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What You Need to Know About Catalyst 6807-XL?

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Cisco Catalyst 6500 has been around for almost a decade and has gone through two iterations of switch chassis; the original non-E, and the E Chassis. With growing demands for higher bandwidth in today’s network, the next generation of 6500 chassis, rebranded to 6807-XL, has been released by Cisco to support future linecards with increased throughput (> 80Gbps fabric). This article summarizes what you need to know about this product. 
Cisco 6807-XL
Note that, at the time of this writing, only the 6807-XL chassis is available. Please refer to product datasheet on for additional information as Cisco releases more hardware in this product line.
  • Capable of 880 Gbps/Slot (with next gen Supervisor). Total of 11.4Tbps. 22.8Tbps in VSS.
  • Require minimum IOS 15.1SY 
  • Seven slots
    • 2 x Supervisor (Slot 3,4)
    • 5 x Linecards (Slot 1,2,5,6,7)
  • Dimension 17.45 x 17.37 x 18.1 inches, Height = 10 RU
  • 4 x  3KW Power Supplies
  • Side-to-side airflow
6807-XL is backward compatible with SUP2T. In fact, that is the only supervisor supported today. Installing SUP2T in a 6807-XL chassis boosts backplane speed from 80 Gbps of an E-Chassis up to 220 Gbps, although this is nowhere near the chassis maximum capacity of 880 Gbps.
From the linecard perspective, 6807-XL is backward compatible with all 69xx, 68xx, 67xx linecards and newer services modules. Below is a comprehensive list of the supported modules.
Note that the 6800ia remote linecard is also supportedwhen you have a WS-X6904-40G module installed (with 4-port 10G adapter). This hardware combination is, as of today, the only option you have to provide user access PoE ports.
  • WS-X6904-40G-2T
  • WS-X6904-40G-2TXL
  • WS-X6908-10G-2T
  • WS-X6908-10G-2TXL
  • WS-X6816-10G-2T
  • WS-X6816-10G-2TXL
  • WS-X6816-10T-2T
  • WS-X6816-10T-2TXL
  • WS-X6848-SFP-2T
  • WS-X6848-SFP-2TXL
  • WS-X6824-SFP-2T
  • WS-X6824-SFP-2TXL
  • WS-X6848-TX-2T
  • WS-X6848-TX-2TXL
  • WS-X6704-10GE (with CFC or DFC4)
  • WS-X6748-GE-TX (with CFC or DFC4)
  • WS-X6748-SFP (with CFC or DFC4)
  • WS-X6724-SFP (with CFC or DFC4)
  • WS-X6716-10G-3C (with DFC4)
  • WS-X6716-10G-3CXL (with DFC4XL)
  • WS-X6716-10T-3C (with DFC4)
  • WS-X6716-10T-3CXL (with DFC4XL)
  • NAM3
  • ASA-SM
  • WiSM2
  • ACE30
So you might think, why should I purchase or upgrade my chassis while most linecards today are still limited to 80 Gbps?  Purchasing or upgrading to 6807-XL may or may not make sense to you depending on your circumstances. Here are sceranios.
1. New Deployment
If you cannot wait for the next gen linecard to come out, and you have already decided to go with SUP2T and the compatible modules listed above, it totally makes sense to purchase 6807-XL so that way you are future-proofed and ready to leverage the greater chassis capacity. Obviously, 6807-XL would not even be an option if you choose other Supervisor modules (eg. SUP32, VS-S720 etc.).
2. Currently own a 6500 non-E chassis
If you have a non-E chassis in your environment and being forced to upgrade due to the chassis being End-of-Support, the chances are you also own older linecard models (eg.61xx, 63xx, 65xx). If upgrading to SUP2T makes sense to you, you can treat this as a complete replacement, in which case, the discussion in the scenario 1 applies. However, if you plan to continue using the old linecards, assuming they are not already End-of-Support too, an E-Chassis would be your choice.
3. Currently own a 6500 E chassis
Upgrading to 6807-XL in this scenario does not make sense since you are being forced into an upgrade so you might as well wait until the next gen linecards become available and do a complete replacement then. However, if you still want to upgrade just because you have budget to spend (which is always nice ), depending on whether you have SUP2T already, you are looking at possibility of replacing the Supervisor along with other non-compatible linecards.
Next Gen Linecards
Here is a list of next gen linecard just to give you an idea of what we can expect from Cisco in a near future. Keep in mind that as long as the linecard has not been officially released, this information can change at any time.
40G Fabric
  • C6800-48P-SFP - 48-Port SFP (DFC4-XL) (1.2:1 oversubscription)
  • C6800-48P-TX - 48-Port 1G RJ45 (DFC4-XL) (1.2:1 oversubscription)
80G Fabric
  • C6800-4P-40G - 4-Port 40G CFP or 16-Port 10G SFP (DFC4-XL) (2:1 oversubscription)
  • C6800-8P-10G - 8-Port 10G SFP (DFC4-XL) (Line Rate)
  • C6800-16P-10G - 16-Port 10G SFP (DFC4-XL) (2:1 oversubscription)
160G Fabric
  • C6800-32P-10G - Fabric 32-Port 10G SFP or 8-Port 40G QSFP (DFC4-XL) (2:1 oversubscription)
200G Fabric
  • C6800-4P-100G - Fabric 4-Port 100G CPAK (DFC4-XL) (2:1 oversubscription)
The release of 6807-XL is certainly a good start to the next generation of Catalyst switching platform but until the new linecards are released, we will not be able to realize the full benefit of the chassis. Nevertheless, as you can see, with the current information that is available, we are far from reaching the maximum capacity of the platform so purchasing or upgrading to 6807-XL, where makes sense, can be a long term investment for your network for years to come.

About Author

Metha Cheiwanichakorn, CCIE#23585 (RS, Sec, SP), is a Cisco networking enthusiast with years of experience in the industry. He is currently working as a consulting engineer for a Cisco partner. As a founder of and an instructor at, Metha enjoys learning and challenges himself with new Cisco technologies.

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