Forwarding engines / multilayer switch feature cards (MSFC) and routing engines / policy feature cards (PFC)

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MSFC:
The MSFC is an integral part of the Supervisor Engine, providing high performance, multilayer switching and routing intelligence. Equipped with a high performance processor, the MSFC runs layer 2 protocols on one CPU and layer 3 protocols on the second CPU. These include routing protocol support, layer 2 protocols (Spanning Tree Protocol and VLAN Trunking Protocol for example), and security services.

The MSFC builds the Cisco Express Forwarding information Base (FIB) table in software and then downloads this table to the hardware Application-specific-integrated circuits (ASICs) on the PFC and Distributed forwarding engine (if present) that make the forwarding decisions for IP unicast and multicast traffic.

Generations of MSFC-Cards:



PFC:
The PFC supports routing and bridging, QoS, and multicast packet replication, and processes security policies such as access control lists (ACLs).

The PFC is equipped with a high performance ASIC complex supporting a range of hardware based features. The PFC supports IPv4, IPv6 routing and bridging functionality, quality of service (QoS) and multicast forwarded and ACL-based policies.

Generations of PFC-Cards: