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URGENT: Current (Sept 2013) PoE options in the 6500????

Doug Thompson

I have a customer that was requesting either WS-X6148E-GE-45AT  or WS-X6148A-GE-45AF cards.

The X6148A-GE-45AF went EoS back in early 2012 and the WS-X6148E-GE-45AT was named as the replacement.

Unfortunately, the replacement card, the WS-X6148E-GE-45AT is also now EoS

Unless I have missed something, that doesn't leave much in the way of PoE options for the 6500. Not everyone is ready to move to the 6800 (or 'down' to the 4500 - either way, having to replace an entire chasis).

The WS-X6548-GE-45AF doesn't seem to be available any longer as well although I have not searched for an EoS notice for it. It isn't in Netformx or on CCW.

What other options exist?

7 Replies 7


I don't see any either and there's no ability to fit a PoE daughter card in the WS-X6748-GE-TX.

The following data sheet states "Note: PoE is not supported on Cisco Express Forwarding 720 10/100/1000 interface modules.", so I think you're out of luck going forward with Sup720 and Sup2T series linecards.

Cisco is obviously being strict with their design philosophy and the core and distribution layer not terminating access layer devices.

Yes, I agree.

I found this:

"You're right that the 4500E is being positioned as our modular answer to linecards.  With the 6500/6800s, the business units have been focusing on positioning these are Distribution & Core switches.  So no longer are they focusing on packing it with linecards.

However, to address this more completely, we are introducing a new technology called "Catalyst Instant Access" where we can physically attach IA access switches to a 6500/6800, but have them act as logical switches or extensions.  Very similar to DC Campus FEX technology, but in the Campus, supports PoE+, inherits the features of the 6K, but all configurations are done on the 6k.  This simplifies the configuration (instead of configuring every access switch), simplifies management, and presents this as a new network design."

The old EoS announcement located here  used to say something in the migration options about 'if you need PoE, migrate to the 6800 Instant Access" but that wording seems to have mysteriously changed.

It would appear that, while not abandoning the non-E 6500 completely, Cisco has decided to move away from providing access layer functionality on that chassis by removing options like PoE for endpoints (phones, access points, etc), thus stranding, or at best, putting many customers who are using the 6500 for access layer switching and need to add to it, in a very precarious position.

Based on this observation and given the quote above, it looks like the days of using the Cat6500 for high denisity access layer switching may be over and Cisco is trying to reposition the 6K as a core/distribution switch only. It is ironic that the guidance given is to move away from the 6500 to the 4500 or 6800 platforms (other chassis based systems capable of high port densities). Which leads one to question "why can I do access layer in these two (2) chassis based systems but not in the third which we have been doing for 10+ years?"

Sounds like a lot of customers will either need to start using new switches to take over these non-longer available functions or have to dramitically re-architect portions of their networks. Everybody loves unplanned crisis, right?

Cisco will tell you the Cat6K isn't dead. But it leaves me wondering if its not on life support and if so, for how long?

It seems to have been relegated to a 'speeds and feeds' type high density/high speed forwarding box with services.

Its going to be hard to go back and tell customers using the 6K for haccess layer functionality "Well, way back then, you should have bought a 4K instead of a 6K." Not a good position to be in. Many chose the 6K over the 4K or 3K (stacked or standalone) for a reason. Some of those decisions were based on capabilities that existed years ago and those capabilities (or lack thereof) drove customers to pick the 6K for reasons that were relevant at the time. Regardless of the circumstances, there are now challenges for those customers who went with the 6K for access layer aggregration that aren't as in your face as "Project Keystone" non-E migration. This isn't really something I have heard spelled out specifically. It has been hinted at, eluded to and otherwise obscurely referrenced but maybe I was asleep at the switch when this was discussed. However, I have not heard anything called out by Cisco as saying "we will no longer support access layer functionality on the 6K" (but we will on the OTHER two chassis systems we offer). Weird.

But at least it isn't dead........................................................

Not surprisingly, the website isn't up to date and has incorrect information. Most of the cards listed on the website TODAY are no longer available (see attached file taken today from the Cat6K Interfaces and Modules page found here:

Leo Laohoo
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Not everyone is ready to move to the 6800 (or 'down' to the 4500 - either way, having to replace an entire chasis).

