Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches

Catalyst 4500 Series Overview for Service Providers


Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Optimizes Control of Voice,
Video, and Data Traffic for Metro Ethernet Networks


The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switches with integrated resiliency are designed specifically for both aggregation of business services and subscriber access in metropolitan-area networks (MANs) that take advantage of the simplicity and flexibility of optical Ethernet in the First Mile. These switches deliver integrated resiliency combined with the mechanisms for per-subscriber traffic management, security, performance, and QoS, which network operators and service providers need to deliver revenue-generating data, voice, and video services. With the Cisco Catalyst 4500, network operators can now extend control and intelligence to large and small sites at the MAN edge in their EFM networks.

Figure 1
Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series

Metro Ethernet

Because of the high availability, cost, and speed advantages of Ethernet, service providers are looking to offer metropolitan (metro) Ethernet as a connectivity option to their customers. Ethernet technology offers unique cost advantages by eliminating unnecessary protocol conversion in the MAN because most traffic begins and ends as Ethernet. Ethernet delivers flexibly provisioned bandwidth for today's data communication service offerings while its performance future proofs the network for any service delivery in the future.

The delivery of voice, video, and data traffic for residential or business services over a single (IP-based) network requires a switching infrastructure that can differentiate between traffic types and handle each type according to its unique requirements. The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series delivers this advanced functionality through sophisticated control features of Cisco IOS® Software and specialized hardware.

Optimal Control

The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series provides metro Ethernet edge networks the optimal control from handling security to service differentiation. The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series delivers control with:

  • Integrated resiliency—Network downtime is minimized with redundant supervisor engine capability (Cisco Catalyst 4507R), software-based fault tolerance, and 1+1 power-supply redundancy across the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series. With time-sensitive traffic, including voice and video, running over the edge network, integrated resiliency is a must for maintaining profitability.
  • Sophisticated quality of service (QoS)—Integrated Layer 2-, 3-, or 4-based QoS and traffic management capabilities classify and prioritize end-customer traffic with 32,000 QoS policies. The system has the ability to shape and rate limit bandwidth-intensive traffic with mechanisms such as input and output policers based on user, network, and application information. These QoS mechanisms are delivered with no adverse impact on performance.
  • Predictable performance—The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series delivers up to 48-Mpps wire-speed forwarding in hardware for Layer 2, 3, and 4 traffic. Switching performance is independent of the number of route entries, the types of QoS mechanisms enabled, or the number of active virtual LANs (VLANs). Metro networks need to respond reliably to changes in traffic in order to meet end-customer service-level agreements (SLAs).
  • Advanced security—32,000 wire-rate Layer 2 through 4 access lists, DHCP Interface Tracker (Option 82) for subscriber tracking, DHCP  snooping to prevent malicious or misconfigured DHCP servers, and other advanced security capabilities such as user authentication secure the network for privacy and robust service.

Scalable Architecture

The modular architecture of the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series provides the scalability and flexibility to grow the network from start to scale. With up to 4096 VLANs and private VLANs, service providers can easily address security in mixed networks with residences and businesses. The switches can be configured for high-density access with up to 240 10-, 100-, or 1000-Mbps interfaces, or for gigabit aggregation with 32 nonshared Gigabit Ethernet ports. In addition, the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series offers different entry points for high- and low-density end-customer locations with the Cisco Catalyst 4503, 4506, or 4507R chassis.


Metro Ethernet Network Delivering Services to Mixed Business and Residential Area

