Airflow on Cisco Routers & Switches [and more…]

The intent of this post is to gather in one place the airflow direction on Cisco routers, switches, firewalls, UCs, and more. Knowing the airflow of your devices helps to properly plan in the data center the direction in which each device should be rack mounted to allow for proper air cooling.

This list is constantly being updated, so feel free to bookmark it.

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Cisco Routers’ Airflow

C8300-1N1S-4T2X & 6T

Airflow port side intake on the Catalyst 8300-1N1S-4T2X and 8300-1N1S-6T routers.

Airflow Direction for Cisco Catalyst 8300-1N1S-4T2X-6T Routers
Airflow Direction for Cisco Catalyst 8300-1N1S-4T2X-6T Routers

C8300-2N2S-4T2X & 6T

Airflow port side intake on the Catalyst 8300-2N2S-4T2X and 8300-2N2S-6T routers.

Airflow Direction for Cisco Catalyst 8300-2N2S-4T2X-6T Routers
Airflow Direction for Cisco Catalyst 8300-2N2S-4T2X-6T Routers

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Catalyst Switches’ Airflow

Catalyst 9300 Series

The airflow direction on the Catalyst 9300 Series is from front-to-rear and side-to-rear.

Airflow Direction of Cisco Catalyst 9300 Switches
Airflow Direction of Cisco Catalyst 9300 Switches

Catalyst 9500 Series

The Cisco Catalyst 9500 switch series support front-to-back airflow (fans and fan trays). All 9500 switches support port-side intake airflow. Cool air enters the switch through the port side (cold aisle) and exhausts through the fan and power supply modules in the rear (hot aisle).

Airflow on Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series
Airflow on Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series

Catalyst 9600 Series

The Cisco Catalyst 9606R chassis comes with efficient side-to-side airflow and full front accessibility for all removable components, including supervisors, line cards, power supplies, and fan tray.

The Catalyst 9600 family’s side-to-side airflow allows for balanced airflow across the inserted cards. When facing the front of the chassis, airflow direction is right to left.

Airflow of Cisco Catalyst 9606R Switch
Airflow of Cisco Catalyst 9606R Switch
  1. Chassis air intake
  2. Power supply intake
  3. Chassis air exhaust
  4. Power supply air exhaust

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Nexus Switches’ Airflow

Nexus 9300 Series

Flexible airflow configuration. Port-side intake and port-side exhaust airflow configurations are both supported. The two deployment modes support front-to-back cooling through a choice of power supplies and fan trays designed with opposite airflow directions, denoted by red and blue tabs.

The power supplies and fan trays with the red tabs allow for port side intake, so they should be facing the cold isle.

The power supplies and fan trays with the blue tabs allow for port site exhaust, so they should be facing the hot isle.

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FirePOWER Threat Detection (FTD) Firewalls’ Airflow

FTD 2100 Series

Airflow on Cisco FTD 2110, 2120, 2130, and 2140 models moves from front (port side) to back.

FTD 4100 Series

Airflow on Cisco FTD 4110, 4112, 4115, 4125, and 4145 models moves from front (port side) to back.

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UCS Fabric Interconnects’ Airflow

6454 Fabric Interconnect

Airflow intake on the front (PSU/fan-side) to back (port-side exhaust).

64108 Fabric Interconnect

Airflow intake on the front (PSU/fan-side) to back (port-side exhaust).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alirio Zavarce, CCIE #28672, is a seasoned enterprise route-switch consultant with 30 years of experience with data networks. Alirio started this networking blog to help his peers become better network engineers and share all his everyday experiences and troubleshooting tips. More about me...

If Alirio had to prepare to take it again, here's what he would do to pass the CCIE lab.

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