The Catalyst family of modular and fixed-configuration switches provides performance and intelligence at the access, aggregation, and core levels of converged IP voice, video, and high bandwidth data networks for businesses that range in size from small businesses and branch offices to global enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified consultants can provide online and onsite expertise with Catalyst family switches to help your organization to design an efficient infrastructure that meets your specific business needs, configure pilot testing systems, deploy Catalyst switches, establish and validate a sensible security plan, streamline system management and monitoring, deliver repair and support services, optimize switch performance, and configure Catalyst's fault-tolerant solutions for near-zero downtime, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your legacy Catalyst switches or upgrade with minimal disruption to up-to-date models of Catalyst switches adhering to industry best practices to make sure that you get the most return from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The need for intelligent, high-speed switching is the result 0f a combination of fairly new computing patterns whose overall effect is a virtual avalanche of data traffic:

  • Cloud computing and a consequent reliance on massive virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of BYOD computing
  • Data guzzling HD video applications
  • Social media for business
  • The popularity of Big Data in data analytics

Cloud computing is only operationally realistic because of network virtualization. Virtualized data centers slash costs by permitting aggressively high hardware utilization and requiring very little real estate and power consumption. But this also means that comparatively sparse resources must support large amounts of traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) revolution has created a steep increase in the amount of mobile users that must be handled by IT networks, and these clients tend to run a great deal of bandwidth-intensive, rich media applications. Social business applications are replacing email as the primary driver for collaboration and is producing an ever increasing requirement for data. Enterprises who are trying to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data technology to search through vast and disparate repositories of corporate data, which as a result generates Big Network Traffic. All of these computing trends are relatively new, and put together they cause a critical demand for a new generation of switches that feature much higher performance, intelligence, uptime and manageability than previous platforms were built to deliver.

Cisco's latest portfolio of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution and core layers levels of campus deployments where office workers must be accommodated by providing dependable high throughput, secure user access management, tight group isolation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Catalyst switches are designed to meet the demand for performance and control with capabilities such as high-density 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services, switching throughput of up to 11.4 Tbps per switch and double that for each system, a comprehensive catalog of tools including Easy Virtual Network to facilitate the deployment of VLANs, Virtual Switching System technology for stateful failover with subsecond virtual switch recovery and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv4 and IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control (AVC) to maximize network utilization, and advanced QoS tools for video data prioritization.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Organizations of Any Size

Catalyst switches allow businesses of any size to build smart switching and routing services into their network infrastructure, deploying an environment that can meet current needs, scale to accommodate future growth, guard vital data, and differentiate and manage processes to enhance network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port switch that is ultra-compact, fanless, low power, and includes flexible mounting options. The switch incorporates eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks and optionally provides Power over Ethernet (PoE). Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX is a fixed-port switch packaged in a sleek, quiet and low-power enclosure that can be placed almost anywhere outside a wiring closet. Models are available with eight or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with 6 1-GE ports and two multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplink ports are available, and PoE+ power is also an option.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of value-priced fixed-configuration managed switches designed for small offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L compact appliances include eight to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 or 4 SFP uplink ports. Power over Ethernet support saves space and fan-free design for the 8- models does away with noise. RJ-45 interfaces accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR switches improve on the 2690-S family by delivering switching throughput of up to 216 Gbps and supporting Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology by means of a hot-swappable plug-in that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a stack capable of 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also support NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch features Layer 3 dynamic routing, providing the convenience of having a single device for L2 and L3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable network access devices based on Cisco's IOS XE OS and featuring comprehensive wireless network controller capability that allows you to control wired and wireless networks on a one device managed by a single OS. Cisco offers versions with 24 or 48 built-in 1Gb Ethernet ports with Power over Ethernet plus, four 1-Gigabit or four 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and support for up to nine Catalyst switches per FlexStack stack. All versions offer expandable QoS, stateful switchover for high availability, software support for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, network managers can identify and prioritize wireless traffic by means of Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution and advanced Quality of Service features for a better user environment and faster problem mediation. Fast Ethernet switching can handle the high-bandwidth called for by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless specification on existing cabling infrastructure. (To find out about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet wireless access points and wireless controllers, and Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi access points, refer to Configuration and Troubleshooting Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Access Points and Controllers.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking bandwidth of 160 Gbps and can control as many as 25 Wi-Fi APs and 1000 Wi-Fi clients per stack. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 offers stacking throughput as high as 480 Gbps and supports as many as 50 wireless access points and 2000 wireless clients per switch or stack. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber data ports at line rate on every port, providing far reaching connectivity, advanced protection, and an identical wired/wireless user experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for access and distribution environments where physical space for infrastructure hardware is at a premium. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE OS software, both the 4500-E and 4500-X families facilitate network virtualization thanks to Cisco's EVN and Virtual Switching System (VSS) solutions. Network virtualization makes it possible to divide a hardware network into multiple virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically distinct. This makes possible the economy, protection, resilience, and simplified management required for Cloud computing or other scenarios where a single infrastructure is used by software and services that must run in complete isolation from one another. Easy Virtual Network speeds up the process of creating VNs and can be expanded to 32 VNs for each switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates the capabilities of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and includes additional features such as VNET Tags and an easy way for duplicating replicating routes connecting virtual networks. Virtual Switching System makes it possible to set up Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series platforms to produce non-stop VNs with advanced load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Catalyst 4500E Series Switches ConsultantsCisco's Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch includes a built-in wireless network controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. this is the first Cisco Catalyst supervisor engine to permit wired as well as wireless services on a single platform based on Cisco's IOS XE software. Features include Cisco's FNF technology for capacity planning across wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired/wireless data security, predictable Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi networks, and the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to include Wi-Fi traffic for enterprise-quality high availability.

