Skip to content

Site Separation

Sites are separated collections of devices. Rule precedence is defined by the order from top to bottom.

The site can be a branch, a factory, a production floor, a campus, or anything that represents a site from customer’s point of view.

By default, site is comprised of topology of all contiguously interconnected protocols, and the boundary of a site is formed by the network protocol relation that is not under management using provided authentication credentials. The default separation is good for MPLS networks, where directly connected routing infrastructure at site’s edge is not accessible.

Regular Expression Site Separation


Site distribution cannot be changed manually when regex rules are used. Sites cannot be renamed.

Alternatively, site separation can follow a specific Regular Expression (RegEx) where separation will be performed based on a portion of a device hostname or SNMP location.


If you cannot cover the names of the sites with one regex, you can use logical or. Use | (pipe) operator between RegEx rules or use the Device Attributes method shown below.

Hostname Regex

Go to Settings → Discovery & Snapshots → Discovery Settings → Site Separation and change Routing & Switching Domain to RegEx based on hostname or create a new rule by clicking the Add rule button.

Transform hostname is used to normalize site names based on hostname:

  • Upper case (default) - first hostname PRAGUE-RTR1, second hostname prague-rtr2 => result is that both devices in one site named PRAGUE
  • Lower case - first hostname PRAGUE-RTR1, second hostname prague-rtr2 => result is that both devices in one site named prague
  • No transformation - first hostname PRAGUE-RTR1, second hostname prague-rtr2 => result is that each device has its own site named PRAGUE and prague

Hostname Regex

In this example, the regular expression matches items such as PRAGUE-, LONDON-, etc.

SNMP Location Regex

Go to Settings → Discovery & Snapshots → Discovery Settings → Site Separation and change Routing & Switching Domain to RegEx based on SNMP location or create a new rule by Add rule button.

SNMP Regex


The UI now allows you to edit and test your rules directly in the browser when selecting the Test rule option. Here you can see a live preview of devices that will match the regex you created.


You can also test SNMP location rules:

SNMP location

RegEx example

We have several locations whose name is logically designed as one letter with one to three numbers. From the point of view of a regex, such a site can generally be expressed as ^([a-zA-Z]\\d{1,3}). Unfortunately, we have two other sites that do not fit into this schema. These sites can be defined with their own regex and this can be added to the original one using the logical operator or. The following example will match one of 3 options:


RegEx example – lookahead

You can match a part of the string, only if it contains, or not, a specific expression afterwards, by using lookahead (positive or negative). In the example below, we want to match the first 2 letters and 1 number, only if we don’t see the pattern -dev afterwards. Using this regex:

  • BL1-router01 the regex will match and the device will be assigned to the site BL1
  • PA2-router02-dev teh regex will not match, as we can see -dev in the hostname

Use this link to read more about Regular Expression and Assertion

The brief explanation:

  • (^[a-zA-Z]{2}[a-zA-Z0-9]) – We are going to match those first 3 characters: AP1, or LO2
  • (?![a-fA-F0-9]{3}[.][a-fA-F0-9]{4}[.][a-fA-F0-9]{4}) – … only if it is NOT followed by what would be a MAC address.

Device Neighborship

Device Neighborship

This option will try to define a device based on its neighbor relationship if a device does not match any previous rule. Perhaps you have devices in your environment that do not follow the normal standard like in a DMZ zone or Day 0 devices that have not been fully configured. If that device is connected to a device that did match a rule, IP Fabric will intelligently group it to the correct site.

Manual Site Separation (Device Attributes)

Manual site separation enables the Device Attributes feature to create manual separation if a device does not follow a standard hostname rule or perhaps the hostname is duplicated in multiple locations.

To configure Device Attributes, first enable the Manual site separation toggle in Settings → Discovery & Snapshots → Discovery Settings → Site Separation and then select Configure device attributes:

Configure device attributes

or go to Settings → Discovery & Snapshots → Global Configuration → Device Attributes:

Device Attributes menu

Device Attributes

Device Attributes table

  • Serial Number is IP Fabric’s “Unique Serial Number” (API column sn); this is not the column “Serial Number” which represents the Hardware SN (API column snHw). Devices discovered via API can also be assigned using Device Attributes.
  • Hostname is populated by IP Fabric when a device matching the Serial Number is found
  • Attribute is the Device Attribute to assign, since we want to set the Site based on the serial number set it to Site name
  • Value is the attribute’s value to assign, in this case, we want to split site L35 into separate sites named 35COLO, 35PRODUCTION, 35HEADOFFICE

Creating Rules In The UI

You can create rules in the UI by selecting the Add attribute button. This will provide you with a form to fill out.

Add Attribute


Currently, there is an issue where IP Fabric will not search for devices discovered via an API in the UI. Even though it seems that no device matches the SN, the attribute will still be assigned to the device.


Creating Rules Via The API

The API is the preferred method of creating rules as it allows for bulk importing. Via PUT method requested on endpoint https://<IPF_URL>/api/<IPF_API_VERSION>/attributes/global. An example of the payload can be seen below:


    "attributes": [
        {"sn": "<DEVICE SERIAL NUMBER01>", "value": "<SITE NAME>", "name": "siteName"},
        {"sn": "<DEVICE SERIAL NUMBER02>", "value": "<SITE NAME>", "name": "siteName"}


It’s important to use specifically the siteName attribute to define the Sites in the IP Fabric. You can define other attributes, but site-separation is solely based on siteName.

Creating Rules With python-ipfabric Package

Please see example at GitHub.

Rule Priority

Rule priority

Rule precedence is defined by the order from top to bottom. So in the example above:

  1. Manual site separation (if enabled) will look at the Device Attributes and try to first assign a device based on its serial number if a match is found.

  2. Rules you define. In the example above it will check the following

    1. If SNMP Location matches IPFABRIC, (LAB01) → Site LAB01
    2. If Hostname matches ^L21 → Site MPLS
    3. If Hostname matches ^(L\d{1,2}) → Site L2-99
  3. Try to assign devices without sites based on device neighborship (if enabled)