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The Catalyst 8500 MSR family can support integrated multiservice ATM switching and Layer 3 switching/routing in a single platform that also supports advanced Cisco IOS services for QoS and security. With the ATM Router Module (ARM), the 8500 MSR can support the seamless transport of IP/IPX traffic between Layer 3 (Gigabit Ethernet/Fast Ethernet) and ATM (T1/E1, IMA, T3/E3, OC-3c/STM-1, OC-12c/STM-4, and OC-48c/STM-16) interfaces at wire-speed. The Catalyst 8500 MSR family delivers campus backbone and metropolitan area network (MAN)/wide area network (WAN) solutions with scalable performance, lower cost of ownership, and the features needed in New World Networks.  

Historically, enterprise network managers faced a choice of several different technologies when building or upgrading campus network backbones. Today, the choice is between Fast Ethernet/Gigabit Ethernet on one hand, which provides high performance, low cost, and familiarity (relative to Ethernet), and ATM on the other hand, with its high performance, advanced QoS capabilities, support for multiservice voice/data integration and MAN/WAN applications. The network designer must also think about the role of routing in the backbone, which is required for network scalability. The Catalyst 8500 MSR enables network designers to combine multiple technologies in a single network, using each its best advantage. It also greatly simplifies future migration from one technology to the other, should the needs of the network backbone change over time.  

Wire-speed performance, scalable control, and rich QoS capabilities of the Catalyst 8500 MSR family allow network managers to smoothly integrate the Catalyst 8500 MSR with the Catalyst 8500 CSR, Catalyst 5500, Catalyst 6500, Cisco 7500/7200, LightStream 1010, IGX 8400, MC 3810, and the 3600/2600 product families. Using a Cisco end-to-end solution, they can create a unique solution that truly meets the end-to-end QoS requirement for differentiated services in the enterprise.

The Catalyst 8500 MSR can be deployed as either a multiservice ATM switch or as an integrated Layer 3 and multiservice ATM switch. This unique ability allows the deployment of hybrid networks implementing the best of both technologies while eliminating the need to choose one technology over another. An extensive list of supported ATM, Layer 3, Packet-over-SONET (POS), Frame Relay, and Circuit Emulation Services (CES) interfaces provides the ability to build a true multiservice campus backbone or MAN/WAN.

The Catalyst 8500 MSR allows smooth integration into existing networks by incorporating Cisco IOS-based routing protocols (IGRP, EIGRP, OSPF, BGPv4, Hierarchical PNNI) that are proven, time tested, reliable, and fast converging in both Layer 3 and ATM backbones. Key features supported on the 8500 MSR family include enhanced ATM and Layer 3 features. 

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