Home > Articles > Cisco Network Technology > General Networking > Understanding and Configuring Multilayer Switching

Understanding and Configuring Multilayer Switching

Chapter Description

An understanding of multilayer switching is necessary for network designers, administrators, and operators for deployment and troubleshooting purposes. This chapter provides you with details, architecture, and methods of multilayer switching on Catalyst switches.


Outside the scope of the BCMSN course, the following notes along with the study tips in the previous section summarize the chapter:

  • CEF-based MLS is a forwarding model implemented on the latest generation of Cisco multilayer switches. CEF-based MLS is topology based; the control plane and data plane are separate. The control plane downloads the routing table information to the data plane for hardware switching. CEF-based MLS scales to large networks and is not limited on the number of traffic flows.
  • CEF-based MLS uses either centralized switching or distributed switching. Distributed switching provides higher performance than centralized switching.
  • Switches use TCAM and other hardware-switching components not only for IP CEF but also for applying QoS and access lists to packets routed and switched using hardware switching.
  • Cisco multilayer switches that support CEF-based MLS use CEF-based MLS by default.
  • CEF-based MLS supports statistics via show commands with specific limitation.
6. Configuration Exercise: Troubleshooting CEF-Based MLS | Next Section Previous Section