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Cisco N3K-C3064PQ-10GX Switch - Complete Guide

Cisco N3K-C3064PQ-10GX Switch – Complete Guide Leave a comment

Cisco N3K-C3064PQ-10GX Switch – Complete Guide

Welcome to this comprehensive guide on Cisco’s N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch. In this article, we will delve into the key features, benefits, deployment and configuration options, advanced functionalities, best practices, and industry applications of this cutting-edge networking solution. Whether you are a network administrator, an IT professional, or someone interested in understanding the intricacies of Cisco’s switching solutions, this guide will provide you with valuable insights. So, let’s dive in!

Overview of Cisco’s N3K-C3064PQ-10GX Switch

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is a high-performance, fixed-configuration switch designed for data center and enterprise networks. It offers advanced features, robust security, and excellent scalability, making it an ideal choice for organizations of all sizes. With its impressive port density and versatile design, this switch provides reliable connectivity and seamless integration within complex network environments.

Importance and Benefits of Using the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch brings numerous benefits to organizations seeking efficient and scalable networking solutions. It offers high port density, enabling the consolidation of network connections, reducing complexity, and improving overall network performance. Additionally, its advanced security features ensure data protection and mitigate potential security risks. Moreover, the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is built with Cisco’s renowned reliability and quality, providing organizations with a dependable networking infrastructure.

Brief History of Cisco’s Switching Solutions

Cisco Systems, founded in 1984, has been a leading provider of networking equipment, including switches. Over the years, Cisco has continuously evolved its switching solutions to meet the changing needs of modern networks. From the early Catalyst series to the latest N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch, Cisco has focused on delivering innovative and reliable products that empower organizations to build robust and secure networks.

Understanding the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX:

In this section, we will explore the key features, specifications, hardware architecture, software capabilities, and performance benchmarks of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch. Understanding these aspects will help you make informed decisions regarding its deployment and configuration.

Key Features and Specifications of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers an impressive set of features and specifications that make it a versatile and powerful networking solution. With 48 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports and 4 Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable Plus (QSFP+) uplink ports, this switch provides high-density connectivity for demanding network environments. It supports various protocols, including VLAN, Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), and Virtual Port Channels (vPC), offering flexibility in network design and management.

Hardware Architecture and Design

The hardware architecture of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is designed to deliver high performance and reliability. It incorporates advanced switching technology, such as cut-through forwarding and hardware-based multicast replication, to minimize latency and optimize network efficiency. The switch also features a robust cooling system and redundant power supplies for enhanced resiliency.

Software Capabilities and Compatibility

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch runs on Cisco’s powerful NX-OS operating system, which provides a rich set of features and seamless integration with other Cisco devices. It supports various Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols, allowing for efficient traffic routing and management. Additionally, the switch is compatible with Cisco’s management tools, such as Cisco Prime Infrastructure, for centralized network monitoring and configuration.

Scalability and Performance Benchmarks

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is designed to scale with the growing demands of modern networks. It supports Virtual Device Contexts (VDCs), which enable the creation of multiple logical switches within a single physical switch. This feature allows network administrators to segregate and manage different network segments effectively. In terms of performance, the switch offers high throughput and low latency, ensuring smooth and efficient data transmission.

Deployment and Configuration:

This section focuses on the deployment and configuration aspects of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch. We will explore the initial setup and installation process, network topology considerations, virtual port channels (vPC) configuration, VLAN management, quality of service (QoS) implementation, spanning tree protocol (STP) configuration, as well as security features and access control setup.

Initial Setup and Installation Guide

To get started with the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch, a proper initial setup and installation process is essential. This includes physical installation, connecting power and network cables, and configuring basic settings such as IP address assignment and management access. Following the recommended procedures ensures a smooth deployment and minimizes the risk of configuration errors.

Network Topology Considerations

When deploying the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch, understanding the network topology is crucial for optimal performance and scalability. Factors such as the number of switches, interconnection methods, redundancy requirements, and bandwidth needs should be taken into account. By carefully planning the network topology, administrators can avoid bottlenecks, single points of failure, and ensure efficient data flow.

Virtual Port Channels (vPC) Configuration

Virtual Port Channels (vPC) allow the creation of a logical link between two physical switches, providing redundancy and load balancing capabilities. Configuring vPC on the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch involves establishing peer links, configuring the vPC domain, and defining the port channel parameters. Properly configured vPC enhances network resiliency and improves overall performance.

