj_any6
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
object network obj_any7
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
!
mtu outside 1500
mtu inside_1 1500
mtu inside_2 1500
mtu inside_3 1500
mtu inside_4 1500
mtu inside_5 1500
mtu inside_6 1500
mtu inside_7 1500
!
object network obj_any1
 nat (inside_1,outside) dynamic interface
object network obj_any2
 nat (inside_2,outside) dynamic interface
object network obj_any3
 nat (inside_3,outside) dynamic interface
object network obj_any4
 nat (inside_4,outside) dynamic interface
object network obj_any5
 nat (inside_5,outside) dynamic interface
object network obj_any6
 nat (inside_6,outside) dynamic interface
object network obj_any7
 nat (inside_7,outside) dynamic interface
!
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_1
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_2
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_3
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_4
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_5
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_6
http 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 inside_7
!

Yes I’m not making it up, that’s the aded default config for a new 5506-X firewall, (post version 9.7) if you issue a configure factory-default, that’s what you will get! (Don’t panic: If you upgrade a firewall it wont add this in!) 

Is That What You Wanted?

Well if you are a small business and make very little changes to the firewall then this may be fine, (if a little cumbersome to setup). But to be honest I think its pretty bobbins! So I’ll be ripping it out of every 5506-X I deploy.

ASA 5506-X Remove the BVI Interface From CLI

First you have to remove the bridge group from the physical interfaces, but first you need to remove the interface name, or it will error. Obviously connect via the console cable, or from the outside interface, (because you’re about to remove the configured inside interface, until we recreate it again).

!
interface GigabitEthernet1/2
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
interface GigabitEthernet1/3
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
interface GigabitEthernet1/4
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
interface GigabitEthernet1/5
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
interface GigabitEthernet1/6
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
interface GigabitEthernet1/7
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
interface GigabitEthernet1/8
 no nameif
 no bridge-group 1
!

Only now can you remove the BVI interface.

clear configure interface BVI1
WARNING: DHCPD bindings cleared on interface 'inside', address pool removed
WARNING: BVI interface 1 is in use.

Note: The BVI1 interface will now disappear from the config, (if you’re used to working on routers it’s a bit like removing a loopback interface). Now Remove the ‘defunct’ object groups that were being used for NAT.

no object network obj_any1
no object network obj_any2
no object network obj_any3
no object network obj_any4
no object network obj_any5
no object network obj_any6
no object network obj_any7

Assuming your outside Interface (GigabitEthernet0/1) is still up and connected, (by default it will be set to DHCP and also set to get its outside automatically). You would then need to configure an ‘inside’ interface (I’ll use GigabitEthernet0/2) and specify a NAT/PAT rule to allow traffic out.

!
interface GigabitEthernet1/2
 nameif inside
 security-level 0
 ip address 192.168.1.254 255.255.255.0
!
object network OBJ-NAT-ALL
 subnet 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0
 nat (inside,outside) dynamic interface
!

That gets everything up and connected, (all traffic out allowed, and all traffic in (initiated from outside) is blocked)).

ASA 5506-X Remove the BVI Interface From CLI

Configuration > Device Setup > Interface Settings > Interfaces > Select interface 1/8 > Edit.

Remove ASA Bridge Group Member

Remove the Interface name > OK >OK.

Remove ASA Inteface name

Change the Bridge Group to ‘None’ > OK.

Remove ASA Inteface From BVI

Repeat for interfaces 0/7 to 0/2 > Apply.

ASA Apply changes

Select BVI1 > Delete > Yes.

ASA Remove BVI Interface

Configuration > Firewall > Objects > Network Objects/Groups > obj_any1 > Delete > Repeat for tall the other objects.

ASA NAT Objects

Save the changes.

ASA Save Changes

 

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

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Author: PeteLong

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2 Comments

  1. I wanted to let everyone know that using the BVI Group with a site to site tunnel does NOT allow management to the inside_x interface and is a known bug. The only solution is to go back to named interfaces like inside / outside to allow management via ssh or http over the site to site vpn.

    Below is the bug article:

    The management traffic was failing because of the following software defect – CSCve82307:
    https://bst.cloudapps.cisco.com/bugsearch/bug/CSCve82307

    Steven Edelman
    Network Engineer
    Mindsight
    Cisco Gold Partner

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