The Catalyst family of modular and fixed-configuration switches provides performance and intelligence at the access, aggregation, and core areas of converged IP voice, HD video, and data networks for businesses that range in size from small businesses and branches to multi-campus enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified consultants offer remote and onsite expertise with Catalyst switches to help your organization to design an efficient network architecture that addresses your unique business needs, configure proof-of-concept testing, deploy Catalyst switches, establish and verify a sound security plan, streamline network management and monitoring, deliver repair and maintenance services, optimize switch capacity, and configure Catalyst's fault-tolerant technology to achieve near-zero downtime, Progent can help you to maintain and repair your legacy Catalyst switches or migrate seamlessly to the latest models of Catalyst switches following industry best practices to make sure that you realize the most return from your investment in your network.

The demand for smart, high-performance switching is the result 0f a combination of fairly new computing patterns whose net impact is a virtual avalanche of traffic:

  • Cloud networking and a consequent need for massive network virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of BYOD computing
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media applications
  • Social media for business
  • The popularity of Big Data in analytics

Cloud computing is only operationally realistic by utilizing virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized infrastructures radically reduce costs by allowing aggressively high hardware utilization and requiring very little data center space and energy consumption. But this also means that relatively limited network resources have to support large amounts of traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device revolution has created a steep increase in the number of mobile clients that must be handled by IT networks, and these clients run a great deal of bandwidth-intensive, rich media apps. Social business technologies are replacing email as the main driver for collaboration and is generating an ever increasing thirst for data. Enterprises who want to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data techniques to mine enormous and disparate repositories of corporate data, which in turn generates Big Network Traffic. These trends are fairly recent, and combined they create a critical need for an advanced generation of switches that feature significantly higher capacity, intelligence, uptime and manageability than previous solutions were designed to deliver.

Cisco's latest portfolio of Catalyst switches are designed for the distribution/core levels of enterprise campus environments where office employees must be supported with consistent high throughput, strict access management, careful group isolation, application intelligence, and wired and wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst switches are designed to meet the need for speed and intelligence with features such as high-port-count 10G/40G/100G support, switching performance of up to 11 Tbps for each chassis and double that per switching system, an extensive catalog of technologies including Easy Virtual Network (EVN) to facilitate the deployment of VLANs, Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology for stateful failover with subsecond backup switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) uptime, IPv4 and IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control (AVC) to optimize system utilization, and advanced Quality of Service (QoS) tools for video data prioritization.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Consulting Firm

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switching Solutions for Organizations of All Sizes

Cisco Catalyst switches allow organizations of any size to build smart switching services into their network infrastructure, creating an environment that can handle current needs, scale to accommodate future capacity demands, guard sensitive data, and differentiate and control processes to optimize network operations.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration managed switch that is ultra-compact, fanless, low power, and allows flexible mounting options. The Catalyst 2960-CX has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports and has an option for PoE+ power. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-configuration managed switch packaged in a sleek, noiseless and low-power enclosure that can be placed almost anywhere convenient. Models are available with 8 or 12 1-GE ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and 2 multigigabit Ethernet ports. Up to four uplinks are offered, and Power over Ethernet is also available.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of entry-level fixed-port switches targeted for small offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L low-profile appliances include 8 to 48 GE ports and either two or four Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. Power over Ethernet support saves space and fan-free operation for most models does away with noise. RJ-45 interfaces accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series switches enhance the 2690-S family of switches by offering switching capacity of 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology by means of a live-swappable plug-in that allows 8 switches in a FlexStack Plus stack capable of 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Catalyst 2900 family switches also support NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch is capable of Layer 3 dynamic routing, offering the simplicity of having a single device for L2 and L3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed-configuration, stackable access switches based on Cisco's IOS XE operating system and incorporating full wireless controller functionality that allows you to control wired and wireless networks on a one device powered by a single OS. Cisco has versions with 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet connections with PoE+, four 1-Gigabit or four 10-Gigabit uplink ports, and support for up to nine switches per FlexStack stack. All models offer modular Quality of Service, stateful failover for maximum uptime, support in software for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and advanced security features.

