I have to disagree with the logic below. You are correct that using an IP address for management does not make a switch a layer 3 device. But if the switch uses IP to make forwarding decisions then it becomes a layer 3 device (IE the term ‘layer 3 switch’)
ARP does indeed use frames to forward the request but the response itself is actually an IP packet encapsulated in a frame (like everything else) so I have to agree with the original answer.
ARP IS layer 3.
If you need clarification please view RFC 826 at ietf.org
Switches are using IP addresses too (for management) but that doesn’t make them layer 3 devices.
I had similar question about ARP and found an answer. I ran packet analyzer while clearing my PC’s arp cache, then pinging remote host. ARP request is Ethernet broadcast – to address ff.ff.ff.ff.ff.ff. Which means ARP operates at layer 2.
ARP/RARP would have to be at layer 3 since IP addresses are involved. This is where routing takes place. Bridging takes place at layer 2 or using MAC addresses. See <a href=”http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/t_DataLinkNetworkLayerConnectionProtocols.htm”>this section of the TCP/IP guide</a> for more information.