The Catalyst line of modular and fixed switches provides speed and control at the access, aggregation, and backbone levels of converged IP voice, video, and data networks for organizations that range from small businesses and branch offices to multi-campus enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified consultants offer online and on-premises support for Catalyst family switches to help you to plan a cost-effective infrastructure that addresses your specific business needs, configure pilot testing, install Catalyst switches, establish and verify a sound security plan, automate network management and performance tracking, provide repair and maintenance services, optimize switch performance, and configure Catalyst's high-availability (HA) solutions to achieve near-zero downtime, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your legacy Catalyst switches or migrate efficiently to up-to-date models of Catalyst switches adhering to leading practices to make sure that you get the most return from your investment in your network.

The need for smart, fast switching is the result 0f a confluence of fairly recent networking patterns whose net impact is a virtual tsunami of data:

  • Cloud computing and an associated requirement for massive network virtualization
  • The proliferation of BYOD computing
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise data analytics

Cloud computing is only made practical by utilizing network virtualization. Virtualized infrastructures radically reduce expenses by permitting aggressively high resource utilization and requiring minimal data center space and energy use. But this also requires that comparatively sparse resources have to accommodate large amounts of data. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) revolution has resulted in a steep rise in the amount of mobile clients that must be handled by business networks, and these users tend to run a high percentage of bandwidth-intensive, HD video apps. Social business technologies are displacing email as the main driver for workforce collaboration and is generating a growing demand for bandwidth. Enterprises who are trying to stay competitive are adopting Big Data technology to mine vast and varied silos of information, which as a result generates Big Network Traffic. These trends are relatively new, and put together they create a serious need for an advanced generation of switches that offer much higher capacity, intelligence, availability and manageability than previous platforms were engineered to deliver.

Cisco's latest lineup of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution and core layers levels of campus environments where office employees must be supported with predictable high speed, strict access control, careful segregation, application awareness, and wired and wireless convergence. Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the need for speed and control with capabilities that include high-density 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet support, switching capacity of up to 11 Tbps for each switch and twice that for each system, a powerful catalog of tools such as EVN to facilitate the creation of VLANs, VSS technology for switch failover with subsecond backup switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) uptime, IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control to maximize system utilization, and sophisticated QoS capabilities for video traffic control.

Catalyst Switches Consulting and Troubleshooting

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switching Solutions for Organizations of All Sizes

Cisco Catalyst switches enable businesses of any size to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing features into their network architecture, deploying an ecosystem that can handle current needs, scale to support future growth, protect sensitive data, and differentiate and control tasks to enhance network operations.

Catalyst 2960 Swiches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration managed switch that is compact, fanless, low power, and includes flexible mounting options. The Catalyst 2960-CX has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplinks and optionally provides Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX is a fixed-port switch packaged in a sleek, noiseless and low-power unit that can be mounted almost anywhere outside a wiring closet. Models are offered with eight or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with 6 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports plus 2 multigigabit Ethernet ports. Up to four uplink ports are available, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) is also an option.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line consists of entry-level fixed-port switches designed for small offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L compact appliances have 8 to 48 GE ports and either 2 or 4 SFP uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless operation for most models eliminates 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 improve on the 2690-S line by delivering switching performance of up to 216 Gbps and supporting Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology via a hot-swappable plug-in that can combine 8 switches in a FlexStack Plus stack capable of 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for application visibility and control. Cisco's Catalyst 2960-XR switch features L3 dynamic routing, providing the simplicity of having one device for L2 and L3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Switches Planning and Support ServicesCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable network access devices powered by Cisco's IOS XE OS and featuring full wireless network controller functionality that allows you to converge wired and wireless networks on a single platform powered by one operating system. Cisco offers models with either 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports with Power over Ethernet plus (PoE+), four 1GE or four 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and support for as many as 9 Catalyst switches in a stack. All versions provide modular QoS, fast switchover for maximum availability, support in software for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast, and enhanced security.

Because wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, administrators can spot and assign priorities to wireless traffic with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology and sophisticated QoS capabilities for a better wireless user experience and faster problem isolation. Fast Ethernet switching supports the high-bandwidth defined by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi specification on currently in-place cabling solutions. (For information about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points and wireless controllers, and Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi access points, refer to Configuration and Troubleshooting Support for Cisco Wireless Access Points and Controllers.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch delivers stacking throughput of up to 160 Gbps and supports as many as 25 Wi-Fi APs and 1000 wireless users per switch. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 offers stacking throughput of 480 Gbps and can control as many as 50 Wi-Fi access points and 2000 Wi-Fi users per stack. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber ports at line rate, offering long distance connectivity, enhanced security, and a consistent wired/wireless user experience.

Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for campus and distribution deployments where space for infrastructure equipment is limited. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE control software, the Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X families facilitate network virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System (VSS) solutions. Network virtualization allows you to divide a hardware network into a number of virtual networks (VNs) whose data planes and control planes are logically segregated. This makes possible the high resource utilization, protection, recoverability, and ease of management needed for Cloud environments or other situations where a single resource pool is used by applications and services that need to operate in total isolation from each other. EVN streamlines the process of deploying virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs for each switch. EVN incorporates the capabilities of Multi-VRF and includes new features including VNET Tags and an easy technique for duplicating replicating routes connecting virtual networks. VSS makes it possible to configure Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series switches to create zero-downtime virtual networks with advanced load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch includes a built-in wireless controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. this is the first Cisco Catalyst supervisor to allow wired as well as wireless services on one switch powered by Cisco's IOS XE software. Technologies include Cisco's FNF technology for traffic analytics encompassing wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless data security, identical Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi clients, and the expansion of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover (NSF/SSO) to cover Wi-Fi data traffic for world-quality high availability.

Available in chassis that have 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, up to 192 1GE fiber fiber connections, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplinks. Cisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers as much as 928 Gbps of wired throughput for each system and as much as 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 wireless APs and 2000 wireless clients can be supported on each chassis, and up to 250 APs and 4000 wireless users are supported in a two-switch installation without requiring a separate wireless controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed 10GE aggregation platforms that can provide up to 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have up to 32 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections on the unit's baseboard and eight more 10GE ports on the expansion module for a total of 40 non-blocking 10GE connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports are available via another module. In addition to offering zero-downtime performance and simple manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches provides higher system throughput of as much as 1.6 Tbps by enabling all possible bandwidth between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Additional advanced features include Flexible NetFlow technology for traffic analysis, TrustSec protection, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series switches are enterprise campus core switches that incorporate the field-proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 family of switches, which first appeared over a decade ago and have been steadily improved since then. Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches offer identical features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL accepts the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and the associated portfolio of compatible line cards and service modules. This mutual compatibility and commitment to continual improvement preserves your information technology expenditures and allows you to update your network backbone with little service interruption or IT team re-education.

Shared attributes of Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco ISE technology for convenient, single-point control to ensure unvarying policy across a distributed environment, VSS Quad Sup SSO (VS4O) technology for 99.999% availability via multi-level redundancy, and Cisco's Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol to support roaming and mobility and to streamline virtualization and transition to IPv6. Additional virtualization features to partition specific user groups and serve the special security and Quality of Service policy requirements of every group include L2/L3 VPN, complete Multiprotocol Label Switching , Easy Virtual Network (EVN), VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware technology for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and L2 extensions with virtual private LAN services. For unified wired and wireless networking, the Wireless Services Module 2 (WiSM2) for Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches can manage up to 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless users.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are intended for aggregation and enterprise core networks that require maximum uptime and high concentrations of 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet access ports. Models come with three to 13 slots and accept a wide selection of modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless, traffic monitoring, and security and compliance. Just E-Series models of Cisco's broad line of 6500 switches are compatible with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The value-priced Cisco Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4 rack unit (4RU) chassis, includes 3 expansion slots, and delivers as much as 180 Gbps of switching performance per slot. The Cisco Catalyst 6503-E can support 97 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 99 1GE fiber access ports, 34 10GE ports, and 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The high-end Cisco Catalyst 6513-E has a 19 rack unit, 13-slot form factor and can deliver as much as 180 Gbps of throughput on each slot, with a total system capacity of up to 4 Tbps. A Virtual Switching System configuration can deliver up to 8 Tbps of throughout. The Catalyst 6513-E switch offers up to 529 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, up to 534 1GE fiber connections, up to 180 10GE connections, and up to 44 40GE access ports.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are campus core switches intended to deliver optimal 10/40/100 GE services. The Cisco Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, compact switch for Ethernet aggregation intended for small or midsize enterprise campus backbones. The 6880-X supports up to 2 Tbps bandwidth and features four slots for plug-in port cards. The maximum port density on one chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Configured with VSS, these switches can provide 4 Tbps switching bandwidth and handle up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10GE connections or up to 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch has a 10 RU form factor with 7 expansion slots and supports standard Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and modules. (Two slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and five are for expansion modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL can deliver up to 880 Gbps of switching throughput on each slot and a total of 11.4 Tbps of switching capacity while providing up to 240 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, 80 10GE access ports or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. A two-chassis 6807-XL system configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System can support 22.8 Tbps of switching capacity, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 160 10GE ports or 40 40GE connections.