Because wireless data traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, it is possible to spot and assign priorities to wireless data with Cisco's FNF technology along with sophisticated QoS features for an improved wireless user experience and faster problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching supports the high-bandwidth called for by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard on currently in-place cabling infrastructure. (For information about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points and wireless controllers, and Meraki cloud-managed APs, refer to Configuration and Troubleshooting Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking performance of 160 Gbps and supports up to 25 Wi-Fi APs and 1000 wireless users per switch. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 offers stacking throughput of 480 Gbps and supports up to 50 wireless access points and 2000 Wi-Fi clients on each switch or stack. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber data ports at line rate on every port, offering far reaching connections, advanced security, and an identical wired/wireless experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E and and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for campus access and distribution environments where space for networking hardware is limited. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE software, both the 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X product lines facilitate network virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System technologies. Virtualization makes it possible to divide a physical network into multiple virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically separate. This makes possible the economy, protection, resilience, and ease of management needed for Cloud computing or other situations where a single infrastructure must be used by applications and services that need to run in total isolation from one another. Easy Virtual Network simplifies the task of deploying virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs for each switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates the capabilities of Multi-VRF and includes additional features including VNET Trunks and a simple technique for duplicating replicating routes connecting VNs. Virtual Switching System technology makes it possible to set up Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series platforms to produce zero-downtime VNs with advanced load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500E Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesThe Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E switch includes an integrated wireless network controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired and wireless convergence. this is the first Catalyst supervisor to enable wired plus wireless services on one platform powered by IOS XE software. Technologies included are Cisco's FNF solution for capacity planning across wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless security, consistent Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi clients, plus the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover (NSF/SSO) to include Wi-Fi data traffic for world-quality availability.

Available in chassis with from three to 10 slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches can support as many as 384 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports, 193 1GE non-blocking fiber connections, 96 10GE fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplink ports. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired access per system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 wireless access points and 2000 wireless clients can be supported per chassis, and 250 access points and 4000 clients can be supported in a multi-switch installation without a separate wireless network controller.

Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed-configuration 10GE aggregation switches that deliver 800 Gbps of core switching performance per device. The Catalyst 4500-X supports up to 32 10GE connections on the baseboard and eight more 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the expansion module for a maximum of up to 40 non-blocking 10GE ports. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are also available with another module. In addition to offering non-stop operation and simple manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches offers higher system performance of as much as 1.6 Tbps by enabling all available bandwidth between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other features include Cisco's FNF technology for capacity planning, TrustSec security, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus backbone switches that share the field-proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 line of products, which were introduced over a decade ago and have been continually improved since then. Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series switches provide the same features and operation, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL accepts the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its extensive family of compatible line cards and service modules. This backwards compatibility and commitment to ongoing enhancement preserves your infrastructure expenditures and permits you to upgrade your network with little service interruption or IT staff retraining.

Common attributes of Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches that have the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine for convenient, centralized administration to ensure unvarying policy throughout a distributed environment, VSS Quad Sup SSO (VS4O) capability for 99.999% uptime through multi-level failover, and the Cisco Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol to support roaming and mobility and to simplify virtualization and migration to IPv6. Other virtual networking features to partition specific client groups and serve the unique security and Quality of Service policy needs of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, complete MPLS, EVN, VRF-aware technology for Network Address Translation (NAT) NetFlow, GRE for v4/v6, and L2 extensions with virtual private LAN services (VPLS). For converged wired/wireless environments, the WiSM2 for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches includes support for as many as 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Series Switches Consulting FirmThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are designed for distribution and campus core environments that need world-class availability and high densities of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, and/or 10 and 40 GE access ports. Available versions have three to 13 expansion slots and accept a broad selection of interface modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless, network analysis, and security and compliance. Only E-Series versions of Cisco's broad family of 6500 switches accept the Supervisor Engine 2T.

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

The high-end Cisco Catalyst 6513-E has a 19 rack unit, 13-slot form factor and offers 180 Gbps of performance per slot, with a total system bandwidth as high as 4 Tbps. A VSS configuration can support up to 8 Tbps of capacity. The Catalyst 6513-E switch can support a maximum of 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections, up to 534 1GE fiber connections, 180 10GE access ports, and up to 44 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are campus backbone switches designed to provide optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet support. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, small form factor switch for Ethernet aggregation designed for small or midsize enterprise campus backbones. The 6880-X switch supports up to 2 Tbps capacity and has four slots for port cards. The top port density on one chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System, these switches can provide 4 Tbps switching bandwidth and handle as many as 158 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch has a 10-rack-unit chassis that has 7 expansion slots and accepts existing Supervisor Engine 2T cards and modules. (Two slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and five are for modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL switch offers as much as 880 Gbps of switching performance per slot and a total of 11.4 Tbps of switching throughput while handling up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, 80 10GE connections or up to 20 40GE connections. A two-chassis 6807-XL system with VSS can handle 22.8 Tbps of switching bandwidth, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, 160 10GE connections or 40 40GE connections.

