News Release

Cisco Sets New Standard for Multilayer Switches

Evolution through Innovations Increase Application Performance Maximizing Existing Network Investments
Mar 31, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 31, 2003 - Cisco Systems, Inc. today introduced the next generation of intelligent network capabilities and market-leading, high performance interfaces for the Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series multilayer switch. Building on a forward-thinking architecture ideal for enterprise and Metro service provider deployments, the Cisco Catalyst 6500 next generation consists of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 720, high performance two-port and four-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet modules, and two 48-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet modules.

The new modules are supported across all Cisco Catalyst 6500 chassis and interfaces to maximize existing network investments and feature several industry-firsts for customers to simplify network management, enhance operational control, maximize network uptime, and enable hardware-accelerated services like Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Network Address Translation (NAT). The additions also enable customers to cost-effectively deploy 10/100/1000 Megabits per second (Mbps) in wiring closets and migrate from multi-gigabit to 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the core of their networks to better accommodate a broader range of applications.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Architecture a Platform for Evolution Through Innovation

With more than 50 patents-pending, the Cisco Catalyst 6500 next generation increases system performance and scalability. Customers can deploy new end-user services, enhance wireless user mobility and prepare for the proliferation of network connected devices using their existing Cisco Catalyst 6500 interface investments. The key Cisco Catalyst 6500 platform innovations that reduce customer's total cost of network ownership include:

  • New supervisor engine with integrated 720 Gbps switch fabric: The new supervisor engine scales Cisco Catalyst 6500 performance to 400 million packet per second (Mpps) for IPv4, and fully supports every Cisco Catalyst 6500 interface and network services module. System port densities can be increased and additional services modules can be installed when used with the new supervisor engine.
  • Expanded hardware-accelerated intelligent services: Complementing existing Cisco Catalyst 6500 wire-speed Quality of Service, Access Control List and IPv4 capabilities, the new supervisor engine also accelerates, in hardware, IPv6, MPLS, NAT, and General Routing Encapsulation for practical deployment in high speed network cores, to meet current and future requirements.
  • Additional Cisco GRIP features maximize network uptime and reduce operating costs: The new Cisco Globally Resilient IP (GRIP) features in the supervisor engine include Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol and Gateway Load Balancing Protocol which enable administrators to load-balance network traffic across traditionally inactive redundant routers or switches and utilize inactive backup links. This doubles network infrastructure efficiency and eliminates the need for back-up routers and switches.
  • Embedded management services and in-line power support: The Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR), integrated into the new 48-port 10/100/1000 modules, can detect cable failures to significantly simplify network management and increase operational control. These modules are also the first 10/100/1000 modules with support for a field-upgradeable in-line power daughter card to provide high-performance gigabit desktop connectivity in a converged network environment.
  • Non-blocking and high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet Aggregation in existing Cisco Catalyst 6500s: Utilizing the new supervisor engine 720 Gbps switch fabric and building on proven Cisco Express Forwarding technology, these new interfaces provide industry-leading system port density, ideal for Metro/long-haul service providers, replacing expensive Synchronous Optical Network installations. The module is also suitable for enterprises seeking to migrate to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

"These next generation advancements change the market economics to drive the transition from 10/100 to 10/100/1000 and Gigabit EtherChannel to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, while simplifying operational manageability of customer networks," said Luca Cafiero, senior vice president of the Cisco Switching, Voice, and Storage Technology Group. "Today, the Catalyst 6500 is the one platform that allows customers to seamlessly add next-generation intelligent services and interfaces using their existing network infrastructure to create the industry's highest performance, highest density, most feature-rich integrated Layer 2 through Layer 7 switch--from the wiring closet, to the core, to the data center, to the WAN edge, including Metro Ethernet environments."

"The network is increasingly becoming a strategic asset which can help us realize our academic, research and business goals, via an infrastructure which can support the advanced nature of our new network core," said Jimmy Kyriannis, network architect and manager at New York University. "By moving to Gigabit Ethernet, we can increase network availability through a proven technology that's cost-effective to support. A Catalyst 6500 next generation equipped with the new Supervisor Engine 720, with support for IPv6 and MPLS, enables the platform to be extended to support the growing needs of current and future technologies and applications."

Additional Product Details

In addition to the Cisco Catalyst 6500 next generation components, Cisco also announced the Cisco Catalyst 6500 16-port Gigabit Ethernet module for data center deployments. Additional details for all of the new products:

  • 4-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet module--Designed for enterprises, up to 32 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports can be consolidated in a single chassis, featuring 40 Gbps per slot connections to the 720 Gbps switch fabric. "Hot-swappable" IEEE 802.3ae standards-compliant Xenpak modular optics provide flexibility and improved serviceability.
  • 2-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet module--Designed for service providers running Metro Area Networks or Wide Area Networks, this non-blocking 10 Gigabit Ethernet module features deep 150 millisecond buffers and advanced traffic-shaping capabilities to mitigate network congestion. The module also featuring 40 Gbps per slot connections to the 720 Gbps switch fabric. Up to 16 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis can be deployed using IEEE 802.3ae standards compliant "hot-swappable" Xenpak modular optics.
  • 48-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet module for performance--oriented wiring closets-Enables up to 576 10/100/1000 ports per chassis with 256 Gbps switch fabric connectivity. The module features integrated TDR and will also support a field-upgradeable IEEE 802.3af standards-based in-line power daughter card.
  • 48-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet module for value--oriented wiring closets-This module utilizes the Catalyst 6500 32 Gbps backplane. A single Cisco Catalyst 6500 chassis can cost-effectively support 48 to 576 10/100/1000 ports using any generation of Cisco Catalyst 6500 supervisor engine. It also features TDR and will offer a field-upgradeable IEEE 802.3af standards based in-line power daughter card.
  • Enhanced 16-port Gigabit Ethernet GBIC module--For fiber or mixed media enterprise backbone and datacenter deployments, as well as service provider gigabit aggregation, these modules support up to 196 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis and reduce Gigabit Ethernet deployment costs and use modular GBIC optics.

Pricing, and Projected Availability and Further Information

Product Starting Price Availability
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 720 $28,000 U.S. April 2003
Cisco 2-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet module $60,000 U.S. CYQ3 2003
Cisco 4-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet module $20,000 U.S. CYQ3 2003
Cisco 48-port 10/100/1000 module for performance wiring closets $12,000 U.S. May 2003
Cisco 48-port 10/100/1000 module for value wiring closets $7,500 U.S. April 2003
Cisco 16-port Gigabit Ethernet GBIC module $15,000 U.S. April 2003
Cisco 10 Gigabit BASE-LR Serial 1310nm Long Haul XENPAK (SMF) $4,000 US CYQ3 2003
Cisco 10 Gigabit BASE-ER Serial 1550nm Extended Reach XENPAK (SMF) $12,000 US CYQ3 2003

Further information on the Catalyst 6000 family can be found at