  • A typical metro Ethernet network design utilizes a Layer 2 or 3 edge switch (Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series) to deliver Ethernet transport to the end customer (Figure 2). The distribution layer is a combination of Layer 2 and Layer 3 plus Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) or Universal Transport Interface (UTI) (Cisco Catalyst 6000 Series, Cisco 7600 Router, and Cisco 12000 Internet Router). The backbone comprises optical transport technology (10 Gigabit Ethernet, SONET, Dynamic Packet Transport (DPT or RPR)).
  • The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series supports up to 240 ports of optical Gigabit and Fast Ethernet interfaces providing high density metro access. The Cisco Catalyst 4500 can be placed in the remote terminal in the neighborhood or in the local central office. End customers, both businesses and residences, are connected with optical Gigabit Ethernet or Fast Ethernet.
  • Intelligence is provided at the edge to ensure end-to-end service success and security. Services include site interconnectivity supporting voice, video, and data streams, IP multicast video, voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony, and tiered Internet access. Intelligent, predictable performance is delivered by Cisco Catalyst switches that use the hardware-based Cisco Express Forwarding Routing Engine, capable of scaling to 48 Mpps. This enables multiple millions of packets per second throughput of Layer 3 switching, with no penalty IP mechanisms, for example, access control lists (ACLs) and QoS.

Figure 2
Metro Ethernet Network with Cisco Catalyst 4500 Switches

Key Cisco Catalyst metro Ethernet switching solution advantages with the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series in
Figure 2 follow:

  • Traffic differentiation and service agreements benefit from rich multilayer QoS—including policing (ingress and egress), classification, shaping, sharing, marking, and advanced scheduling—implemented in hardware with advanced parallel pipeline processing (Supervisor Engines III and IV).
  • ASIC-based Layer 2 to 4 performance delivers network predictability for data, voice, and IP multicast traffic—necessary for meeting SLAs.
  • Resiliency is realized through mature Hot-Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) for Layer 3 redundancy and Uplink Fast, 802.1s, and 802.1w for fast failover at Layer 2.
  • Security offers resiliency against denial-of-service attacks with DHCP snooping and Layer 2-4 ACLs, subscriber tracking with 802.1x, and DHCP option 82 and privacy between customers with private VLANs.

Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series

A next-generation Cisco Catalyst 4000 Series platform, the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series includes three new Cisco Catalyst chassis: Cisco Catalyst 4507R (7 slots), Cisco Catalyst 4506 (6 slots), and Cisco Catalyst 4503 (3 slots). Integrated resiliency enhancements offered in the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series include 1+1 supervisor-engine redundancy (Cisco Catalyst 4507R only), integrated inline power for IP telephony, software-based fault tolerance, and 1+1 power-supply redundancy. Integrated resiliency in both hardware and software minimizes network downtime, ensuring workforce productivity, profitability, and customer success.

The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series provides a common architecture that takes advantage of the Cisco Catalyst 4000 Series line cards, scaling to 240 ports of 10/100/1000BASE-T or 1000BASE-LX Gigabit Ethernet.

Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Key Benefits

The new Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switches with integrated resiliency are ideal for business services aggregation and subscriber access in the MAN. Key benefits include:

