Cisco IOS Software Features and Functions

Cisco IOS Software is the industry-leading and is the most widely deployed network system software. This topic describes the features and functions of Cisco IOS Software. The Cisco IOS Software platform is implemented on most Cisco hardware platforms, including switches, routers, and similar Cisco IOS–based network devices. It is the embedded software architecture in all Cisco devices and is also the operating system of Cisco Catalyst switches.
Cisco IOS Software enables the following network services in Cisco products:
■ Features to carry the chosen network protocols and functions.
■ Connectivity enables high-speed traffic between devices.
■ Security controls access and prohibit unauthorized network use.
■ Scalability adds interfaces and capability as needed for network growth.
■ Reliability ensures dependable access to networked resources.
The Cisco IOS Software command-line interface (CLI) is accessed through a console connection, a modem connection, or a Telnet session. Regardless of which connection method is used, access to the Cisco IOS software CLI is generally referred to as an EXEC session.


■ Cisco IOS Software is embedded software architecture in all the Cisco IOS devices and 
is also the operating system of Catalyst switches. Its functions include carrying the 
chosen network protocols, connectivity, security, scalability, and reliability.

■ A switch or IOS device can be configured from a local terminal connected to the 
console (CON) port, from a remote terminal connected through a modem connection 
to the auxiliary (AUX) port, or through a Telnet (VTY) connection.

■ The CLI is used by network administrators to monitor and configure various Cisco IOS 
devices. The CLI also offers a help facility to aid network administrators with the 
verification and configuration of commands.

■ The CLI supports two EXEC modes: user EXEC mode and privileged EXEC mode. 
The privileged EXEC mode provides more functionality than the user EXEC mode, 
and privileged EXEC mode is also sometimes called enable mode.

■ Cisco IOS devices use Cisco IOS Software with extensive command-line input help 
facilities, including context-sensitive help.

■ The Cisco IOS CLI includes an enhanced editing mode that provides a set of editing 
key functions.

■ A Cisco IOS device's CLI provides a history or record of the commands that have been 


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