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Should you upgrade to the 6500-E?

Consider these facts and decide what's right for you.

6500 Chassis -
Extend support on the classic or upgrade to the 6500-E?
Stay with the Classic 6500 chassis Upgrade to the new E chassis
  • Curvature will continue to sell and support all 6500 series equipment.
  • Increase performance without moving to the E. Upgrade existing supervisors in your current chassis to increase performance to 40Gbps/slot and 10GbE capability.
  • By staying with the classic, you avoid a full forklift upgrade and delay the capital expenses required to upgrade.
  • Cover all 6500 equipment with NetSure™, our premium maintenance offering, to get 24x7 support and next-day replacement.
  • Upgrade on your timeline, not Cisco's.
  • You need 40GbE capability and want to use the Sup 2T for 80Gbps/slot performance.
  • You have demanding PoE deployments and need support for ultra-high output 6000W and 8700W power supplies.
  • You are looking for maximum 10GbE density in the 6500 platform and would like to utilize 67xx/68xx/69xx line cards in all slots of a WS-C6513-E and Sup2T.


Upgrading to the 6500-E with Supervisor 2T -
Know the facts.

This new supervisor provides up to 80Gbps/slot throughput for all slots, including those of the WS-C6513-E chassis, so a Sup2T/WS-C6513-E system is no longer restricted to only 5 high performance cards. Like the Sup720 series, the Sup2T is available in two forms, a LAN-oriented part that can accept 239k routing table entries, and a WAN-oriented part that can accept the full 1M routing table entries.

Additional improvements over the Sup720/VS-S720 parts are:

  • Higher forwarding rate (60Mpps for the for the PFC4 and DFC4 cards, compared to 48Mpps for PFC3/DFC3 cards).
  • Native support for VPLS and EVCs; a Cat6500/Sup2T system will not need SIP/SPA or 7600-ES cards to provide these features.
  • Improved control plane – The Sup2T supports up to 4GB of DRAM, and has a 1.5GHz dual core processor, over 4 times the capability of the Sup720 in this area.
  • More hardware resources available – the Sup2T supports up to 128k MAC addresses, compared to 64k for a Sup720 part, along with numerous other scalability enhancements for things like ACLs, QoS policies, and NetFlow capabilities.
  • Out of band management processor – this allows Telnet or SSH access to a Sup2T even if the system has failed to boot and is sitting in ROMMON, allowing for remote recovery of the system.

The card and chassis compatibility for the Sup2T is heavily restricted. Those restrictions and notes are as follows:

  • Only 6500-E chassis are supported.
  • No DFC3 equipped card will operate with the Sup2T; replace all DFC3 parts with appropriate DFC4 parts when upgrading to a Sup2T.
  • The linecard parts below are the only existing cards supported by the Sup2T:
    • WS-X6196-RJ-21
    • WS-X6196-21AF
    • WS-X6748-GE-TX
    • WS-X6724-SFP
    • WS-X6748-SFP
    • WS-X6704-10GE
    • WS-X6716-10G/10T*
    • WS-X6148A-GE-TX/GE-45AF
    • WS-X6148A-45AF
    • WS-X6148A-RJ-45
    • WS-X6148E-GE-48AT
    • WS-X6148-FE-SFP
    • Note that the WS-X6716-10G/10T parts will additionally need the DFC3C/3CXL removed and replaced with a DFC4/DFC4XL for the card to operate.


The WS-X6708-10G-3C/3CXL cards ARE NOT SUPPORTED at all with the Sup2T; any 6708 card will need to be replaced with the newer WS-X6908-10G-2T/2TXL parts.

  • Service module support is currently undetermined; WS-SVC card support will evolve as time goes on.
  • No WAN cards will be supported under the Sup2T, so no support for 6582, SIP/SPA, or 7600-ES cards will be present.
  • SVC Cards currently supported:
    • ACE20-MOD-K9
    • ACE30-MOD-K9
    • WS-SVC-ASA-SM1-K9
    • WS-SVC-FWM-1-K9
    • WS-SVC-NAM-1
    • WS-SVC-NAM-2
    • WS-SVC-NAM-3-6G-K9
    • WS-SVC-WISM2-K9
    • WS-SVC-WISM-1-K9


VSS Mode

The Sup2T, like the VS-S720, supports VSS mode, allowing the user to run a pair of Cat6500s as a single logical switch, much like a stack of Catalyst 3750s. Restrictions are similar to that of the VS-S720, and are listed here:

  • Only WS-X67xx, WS-X68xx, or WS-X69xx cards are supported in VSS mode
  • All cards must either have a CFC or a DFC identical to the supervisor installed
  • Supervisors in each system must be the same part
  • Service modules are supported in VSS mode

IOS licensing on the Sup2T remains the same as other Cat6500 systems; no license keys of any sort are used with this platform.

80Gbps/slot linecards

Along with the Sup2T, there are several new linecard parts available:

  • WS-X6908-10G-2T – 8x X2 slots, line rate, DFC4 included
  • WS-X6908-10G-2TXL - 8x X2 slots, line rate, DFC4XL included
  • WS-X6904-40G-2T – 4x 40GbE ports (CFP based), 2:1 oversubscribed, each CFP slot can be converted to 4x SFP+ ports, DFC4 included
  • WS-X6904-40G-2TXL - 4x 40GbE ports (CFP based), 2:1 oversubscribed, each CFP slot can be converted to 4x SFP+ ports, DFC4 included


Rebranded part IDs for 40Gbps/slot cards

To indicate a Sup2T compatible card, several of the WS-X67xx cards have a changed part ID when ordered with a DFC4or DFC4XL preinstalled. Those parts are:

  • WS-X6824-SFP-2T– same as WS-X6724-SFP + WS-F6K-DFC4-A
  • WS-X6824-SFP-2TXL - same as WS-X6724-SFP + WS-F6K-DFC4-AXL
  • WS-X6848-SFP-2T – same as WS-X6748-SFP + WS-F6K-DFC4-A
  • WS-X6848-SFP-2TXL – same as WS-X6748-SFP + WS-F6K-DFC4-AXL
  • WS-X6848-TX-2T - same as WS-X6748-GE-TX + WS-F6K-DFC4-A
  • WS-X6848-TX-2TXL – same as WS-X6748-GE-TX + WS-F6K-DFC4-AXL
  • WS-X6816-10T-2T – same as WS-X6716-10T + DFC replaced with WS-F6K-DFC4-E
  • WS-X6816-10T-2TXL - same as WS-X6716-10T + DFC replaced with WS-F6K-DFC4-EXL
  • WS-X6816-10G-2T - same as WS-X6716-10G + DFC replaced with WS-F6K-DFC4-E
  • WS-X6816-10G-2TXL - same as WS-X6716-10G + DFC replaced with WS-F6K-DFC4-EXL


There is no WS-X68xx equivalent to the WS-X6704-10GE card, even though the WS-X6704-10GE is 100% compatible, and can be upgraded with a WS-F6K-DFC4 part.

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