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Understanding Concept of Supervisor and MSFC on Cisco siwtches


I have never worked extensively on Cisco switches. Can anyone explain me concept/features of Supervisor and MSFC. What are the types of IOS's run on these?

Is there any good link we can refer for more understanding.


Re: Understanding Concept of Supervisor and MSFC on Cisco siwtch

Supervisor is the hardware (and SW) that operates the switch itself. All basic features are supported here. In larger switch 4000/4500 and 6000/6500 series for example there are two versions of code. Standard Cisco IOS and a Catalyst Operating system (CatOS). Switch will always use only 1 or the other.

MSFC is the "router" daughtercard that provides advanced Layer 3 features. Always runs Cisco IOS.

Take a look at this site for more information.

Hope this helps.


Re: Understanding Concept of Supervisor and MSFC on Cisco siwtch

Hi Darpan,

Supervisor is a switching engine and MSFC is a routing daughter card which sits on the supervisor.

Supervisor in cat6k alone is just a layer 2 switch but together with MSFC it performs like a router also.

Supervisor you can image as a layer 2 switch which stores cam entry like other layer 2 switch and perform all layer 2 functions. MSFC is a daughter card which supports all layer 3 routing like intervlan routing , routing with implementation of routing protocol like eigrp , ospf etc etc.

NOW cat6k can run in 2 modes

1) Hybrid Mode

2) Native Mode

1) Hybrid Mode : When cat6k is in Hybrid mode it has 2 different main images. One for supervisor which is a CATOS and one for MSFC which is IOS. To configre sup and msfc you have to switch between sup and msfc. To configure sup you have only set base command options and for msfc it is like regular router IOS

2) In native mode there is a single main image which is loaded on supervisor bootflash and msfc bootpath is to boot from bootflsh of msfc. In this case there is only a single imterface where you configure sup as well as msfc also.

Have a look at this link

HTH, if yes please rate the post


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