Cisco Nexus 3550-H High-density Layer 1 Switch Data Sheet

Data Sheet

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Updated:July 9, 2021

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Updated:July 9, 2021

Table of Contents



High-density, low-latency, physical layer switching

The Cisco Nexus® 3550-H High-density Layer 1 Switch is purpose-built and optimized for enterprise network monitoring, patch and fanout connections to support high-speed applications.

The Cisco Nexus® 3550-H High-density Layer 1 Switch is unlike traditional network switches that operate at the data-link layer (Layer 2), the Cisco Nexus 3550-H operates at the physical network layer (Layer 1). Connections through the switch are made electrically through a matrix switch (see figure 3). This allows the switch to tap into connections (for network monitoring), patch connections between ports (for reconfiguration), and fanout connections from one port to many (for high-speed applications), at nearly zero latency (<5ns).

Introducing QSFP-DD

Cisco Nexus 3550-H High-density Layer 1 Switch

The Cisco Nexus 3550-H (160) is the first networking switch to use double-density QSFP-DD connectors. QSFP-DD connectors are 100 percent backward compatible with legacy QSFP connectors, enabling a smooth transition path from legacy network cabling/connectors to QSFP-DD high-density connectors. The Cisco Nexus 3550-H is also available in a QSFP-only option.

All-new management platform

Enterprise manageability features are core to the Cisco Nexus 3550-H.

The Cisco Nexus 3550-H features an all-new management platform based on the Nexus 3550-F Modular Layer 1 Matrix Switch.

The Cisco Nexus 3550-H features a powerful x86-based management CPU, dual (1G and 10G) Ethernet management interfaces, USB and RS232-based console access, and 10Gbps access from the management CPU to the data plane. It also offers high-quality PPS and GPS-based time synchronization options for inline packet timestamping.

Packet-aware statistics and monitoring

The Cisco Nexus 3550-H operates at the physical layer and is fully packet aware.

Every port on the Cisco Nexus 3550-H is monitored for vital packet statistics, including the number of packets/bytes transmitted/received, and transmit/receive errors. The switch also provides deep diagnostics on each of its 20 QSFP-DD ports including light levels, operating temperatures, transceiver capabilities, and more. All of these statistics are available at no latency cost on the critical path.

Transparent tapping

Replace 53 optical taps in a single 1RU switch

Network monitoring is vital for logging, debugging, and compliance. While optical taps can be used for low latency network inspection, they consume valuable rack space and cannot be remotely managed. The Cisco Nexus 3550-H replaces 53 optical taps (159 lanes) in a single 1RU switch. Taps through the 3550-H employ active signal regeneration so that the signal quality remains high while port-to-port latencies are as low as 3.2ns with nearly undetectable jitter. This makes it nearly transparent to other infrastructure devices in your network.

Cisco Nexus 3550-H High-density Layer 1-144 Switch

Figure 1.            

Cisco Nexus 3550-H High-density Layer 1-144 Switch


Cisco Nexus 3550-H High-density Layer 1-160 Switch

Figure 2.            

Cisco Nexus 3550-H High-density Layer 1-160 Switch


The Cisco Nexus 3550-H. A patch is configured between ports 1 and 3: all traffic from port 1 is directed to port 3, all traffic from port 3 is directed to port 1. Taps are configured from port 1 to ports 4 and 5: traffic from port 1 is replicated to ports 4 and 5 at latencies as low as 3.2ns.

Output ports

Figure 3.            

Cisco Nexus 3550-H port matrix

Layer 1 features

      Tap, patch, and fanout. 1:1 and 1:N connectivity on all ports***

      3.2ns (min) port latency

      1G/10Gb/s connectivity on all ports

      I/O signal conditioning and regeneration


      Packet counters (RX, TX, dropped, etc.)

      Per-port status LEDs

      tcpdump all ports

      QSFP(-DD) diagnostics (light levels, temps, etc.)

      SNMP, local, and remote syslog

      LLDP TX/RX

      Time series logging to InfluxDB


      20 QSFP-DD ports, 160x 10G lanes (Cisco Nexus 3550-H Hydra 160) or 36 QSFP ports, for 144x 10G lanes (Cisco Nexus 3550-H Hydra 144)

      QSFP (-DD) 8x [10GBASE-SR, 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-LRM, 1000BASE-SX, 1000BASE-LX]

      QSFP (-DD) Copper Direct Attach

      RJ45/SFP+ management ports (1G/10G)

      RJ45 Industry standard serial port

      USB Micro serial port

      USB (for firmware upgrades)

      2x SMA for GPS and PPS


      x86-based management CPU

      CLI via serial, SSH, and telnet

      JSON RPC API for all CLI commands

      Automatic configuration via DHCP

      TACACS+ and multiuser support

      ACLs on management interface

      FW updates via SFTP, TFTP, HTTP and USB

      Onboard BASH and Python scripts

      Onboard Cron jobs

      Time sync via PPS, GPS, PTP and NTP, Low latency tapping, patching, and fan-out


      19” 1RU, rack mount

      Weight: 15kg (24lbs)

      Dual, hot-swappable supplies

      Standard: AC 100-240 Vac, 50-60 Hz

      Optional: DC 40-72Vdc

      Maximum consumption: 750W

      3 hot-swappable fan modules

      Optional airflow direction (FTB, BTF)

      Operating temperature: -5 °C to 45 °C

      Storage temperature: -40 °C to 70 °C

      Operating Relative Humidity: 5% to 90% (non-condensing)

      Storage Relative Humidity: 5% to 95% (non-condensing)

      Max Operarting Altitude AC: 5000m

      Max Operating Altitude DC: 3048m (Mainland China 2000m)

      Class I Equipment

Product sustainability

Information about Cisco’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives and performance is provided in Cisco’s CSR and sustainability reporting.

Table 1.        Cisco environmental sustainability information

Sustainability topic



Information on product-material-content laws and regulations


Information on electronic waste laws and regulations, including our products, batteries, and packaging

WEEE Compliance

Information on product takeback and reuse program

Cisco Takeback and Reuse Program

Sustainability inquiries


Operating and storage conditions



Power supply



Maximum power consumption


Product packaging weight and materials


Dimension and weight


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