  • Performance—Delivering advanced switching solutions that scale bandwidth as you add ports and features, the Cisco Catalyst 4000 Series solution is powered by leading-edge ASIC technology that offers wire-speed Layer 2 and Layer 3 10/100 or gigabit switching. Offering modular supervisor flexibility, each with complete line-card compatibility, Layer 2 switching can scale up to 64 Gbps, 48 Mpps. Layer 3 and 4 switching is Cisco Express Forwarding based and can also scale up to 64 Gbps, 48 Mpps.
  • Port density—The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series is capable of connecting up to 240 customers with up to 240 copper or fiber Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet ports in a chassis. The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series offers different entry points for high- and low-density locations with the Cisco Catalyst 4503, 4506, or 4507R chassis. The hot-swappable modular "plug and play" (meaning that it will work as soon as it is active in the network) switching solution of the Cisco Catalyst 4000 Series enables maintenance with minimal disruption of other users.
  • Supervisor engine redundancy—The Cisco Catalyst 4507R is capable of supporting 1+1 supervisor-engine redundancy for integrated resiliency. Redundant supervisor engines ensure that network downtime is minimized. Minimal network downtime ensures end-customer productivity and service provider profitability.
  • Cisco IOS network services—Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switches provide mature service provider Layer 2 and Layer 3 features. These features meet the advanced networking demands of service providers because they have been improved based on years of customer feedback.
  • Investment protection—The flexible modular architecture provides cost-effective interface upgrades for metro edge connections. Compatible sparing between Cisco Catalyst 4006, 4503, 4506, and 4507R chassis provides commonality of power supplies and switching line cards, lowering the overall deployment, migration, and support costs.
  • Functionally transparent line cards—The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switch can easily upgrade all system ports to higher-layer switching functionality by simply adding a new supervisor engine such as the Supervisor Engine IV. Higher-layer functionality enhancements are possible on all system ports without replacing existing line cards and wiring, unlike conventional switching products where complete equipment upgrades are typical during migration. This architecture advantage extends the useful deployment life of line cards.
  • Gigabit to the end customer—The Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series provides a rich variety of 1000-Mbps interfaces, including copper and fiber, to deliver connectivity to the end customer. By delivering a Gigabit Ethernet connection, the network operator can dial in the bandwidth purchased through policing, upgrading at anytime without a complete equipment upgrade.
  • Hardware-based multicast—Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM), dense and sparse mode, Internet Group Multicast Protocol (IGMP), and Cisco Group Multicast Protocol (GMP) support standards-based and Cisco product-enhanced efficient multimedia networking without compromising performance.
  • Shared-memory architecture—The low-latency, centralized, shared-memory switching fabric architecture delivers leading-edge, wire-speed broadcast and multicast capabilities without the need of replicating packets. It also eliminates any possibility of head-of-line blocking.
  • Bandwidth protection for mission-critical applications—QoS for both Layer 2 class of service (CoS) and Layer 3 type of service (ToS) combine to guarantee customer SLAs from the edge to the core. Even when using only Layer 2 switching, the Supervisor Engine IV benefits from looking at the Layer 3 (IP address) and Layer 4 (TCP/User Datagram Protocol [UDP] port number) header information for additional control without the all-too-common performance penalty of turning on advanced features.

Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Features and Benefits

Table 1 gives Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Features, Functions, and Benefits.

Table 1   Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Features, Functions, and Benefits

Feature Function or Description Benefit

Modular 3-, 6-, and 7-slot Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series chassis

Supports supervisor engine (up to two on the Cisco Catalyst 4507R), power supplies with integrated inline power, and two or five additional interface modules

Offers common architecture with advanced integrated resiliency that can be standardized for metro Ethernet networks

Redundant supervisor engines (Cisco Catalyst 4507R only)

Supports dual supervisor engines with 30- to 50-second failover

Minimizes network downtime, ensuring customer productivity and service provider profitability

Fault-tolerant, load-sharing power supplies

Supports one or two power supplies

Increases reliability using multiple power supplies in a fault-tolerant configuration

Hot-swappable power supplies and switching modules

Enables hot insertion and extraction for changes and maintenance any time without bringing down your system

Increases reliability by reducing downtime

Flexible switching modules—standards based, auto-sensing, and auto-negotiating

Offers wide variety of interface choices: 10/100-Mbps Ethernet and
10/100/1000- or 1000-Mbps Gigabit Ethernet

Accommodates end-customer bandwidth growth without requiring a complete equipment upgrade to grow from 1 Mbps to 1000 Mbps

28-Gbps capacity backplane (Cisco Catalyst 4503)

Forwards more than 18+ million 64-byte Ethernet packets per second

Designed to meet the throughput demands of a fully populated system with all interfaces operating at wire speed

64-Gbps capacity backplane (Cisco Catalyst 4006, 4506, and 4507R)

Offers enough capacity to forward wire rate, nonblocking 48 million packets per second

Designed to meet the worst-case throughput demands of a fully populated system with all interfaces operating at wire speed (note: nonblocking fabric requires Supervisor Engine III or IV)

(Supervisor Engines III and IV) Integrated Cisco IOS Layer 3 switching

Provides ASIC-based IP routing at gigabit speeds

Offers Layer 3 subnet control of network traffic; mature and proven routed protocols