VLAN Configuration and Management

VLANs play a crucial role in network segmentation and resource optimization. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers extensive support for VLAN configuration and management. Administrators can create VLANs, assign ports to specific VLANs, and configure VLAN trunks to allow traffic across multiple switches. This flexibility enables efficient network segregation and improves security and performance.

Quality of Service (QoS) Implementation

Quality of Service (QoS) ensures that critical traffic receives priority over less important data. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch supports QoS features such as traffic classification, marking, and queuing. By implementing QoS policies, administrators can optimize network performance, minimize latency, and guarantee bandwidth for specific applications or services.

Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) Configuration

Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) prevents network loops and ensures redundant paths are used effectively. Configuring STP on the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch involves selecting the appropriate STP mode, configuring bridge priorities, and optimizing path costs. Proper STP configuration enhances network stability and prevents broadcast storms or network outages.

Security Features and Access Control Setup

Network security is of utmost importance in today’s digital landscape. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers a wide range of security features, including Access Control Lists (ACLs), port security, and Secure Shell (SSH) for secure remote management. Properly configuring these security features helps protect against unauthorized access, network attacks, and data breaches.

Advanced Features and Functionality:

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch provides advanced features and functionality that cater to the complex requirements of modern networks. In this section, we will explore multicast support and configuration, Layer 3 routing capabilities, Data Center Bridging (DCB) and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) integration, network monitoring and troubleshooting tools, high availability and redundancy options, as well as software-defined networking (SDN) integration.

Cisco N3K-C3064PQ-10GX Switch - Complete Guide

Multicast Support and Configuration

Multicast enables the efficient distribution of data to multiple recipients. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers robust multicast support and configuration options. Administrators can configure multicast groups, enable Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM), and set up multicast routing protocols to ensure seamless delivery of multimedia content and real-time data.

Layer 3 Routing Capabilities

Layer 3 routing is essential for interconnecting different networks and enabling efficient traffic routing. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch supports various Layer 3 routing protocols, including Routing Information Protocol (RIP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). These protocols enable efficient network communication and ensure connectivity between different subnets or autonomous systems.

Data Center Bridging (DCB) and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) Integration

Data Center Bridging (DCB) and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) integration enable the convergence of data and storage networks, simplifying network infrastructure and reducing costs. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch supports DCB and FCoE, allowing organizations to leverage Ethernet as a unified fabric for both data and storage traffic.

Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tools

Network monitoring and troubleshooting are critical for maintaining optimal network performance. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers comprehensive network monitoring capabilities, including features like SPAN (Switched Port Analyzer) and ERSPAN (Encapsulated Remote SPAN). Additionally, it supports troubleshooting tools such as packet captures, event logs, and network diagnostic commands, aiding administrators in identifying and resolving network issues efficiently.

High Availability and Redundancy Options

Ensuring high availability and minimizing downtime is crucial for mission-critical networks. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch provides various high availability features, such as Virtual Port Channels (vPC) and hot-swappable power supplies. These features enable link redundancy, device redundancy, and uninterrupted network operation.

Software-defined Networking (SDN) Integration

Software-defined Networking (SDN) offers centralized network management and programmability, enabling organizations to automate network provisioning and streamline operations. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch integrates with Cisco’s SDN solutions, such as Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), providing enhanced network agility, policy-based management, and seamless integration with virtualized environments.

Best Practices and Tips for Optimizing Performance:

To maximize the performance of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch, implementing best practices and optimization techniques is essential. In this section, we will discuss load balancing and traffic optimization techniques, buffer tuning and congestion management, power management and environmental considerations, as well as firmware upgrades and maintenance procedures.

Load Balancing and Traffic Optimization Techniques

Load balancing and traffic optimization techniques distribute network traffic across multiple links, ensuring efficient utilization of network resources. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch supports various load balancing algorithms, such as source/destination MAC address, source/destination IP address, and port-based load balancing. Implementing these techniques helps avoid bottlenecks and ensures optimal network performance.

