Cover by Gary A. Donahue

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Chapter 17. Cisco 6500 Multilayer Switches

The Cisco 6500 is possibly the most widely deployed enterprise-class switch in the world. The balance of expandability, power, capabilities, and port density offered by this switch is hard to beat. The 6500 series comes in sizes ranging from 3 to 13 slots. There are even versions that are Network Equipment Building System (NEBS)-compliant for use in telecom infrastructures that must meet these stringent specifications.

The 6500 architecture has been around for some time, but because it was developed with expandability in mind, the switch that originally supported only 32 Gbps on the backplane now routinely supports 720 Gbps. There is even a way to cluster two 6500s together for a theoretical speed of 1,440 Gbps, though as we’ll see, I find that claim to be more marketing than reality.

The versatility of the 6500 platform has been a prime driver for this series’ placement in a wide variety of positions in an even wider array of solutions. 6509 switches are often at the center of enterprise networks, at the access layer of large companies, as the core of ecommerce websites, and even as the telecom gateways for large VoIP implementations.

Likewise, the flexibility of the 6500 platform has made it prevalent in smaller companies. The 6500 series includes Firewall Services Modules (FWSMs), Content Switching Modules (CSMs), and Network Analysis Modules (NAMs). The entire network infrastructure, as well as all security, load-balancing, and monitoring ...

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