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Cisco Router modes

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A router is a layer 3 device used to forward packets from one network to another. It forwards the packet through one of its ports on the basis of destination IP address and the entry in the routing table. By using a routing table, it finds an optimized path between the source and destination network. 

Let’s discuss the Cisco router’s different modes. 

Modes of router – 
There are mainly 5 modes in the router:  

  1. User execution mode – 
    As soon as the interface up message appears and press enter, the router> prompt will pop up. This is called user execution mode. This mode is limited to some monitoring commands. 
  2. Privileged mode – 
    As we type enable to user mode, we enter into Privileged mode where we can view and change the configuration of the router. Different commands like show running-configuration, show IP interface brief, etc can run on this mode which is used for troubleshooting purposes. 
  3. Global configuration mode – 
    As we type configure terminal to the user mode, we will enter into the global configuration mode. Commands entered in these modes are called global commands and they affect the running configuration of the router. In this mode, a different configuration like making a local database on the router by providing username and password can set enable and secret password, etc. 
  4. Interface configuration mode – 
    In this mode, only the configuration of interfaces is done. Assigning an IP address to an interface, bringing up the interface are the common tasks done in this mode. 
  5. ROMMON mode – 
    We can enter this mode when we interrupt the boot process of the router. Generally, we enter in this mode while the password recovery process or Backing up of IOS on devices like TFTP server. It is like the BIOS mode of a PC. 

Entering and exiting in different modes: 

ModesAccess methodpromptExit method
user execution modeloginrouter>use logout command
privilege modeuse enable command in user moderouter#use disable command to enter user mode
global configuration modeuse configure terminal commandrouter(config)#use the exit command to enter into privilege mode
Interface modeuse interface command and specify an interface in global configuration moderouter(config-if)#use the exit command to enter into global configuration mode or use the end command to enter into privilege mode.
ROMMON modepress ctrl+break key while boot process or use reload command in privilege mode.ROMMON 1>use continue command

Cisco Routers operate in different modes, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. The three primary modes of operation for Cisco Routers are:

  1. User EXEC Mode
  2. Privileged EXEC Mode
  3. Configuration Mode

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each mode:

  • User EXEC Mode:
  1. Provides basic access to the router.
  2. Allows users to execute only a limited number of commands.
  3. Helps in monitoring the router’s status, interface statistics, and troubleshooting.


  1. Users can only execute a limited number of commands.
  2. Users have no privilege to modify the router’s configuration.
  • Privileged EXEC Mode:
  1. Provides access to all router commands.
  2. Enables users to configure and manage the router’s functions.
  3. Allows users to monitor the system’s operations and network traffic.


  1. Users can potentially make configuration errors, which can disrupt the network operations.

Configuration Mode:

  1. Enables users to configure the router’s settings and parameters.
  2. Provides access to all configuration options.


  1. Users must have a thorough understanding of the router configuration settings and options.
  2. Users can potentially make configuration errors, which can disrupt the network operations.

each mode has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to use each mode appropriately and with caution to ensure the proper functioning and security of the network.

Configuration – 
The user execution mode:  


Entering into privilege mode from user execution mode:  


Exiting from privilege mode to user execution mode:  


Entering in global configuration mode from privilege mode:  

router#configure terminal

Exiting from global configuration mode to privilege mode:  


Entering into interface mode from global configuration mode. Here we have to specify the router’s interface.  

router(config)#interface fa0/0

Exiting from interface mode to global configuration mode.  


Exiting from interface mode to privilege mode.  


Entering into ROMMON mode from privilege mode. 


Last Updated : 15 Mar, 2023
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