The Cisco® 7304 Router is designed for the network edge where high-performance IP services are required to enable profitability, service differentiation, and business agility. It is widely positioned as a WAN aggregation router in enterprise and high-end customer-premises-equipment (CPE) deployments or as a low-end provider-edge router in service provider deployments.
The NSE-150 is the forwarding engine or route processor for the Cisco 7304; it uses Parallel Express Forwarding (PXF) technology to deliver hardware-accelerated network services with up to 3.5-Mpps forwarding rate; it also has an 800-MHz microprocessor CPU to support a rich feature set in Cisco IOS® Software with high performance and scalability. With four onboard Gigabit Ethernet ports, the NSE-150 also increases the overall port density of the platform and maximizes the value of customers' investments (Figure 1).
Maximizes LAN connectivity and performance without taking up slot capacity
2 GB of Synchronous Dynamic (SDRAM)
Offers more scalability on features: routing table, Forwarding Information Base (FIB) table, IPv6 features, etc.
2 USB ports
Provides two USB ports for general storage and security token storage
Enables maximum investment protection and flexibility by allowing customers to upgrade to the NSE-150 network services engine or future Cisco 7304 processors
Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)
Minimum Recommended Software Release
• The minimum software release recommended is Cisco IOS Software Release 12.2(31)SB2.
Cisco 7304 Processor Options
The Cisco 7304 Router offers two types of processor options: general-purpose network processing engine (NPE) and hardware-accelerated network services engine (NSE).
Table 2 provides a quick overview of the primary differences between the three Cisco 7304 processing engines.
Table 2. Comparison of the Cisco 7304 NPE-G100, NSE-100, and NSE-150
PXF-based processor plus general-purpose route-processor support
PXF-based processor plus general-purpose route-processor support
More than 1-Mpps route processor
3.5 Mpps (PXF); 450 kpps (route processor)
3.5 Mpps (PXF); 800 kpps (route processor)
Three fixed 10-/100-/1000-Mbps ports (RJ-45) or Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) optics
Two (Gigabit Ethernet)
Four (Gigabit Ethernet; SFP)
Gigabit Ethernet Optics
Gigabit interface converters (GBICs)
Compact Flash Memory
Please note that USB port support will not be available at first customer shipment (FCS) time of the Cisco NSE-150 Network Services Engine (part number 7300-NSE-150), and it will be supported in a later software release.
Selecting a Processor
All three processor options on the Cisco 7304 offer unique benefits. The high-performance NSE-100 and NSE-150 provide up to 3.5-Mpps performance for application-specific features. The list of features that are hardware-accelerated continues to evolve, but currently includes numerous QoS, MPLS, and MPLS VPN services. Features that are not in the PXF path are still supported on the route processor on the NSE-100, but at a lower throughput. In addition, the NSE-100 and NSE-150 can support line-rate interfaces of up to OC-48/STM-16 speeds.
The Cisco 7304 NSE-150 has the same route processor as the NPE-G100, so it offers up to 800,000-pps performance on Cisco IOS Software. The Cisco 7304 NSE-100 has a 350-MHz RM7000 MIPS microprocessor offering approximately 450,000-pps performance on software features, which is less than the performance of the control-plane feature on the NPE-G100 and NSE-150.
Compared to the Cisco 7304 NSE-100, the Cisco 7304 NSE-150 has the following major improvements:
• Offers improved processing power for the control-plane functions (for example, routing protocols and statistics collection)
• Offers improved processing power for route processor-processed data traffic (for example, traditional protocol traffic such as X.25)
• Provides increased route-processor and PXF memory to enable more scalability (routing table, FIB table, etc.)
• Adds port density through onboard Gigabit Ethernet ports (two more onboard Gigabit Ethernet ports)
• Introduces USB interfaces to the Cisco 7304 Router
• Supports up to 16,000 interface descriptor blocks (IDBs), whereas the NSE-100 supports 4,000 IDBs and the NPE-G100 supports 8,000 IDBs; With scalability improvement of IDB, more interfaces can be supported in a system: Cisco 7304 with NSE-150 can support up to 16,000 VLANs, 8,000 Frame Relay DLCIs and 4, 000 ATM VCs per system.