Buffer Tuning and Congestion Management

Network congestion can impact performance and lead to packet loss. Proper buffer tuning and congestion management on the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch mitigate congestion-related issues. Administrators can configure buffer sizes, implement congestion avoidance mechanisms such as Weighted Random Early Detection (WRED), and prioritize critical traffic using QoS policies.

Power Management and Environmental Considerations

Efficient power management and environmental considerations contribute to a greener and more sustainable network infrastructure. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers power-saving features, such as Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) and power monitoring capabilities. Administrators should also consider factors like temperature control, airflow optimization, and rack placement to ensure proper cooling and minimize energy consumption.

Firmware Upgrades and Maintenance Procedures

Keeping the firmware of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch up to date is crucial for security, stability, and access to the latest features. Cisco regularly releases firmware updates, bug fixes, and feature enhancements. Administrators should follow recommended procedures for firmware upgrades, including taking backups, verifying compatibility, and testing in a non-production environment.

Use Cases and Industry Applications:

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch finds applications across various industries and network environments. In this section, we will explore its use cases in data centers and enterprise networks, cloud service providers and hosting environments, financial institutions and high-frequency trading, as well as telecommunication and service provider networks.

Data Centers and Enterprise Networks

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is an excellent choice for data centers and enterprise networks that require high-performance networking solutions. Its scalability, advanced features, and robust security make it suitable for demanding applications and environments that deal with large volumes of data and require uninterrupted connectivity.

Cloud Service Providers and Hosting Environments

Cloud service providers and hosting environments demand network switches that can handle high traffic loads, provide seamless connectivity, and ensure data integrity. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch meets these requirements, enabling cloud service providers to offer reliable and high-performance networking services to their clients.

Financial Institutions and High-Frequency Trading

In the financial industry, where milliseconds can make a significant difference, high-frequency trading requires ultra-low latency networking solutions. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch, with its low-latency design, multicast support, and advanced routing capabilities, is an ideal choice for financial institutions engaged in high-frequency trading.

Telecommunication and Service Provider Networks

Telecommunication and service provider networks require switches that can handle high volumes of traffic, offer advanced features, and ensure seamless connectivity for their customers. The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch provides the necessary performance, scalability, and reliability for telecommunication and service provider networks, enabling them to deliver robust and high-quality services.


High Port Density

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers a high port density, with 48 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 4 optional 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. This allows for seamless connectivity and accommodates high traffic loads in demanding network environments.

Advanced Features

The switch provides advanced features, including multicast support, Layer 3 routing capabilities, and integration with data center bridging and fiber channel over Ethernet. These features enhance network performance, scalability, and flexibility.

Low Latency

With its low-latency design, the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch ensures minimal delay in data transmission. This is especially important in real-time applications, such as high-frequency trading, where milliseconds can make a significant difference.

Robust Security

The switch incorporates various security features, such as access control lists (ACLs), port security, and support for network security protocols. These features help protect against unauthorized access, network attacks, and data breaches.

Scalability and Performance

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers scalability options, allowing organizations to expand their networks as needed. Additionally, it delivers high performance and throughput, meeting the requirements of bandwidth-intensive applications and data centers.

Compatibility with Third-Party Software

The switch is compatible with third-party software and devices that adhere to industry standards. This enables organizations to integrate the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch into their existing network infrastructure seamlessly.



The advanced features and capabilities of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch come at a higher price compared to entry-level switches. Organizations with budget constraints may find it more expensive to implement this switch in their network infrastructure.


Due to its advanced features and functionalities, the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch may have a steeper learning curve for administrators who are unfamiliar with Cisco’s switching solutions. Adequate training and expertise may be required to fully leverage its capabilities.

Power Consumption

While the switch offers power-saving features, such as Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE), it still consumes a certain amount of power. Organizations need to consider power consumption and ensure proper cooling and energy management in their network environment.

Limited Warranty

Although the switch comes with a limited lifetime hardware warranty from Cisco, it may not cover all types of issues or damages. Organizations should review the warranty terms and conditions to understand the extent of coverage provided.

Dependency on Cisco Ecosystem

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch operates within the Cisco networking ecosystem, which may require additional Cisco-specific equipment or software for full compatibility and integration. This may limit the flexibility to choose components from different vendors.

Configuration Complexity

The advanced features and extensive configuration options of the switch may introduce complexity during initial setup and configuration. Organizations may need to allocate sufficient time and resources to properly configure and optimize the switch for their specific network requirements.

