At times network administrators working on switching infrastructure may get confused over usage of terms Port Channel and Etherchannel especially in Cisco Catalyst and Nexus Switches.
While both terms refer to the bundling of Interfaces for higher throughput and redundancy, let’s discuss them in more detail.
What Is Etherchannel –
Etherchannel is a Cisco trademarked term – it’s the technology used to group multiple physical interfaces together while other vendors use Link Aggregation more frequently. Etherchannel is what Cisco called Ethernet link bond initially. We can create Etherchannel using PAgP, LACP, or static on. PAgP being Cisco’s proprietary protocol and LACP being the open standard
Related – EtherChannel Modes
What is Port Channel –
Term “Port-channel” is the name of this virtual interface in cisco IOS platforms. In the Nexus switches, the port-channel term is used for technology and the individual interface. Once we have configured an Etherchannel we make all you changes on the Port Channel interface and these will be automatically applied to all the individual interfaces within the Etherchannel.
Still, we can also say in layman terms that “Port-Channel” = “Etherchannel” = “Link Aggregation”
Port channel vs Etherchannel –
|Terminology||The "Port-channel" is the name of this virtual interface in IOS||Etherchannel is the name of the technology used to group multiple physical links
|Cisco’s way of distinguishing||Port-channel is the name of Cisco's virtual interface for the purpose of Link aggregation||Etherchannel is a term used by Cisco to describe a link aggregation
Download the difference table here.
Related- Nexus Interview Questions