Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed switches provides speed and control at the access, distribution, and core levels of converged voice, HD video, and high bandwidth data networks for businesses that range from small businesses and branch offices to global enterprises and SPs. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and onsite expertise with Catalyst switches to help you to plan an efficient infrastructure that meets your unique business requirements, set up proof-of-concept testing, install Catalyst switches, implement and validate a sensible security and compliance strategy, streamline system management and performance tracking, provide troubleshooting and support services, maximize switch performance, and set up Catalyst's high-availability (HA) solutions to achieve non-stop operation, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your older Catalyst switches or upgrade smoothly to up-to-date versions of Catalyst switches following leading practices to make sure that you realize the highest return from your investment in your network.

The demand for intelligent, high-performance switching is the result 0f a combination of relatively recent networking trends whose net effect is a cyber avalanche of data traffic:

  • Cloud computing and a consequent reliance on massive network virtualization
  • The proliferation of BYOD computing
  • Data guzzling HD video apps
  • Social media for business
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise data analytics

Private, public and hybrid clouds are only financially feasible by utilizing virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized data centers radically reduce expenses by permitting aggressively high hardware utilization and requiring very little data center space and energy consumption. But this also requires that relatively limited resources must accommodate large amounts of data traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) paradigm has caused a steep increase in the number of mobile users that have be supported by business networks, and these clients run a great deal of bandwidth-intensive, rich media applications. Social business applications are replacing traditional email as the primary enabler of workforce collaboration and is generating an ever increasing thirst for data. Businesses who are trying to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data technology to mine enormous and varied silos of information, which in turn produces Big Traffic. These computing trends are relatively recent, and combined they create a critical need for a new class of switches that feature much higher throughput, intelligence, availability and manageability than older solutions were built to provide.

Cisco's current lineup of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution and core layers levels of campus environments where office employees must be accommodated by providing predictable performance, secure user access control, careful group isolation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the demand for speed and control with capabilities such as high-density 10G/40G/100G services, switching throughput of up to 11.4 Tbps per chassis and double that for each system, an extensive collection of tools such as Easy Virtual Network (EVN) to facilitate the creation of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System technology for stateful failover with instant virtual switch recovery and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv6 support, AVC to optimize network resource usage, and advanced Quality of Service capabilities for HD video traffic prioritization.

Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switches for Businesses of Any Size

Catalyst switches enable organizations of any size to benefit from incorporating smart switching and routing features into their network infrastructure, creating an environment that can handle current needs, scale to support future capacity demands, protect sensitive data, and separate and control processes to enhance network operations.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Swiches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration switch that is ultra-compact, fanless, power efficient, and includes flexible mounting alternatives. The device has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports and has an option for Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-port switch packaged in a sleek, noiseless and energy-efficient unit that can be mounted virtually anywhere outside a wiring closet. Versions are available with 8 or 12 1-GE ports or with six 1-GE ports plus two multigigabit ports. Up to four uplink ports are offered, and Power over Ethernet is also available.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line includes value-priced fixed-port switches designed for small offices, retail areas, and other places where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L compact appliances have eight to 48 GE ports and either 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless operation for most models does away with noise. RJ-45 connectors support 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR Series switches improve on the 2690-S line by offering switching throughput as high as 216 Gbps and supporting Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology via a live-swappable plug-in that can combine 8 Catalyst switches in a FlexStack Plus stack capable of 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for application visibility and control. Cisco's Catalyst 2960-XR switch is capable of L3 dynamic routing, offering the simplicity of having a single device for L2 and L3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Series Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Switches Consulting FirmCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable network access switches based on Cisco's IOS XE control software and featuring full wireless network controller functionality that lets you converge wired and wireless infrastructure on a single platform powered by one OS. Cisco has versions with either 24 or 48 built-in 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections with Power over Ethernet plus, four 1GE or four 10GE uplinks, and capacity for up to nine switches in a FlexStack stack. All models offer expandable QoS, stateful switchover for maximum availability, software support for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, network managers can spot and prioritize wireless data using Cisco's Flexible NetFlow (FNF) solution and advanced QoS capabilities for a better user experience and quicker problem mediation. Fast Ethernet switching supports the high-throughput called for by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless specification on existing cabling solutions. (For information about Progent's support for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, and Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs, visit Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Catalyst 3650 Series switch offers stacking bandwidth of 160 Gbps and can control up to 25 wireless APs and 1000 wireless users per switch or stack. The Catalyst 3850 Series switch offers stacking performance of 480 Gbps and supports up to 50 wireless APs and 2000 wireless clients per switch or stack. Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber ports at line rate, providing long distance connectivity, enhanced protection, and a consistent wired/wireless experience.

Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for campus access and distribution deployments where space for networking equipment is limited. Running Cisco's IOS XE operating system, the Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X product lines simplify virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network and Virtual Switching System (VSS) solutions. Virtualization makes it possible to divide a hardware network into multiple virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically segregated. This makes possible the efficient utilization, security and compliance, recoverability, and manageability required for Cloud environments or other situations where a single infrastructure is shared by applications and services that need to run in complete isolation from each other. Easy Virtual Network simplifies the process of deploying virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs for each switch. EVN utilizes features of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding and adds additional features including VNET Trunks 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 traffic load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500E Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E switch includes a built-in wireless network controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. this is the first Catalyst supervisor to enable wired plus wireless services on a single switch based on Cisco's IOS XE software. Technologies include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for application visibility encompassing both wired and wireless networks, TrustSec/SGT2 wired/wireless security, identical Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi networks, and the expansion of NSF/SSO to cover Wi-Fi data traffic for world-class availability.

Offered in chassis with from three to 10 slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can handle up to 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, 193 1GE fiber fiber ports, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, and eight 10GE uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired access for each system and up to 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 wireless APs and 2000 wireless users can be handled on each chassis, and up to 250 access points and 4000 clients can be supported in a multi-switch deployment without a separate wireless controller.

Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation switches that can provide up to 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X supports as many as 32 10GE ports on the unit's baseboard and eight extra 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the optional expansion module for a total of up to 40 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are also available with a separate module. In addition to offering zero-downtime performance and simple manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches offers increased system performance of as much as 1.6 Tbps by enabling all possible capacity between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Additional advanced features include Cisco's FNF solution for traffic analysis, Cisco TrustSec protection, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches are campus backbone platforms that share the proven technology of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 line of switches, which first appeared more than a decade ago and have been continually enhanced ever since. Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches offer the same general features and operational consistency, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of line cards and modules. This cross compatibility and program of ongoing enhancement preserves your information technology expenditures and allows you to upgrade your network with minimal downtime or management team retraining.

Shared features of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches that have the Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's ISE technology for simple, centralized management to put in place consistent policy throughout a distributed environment, Virtual Switching System technology for 99.999% uptime via multi-level failover, and Cisco's Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol to facilitate roaming and mobility and to simplify virtualization and migration to IPv6. Additional virtual networking tools to segment specific user groups and support the special security/compliance and QoS policy requirements of every group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full MPLS, EVN, VRF-aware technology for NAT NetFlow, GRE for v4/v6, and L2 extensions with VPLS. For unified wired and wireless networking, the WiSM2 for Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 modular switches includes support for as many as 1000 wireless APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches Consulting FirmThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are intended for distribution and campus core environments that require maximum availability and high densities of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, or 10 and 40 GE access ports. Available versions have three to 13 expansion slots and accept a broad selection of interfaces. Integrated service modules support wireless, traffic analysis, and security and compliance. Only E-Series models of Cisco's extensive line of 6500 switches work with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The entry-level Catalyst 6503-E has a 4 rack unit (4RU) form factor, includes 3 expansion slots, and offers as much as 180 Gbps of switching bandwidth per slot. The Cisco Catalyst 6503-E switch can support up to 97 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 99 1GE fiber connections, 34 10GE ports, and up to 8 40GE ports.

The top-of-the-line Cisco Catalyst 6513-E switch has a 19RU, 13-slot form factor and can deliver as much as 180 Gbps of bandwidth per slot, providing a system bandwidth as high as 4 Tbps. A VSS configured system can support 8 Tbps of switching bandwidth. The Catalyst 6513-E switch supports up to 529 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 534 1GE fiber connections, 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 44 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 6800 switches are campus core platforms designed to deliver best-of-breed 10/40/100 GE services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, compact platform for high-density Ethernet intended for small or medium-size campus cores. The 6880-X delivers up to 2 Tbps switching bandwidth and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port concentration per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or as many as 20 40GE connections. With VSS, these switches can provide 4 Tbps throughput and handle as many as 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or 10GE ports or up to 20 40GE connections.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10 RU form factor chassis with 7 slots and accepts existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and modules. (Two of the slots are for the Supervisor Engine and the other five are for modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL can deliver up to 880 Gbps of switching capacity on each slot and up to 11.4 Tbps of switching capacity while handling up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber ports, 80 10GE ports or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. A two-chassis 6807-XL system configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching performance, 480 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 1GE fiber connections, 160 10GE connections or 40 40GE access ports.

