MLS Overview

Multilayer switching (MLS) is a technology that implements both Layer 3 and Layer 2 switching in hardware application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). To provide for Layer 3 speeds, the hardware ASICs handle the process-intensive switching that's normally done by a central processor. Because ASICs are less expensive than CPUs, MLS switches provide a decided cost advantage over the traditional CPU-based router.

Given the advantage of price and performance, you might wonder why anyone would still purchase a traditional router. Unfortunately, ASICs can do only a small number of tasks, but they do those tasks very efficiently. Cisco currently supports IP and IPX Layer 3 switching in its Catalyst switches. Therefore, for a multiprotocol ...

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