Cisco refreshes Catalyst 6500 Series Switches

Cisco introduced the infusion of multiple innovations into its Catalyst 6500 Series Switches, the most widely deployed network switches on earth.

At the heart of the makeover is the introduction of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T, a 2-terabit card that unlocks 80 gigabits per second per slot, new 10-gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet line cards, and borderless services that provide customers with new mobility, security, network analysis and load balancing capabilities.

The new supervisor engine can increase the throughput capability of the Catalyst 6500 from 720 Gbps to 2 Tbps, a threefold increase. It can also quadruple the number of devices or users that can connect to a network. For example, a single Catalyst 6500 can now support up to 10,000 mobile devices.

All new line cards and the 2 Tbps supervisor are compatible with all Cisco E-Series chassis models, offering minimal intervention to the existing Catalyst 6500 E-Series infrastructure. This compatibility prevents rip-and-replace upgrades that jeopardize a customer’s network uptime and require additional personnel, expenses and time.

More than 200 new technical features have been added to Cisco IOS Software to meet growing security, mobility, application, voice/video, and virtualization demands. These include: Advanced Security Services with the full Cisco TrustSec implementation, including hardware-based MacSec for wire-rate data confidentiality and integrity; Security Group Tagging for role assignment and persistence through the network; and Security Group Access Control Lists for role enforcement. The Catalyst 6500 Supervisor 2T Layer 3 Security Group Tagging allows for the secure interoperability and interconnection of geographically disperse networks. Scalable Network Virtualization Services with VRF-Lite, MPLS, and native hardware-based VPLS as well as MPLS over GRE are available at full interface speeds.

New L4-7 mobility, security, network analysis and load balancing service modules allow customers to reduce the number of L4-7 devices in their network they need to manage, improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprint.

Without penalizing the overall performance of the system, the new Supervisor 2T includes many technologies that ease the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. The Catalyst 6500 is also the first platform to offer IPv6 First Hop Security features (such as device tracking, Neighbor Discovery Protocol Inspection, and IPv6 per-port address limits) so customers can continue to grow their networks with a high assurance of security as they transition to IPv6.

First native support for technologies that simplify the LAN/WAN boundary for service providers and customers. These technologies, called Virtual Private LAN Services support and Bridged Domain Technology, enable rapid and flexible service provisioning, because the service bandwidth is not tied to the physical interface. Native support can substantially reduce the cost while radically improving performance for this proven, standardized technology.

To assist customers as they seek to increase the accuracy of capacity planning and resource allocation, Cisco has added support for Flexible and Sampled NetFlow for enhanced and granular monitoring of IPv4, IPv6, multicast and MPLS traffic. This refresh brings with it up to a fourfold increase – to 1 million – in the number of NetFlow entries that can be maintained.

While the “multicast” technique for one-to-many communication over an IP infrastructure has become increasingly important for market-data feeds and video broadcasts, multicast route scalability has been a persistent issue. To address this, the Cisco Supervisor Engine 2T provides up to a 16-fold increase in multicast route scalability. It also delivers major improvements to the way the Catalyst 6500 selectively forwards multicast traffic to only the links that have solicited them. Called IGMPv3 and MLDv2 Snooping, these enhancements help ensure that multicasting does not cause an unnecessary load on the host device, and they are especially useful for bandwidth-intensive IP multicast applications such as IPTV.

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