Cisco ISR4K Throughput related hidden command

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If you have ever worked with Cisco ISR4K platform, you probably know that these routers have plenty of horsepower. That is, you will probably hit the licensed throughput limit before you even get to 50% on CPU. This can be very frustrating when you troubleshoot, because you need to know (a) platform’s throughput (b) current load. What I always hated is the fact that Cisco doesn’t make required information available to public. For example, the only document about ISR4K performance I found was classified as ‘Cisco Confidential’ and even that one lacked any information about troubleshooting guidelines. Anyway, I’ll keep this post short. Here’s the troubleshooting methodology I use (inc hidden commands I got from Cisco TAC).

First, confirm your throughput license using

show platform hardware throughput level

Next, confirm your current load

show platform hardware qfp active datapath utilization summary

This command’s output has the following format

R01#show platform hardware qfp active datapath utilization summary
  CPP 0:                     5 secs        1 min        5 min       60 min
Input:     Total (pps)       146900       138298       138835       144773
                 (bps)    788959872    737618904    739876248    781833728
Output:    Total (pps)       147210       138599       139147       145079
                 (bps)    787025520    735895536    738145760    779860744
Processing: Load (pct)           46           44           44           46

You are interested in Processing Load percentage. Router above has 2Gbps (max) licensed throughput. 46% of its processing capacity has been consumed, which is slightly lower than I would expect: 2000 * 46% = 920Mbps. In my understanding there’s some overhead as well. In any case, if you see 99 or 100% in Processing Load, then you’re hitting your processing/throughput limit. Router’s CPU load does not matter (in the majority of cases), because throughput limit is usually being hit first. CPU load of the router in this example was at 1%.

To change the throughput license the following things should happen

  • Firstly, acquire the license from Cisco. It is FL-44-PERF-K9 for ISR 4400 Series, FL-4350-PERF-K9 for ISR 4351, FL-4330-PERF-K9 for ISR 4331 and FL-4320-PERF-K9 for ISR 4321. Remember, this upgrade will only double available throughput. That’s it. You won’t get more than double. ISR 4331 is an exception, where it will be tripled (from 100Mbps to 300Mbps).
  • Secondly, accept EULA for throughput license using the following EXEC-level command
license right-to-use move throughput
  • Next, configure new throughput level using the following CONFIG command
R01(config)#platform hardware throughput level ?
  1000000  throughput in kbps
  2000000  throughput in kbps
  • Finally, save configuration and reboot your ISR4K. Once loaded, confirm its current throughput level as per below.
R01#show platform hardware throughput level
The current throughput level is 2000000 kb/s
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