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Configuring HSRP Preemption: Overview & Setup

As an experienced and Cisco certified network security engineer, I understand the importance of implementing the High Availability (HA) feature in a network environment.

One of the most popular HA protocols is the Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), which provides redundancy and failover capabilities.

In this post, I will focus on configuring HSRP preemption, an essential feature that allows a higher priority router to take over as the active router in case of a failure.

What is HSRP Preemption?

HSRP preemption is a feature that enables a standby router with a higher priority to become the active router in an HSRP group. By default, when the active router goes down, the standby router with the highest priority takes over as the active router. However, with HSRP preemption, a router with a higher priority can take over even if the current active router is still operational. This ensures faster failover and reduces the downtime in the network.

Benefits of Configuring HSRP Preemption

Configuring HSRP preemption provides several benefits to a network environment. For instance, it ensures that critical network services remain available even during a failure. It also minimizes the downtime and ensures that the failover process is seamless. Additionally, it allows network administrators to prioritize important traffic flows and control network resources efficiently.

Setting Up HSRP Preemption

Prerequisites for Configuring HSRP Preemption

Before configuring HSRP preemption, you should ensure that you have met the following requirements:

  • HSRP is already configured on the routers in the network.
  • All routers have unique IP addresses and are on the same subnet.
  • All routers have the same HSRP group number and virtual IP address.
  • The routers have a different priority value, with the highest priority assigned to the desired active router.

Configuring Preemption in HSRP

To configure HSRP preemption, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the router's console or terminal.
  2. Enter the global configuration mode by typing "configure terminal."
  3. Enter the HSRP group configuration mode by typing "interface [interface-name]."
  4. Configure the router's priority value by typing "standby [group-number] priority [value]." Ensure that the desired active router has the highest priority value.
  5. Enable HSRP preemption by typing "standby [group-number] preempt."
  6. Set the preempt delay time by typing "standby [group-number] preempt delay [seconds]." This delay time specifies how long the active router should wait before preempting the standby router.
  7. Exit the HSRP group configuration mode by typing "exit."
  8. Save the configuration by typing "copy running-config startup-config."

Verifying HSRP Preemption Configuration

To verify that HSRP preemption is configured correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Check the HSRP status on each router by typing "show standby [interface-name] brief." Ensure that the desired active router has the "active" status.
  2. Verify the HSRP priority value by typing "show standby [interface-name]." The router with the highest priority should have the lowest "preempt" value.
  3. Test the failover process by shutting down the active router's interface. The standby router with the highest priority should take over as the active router.


Configuring HSRP preemption is an essential feature that ensures high availability and reduces network downtime.

As a network security engineer, I highly recommend implementing this feature in your network environment.

To learn more about HSRP and other HA protocols, I recommend taking OrhanErgun's course on Cisco CCNA Certification. It provides in-depth knowledge of network design, implementation, and troubleshooting.

Created by
Stanley Arvey

I am a certified network engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field. I have a deep understanding of networking and IT security, and I am always looking for new challenges.

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