Multilayer QoS

Offers QoS for both Layer 2 CoS and Layer 3 ToS, traffic shaping, sharing, and policing

Offers centralized control of prioritization of network-wide traffic; easily creates and manages policies to protect mission- critical applications

Ingress and egress policing (Supervisor Engines III and IV)

Identifies illegal packets at entrance and after QoS reclassification at exit on a port basis

Offers granular traffic control with sophisticated, fast, traffic differentiation per VLAN, port, user, or application

Integrated inline power

Provides centralized power to Cisco IP phones and wireless access points from Ethernet switch ports

Enables hot-spot deployment of wireless and support telephone in the central office or point of presence (POP)

Dynamic Inter-Switch Link (ISL) protocol and 802.1Q

Dynamically configures trunk ports between Cisco Catalyst switches

Minimizes VLAN trunk configuration, maximizes "plug-and-play" capabilities

Load balancing via spanning-tree priority on parallel ISL trunks

Assigns spanning-tree priority on a per-VLAN basis

Offers increased throughput and redundancy between Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switches


Offers hardware-based multicasting replication and snooping

Offers standards-based multicasting; channel switch time from 10 ms for good user experience with IP multicast video

Centralized shared-memory architecture

Delivers up to 48-Mpps, low-latency, low-cost switching

Provides a completely manageable switching system solution that delivers high performance with the capacity to handle high port density with no head-of-line blocking

Multilayer switching

Supports Layer 2 (Media Access Control [MAC]), Layer 3 (IP address), and Layer 4 (TCP/UDP port) switching

Provides Layer 2 through 4 control at edge to ensure service delivery and security

Multiple queues on every port interface

Multiple queue classification and scheduling of network traffic on a packet-by-packet basis

Differentiates network traffic to improve traffic control and latency; enables sophisticated QoS for superior data, voice, and video traffic

Cisco Discovery Protocol

Automated switch and router neighbor discovery

Simplifies configuration management and enables a higher level of Cisco IOS network services

Standards compliance

Industry-standard architecture support

Offers multivendor interoperability

4096 VLANs

Entire VLAN range supported, including Cisco private VLAN functionality

Offers per-user or -service VLAN for performance and security considerations for up to 4096 end customers

Comprehensive Switched Network Management

Embedded Remote Monitoring (RMON)

Provides four RMON groups on all ports:

  • Statistics
  • History
  • Alarms
  • Events

Delivers efficient and effective metro access edge troubleshooting tools

Furnishes analysis tools to help network managers tune network performance

Helps identify heavy network customers as candidates to move to dedicated ports or higher- speed ports

Based on industry standards

Enhanced Switch Port Analyzer (SPAN)

Allows for monitoring a single port or multiple (VLAN) ports via a single monitor port

Managers can use existing network analyzers to troubleshoot switched internetworking

Preserves the network visibility that might otherwise be lost by switches that do not support SPAN

Delivers an analysis path into the metro access edge VLAN architecture

Full SNMP management (gets and sets for Ethernet Management Information Base [MIB], MIB II, Virtual Trunking Protocol [VTP], and system extensions)

Enables management of Cisco Catalyst 4000 from any Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-based management station

Eases management from installed network management platforms

Extends VLAN configuration to SNMP management software

Password-protected administration interface

Requires password for local or remote access via Telnet

Provides protection from unauthorized configuration changes

Local (in-band) management

Supervisor engine has an EIA/TIA-232 interface for modem or console terminal connection

Manages Cisco Catalyst 4000 from a directly attached, low-cost terminal or PC

Remote management through SNMP sets or Telnet (client) connection

Accessible through any switched interface

Manages Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series switches from anywhere in the network

Management console

Provides command-line interface (CLI)

Provides easy-to-use ASCII text interface that requires no special applications

Takes advantage of support staff's Cisco Catalyst knowledge

Onboard Flash memory for Trivial File Transport Protocol (TFTP) download or upload of operating software

Remotely downloads new revisions of operating system without hardware changes

Reduces cost of administering software upgrades by providing centralized network management capability