Chapter 3. Catalyst Switching Architectures

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Catalyst 5000/5500 (Project Synergy)

  • Catalyst 6000/6500 (Constellation, Constellation+, and Constellation II)

  • Catalyst 4500 (Galaxy 3 and 4) Components and Architecture

  • Catalyst 3750 (Lord of the Rings) Components and Architecture

  • Comparing the architectures

Chapter 3 introduces the architectures behind Cisco LAN switching, ranging from the first Catalyst switches to the most recent introductions from Cisco into the switching market. Describing the history and evolution of Cisco Catalyst switches is not unlike describing the history and evolution of the automobile. Most discussions of the automobile begin with the Model "A" or Model "T" Ford. This chapter begins with a discussion of the first Catalyst 5000/5500 series switch architectures, followed by detailed examinations of each of the three most popular Cisco switching platforms: Catalyst 6000/6500, 4500, and 3750. Because many of the concepts behind the technologies in the Cisco latest switching platforms originated in the Catalyst 5000 series, a baseline understanding of switching architecture can be achieved by reading the Catalyst 5000/5500 architectures section of this chapter. Readers already familiar with these fundamental concepts may choose to move directly to the sections covering the latest architectural advances in the 6000/6500, 4500, and 3750 series of switches.