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EX4600 System Overview

EX4600 Switch Hardware Overview

The Juniper Networks EX4600 Ethernet switch is a highly versatile, second generation solution for campus environments. The EX4600 can be deployed in these environments:

  • Campus distribution

  • Small campus core

  • Top-of-rack in small, low -density data centers

  • Data center distribution in small, low -density data centers

In addition to operating as a standalone switch, the EX4600 switch can act as a member switch in a non-mixed Virtual Chassis, a Virtual Chassis composed entirely of EX4600 switches, as well as participate as member switches in a mixed Virtual Chassis with EX4300 switches. The switch offers a flexible configuration of high-performance 10-gigabit and 40-gigabit ports to add higher port densities, additional scalability, and improved latency to the EX Series of switches.

Benefits of the EX4600 Switch

Compact solution—The EX4600 switch supports up to 72 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports in a 1 rack unit (1 U) chassis.

Intelligent buffer management—EX4600 switches have a total of 12 MB shared buffers. While 25 percent of the total buffer space is dedicated, the rest is shared among all ports and is user configurable. The intelligent buffer mechanism in the EX4600 effectively absorbs traffic bursts while providing deterministic performance, significantly increasing performance over static allocation.

Energy efficiency—The 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports consume less than five watts, thereby offering a low power solution for top-of-rack, end-of-row, and distribution deployments.

EX4600 Hardware

The EX4600 switch is a compact 1 U model that provides wire-speed packet performance, very low latency, and a rich set of Layer 2 and Layer 3 features. In addition to a high-throughput Packet Forwarding Engine, the performance of the control plane running on the EX4600 model is enhanced by the 1.5-GHz dual-core Intel CPU with 32 GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage.

The port panel of the EX4600 features 24 fixed small form-factor pluggable (SFP) or SFP+ access ports and 4 fixed quad SFP+ (QSFP+) high-speed uplinks.

Figure 1: EX4600 Port Panel with Expansion BaysEX4600 Port Panel with Expansion Bays

In addition, the switch has two module bays where you can install optional expansion modules. The EX4600 switch supports two expansion modules to increase port density:

  • QFX-EM-4Q–Adds four additional QSFP+ ports to the chassis. When fully populated with QFX-EM-4Q expansion modules, the EX4600 is equivalent to one with 72 interfaces (24 + 16 + 16 + 16). See Figure 2.

    Figure 2: QFX-EM-4Q Expansion ModuleQFX-EM-4Q Expansion Module
  • EX4600-EM-8F–Adds a total of eight additional SFP+ ports to the chassis. When fully populated with EX4600-EM-8F expansion modules, the EX4600 is equivalent to one with 56 interfaces (24 + 16 + 8 + 8). See Figure 3.

    Figure 3: EX4600-EM-8F Expansion ModuleEX4600-EM-8F Expansion Module

The EX4600 switch can be used as:

  • A standalone switch.

  • A primary, backup, or linecard member in a Virtual Chassis with EX4600 switches or EX4300 switches. When in a mixed Virtual Chassis consisting of EX4600 switches and EX4300 switches, the EX4600 switches can be the primary, backup, or in the linecard role, while the EX4300 switches must be in the linecard role. An EX4600 Virtual Chassis enables you to interconnect up to 10 switches into one logical device and manage the device as a single chassis. An EX4600 Virtual Chassis is cabled in a ring topology.

    In a mixed Virtual Chassis of EX4600 and EX4300 switches, the Junos OS release dictates whether the EX4600 is best used in the primary role. For Junos OS releases between 13.2X50-D10 and 14.1X53-D25, use the use the EX4300 as a primary and backup RE in the Virtual Chassis. For Junos OS Release 14.1X53-D25 and later, the EX4600 is fully supported as the primary in a mixed Virtual Chassis of EX4600 and EX4300.

System Software

EX Series switches run the Junos operating system (OS), which provides Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching, routing, and security services. An EX4600 switch ships with Junos OS installed on it. The same Junos OS code base that runs on EX4600 switches also runs on all Juniper Networks QFX Series devices, M Series, MX Series, and T Series routers.

You manage the switch by using the Junos OS CL), which is accessible through the console and out-of-band management ports on the switch.

All models of the EX4600 run on Junos OS Release 13.2X51-D25 or later.

EX4600 Switch Models

The EX4600 switches have a base configuration of 24 small form-factor pluggable plus (SFP+) ports and 4 quad small-form-factor pluggable (QSFP+) ports. You can increase the number of ports by using expansion modules. All EX4600 switches, except the EX4600-40F-S switch, ship with two power supplies and five fans installed by default. Expansion modules are optional components that must be separately ordered.

Table 1 lists the EX4600 switch configurations.

Table 1: EX4600 Switches

Product Number


Number of Expansion Modules Supported

Power Supply



24 SFP+ and 4 QSFP+



Air In (FRU-to-port)


24 SFP+ and 4 QSFP+



Air Out (port-to-FRU)


24 SFP+ and 4 QSFP+



Air In (FRU-to-port)


24 SFP+ and 4 QSFP+



Air Out (port-to-FRU)


24 SFP+ and 4 QSFP+


Order PSUs separately

Fan modules are not shipped by default.

Order fan modules separately


Do not mix:

  • AC and DC power supplies in the same chassis.

  • Power supplies with different airflow labels (AFI) and (AFO) in the same chassis.

  • Fan modules with different airflow labels (AIR INI) and (AIR OUT) in the same chassis.

  • Power supplies and fan modules with different airflow labels (AIR INI) and AIR OUT) or AFI and AFO in the same chassis.

Understanding Redundancy of EX4600 Switch Components and Functionality

The following hardware components provide redundancy on an EX4600 switch:

  • Power supplies—The EX4600 switch can operate with one power supply. However, all EX4600 switches, except the EX4600-40F-S switch, ship with two power supplies preinstalled for redundancy. Each power supply provides power to all components in the switch. Installing two power provides full power redundancy to the switch. If one power supply fails or is removed, the second power supply balances the electrical load without interruption.

  • Cooling system—All EX4600 switches, except the EX4600-40F-S ship with five fan modules installed. If a fan module fails and leads to the overheating of the chassis, alarms occur and the switch might shut down.