Forwarding Data

Regardless of the type of switch fabric, a decision on which ports should forward a frame and which should flush or discard the frame must occur. This decision can be made using only the information found at Layer 2 (source/destination MAC address), or on other factors such as Layer 3 (IP) and Layer 4 (Port). Each switching platform supports various types of ASICs responsible for making the intelligent switching decisions. Each Catalyst switch creates a header or label for each packet, and forwarding decisions are based on this header or label. Chapter 3 will include a more detailed discussion of how various platforms make forwarding decisions and ultimately forward data.