Catalyst 6000 Layer 2 Characteristics

In many respects, Catalyst 6000s can be viewed as bigger versions of Catalyst 5000s. This is especially true when Catalyst 6000s are configured to run the traditional Catalyst XDI/CatOS images. In this case, Catalyst 6000s use exactly the same user interface discussed in Chapter 4. Virtually every feature discussed throughout the book is supported using the same configuration steps on both products. In short, Layer 2 Catalyst 6000s look completely familiar to anyone who has configured a Catalyst 4000 or 5000.


Recall from earlier chapters that XDI is the name of the UNIX-like kernel originally used to build early Catalyst devices.

Although Layer 2 Catalyst 6000s offer the same look and feel as Catalyst 5000s, they obviously offer increased capacity and throughput. For example, whereas the Catalyst 5000s use a 1.2-Gbps backplane and the 5500s use a 3.6-Gbps crossbar backplane, the 6000s use a 16-Gbps backplane (most vendors have started measuring switch capacity on a full-duplex basis, resulting in a backplane capacity rating of 32 Gbps for the 6000s). In addition to the 16-Gbps backplane, Catalyst 6500s also provide a 256-Gbps crossbar matrix (although initial Supervisor configurations do not utilize this capacity). Obviously, the 6000s and 6500s provide a dramatic increase in available Layer 2 switching throughput and Gigabit Ethernet port densities.

Because of the similarity between Layer 2 Catalyst and other Catalyst platforms discussed in detail throughout this book, this chapter does not dwell on their details.

The Catalyst 5000 Supervisor III uses an RJ-45 style console port that is pinned out in the exact opposite of the console port found on Cisco 2500 (and other) routers, creating widespread confusion when it initially shipped. The Catalyst 6000 Supervisor also uses an RJ-45 connector. However, to maintain backward compatibility with both the 2500 routers and the Catalyst 5000 Supervisor III, the Catalyst 6000 features a switch to select the pinout you prefer. When set to the in position, it uses the same console cable as a 2500 (that is, a rolled cable). When set to the out position, it uses the same cable as a Catalyst 5000 Supervisor III (a straight-through cable). To adjust the setting of this switch, use a paper clip (it is recessed behind a small hole in the faceplate).

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