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Cisco Updates Do-All Switch Line

We tested Cisco's 4507R and found it delivers wire-speed performance and redundancy.

Fast and Furious

I Tested The 4507R, the only model that comes with the option for redundant Supervisor cards. I tested this option by pulling out the active Supervisor card while pinging through the box. It took about 30 seconds for the backup Supervisor card to kick in and start forwarding the pings. However, with a large route table such a switchover could take as long as a minute, Cisco reps say. I also pulled one of the redundant power supplies while running our most demanding throughput tests, and the 4507R didn't drop a packet.

For my tests, the 4507R was fully populated with five line cards containing six gigabit-fiber ports on each. There were also two active gigabit-fiber ports on the Supervisor card for a grand total of 32 gigabit ports. I hooked up a Spirent SmartBits 6000B tester to the box and blasted true wire-speed traffic, 100 percent utilization, through all 32 ports in full-duplex mode. I sent 1,518-byte packets and the worst-case 64-byte packets, which caused the 4507R to process more headers in the same amount of time. I also sent some in-between-sized packets and set the SmartBits to tolerate 0 percent drops--not a single packet was dropped.

Good
• True wire-speed performance, even with access lists.
• Heavy-duty redundancy.

• Inline power.

Bad
• Expensive.
• Limited wire-speed port density.
Next I configured a 30-line access list to be active on all the ports and specified that the whole list had to be traversed. The throughput was perfect, confirming Cisco's claim of wire-speed access-list processing. I left the access list on and did a latency test in full-mesh mode, which divided the traffic equally from each individual port to every other port and made the switch work a little harder. The best-case latency was about 3.4 microseconds with 64-byte packets. Even the worst case was low enough to be insignificant--about 73 microseconds with 1,518-byte packets.

Boosting the 4000

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