If I remembered correctly, if you have a 6904 line card, your 6500 chassis can support the 6800ia.


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What Cisco is doing, might be a tactical mistake.  By no longer providing PoE line cards for 6500s, they force adopting something different.  One problem with the IA boxes, new power wiring.

In my shop, we were just discussing the IA and 4500 options, as the PoE go end-of-sale 9/30/13, but management has been pushing us toward further adoption of Brand J.  If we have to replace a whole chassis, it might not be with an IA or 4500.

We are in this very same position. All we need is some beefier PoE in our access layer which are all 6509-E but now that we have discovered this, we will be taking a closer look at other vendors for this PoE capability. Whilst I can see what Cisco are trying to do, I think they may have scored an own-goal on this one!

Leo Laohoo
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The probable reason why Cisco is ripping out the PoE line cards from the inventory is because they'll potentially make more money if customers are "forced" to adopt the 6800ia.

And don't forget that you'd likely want to take advantage of an HA connection between your 6800ia and parent chassis, which is usually (and so mentioned in Cisco 6800 guides) multi-chassis EtherChannel (MEC), which mandates not just a pair of 6500/6800s, but running VSS mode and using the supported line cards as well. If for any reason it's a 1 chassis parent, it still must be in VSS mode.

And further ... while you can remove your IDF 6500 chassis to hopefully hang some 6800ia PoE stackables connected to that 6500/6800 distribution VSS pair you've just upgraded to, you're limited to just 12 of these IDFs due to the limited number of IDF 6800ia FEXIDs each FlexStack-Plus group uses. While it's implied this number could rise with some later revisions, this is just a disappointing number of IDF rooms to be supported by your "Instant Access" core.

And these 6800ia recycle the FlexStack-Plus stack model for your IDF, but don't allow that FlexStack-Plus limit of 8 chassis like the 2960X or 2960XR, but are limited to just a FlexStack group of 3 Chassis for a grand total of 144 ports in your IDF closet. What 6500 riser closet has only 144 ports in a typical Enterprise?

So with just 12 IDFs of 6800ia stacking up to 3 Chassis each IDF, and a system-wide 21 Chassis limitation totaling just 1008 ports, these are just not the scaling numbers you'd expect from Cisco's flagship top-end switch line using their new required deployment model. This all seems wildly inadequate for those Enterprises now dealing with an immediate end-of-life for the last 6500 PoE blade driving their global IDF office needs, and assuming this new platform might even work for them.

Why Cisco didn't choose the much faster and resilient dual-ring StackWise-480 standard with 9 chassis support and increased resiliency, or beef up the FlexStack-Plus and 6500 "Instant Access" core parent limitations so the scaling might actually perform and support the needed speeds, resiliency, and port scales of any retiring 6500 IDF riser closet seems oddly short-sided, leaving customers in the lurch.

It's clear that any longtime Enterprise customer who's had a long term commitment to the simplified access/distribution/core deployment model allowed by the 6500 for these many years is now facing a major problem with the soon-to-be retiring 6500 in-chassis PoE support. They won't be able to re-use the mass quantities of existing 6500 non-VSS supporting parts, nor scale the "Instant Access" Model to anything like what they already have in a typical existing 6500 IDF/distribution model, which also means incrementing into any 6500/6800 deployment model in your IDF riser closets (including attempting to use the newly released PoE 6800ia) is absolutely not an option and doesn't scale.

You're left with gutting and replacing your aging 6500 fleet with the compatible densities of the 4500E chassis to get your PoE support and hoping for the best, wondering when these interim new 6800 products and Nexus FEX-like features might finally allow a deployment model that can scale to support the densities a chassis like the 6513 had once allowed and encouraged Enterprise customers to deploy.

I'm also left to wonder why they didn't just End-of-Life the 6513 chassis with the PoE blade. If we've ended the usefulness of the 6500 line in the riser closet, what else are you going to use the 6513 chassis for? Certainly not your distribution or core in current deployments.

I still hold out hope that Cisco might realize they've over-stepped here and push out the EOL on the PoE blade, paired with aggressive PR and discount programs to more aggressively and clearly drive customers off the 6500s in their IDFs, and incrementally step into the diverse new deployment/product models Cisco has just churned out ... but not a hope I'd hang a real-world business plan on.

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