Network Engineering

What’s inside a Cisco Switch??


When we discuss about networking, Cisco plays a dominant role.But Cisco deals with software part, while they outsource their hardware manufacturing to FOXCONN, Broadcom and Samsung etc.  In this post I am going to show you what’s inside a Cisco switch. As we know Switch is a L2 device and we know a lot about its configurations via Command Line Interface, but most of the Network Engineers may not try to  open it, because Cisco is “Expensive”. To do this task I found a 2nd hand expired but working switch in Sim Lim Square, Singapore  repairing center,it looked so old but worked fine so I bought it.

When I open it, I was amazed, due to the dust inside, ” I don’t know how it worked with those amount of dust particles”.

Figure 1: Inside Catalyst 2950 48 port switch

It was full of dust. So I started the cleaning part with an old tooth-brush cleaning it smoothly.Majorly there was 2 parts found  inside the switch

1.0 SMPS ( Switch Mode Power Supply)

2.0 Main Board

Figure 2: Power Supply Cisco Switch

Power supply can be removed nearby the 3-pin socket.It has simply a transformer , AC/DC converter and it has fuse for DC protection also. After removing this part don’t try to touch it as some current can be discharged via capacitors.

Figure 3: Removing terminal  of power supply

For cooling purpose, it has a powerful DC Brush-less, Centrifugal fan.The power comes for it from the main board near by the 12 pin power supply adapter, which gives  the power to the main board. Unfortunately I haven’t got  a multi meter to check the voltage coming out of it.

Figure 4: Centrifugal DC Brush less  Fan

When inspecting the main board, it can be found 2 identical main chips, it’s from “Broadcom” BCM5628A2KT specially designed to Cisco. I wanted to dig it deeper to find the process of this main chip and couldn’t find any via Google.

Figure 5: BROADCOM Chip designed for Cisco

There were several micro controllers and chips soled on the main board. Most of them are from Samsung.

Looking to the back side, it has Console port, power socket and auxiliary power port. Console  port is RJ45 Jack , which is connected via ribbon to the main board and can be removed separately.

Figure 6: Console port

So we almost removed all parts of the Cisco catalyst 2950 switch. If you try to remove a second-hand one, please remember to remove the front plastic cover slowly with care because the plastic pins can be easily breakable.


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