Offered in chassis with from three to 10 plug-in slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can support up to 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, 193 1GE non-blocking fiber ports, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, and eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. Cisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers as much as 928 Gbps of wired capacity per system and as much as 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 wireless access points and 2000 wireless clients can be handled on each chassis, and 250 access points and 4000 clients are managed in a multi-switch installation without requiring a separate wireless network controller.

Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCatalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10GE aggregation platforms that can deliver as much as 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have up to 32 10GE connections on the unit's baseboard and eight more 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of up to 40 non-blocking 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are available with a separate module. In addition to offering non-stop operation and easy management, Cisco's VSS solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches offers increased system throughput of as much as 1.6 Tbps by activating all possible bandwidth across VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Other features include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for application visibility, Cisco TrustSec security, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series switches are enterprise campus backbone switches that share the proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 family of switches, which were introduced over a dozen years ago and which have been steadily improved ever since. Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches provide the same general features and operational consistency, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of compatible line cards and service modules. This cross compatibility and commitment to continual enhancement protects your technology investment and allows you to update your network backbone with little business disruption or IT staff retraining.

Shared attributes of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine for convenient, single-point control to put in place unvarying policy throughout a distributed network, VSS technology for 99.999% availability through multi-level failover, and Cisco's LISP protocol to support roaming and mobility and to simplify virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtual networking features to segment distinct client groups and serve the unique security and Quality of Service policy requirements of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full MPLS, Easy Virtual Network, VRF-aware applications for Network Address Translation NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnels, and Layer 2 extensions with virtual private LAN services (VPLS). For converged wired/wireless environments, the Wireless Services Module 2 for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches supports up to 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless users.

Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Family Switches ConsultantsThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are designed for aggregation and campus core networks that need world-class uptime and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, and/or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Available versions include three to 13 slots and accept a wide selection of modules. Integrated service modules support wireless, network monitoring, and data protection. Only E-Series versions of Cisco's broad family of Catalyst 6500 switches are compatible with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4 rack unit form factor, includes 3 expansion slots, and delivers 180 Gbps of switching bandwidth on each slot. The Catalyst 6503-E supports 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 99 1GE fiber access ports, 34 10GE ports, and up to 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The top-of-the-line Cisco Catalyst 6513-E has a 19RU, 13-slot chassis and offers as much as 180 Gbps of throughput on each slot, providing a system capacity of up to 4 Tbps. A Virtual Switching System configuration can handle up to 8 Tbps of switching throughout. The Catalyst 6513-E switch can support a maximum of 529 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 534 Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 180 10GE access ports, and up to 44 40GE access ports.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are campus core switches designed to provide optimal 10/40/100 GE services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, small form factor platform for Ethernet aggregation intended for small or medium-size campus backbones. The 6880-X delivers as much as 2 Tbps bandwidth and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port density per chassis is 80 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. With VSS, these switches can provide 4 Tbps throughput and handle as many as 158 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or up to 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10 RU chassis with 7 slots and supports existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and service modules. (Two of the slots are for the Supervisor Engine and five are for expansion modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL can deliver as much as 880 Gbps of switching performance per slot and a total of 11.4 Tbps of full-duplex switching bandwidth while handling up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 80 10GE ports or 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. A two-chassis 6807-XL system configured with VSS is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching throughput, 480 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 160 10GE ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

End-of-Life Catalyst Products Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants have extensive backgrounds providing online and onsite consulting and troubleshooting services for legacy Catalyst switches which have reached End of Life or End of Support. These outdated switches often cost more to operate and support than contemporary models, provide less capacity and functionality, and for many situations may subject organizations to regulatory compliance and even liability issues. Progent are available to assist you to maintain and repair these older Cisco products and can in addition assist you to plan and implement non-disruptive upgrades to current models from the Catalyst family or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus portfolio of network switches which build upon Catalyst technology. Older Catalyst switches for which support is available from Progent include:

Catalyst Express 500 Series
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Family Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 line of Layer 2 switches are designed for businesses with up to 250 workers and deliver the reliability, security, expandability, and features small and mid-sized companies require at an economical price. Power over Ethernet capability makes it simple to add network appliances like wireless access points and IP TV cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 managed switches offer from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BT ports plus optional redundant power with automatic switch-over for extra dependability. Interoperation with Cisco wireless access points helps businesses to build a local wireless environment quickly and easily. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family offers strong protection against viruses With the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Cisco Clean Access agents.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco Catalyst 2900 fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 Ethernet switches offer fundamental workgroup networking for small to medium-size companies. These wire-rate desktop appliances deliver Cisco IOS Software functions for simple data, video, and voice services at the network edge. The Cisco 2940 line of switches are compact, stackable switches featuring 8 Ethernet connections plus one built-in Fast Ethernet or Gbit uplink. The enclosures can be installed away from the wiring cabinet in space-constrained office spaces such as on a worker's desk or in a conference room.

Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches designed for small companies and branches. Current models feature either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10-Gigabit uplink connections, and deliver switching capacity of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology allows as many as four Catalyst 2960-S switches to be grouped in a stack to perform as one switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking performance and that cuts operational expense because of one-switch configuration. IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) technology guards networks against IPv6 address theft and other attacks.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches Consulting FirmThe Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and PoE capability in 10/100 and 10/100/1000 configurations. The Catalyst 3560 Series switch is an ideal Layer 2 switch for small enterprise network connectivity or branch-offices, combining both Gigabit and PoE configurations for high productivity while streamlining the installation of vital technology including Voice over IP, wireless access, video surveillance, and remote video kiosks. Customers can deploy network-wide smart services such as QoS, rate management, ACLs, multicast administration, and broadband IP routing while maintaining the ease of conventional LAN switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series has a robust set of features that allow for network expandability and enhanced resilience via IP routing plus a full suite of Spanning Tree Protocol enhancements aimed to increase availability in an access Layer network. Enhancements to the standard STP Protocol, including PVST+, and Port Fast, combined with enhancements like Flex Links Layer 2 interfaces, improve network efficiency. PVST+ allows for Layer 2 traffic sharing on backup links to take advantage of the additional capacity inherent in a redundant design.

Important protocols including OPSF, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, BGP, static routing, and Policy Based Routing improve network capacity; PIM increases the efficiency of system resource use; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) protects data.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Catalyst 3750 Series Switches Consulting FirmFor midsized organizations and corporate branches, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series switch eases deployment of unified applications and adapts to changing business needs by offering configuration versatility, ability to manage converged network patterns, and automatic set up of smart network functions. Also, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch is designed for high-volume Gigabit Ethernet deployments and incorporates a diverse range of switches that meet the access, aggregation, and backbone-interface demands of small or mid-size systems.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch has either the IP Base image or the IP Services image. The IP Base image functions include industry-leading quality of service (QoS), rate-limiting, access control lists, and simple static and RIP routing capability. The IP Services image offers a broader selection of enterprise-level features, including sophisticated hardware-based IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a mechanism optimized for 1000 Ethernet. Cisco StackWise is designed to react to installs, deletions, and relocations while maintaining predictable performance. StackWise technology combines as many as nine separate switches into one logical unit, utilizing custom stack-interconnect cables and stacking utilities. The individual switches can be any mix of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series switches and Cisco's Catalyst 3750-E switches. The stack operates as an individual switching unit that is directed by a master switch, elected from one of the member switches. The control switch automatically creates and updates all the switching and optional routing databases. A working stack can accommodate new members or delete old members with no operational discontinuity.

How Progent Can Assist You with Cisco Catalyst Switches
Progent offers the remote or on-premises services of Cisco CCIE-certified consultants who have broad backgrounds delivering Catalyst switch solutions for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and service providers. Progent's skills include Catalyst and Nexus families of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS control software. Support services available from Progent's experts for Catalyst switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis, topology planning, migrations and project management, network virtualization, wired/wireless unification, management automation, capacity planning, troubleshooting, disaster recovery planning, and IT security and compliance testing and validation.

Progent has deep knowledge of open standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies related to switching and routing including BGP, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, VLANs, FabricPath, VPC, HSRP, VRRP, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), VSS, and LISP. Progent's network experts also have experience with crucial technologies such as TCP/IP, IPv4/IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, Routing Information Protocol, and IGMP. Progent's CISSP and ISSAP certified information security consultants can assist you to develop an enterprise-wide security plan and deploy Catalyst switches so that they provide maximum enforcement to your network security posture.

In case you need ultra high density or sub-microsecond latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can assist you to analyze, design, and carry out a transition to Cisco's Nexus family of switches. To find out about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's Nexus switches, refer to Nexus Switch configuration and support services. Progent can also help you to integrate Catalyst core switches with Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

For additional details concerning Progent's engineering help for Cisco products, select a subject:

If you wish to contact Progent about engineering assistance for Cisco technology, phone 1-800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.
















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