Legacy Catalyst Products Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco certified network consultants have extensive backgrounds providing online and on-premises support expertise for older Catalyst switches which have reached End of Life (EOL). These legacy switches usually are more expensive to operate and maintain than current switches, provide less performance and fewer features, and in many cases can expose organizations to compliance and even liability risks. Progent's consultants can help you to maintain and troubleshoot these older switches and can in addition help you to plan and carry out seamless upgrades to newer models from the Catalyst family or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus portfolio of switches which take advantage of Catalyst technology. Older Catalyst switches for which Progent offers support include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches HelpCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family of fixed-configuration switches are designed for businesses with as many as 250 workers and provide the reliability, protection, scalability, and feature set small companies need at an affordable price. PoE support makes it easy to add network devices like wireless access points and IP cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 switches support from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports as well as the option of backup power supplies with automatic switch-over for extra reliability. Interoperation with Cisco access points allows businesses to build a wireless LAN network quickly and easily. The Catalyst Express 500 and 520 platform offers solid security against malicious attacks With Cisco's Self-Defending Network technology and Clean Access agents.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco Catalyst 2900 Series non-modular, managed 10/100 Ethernet switches offer basic small-group connectivity for small to medium-size organizations. These wire-rate desktop appliances deliver IOS Software features for basic mixed-media traffic support at the network edge. The Cisco Catalyst 2940 family of managed switches are small-footprint, entry-level devices with 8 Ethernet connections plus a single integrated Fast Ethernet or Gbit uplink. The enclosures can be deployed outside the wiring closet in space-constrained areas such as on a worker's desk or in a classroom.

Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches intended for small companies and branch offices. Available versions incorporate 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10GE uplinks, and deliver throughput of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology allows four Catalyst 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to act like one switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking throughput and that cuts administrative costs because of one-switch setup. IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) capability guards networks against address theft and other threats.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches ConsultingThe Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of non-modular switches that features IEEE 802.3af and PoE functionality in 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet configurations. The Cisco Catalyst 3560 is a proven access-layer switch for midsize business LAN access or local-office environments, combining both Gigabit Ethernet and Power over Ethernet (PoE) options for high efficiency while streamlining the deployment of vital technology including VoIP, wireless access, video surveillance, and building management systems. Customers can activate comprehensive intelligent features such as quality of service, rate limiting, access control lists (ACLs), multicast management, and fast IP routing with the ease of conventional LAN switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 switch is equipped with a robust set of features that allow for network expandability and higher resilience through IP routing plus a full suite of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) enhancements designed to maximize availability in a Layer 2 LAN. Enhancements to the conventional STP Protocol, including PVST+, and Port Fast, as well as innovations such as Flex Links, improve network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) allows for Data Link Layer traffic balancing on redundant connections to exploit the extra bandwidth associated with a redundant architecture.

Efficient protocols such as Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), EIGRP, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), and static routing improve network capacity; PIM increases utilization of network resources; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) secures data.

Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Catalyst 3750 Series Switches Professional ServicesFor midsized businesses and enterprise branches, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series facilitates integration of converged technologies and accommodates changing competitive needs by providing setup versatility, support for unified network patterns, and automatic set up of smart network functions. Also, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch is engineered for high-density 1000 Ethernet deployments and includes a wide selection of switches that meet the connectivity, aggregation, and backbone-interface requirements of small or midsized deployments.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series includes the IP Base image or the IP Services image. The IP Base image features include industry-leading QoS, rate-management, access control lists (ACLs), and simple static and Routing Information Protocol (RIP) routing capability. The IP Services image offers a broader selection of high-end functions, including sophisticated hardware-based IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a mechanism designed for Gigabit Ethernet. Cisco StackWise is designed to react to additions, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent operation. Cisco StackWise combines as many as nine separate switches into a single functional unit, using special stack-interconnect cables and stacking software. Each of the switches can be any combination of Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switches and Cisco's Catalyst 3750-E Series switches. The stack operates as a single switching appliance that is managed by a control switch, chosen from one of the member switches. The control switch automatically creates and keeps current all the switching and optional routing databases. A running stack can accept new switches or remove old switches with no operational discontinuity.

Ways That Progent Can Assist Your Business with Cisco Catalyst Switches
Progent offers the remote or on-premises expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants who have extensive backgrounds providing Catalyst switch technology support for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and SPs. Progent's practice areas include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS control software. Services offered by Progent's experts for Catalyst Series switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis and monitoring, network architecture design, migrations and project management, virtualization, wired and wireless convergence, management automation, capacity planning, troubleshooting, business continuity planning, and information security testing and verification.

Progent has deep knowledge of industry standards and with proprietary Cisco technologies related to switching and routing including BGP, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, STP, VLANs, FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), OTV, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), VSS, and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's infrastructure specialists also have deep knowledge of key technologies such as TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Routing Information Protocol, and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). Progent's CISSP and ISSAP certified network security consultants can show you how to develop a comprehensive security and compliance strategy and deploy Catalyst switches so they offer maximum support for your network security posture.

If you require the highest available density or sub-microsecond latency Cisco switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can assist you to evaluate, design, and implement a migration to Cisco's Nexus Series switches. To find out about Progent's consulting and support capabilities for Nexus switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting and support offered by Progent. Progent can also help you to integrate Catalyst data center switches with Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

For more details about Progent's consulting expertise for Cisco products, choose a topic:

To get in touch with Progent about professional assistance for Cisco technology, phone 1-800-993-9400 or refer to Contact Progent.

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