Overall, the Cisco N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers numerous benefits, such as high port density, advanced features, low latency, robust security, scalability, and compatibility. However, organizations should consider factors such as price, complexity, power consumption, warranty coverage, ecosystem dependencies, and configuration requirements when evaluating its suitability for their network infrastructure.


Specification Details
Switch Model N3K-C3064PQ-10GX
Port Density 48 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports

4 optional 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports

Maximum Speed


10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) on fixed ports

40 Gigabits per second (Gbps) on optional ports

Hardware Architecture Rack-mountable

1 RU (1.75 inches) height

Hot-swappable, front-to-back airflow

Software Capabilities Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching

Multicast support

Quality of Service (QoS)

Virtual Port Channels (vPC)

Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)

Data Center Bridging (DCB)

Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)

Compatibility Compatible with Cisco’s networking ecosystem

Third-party software compatibility

Security Features Access Control Lists (ACLs)

Port security

Secure Shell (SSH)

802.1X and MACsec support

Scalability and Performance High-performance switching fabric

Low-latency design

Scalable architecture

Power Consumption Average power consumption: approximately 135W

Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) support

Management Interfaces Command-line interface (CLI)

Web-based graphical user interface (GUI)

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)

Product Type Network Switch

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

In this section, we will address some commonly asked questions about the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch.

What are the main differences between the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX and other Cisco switches?

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch stands out from other Cisco switches due to its high port density, advanced features, and low-latency design. It offers 48 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 4 optional 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports, making it suitable for high-performance networking requirements. Additionally, it supports a wide range of Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocols, providing flexibility and scalability.

What are the maximum port density and supported speeds of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX?

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch offers a maximum port density of 52 ports, with 48 fixed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 4 optional 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. It supports speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) on the fixed ports and up to 40 Gbps on the optional ports, ensuring high-speed connectivity for demanding applications.

Can the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX be used as a core switch in large networks?

Yes, the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch can be used as a core switch in large networks. Its high port density, advanced routing capabilities, and robust performance make it suitable for core network deployments. However, the specific requirements of the network and the scale of the deployment should be taken into consideration when choosing the appropriate switch.

What is the average power consumption of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX?

The average power consumption of the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch depends on various factors, such as the number of active ports, traffic load, and configured features. Under typical operating conditions, the switch consumes approximately 135 watts of power. However, it is recommended to refer to the official Cisco documentation for detailed power consumption information.

How does the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX ensure network security?

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch incorporates various security features to ensure network security. These include Access Control Lists (ACLs), port security, Secure Shell (SSH) for secure remote management, and support for network security protocols like 802.1X and MACsec. By properly configuring these features, administrators can enforce access control, protect against unauthorized access, and secure network communications.

Is the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX compatible with third-party software and devices?

Yes, the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is compatible with third-party software and devices that adhere to industry standards. It supports standard networking protocols and features interoperability with other devices in the network ecosystem. However, it is recommended to consult the Cisco documentation and perform compatibility tests when integrating the switch with third-party software and devices.

Can the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX be managed and monitored remotely?

Yes, the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch can be managed and monitored remotely. It supports various management interfaces, including a command-line interface (CLI), web-based graphical user interface (GUI), and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Administrators can securely manage and monitor the switch from remote locations, enabling efficient network administration and troubleshooting.

What is the warranty and support options for the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX?

The N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch comes with a limited lifetime hardware warranty from Cisco. This warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship under normal use conditions. Additionally, Cisco offers various support options, including software updates, bug fixes, and technical assistance through its support portal and service contracts. It is recommended to refer to the Cisco website or contact Cisco support for detailed warranty and support information.


In conclusion, the Cisco N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch is a powerful and versatile networking solution that offers advanced features, high performance, and robust security. Its key features include high port density, low-latency design, Layer 3 routing capabilities, multicast support, and compatibility with SDN solutions. The switch finds applications in data centers, cloud service providers, financial institutions, and telecommunication networks, among others.

By understanding the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX key features, deployment considerations, and best practices for optimization, organizations can harness its capabilities to build reliable, scalable, and efficient network infrastructures. With its extensive warranty and support options, Cisco ensures that customers can rely on the N3K-C3064PQ-10GX switch for their critical networking needs.

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