Can the Cisco 3650 do the job of distribution/core layer?

We have at least 250 devices that will be connected to the network.

More info :

The Cisco 3650 is needed for inter-vlan routing.

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  • 1
    It could in some specific setup but you did not provide enough information, there's MANY thing to consider to be able to answer this.
    – JFL
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:01
  • the 3650 is needed as layer 3 device for inter-vlan routing.
    – xzeneize
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 12:17
  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


The 3650 will switch layer-2 at wire speed, even if you have it fully populated. You cannot get more traffic into the switch than it has ports.

When it comes to routing, there are too many variables to answer with the little information you have provided. Certainly, any configuration which causes the routing to be process switched will severely impact performance.

A problem you will have is the access to distribution bandwidth ratio, but this will be a concern with any distribution switch. You don't say over how many access switches the user will be spread, but let's assume six 48-port access switches connected to you distribution switch. That gives you just over 40 users per switch. If the users ports are 1 Gbps ports, that means that you should have, at least, 2 Gbps uplinks from each access switch to the distribution switch in order to meet Cisco's recommendation of a 20:1 access to distribution bandwidth ratio.

The next bandwidth ratio you need to worry about is the distribution to core bandwidth ratio. Cisco recommends this be no more than 4:1. For each 4 Gbps bandwidth coming into your distribution, you need at least 1 Gbps from the distribution to the network core.

Whether or not a 3650 will meet your needs depends on how you configure your network topology, and what sort of routing controls you use, but it could work in some cases with 250 users. I have seen the Cisco 3K switches used as distribution switches for a lot more than 250 users with no problems. You just need to carefully plan the use.

  • 1
    Shouldn't it be "For each 4 Gbps bandwidth coming into your distribution, you need at least 1 Gbps from the distribution to the network core."?
    – JFL
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 19:19
  • Yes, good catch, I wrote it backwards. Not enough caffeine today. :)
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 19:20

IMO, it is not a core/distribution switch. It is an access switch with integrated wireless controller and it also support PoE. However without complete requirement it is not possible to comment on this.

  • WLC in a 3560 switch? Are you sure? There's one model of the 3750 line with a WLC, but not 3560.
    – JFL
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:05
  • I think I am sure. 3650 has a WLC on its own, at least you can buy one version of it...
    – user88975
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:07
  • 1
    Found them, your're right there's model like WS-C3650-48PWS-S actually.
    – JFL
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:15
  • 1
    the 3650 can do the work of a distribution device.
    – xzeneize
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 12:58
  • It is. But I was not comfortable staking it for 250 devices. The throuhgput may not be enough.
    – user88975
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 13:17

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