9Architectures with Bus-Based Switch Fabrics: Case Study—Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches with Supervisor Engine 32

9.1 Introduction

The Cisco Catalyst 6500 is a family of switch/routers supporting a range of Supervisor Engine and line card options. The older generation of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 supports Supervisor Engines 1A or 2 and two backplanes. One backplane is a 32 Gb/s shared switching bus for interconnecting line cards within the switch/router, and the another backplane allows line cards to interconnect over a high-speed crossbar switch fabric.

The crossbar switch fabric provides each connecting module with a set of distinct high-speed switching paths for data transmission to and data reception from the crossbar switch fabric. This first generation switch fabric (implemented in a stand-alone switch fabric module) provides a total switching capacity of 256 Gb/s.

The newer generation Catalyst 6500 was introduced with the newer high-performing Supervisor Engines 32 and 720 that have advanced features beyond the Supervisor Engines 1A and 2 [CISC6500DS04, CISCCAT6500]. The discussion in this chapter focuses on the architectures of the Catalyst 6500 Series with Supervisor Engine 32. The Supervisor Engine 32 provides connectivity only to the 32 Gb/s shared switching bus and, as a result, supports only line cards that connect to this switching bus. These line card types are the “classic” (also called nonfabric-enabled) and CEF256-based line cards.

By supporting these line ...

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