Cisco Support Community
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Announcements
Webcast-Catalyst9k
New Member

Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

Can anyone share their opinions on using a low-end catalyst (3550) vs. a router (2600 series) as a border router. I want to know if anyone has seen better performance with a multilayer switch over using a router. The specs for a 3550 say 10.1Mpps where a 2600 is 30Kpps. This would pose a significant performance difference especially if your links (100mb) are half saturated. Does the catalyst actually do 10.Mpps routing or does that spec drop when you are routing. BTW this is with using ethernet uplinks to uplevel not T-1's etc. No bgp as well.

7 REPLIES

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

you can use the catalyst in this, case since you are not having any wan connection as the uplink. Otherwise you cannot.

New Member

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

I understand I can use the catalyst but I want to know if I will get better performance by using the catalyst over a router.

Bronze

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

Layer 3 switches tend to have far greater forwarding performance than pure routers. Depending on how fast your Ethernet links will be, a router such as a 2600 may end up being a bottleneck, whereas a 3550 switch will be able to handle the bandwidth easily.

Gold

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

It's all going to depend on the featuers you have configured, the amount of memory in each one, etc. There's no "magical" difference between a "layer 3 switch" and a "router," they both do the same thing. "Layer 3 switch" is a marketing term--in the real world, there are bridges, and there are routers. Any time you rewrite the mac header on a packet, you are routing. :-)

So, don't think of it in terms of these being two different types of devices, one of which is inherintly "superior" to the other in some way, but simply as two routers. Consider the price/performance tradeoff, etc.

In this case, will both of them handle the number of routes you intend to throw at them? If the link speed increases, what are your options for changing out the interface type without throwing the box away, or is it better in either case to replace the box? What's the max througput on the box, and on what sorts of interfaces (the max throughput on a given box might be really high on ethernet interfaces, and much lower on serial interfaces, etc).

Another consideration is the feature set you intend to enable. Access lists? What impact do they have on performance? BGP convergence speed? How much total memory can the box handle? Etc....

It's not so simple as it looks at first. In your case, I think either one will do the job, and you probably won't see any problems with the switching speed on a 2600. At least not on a T1. Ethernet to ethernet speeds on a 3550 are certainly faster, and port density is higher, but these may not be requirements in your case. Can the 3550 run IOS firwall, or do you intend to put in a seperate box for that? NAT?

Again, it's hard to know without looking at all of the things you'd like to address with the box.

Russ.W

New Member

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

Thanks Russ. I am mainly looking at the packets per second forwarding speeds of the 2620xm vs. the 3550. I am not concerned with routing protocols and I only have a few static routes. What I mainly want to know is if a 2620xm can handle a 100mbs link if it ever got saturated. I understand this is rare except in a provider network but I would still like to know which device could handle a saturated 100mbs link.

Bronze

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

A couple months ago I bandwidth tested a 2621 with full-sized packets, and it maxed out at ~40Mbps with CEF enabled and no access-lists/NAT/etc. I was later told by a Cisco sales engineer that the cheapest router than can do wire-speed 100Mbps is a 3745.

So if Ethernet bandwidth is your primary concern, the 3550's look mighty nice.

New Member

Re: Router vs. Multilayer Switch for Border Router

Thats the answer I was looking for. Thanks and Ill look into implementing the 3550.

960
Views
0
Helpful
7
Replies
CreatePlease to create content