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Updated:Apr 15, 2008
The Cisco® ME 6500 Series Ethernet Switch is a next-generation, fixed-configuration switch built for space-optimized and power-constrained networks. Based on ground-breaking and industry-leading Cisco Catalyst® 6500 technology, the Cisco ME 6500 Series cost-effectively delivers on the stringent performance, reliability, and QoS requirements of next-generation enterprise WAN edge deployments in a space- and power-optimized 1.5-rack unit (1.5RU) package. The Cisco ME 6500 Series extends the most advanced Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), quality of service (QoS), multicast, and IPv6 features into Ethernet access and aggregation networks, enabling scalable and service-rich Gigabit Ethernet access for both fiber and copper deployments.
The Cisco ME 6500 Series Ethernet Switch is a high-performance, fully featured, and resilient Ethernet switch, equipped standard with the Policy Feature Card 3C (PFC3C) and Multilayer Switch Feature Card 2A (MSFC2A).
The Cisco ME 6524 Ethernet Switch is the first available product of the Cisco ME 6500 Series.
The Cisco ME 6524 is available in two configurations:
• 24 Gigabit Ethernet Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) downlinks and 8 Gigabit Ethernet SFP uplinks, with redundant power supplies (product ID ME-C6524GS-8S, Figure 1).
Figure 1. Cisco ME 6524 with 24 Gigabit Ethernet SFP Downlinks
• 24 Ethernet 10/100/1000 downlinks and 8 Gigabit Ethernet SFP uplinks, with redundant power supplies (product ID ME-C6524GT-8S, Figure 2).
Figure 2. Cisco ME 6524 with 24 Ethernet 10/100/1000 Downlinks
The Cisco ME 6524 Ethernet Switch is shipped with the IP Base Software image. The image includes the Layer 2 feature set, RIP, and EIGRP stub.
For greater service breadth and network flexibility, the Cisco ME 6524 Ethernet Switch offers the IP Services license that provides IPv4 feature set, and the Advanced IP Services Software license that provides MPLS and IPv6 functionality.
The Cisco ME 6524 offers:
• Optimal Gigabit Ethernet density: With up to 32 Gigabit Ethernet ports, all fiber-based, the Cisco ME 6524 can aggregate multiple customers who require Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The uplink interfaces offer flexible connectivity options by accommodating a broad range of SFP optics, including coarse wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM) and dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) optics.
• Flexible network deployment options: The switch features highly scalable Layer 2 services with features such as intelligent 802.1Q tunneling and Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling. The PFC3C daughter card enables in-hardware MPLS technologies for MPLS VPNs, and Ethernet over MPLS (EoMPLS). For service offering facing an increasing demand for IP address space, hardware-enabled IPv6 protocols provide a scalable and high-performing end-to-end IP service delivery.
• Optimal performance and scalability: The Cisco ME 6524 offers high performance CPU for Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols convergence and stability. The switch features scalable Layer 2 switching, IP routing and MPLS functionalities in hardware without performance impact.
• Increased service availability: The Cisco ME 6524 helps ensure service and network uptime with its support of Cisco EtherChannel protocols, rapid convergence protocols such as IEEE 802.1w/802.1s and Flexlink, and gateway load-balancing protocols. In order to minimize service outage due to a power supply failure, the Cisco ME 6524 can be configured with redundant DC, AC or a combination of AC and DC power supplies that are field-replaceable and hot-swappable.
• Integrated security: The Cisco ME 6524 offers a comprehensive set of security features to mitigate denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, to restrict the access to the network, and to safeguard network resources. Port-based and VLAN-based access control lists (ACLs) restrict the unwanted traffic based on traffic and users; CPU rate limiters and control plane policing (CoPP) limit the amount of traffic that enters the network; Port Security limits the number of MAC addresses that can be learned; DHCP Snooping and dynamic ARP inspection prevent threats from the DHCP server, default gateways, or address spoofing attacks. These integrated security features are hardware-enabled so they can be enabled concurrently without jeopardizing the system performance as the traffic level increases.
The Cisco ME 6524 offers hardware-accelerated VPN services for network segmentation and branches interconnectivity.
Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs
Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs have been widely deployed by enterprise and data center customers to offer network segmentation and consolidation. VPNs are well suited for applications such as interbranch connectivity, Internet access, intranets, and extranets.
Layer 2 VPNs can be delivered over a pure Layer 2 infrastructure. By enabling features as 802.1Q tunneling and Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling (L2PT), the Cisco ME 6524 allows the customer to segment and transparently transport the users' traffic.
Alternatively, Layer 2 VPNs can be offered through Ethernet over MPLS. This technology provides a Layer 2 tunneling mechanism over a Layer 3 MPLS network, thus using the Layer 3 network convergence protocols without the need for Spanning Tree Protocol.
Layer 3 VPNs, often referred to as MPLS VPNs, are multipoint Layer 3 services (see Figure 3). The PFC3C complex on the Cisco ME 6524 enables MPLS in hardware and provides QoS and resiliency capabilities such as MPLS Experimental (MPLS EXP) bit marking, MPLS Traffic Engineering (MPLS TE), and MPLS Fast Reroute (MPLS FRR).
Figure 3. Cisco ME 6524 Supports Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs
Key Features and Benefits
Table 1 describes the features and benefits of the Cisco ME 6524, and Table 2 provides information about its scalability.