The Cisco 7304 NPE-G100 comes with 1 GB of SDRAM and 256 MB of Compact Flash memory by default, and it can archieve better than 1-Mpps switching performance with full support for Cisco IOS Software. In addition, it has three onboard Gigabit Ethernet ports providing high-density LAN connectivity (three fixed 10-/100-/1000-Mbps ports copper or fiber). The network processing engine can deliver all Cisco IOS Software-based services at high performance, thus providing maximum versatility. The NPE-G100 supports the same interfaces as the NSE-100 and NSE-150, but there will be a performance difference between it and the NSE-100 or NSE-150 when deploying higher-speed interfaces such as OC-48/STM-16.
When selecting which processor to deploy, customers should consider the following:
• What features does the deployment require and at what performance level?
• What interfaces does the deployment require and at what performance level?
• Which processor best meets these requirements in the desired timeframe?
The Cisco 7304 NSE-150 supports a redundant-processor option that allows the Cisco 7304 Router to be deployed as a fully redundant, high-availability solution. It is recommended that the same hardware configuration be deployed for both the active and standby processors to ensure consistent and predictable route-processor operations after switchover.
Note that the primary engine occupies slots 0 and 1 in a Cisco 7304 chassis, and the redundant NSE-150 occupies slots 2 and 3.
Four LAN ports are available on the NSE-150, supporting SFP connectors. Figure 2 illustrates these ports.
Gigabit Ethernet specifications follow:
• IEEE 802.3z compliance
• Support for Jumbo Frames with a maximum transmission unit (MTU) of 9192 bytes
• SFP-based Gigabit Ethernet interfaces with SC connectors (refer to Table 6)
Figure 2. Cisco 7304 NSE-150 LAN Ports (Currently the NSE-150 supports coarse wavelength-division multiplexing [CWDM] SFPs, 1000BASE-T SFP, 1000BBASE-BX SFP, and 1000BASE Fiber SFPs with short-reach [SX], long-reach/long-haul [LX/LH], and longer-reach [ZX] options.
The Cisco 7304 NSE-150 supports three variations of Gigabit Ethernet SFPs: SX, LX/LH, and ZX. These Gigabit Ethernet SFPs are a small-form-factor version of the more commonly known GBICs. SFPs are sold separately. Table 6 lists the Gigabit Ethernet SFPs supported on the Cisco 7304 NSE-150 service engine. The SFPs are sold separately.
The Cisco 7304 NSE-150 supports 2 GB of SDRAM. There are two SDRAM slots, so the 2 GB consists of two 1-GB memory small-outline dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs).
The type of SDRAM memory on the NSE-150 is DDR memory, providing high-performance memory access rates.
Compact Flash Memory
The Cisco 7304 NSE-150 supports 256-MB Compact Flash memory. Table 5 provides product numbers for the Compact Flash memory used with the NSE-150.
Console and Auxiliary Ports
As with the Cisco 7304 NSE-100, the NSE-150 has built-in console and auxiliary ports.
The USB Flash feature provides an optional secondary storage capability. Images, configurations, or other files can be copied to or from the Cisco USB Flash memory with the same reliability as storing and retrieving files using the Compact Flash card. Cisco USB Flash memory will be supported with 64-, 128-, and 256-MB sizes in future software releases.
Product Specifications: Compatibility
The NSE-150 is supported on the Cisco 7304 chassis.
Native Line Cards
The NSE-150 is supported with all native line cards currently orderable with the Cisco 7304 chassis.
Port Adapters (PAs) and Shared Port Adapters (SPAs)
The NSE-150 is supported with the carrier card (part numbers 7300-CC-PA and 7304-MSC-100), and all port adapters and shared port adapters are currently orderable with the Cisco 7304 chassis.
The NSE-150 is supported in Cisco IOS Software Release 12.2(31)SB2 and later. Please consult your Cisco representative for additional details.
The NSE-150 comes with the following Network Management support
• Local loopback
• Network loopback
• NetFlow data export
• Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) management support
– SNMPv1, SNMPv2, and SNMPv3
– ENTITY-MIB (RFC 2737) based inventory and asset management
– MIB-II (RFC 1213) compliance
– Standard RFCs support for physical layer interfaces