Gigabit Ethernet Transceivers Supported on Cisco Nexus 3500 Series Switches


Cisco Nexus 3500 Switch series is the comprehensive portfolio of 1, 10, and 40 Gigabit Ethernet switches to achieve exceptional layer 2 and 3 switching latencies of less than 200ns. They are Cisco’s hot-selling switches that can support a series of Gigabit Ethernet transceivers like the SFP optical transceiver, SFP+, and the QSFP+ modules. Cisco Nexus 3500 Series Switches include various models such as Cisco Nexus 3048 switch, Cisco Nexus 3100 platform switches, Cisco Nexus 3100-V platform switches, and Cisco Nexus 3200 platform switches. Today’s article will provide a clear description of this switch type along with the available Gigabit Ethernet transceivers.

Cisco Nexus 3500 Platform

Cisco Nexus 3500 series further extends the leadership of the Cisco Nexus 3000 series and uses the Cisco Algo Boost technology to achieve excellent Layer 2 and 3 switching. In addition, Algo boost technology offers several innovations in latency forwarding and performance visibility capabilities:

  • Hitless Network Address Translation (NAT)—In many financial trading environments, trade orders must be sourced from the IP space of the provider, requiring NAT at the border between networks. But the Cisco Nexus 3500 platform can perform NAT for IPv4 unicast routed packets without incurring any additional latency.
  • Latency monitoring—The Cisco Nexus 3548x and 3524x enable users to finely control their environments to increase network performance. Customers can identify latency on a specific egress port through the command-line interface (CLI) and export this information to a file. The programmability of the Cisco Nexus 3548x allows users to use this information in real time.
  • Active buffer monitoring—Even on the lowest-latency switches, data packets can incur a millisecond or more of latency during periods of congestion. In contrast, Algo Boost accelerates the collection of buffer utilization data in hardware, allowing sampling intervals of 10 ns or less.
  • Cisco Nexus Data Broker—The Cisco Nexus 3500 platform switches with Cisco Nexus Data Broker can be used to build a scalable and cost-effective traffic monitoring infrastructure using network taps and SPAN. In addition, you can distribute these sources and traffic monitoring and analysis tools across multiple Cisco Nexus switches.

Cisco Nexus 3548 and 3524 Switches

Cisco Nexus 3548 and 3524 Switches are the two commonly used Cisco Nexus 3500 series switches. Cisco Nexus 3524 has 24 ports, while the 3548 enables the use of 48 ports. As seen in the below image, Cisco 3548 switch with 48 fixed SFP+ ports for 1, 10 Gigabit Ethernet enables the total switching capacity of 960 Gbqs. As part of the Unified Fabric Family, the Cisco Nexus 3548/3548-X Switch is well suited for mainstream top-of-rack, (ToR) data center deployments. It comes in a compact, 1-rack-unit (1RU) form factor.



Similarly, Cisco Nexus 3524 has identical hardware as Cisco Nexus 3548. However, its software license is different from Cisco Nexus 3548 which only allows the operating of 24 ports. And its switching capacity is only 480 Gbps. If you want to activate all the 48 ports of Cisco Nexus 3524, another license is required to enable the rest 24 ports.

Cisco Nexus 3548x and 3524x are the next generation switches. They keep the basic hardware structure as the previous generation but consume 25 percent less power. They also introduce powerful hardware-based multicast NAT and latency monitoring capabilities and a second USB port for easier manageability.

Gigabit Ethernet Transceivers for Cisco 3500 Switches

Cisco Nexus 3500 series switches can support up to 40G Ethernet. For in-rack or adjacent-rack cabling, the Cisco Nexus 3500 platform supports SFP+ DAC copper cabling that combines the 10G Twinax cables into an energy-efficient and low-cost solution. And for longer cable runs, multimode and single-mode optical SFP+ transceivers are supported.

  • SFP+ Direct Attach copper cables on Cisco Nexus 3500 switch

Cisco has listed several 10G SFP+ copper cables that can be used on Cisco Nexus 3500 series switches: SFP-H10GB-CU1M, SFP-H10GB-CU3M, SFP-H10GB-CU5M, SFP-H10GB-ACU7M, and SFP-H10GB-ACU10M. But if you think the original Cisco switches are too expensive, you can have a look at the compatible SFP+ Twinax copper cables from FS.COM. Their 10g SFP direct attach copper cables are about US$10. Here provides a table of FS.COM compatible Cisco Twinax DAC cable.


  • Reliable 10g SFP+ transceiver

10G SFP+ single-mode or multimode transceivers are often used to support longer-reach applications. SFP-10G-SR (up to 300m) and SFP-10G-LR optics (up to 10km) are the two common types. For longer distance than 10km, you can also use the Cisco Cisco SFP-10G-ER and Cisco SFP-10G-ZR Modules.

  • Compatible gigabit SFP optical transceiver

You can also realize the Gigabit Ethernet connectivity on Cisco Nexus 3500 switches by using the compatible gigabit SFP optical transceivers like Cisco GLC optics.


This article outlines the fiber cabling solutions for the Cisco Nexus 3500 series switches.

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