Table 1. Cisco ME 6524 Features and Benefits
Layer 2 Switching
Layer 2 Protocol Tunneling (L2PT)
802.1Q and L2PT are the service enablers to offer Layer 2 VPNs. By encapsulating users' data frames in an outer 802.1Q tag and by tunneling users' PDUs, 802.1Q tunneling allows to segregate users' traffic and to scale the number of users beyond the 4096 VLAN boundary
Port Aggregation Protocol (PAgP)
Unidirectional Link Detection
Protocols such as IEEE 802.1D, IEEE 802.1w, and IEEE 802.1s help ensure business continuity by minimizing the network convergence time for time-sensitive applications.
Flexlink provides fast failover over point-to-point connections, without the overhead of control protocols.
PAgP and IEEE 802.3ad increase bandwidth availability and provide fast link failover within the Cisco EtherChannel bundle.
Unidirectional Link Detection (UDLD) increases the network reliability by quickly detecting unidirectional links or misplaced fiber connectors.
Cisco Discovery Protocol
VLAN Trunk Protocol (VTP)
Cisco Discovery Protocol and VTP ease the network and service configuration by detecting peer capability and by propagating the VLANs information within the network.
Internet Group Management Protocol version 1, 2, 3 (IGMP v1, v2, v3)
Enable efficient and scalable delivery of video applications.
Advanced Quality of Service
Ingress Policing-Per Port, Per VLAN, Per Port + Per VLAN
Per-port egress policing
Class of service (CoS) Mutation
Flexible Policing functions classify and rate-limit the users' traffic based on port, VLAN, and port + VLAN information. Layer 3 per-port egress policing allows the delivery of multipoint services with tight service-level agreement (SLA) requirements. User traffic can be marked at Layer 2 or Layer 3, to fulfill differentiated QoS models.
Shaped Round Robin (SRR)
Deficit Weighted Round Robin (DWRR)
Weighted Random Early Detection (WRED)
Intelligent queuing mechanism helps ensure that the highest-priority data is serviced ahead of other traffic.
Congestion avoidance and scheduling algorithms help regulate traffic and prevent network congestion. SRR enhances the scheduling algorithm by shaping the traffic that egress each queue.
Private VLAN enforces users' security by isolating the traffic flows coming from different users.
IEEE 802.1x, port-based security and port-based access lists allow to grant access to network resources and privileges through identity-based networking.
DHCP Snooping, DHCP Option 82, and Dynamic ARP Inspection help in identifying user's MAC and IP address and port number, hence preventing attacks from malicious users.
VLAN-based and port-based ACLs
Port Security on Access, 802.1Q trunk, and 802.1Q tunneling ports
Per-VLAN MAC Limiting
Control Plane Policing
Hardware-based Rate Limiters
Unicast Flood Blocking
Malicious attacks can jeopardize the functionality of the network by compromising the switch CPU, MAC table, etc.
Features such as Port Security and Per-VLAN MAC Limiting restrict the number of MAC addresses that can be learned on the network.
Hardware-enabled ACLs and rate limiters restrict undesired traffic in the network, while storm control features rate-limit the amount of broadcast and multicast frames injected into the switch.
Ethernet over MPLS (EoMPLS)
EoMPLS VC Type 4 and VC Type 5
MPLS VPN (RFC2547)
MPLS Traffic Engineering (MPLS TE)
MPLS Fast Reroute (MPLS FRR)
Enhance the service flexibility by allowing Layer 2 and Layer 3 services integration on the same platform.
MPLS TE and FRR features allow to transport services with different levels of protection and service guarantees.
RIPng, MP-BGP4, OSPFv3
IPv6 over IPv4 Tunnels
Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6)
Configured, Automatic, GRE, 6to4, ISATAP Tunnels
PIM-SM and PIM-SSM
Improve the scalability of IP deployments, allowing high-performing network evolution.
Multicast protocols and QoS features optimize video delivery over an end-to-end IP architecture.
Table 2. Cisco ME 6524 Scalability Numbers
Up to 96,000
Up to 256,000
Up to 128,000
Up to 128,000
Table 3 lists details about the Cisco ME 6524 product architecture. Table 4 and Table 5 list product specifications and standards and management information. Table 6 provides safety and compliance information.
Table 3. Cisco ME 6524 Product Architecture
Hardware-Based Forwarding Engine
Policy Feature Card 3C (PFC3C) onboard
MSFC Daughter Card Version
Up to 15 mpps
8 Gigabit Ethernet SFP interfaces
• 24 Gigabit Ethernet SFP interfaces
• 24 Ethernet 10/100/1000 interfaces
9216 bytes-Jumbo frames supported on uplink and downlink interfaces
3:1 in case of 1 GE port speed
Uplink Queue Structure
• TX: 1p3q8t
• RX: 2q8t
• Deep Buffer: 12.8 MB per port (50% TX and 50% RX)
Uplink Port Scheduler
Strict Priority Scheduling with either Shaped Round Robin (SRR) or Deficit Weighted Round Robin (DWRR)
Default Memory on the Cisco ME 6524 Switch Processor
512-MB Memory Upgrade Option for the Switch Processor on the Cisco ME 6524
1-GB Memory Upgrade Option for the Switch Processor on the Cisco ME 6524
Default Memory on the Cisco ME 6524 Router Processor
1-GB Memory Upgrade Option for the Router Processor on the Cisco ME 6524
Optional External Compact Flash memory 512 MB
Cisco ME 6524 IOS IP BASE LAN only
Cisco ME 6524 IOS IP BASE SSH LAN only
Cisco IOS Advanced IP Services
Service and Support
Cisco offers a wide range of services programs to accelerate customer success. These innovative services programs are delivered through a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and partners, resulting in high levels of customer satisfaction. Cisco services help you to protect your network investment, optimize network operations, and prepare the network for new applications to extend network intelligence and the power of your business. For more information about Cisco services, see Cisco Technical Support Services or Cisco Advanced Services.