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time-to-live 1, hw or sw switching?

We're trying to troubleshoot a problem where we're seeing a lot of output discards on switches from some specific traffic/source.   Although I have my reservations, the vendor thinks it may be due to the traffic being extremely bursty, and the switch can't handle the amount of packets coming in.  My reservations stem around the platforms we are using (3750 and 6509s, and have even removed the 3750s from the picture in testing), combined w/ at times relatively low bandwidth while still seeing a lot of drops.  We're also seeing a ton of out-of-order packets, although not that many retransmissions.

But, another question I have is that almost all of the traffic we're seeing has a ttl = 1.  If I understand correctly, that should be traffice confined to a single subnet (which this is)?  I know software switching occurs with packets that have an expiring ttl, but what about if the ttl is set to 1? Does that fall into hw or sw switching? I'm also not seeing any increase in cpu during the testing.