Cisco ACI – Convert Leaf Ports (Uplink to Downlink)

Since ACI release 3.1(1) it’s now possible to use some of the Leaf Uplinks as Downlink Ports. This could help you out if there is a need for some 40/100G ports but you are currently only running 10G Leafs.
Currently the following Leafs support the conversion:

  • N9K-C9348GC-FXP
  • N9K-C93180LC-EX
  • N9K-C93180YC-FX
  • N9K-C93180YC-EX and N9K-C93180YC-EXU
  • N9K-C93108TC-EX
  • N9K-C93108TC-FX
  • N9K-C9336C-FX2 (only downlink to uplink conversion supported)

There are some limitations, check them out on the Cisco Page.

Our use case was to use some of the 40/100G Ports as Downlinks on a N9K-C93180YC-FX. The main limitation there is that the last 2 ports (53 and 54) don’t support conversion, no issue if you use them as Uplinks anyway.

The conversion process is pretty straight forward.
Head to Fabric -> Inventory, open up the respective POD and select your Leaf.

Go to the “Interface” tab and change the mode to “Configuration”

Now select the port you want to change from uplink to downlink and then select “Downlink”.

There will be a popup with the information about the change, “Submit” it.

And that’s it, repeat for all the other interfaces you want to convert. Then reload the Leaf.

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12 thoughts on “Cisco ACI – Convert Leaf Ports (Uplink to Downlink)

    • Type “Spine” is for interfaces on Spine switches, it’s active for all ports on a spine 🙂

  1. How can we revert the changes?
    Option to change it back to Uplink is greyed out

    • For me the Uplink option is selectable. Did you reboot after you changed the Ports to Downlink?

  2. is there any reason why the “DownLink” option is grayed out? Running 3.2…

    • Did you navigate as i described in the post? Is the switch supported for the conversion?

  3. You’ve got a typo in your supported switch types – you list the 93180YC-EX twice, but not the FX version- and then you mention that you carried this out on an FX in prod. Took me a bit of sifting to find out what was actually supported.

    • Hi Nate, good catch! Thanks for reporting it 🙂
      I will update the post.


  4. One thing worth mentioning is that the converted ports won’t support a passive copper-based QSFP cable. It has to either be active copper or optical (QSFP+). My customer just spent 4 hours finding this out. Whats funny is that the tmg matrix doesn’t have any call-out for this.

    • Hi Wade,

      Thanks for pointing this out, wasn‘t aware of it!


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