End-of-Life Catalyst Series Switches Still Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified consultants have broad backgrounds providing online and onsite support services for older Catalyst Series switches which have reached End of Life. These legacy switches typically cost more to operate and maintain than current products, provide less performance and fewer features, and in some cases can expose organizations to regulatory compliance and liability issues. Progent's consultants are available to help you to manage and troubleshoot these older Cisco products and can also assist you to design and implement non-disruptive upgrades to newer models within the Catalyst family or to solutions from Cisco's Nexus line of network switches which build upon Catalyst design experience. Older Catalyst models for which Progent offers support include:

Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches HelpCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 line of Layer 2 switches are designed for organizations with as many as 250 workers and deliver the reliability, protection, extensibility, and feature set small and mid-sized businesses need at an affordable cost. PoE capability makes it simple to install network appliances such as wireless access points and closed-circuit cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 switches offer up to 24 10/100/1000BT Ethernet ports plus optional backup power supplies with automatic fail-over for extra dependability. Integration with Cisco wireless access points allows businesses to set up a wireless LAN environment rapidly and effectively. The Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family provides strong protection against viruses With Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and Clean Access solutions.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCisco Catalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 switches provide basic workgroup connectivity for small to medium-size businesses. These wire-rate desktop switches offer IOS Software features for basic data, video, and voice control at the edge of the network. The Catalyst 2940 line of managed switches are small-footprint, stackable switches with eight Fast Ethernet ports and a single built-in Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet uplink. The enclosures can be installed outside the wiring cabinet in cramped areas like on or under a user's desk or in a classroom.

Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches designed for small companies and branch offices. Current models incorporate 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10-Gigabit uplink ports, and provide throughput as high as 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology permits up to four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to act as a single switch that provides 40 Gbps of stacking throughput and that cuts management costs because of single-switch setup. IPv6 FHS technology protects networks against IPv6 address interception and other threats.

Catalyst 3560 Switches
Catalyst 3560 Series Switches SupportThe Catalyst 3560 family is a line of fixed-configuration switches that features IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability in Fast Ethernet and 10/100/1000 Ethernet configurations. The Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series switch is an ideal Layer 2 switch for midsize business network access or branch-offices, offering both 10/100/1000 and Power over Ethernet configurations for high productivity while streamlining the installation of vital applications such a Voice over IP, Wi-Fi, video monitoring, and building management systems. Customers can activate network-wide smart features such as quality of service (QoS), rate management, access control lists, multicast management, and fast IP routing with the simplicity of conventional LAN switching.

The Catalyst 3560 Series switch has a powerful array of features that permit network expandability and higher resilience via IP routing plus a complete suite of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) improvements designed to maximize throughput in an access Layer LAN. Improvements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, and Uplink Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links Layer 2 interfaces, contribute to network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) supports Layer 2 load balancing on redundant connections to take advantage of the additional bandwidth associated with a redundant design.

Efficient routing protocols including OPSF, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Border Gateway Protocol, and static routing increase network capacity; Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) improves resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite secures data.

Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches ConsultingFor mid-size businesses and enterprise branches, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series simplifies integration of unified applications and adapts to changing business environments by providing setup flexibility, ability to manage converged network patterns, and automatic set up of intelligent network functions. In addition, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series is designed for high-volume Gigabit environments and includes a diverse range of switches that meet the connectivity, distribution, and backbone-interface requirements of small or mid-size deployments.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series includes the IP Base image or the IP Services image. The IP Base image capabilities include advanced quality of service (QoS), rate-management, ACLs, and basic static and Routing Information Protocol routing capability. The IP Services image provides a broader set of enterprise-level features, including sophisticated hardware-based IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a stacking architecture designed for Gigabit interfaces. Cisco StackWise is intended to respond to installs, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent performance. StackWise technology unites up to nine individual switches into a single logical unit, using custom stack-interface cables and utilities. The individual switches can be any mix of Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switches and the 3750-E switches. The stack behaves as a single switching appliance that is managed by a master switch, chosen from among the member switches. The control switch intelligently builds and updates all the switching and optional routing tables. A deployed stack can accept new devices or remove existing switches without service discontinuity.

Ways That Progent Can Assist Your Business with Cisco Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the online or onsite support services of CCIE-certified consultants who have extensive experience providing Catalyst switch technology solutions for small and medium sized businesses, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and service providers. Progent's practice areas include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus families of smart switches and Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS control software. Services offered by Progent's experts for Cisco Catalyst switches include proof-of-concept testing, system analysis and monitoring, network architecture design, migrations and project management, virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, management automation, capacity planning, troubleshooting, disaster recovery preparedness, and IT security and compliance testing and verification.

Progent has broad expertise with open standards as well as with proprietary Cisco technologies related to switching and routing such as Border Gateway Protocol, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, STP, virtual LANs, FabricPath, VPC, Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, OSPF, VSS, and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network consultants also have familiarity with important technologies including TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), RIP, and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified data security and compliance consultants can show you how to create a comprehensive security strategy and deploy Catalyst switches so that they provide optimal enforcement to your security posture.

In case you need ultra high density or extremely low latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can assist you to evaluate, design, and manage a migration to Nexus Series switches. To find out about Progent's consulting services for Nexus switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting offered by Progent. Progent can also help you to integrate Catalyst data center switches with Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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