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How to upgrade Cisco IOS Software on Catalyst 6500/6000, 5500/5000 and 4500/4000 family Layer 3 routing modules



These modules are either feature cards attached to the Supervisor Engine, or separate modules installed in the chassis: 

  • Multilayer Switch Feature Card I (MSFC)
  • Multilayer Switch Feature Card II (MSFC2)
  • Multilayer Switch Module (MSM)
  • Route Switch Feature Card (RSFC)
  • Route Switch Module (RSM)
  • 4232-L3

The Supervisor Engine runs the Catalyst OS (CatOS) system software. The routing modules run Cisco IOS  Software locally, and have their own command line, software configuration, and CPU. In contrast, the Cisco IOS Software that replaces this CatOS and Cisco IOS combination is addressed elsewhere.

Refer to How to Upgrade Software Images on Catalyst Switch Layer 3 Modules for procedures to upgrade software on these modules:

  • Catalyst 4500/4000 4232-L3
  • Catalyst 6500/6000 MSM
  • Catalyst 6500/6000 MSFC
  • Catalyst 6500/6000 MSFC2

Refer to these documents for more information and for procedures to upgrade software on Catalyst 5500/5000 RSM and RSFC:

Note: In switches with redundant Supervisor modules, software image synchronization is possible only on Supervisors and not on the MSFCs. Complete the same procedure for software upgrades on both the MSFCs separately in switches with redundant Supervisor modules.

While you upgrade, you can go straight from your current version to the latest one. Use the Cisco Feature Navigator in order to compare different Cisco IOS images, and see what features are added or removed. First, search for your current image, then choose the Compare Images, and find the image you want to upgrade to and it comparew them for you.

Refer to the Naming Convention That CatOS and Cisco IOS Software Images Use section of System Software Conversion from Cisco IOS to CatOS for Catalyst 6500/6000 Switches for more information on naming conventions.