Forwarding Rate and its association with the switch process

Unanswered Question
Apr 25th, 2008

Can someone explain what the forwarding rate is and how to calculate it accurately?

One of my clients has asked me to choose between two switches and I want to choose the Cisco 3560, but the forwarding rate is lower. I need to be able to justify the purchase of the Cisco 3560 by refuting the importance of the forwarding rate or minimizing its impact on the switch process. Please help.

Here are the options he gave me:

The Linksys SRW2008MP is about $350 each. Forward rate is 11.9 Mpps.

The Cisco WS-C3560-8PC-S is almost $1,000 each. Forward rate is 2.7 Mpps



I have this problem too.
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yassine-m Fri, 04/25/2008 - 07:23

The forwarding rate depends on the packet size.

The Cat 3560 has 32 Gbps forwarding bandwidth

and 2.7 Mpps forwarding rate(based on 64-byte packets)

The linksys and cisco products are not destined to the same markets (not the same needs : Security, QoS ...etc)

Joseph W. Doherty Fri, 04/25/2008 - 08:28

From, "Line rate for Gigabit Ethernet (in packets per second [pps]) refers to the maximum number of 64-byte Ethernet frames that is transmitted out of the maximum possible bit rate of 1000 Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet). The line rate for Gigabit Ethernet is 1,488,100 pps.". Figure the total amount of bandwidth provided by all the device's ports, double if full duplex, scale accordingly (using the prior equation).


Although some devices can provide full line rate, seldom switches ever pushed that hard. More often price differences relate to features of the switch. For instance, the 3560 series is a L3 switch (performs routing), is manageable, and supports many other advanced features. I suspect the Linksys might just be a basic unmanaged L2 switch.

Sushil Kumar Katre Fri, 04/25/2008 - 09:21


Forwarding rate is the number of packets that can be pushed/routed through the switch in a second. Unit - Mpps.

However this is not the only figure based on which the switch selection should be made. Look at the backplane capacity.

I thing I have to agree its not very easy to fight third party devices based on Performacne Figures. You'll have to take help of vast range of features supported by cisco devices.

You'll have to win the customer based on feature, educate them what you can do if they go for Cisco switches.

Have a look at this Catalyst Switch Guide -

Collect all the features supported by 3560 switch and try convencing the customer.

All the best Cris.

One important point talk about the Cisco's Support. Linksys is still supporte by Linksys Guys. Not supported by Cisco TAC.

-> Sushil


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