End-of-Life Catalyst Series Switches Still Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants have broad experience providing online and on-premises support expertise for legacy Catalyst Series switches which have reached End of Life or End of Support. These legacy switches often cost more to operate and maintain than current switches, provide lower capacity and fewer features, and for many situations can expose businesses to compliance and liability issues. Progent can help you to support and troubleshoot these legacy Cisco products and can in addition help you to design and implement seamless upgrades to newer models from the Catalyst family or to devices from the Cisco Nexus line of network switches which take advantage of Catalyst design experience. Legacy Cisco Catalyst models for which support is available from Progent include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 line of Layer 2 switches are designed for organizations with up to 250 workers and deliver the reliability, protection, scalability, and feature set small and mid-sized companies require at an affordable price. PoE support makes it easy to add network devices such as VoIP phones and closed-circuit cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 switches offer from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BT ports as well as optional backup power with automatic switch-over for extra dependability. Interoperation with Cisco access points helps organizations to build a local wireless environment rapidly and effectively. The Catalyst Express 500 family provides solid security against viruses thanks to Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and Cisco Clean Access agents.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Series Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 2900 fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 Ethernet switches provide basic workgroup networking for small to medium-sized businesses. These wire-speed desktop switches offer Cisco IOS Software features for simple data, video, and voice support at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 line of fixed-configuration switches are small, entry-level switches featuring 8 Fast Ethernet ports plus one built-in Fast Ethernet or Gbit uplink. The enclosures can be deployed away from the wiring closet in cramped areas such as on or under a user's desk or in a conference room.

Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches designed for small companies and branch offices. Current models incorporate either 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10-Gigabit uplink ports, and deliver throughput of up to 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature permits up to four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to perform like a single switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that reduces management costs with one-switch setup. IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) technology protects networks against address interception and malicious threats.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Switches
Catalyst 3560 Family Switches ConsultingThe Catalyst 3560 family is a line of fixed-configuration switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Cisco PoE capability in 10/100 and 10/100/1000 Ethernet configurations. The Cisco Catalyst 3560 switch is an ideal access-layer switch for midsize business LAN connectivity or local-offices, offering both Gigabit Ethernet and Power over Ethernet (PoE) options for high productivity while streamlining the deployment of vital applications such a VoIP, wireless connectivity, video monitoring, and building management systems. Customers can deploy network-wide intelligent services such as quality of service (QoS), rate limiting, access control lists (ACLs), multicast management, and fast IP routing with the simplicity of conventional network switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series has a powerful array of features that allow for network scalability and enhanced availability via IP routing as well as a complete complement of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) improvements designed to increase availability in a Layer 2 network. Improvements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, Uplink Fast, and Port Fast, as well as enhancements such as Flex Links interfaces, contribute to network uptime. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus supports Data Link Layer load sharing on backup connections to efficiently use the extra capacity associated with a redundant design.

Efficient routing protocols such as OPSF, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, BGP, and Policy Based Routing increase system scale; PIM increases utilization of network resources; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite secures data.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Cisco 3750 Series Switches ConsultingFor mid-size businesses and enterprise branch offices, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch eases deployment of converged technologies and accommodates evolving competitive needs by providing setup flexibility, support for converged network patterns, and automatic configuration of intelligent system services. Also, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series is engineered for high-density Gigabit Ethernet deployments and includes a diverse range of switches that meet the connectivity, distribution, and backbone-interface requirements of small or midsized networks.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch includes either the IP Base or the IP Services image. The IP Base image features include advanced QoS, rate-management, access control lists, and basic static and Routing Information Protocol (RIP) routing support. The IP Services image offers a richer set of enterprise-level features, such as advanced built-in IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a mechanism designed for Gigabit Ethernet. StackWise is designed to respond to installs, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent performance. Cisco StackWise combines up to 9 separate switches into a single functional unit, utilizing custom stack-interface cables and utilities. Any of the switches can be any combination of Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switches and the Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack behaves as an individual switching device that is directed by a master switch, selected from among the member switches. The control switch intelligently builds and updates all the switching and user-selected routing databases. A deployed stack can accept new devices or remove existing members without service discontinuity.

How Progent Can Assist Your Business with Catalyst Series Switches
Progent can provide the remote or onsite expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified consultants who have broad experience providing Catalyst switch technology solutions for small and midsize organizations, branches, campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and service providers. Progent's areas of expertise include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS control software. Consulting and support services available from Progent's experts for Cisco Catalyst switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis, topology design, migrations and project management, network virtualization, wired/wireless unification, network management, performance optimization, problem mitigation, business continuity planning, and information security and compliance testing and verification.

Progent has deep expertise with industry standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies related to switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, PIM, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, virtual LANs, Cisco FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), HSRP, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, OSPF, VSS, and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network consultants also offer experience with crucial networking technologies including TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, EIGRP, RIP, and IGMP. Progent's CISSP certified data security and compliance consultants can show you how to create an enterprise-wide security strategy and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so that they offer maximum enforcement to your security posture.

In case you need the highest available density or extremely low latency switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can assist your organization to evaluate, design, and carry out a transition to Cisco's Nexus switches. To find out about Progent's consulting capabilities for Cisco's Nexus Series switches, refer to Nexus Switch consulting and support offered by Progent. Progent can also assist you to integrate Catalyst data center switches with Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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If you wish to contact Progent about consulting help for Cisco networking, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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