EARL stands for Enhanced Address Resolution Logic. It gives the 6500, the ability to do packet forwarding in hardware. EARL is nothing but a set of ASICs or CHIPs that does forwarding lookups at hardware level. The same job that a CPU or Proccesor does. By by doing forwarding lookups in hardware and not involving the CPU, helps us to achieve the Millions Packet/Sec rarte.
Let me give you some history about it. EARL was originally introduced in Catalyst 5000. Then came Catalyst 5500 , Catalyst 6000 and eventually Catalyst 6500. EARL has evolved in each generation. The SUp720 came woth PFC3, which hosts the EARL version 7. Now the latest SUpervisor SUP2T has PFC4 which is EARL8.
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