The Catalyst line of modular and fixed-configuration switches offers speed and intelligence at the access, distribution, and backbone levels of converged voice, video, and data networks for businesses that range from small businesses and branch offices to multi-campus enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and onsite support for Catalyst switches to help your organization to plan an efficient infrastructure that addresses your unique business requirements, set up pilot testing, install Catalyst switches, establish and verify a sensible security plan, streamline system management and performance tracking, provide troubleshooting and support services, optimize switch capacity, and set up Catalyst's high-availability (HA) solutions for non-stop operation, Progent can assist you to maintain and repair your legacy Catalyst switches or migrate efficiently to up-to-date models of Catalyst switches adhering to leading practices to make sure that you realize the maximum return from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The demand for smart, high-performance switching is the result 0f a confluence of relatively new networking patterns whose net effect is a virtual tsunami of traffic:

  • Cloud computing and a consequent requirement for massive virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of always-connected mobile devices
  • Bandwidth-intensive HD video applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The popularity of Big Data in analytics

Private, public and hybrid clouds are only financially feasible by utilizing network virtualization. Virtualized infrastructures radically reduce expenses by allowing very high resource utilization and demanding minimal real estate and energy use. However this also requires that relatively sparse network resources must accommodate substantial amounts of traffic. The BYOD revolution has caused a dramatic rise in the amount of mobile clients that must be supported by IT networks, and these clients tend to run a great deal of bandwidth-intensive, HD video apps. Social business applications are displacing email as the main enabler of collaboration and is generating an ever increasing requirement for bandwidth. Enterprises who want to remain competitive are adopting Big Data technology to mine enormous and varied silos of corporate data, which in turn generates Big Network Traffic. All of these computing trends are relatively new, and combined they create a critical demand for a new class of switches that feature much higher capacity, control, availability and ease of management than older platforms were engineered to deliver.

Cisco's current lineup of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution/core levels of campus environments where mobile and stationary workers must be supported with unvarying performance, strict access control, tight segmentation, application awareness, and wired and wireless convergence. Catalyst series switches address the demand for performance and intelligence with features that include high-port-count 10G/40G/100G services, switching performance of up to 11.4 Tbps per switch and twice that per system, an extensive collection of technologies including Easy Virtual Network to facilitate the deployment of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System technology for switch failover with instant backup switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) uptime, IPv6 support, Application Visibility and Control (AVC) to optimize system utilization, and sophisticated Quality of Service tools for video data control.

Catalyst Switches Consulting Firm

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switching Solutions for Organizations of Any Size

Catalyst switches enable organizations of any size to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching features into their network architecture, creating an ecosystem that can handle current requirements, expand to accommodate expected capacity demands, protect vital data, and differentiate and control tasks to optimize network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration managed switch that is compact, fanless, power efficient, and includes a variety of mounting options. The switch has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplink ports and has an option for Power over Ethernet (PoE). Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-port managed switch housed in a compact, noiseless and low-power unit that can be placed virtually anywhere convenient. Versions are offered with 8 or 12 1-GE ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports plus two multigigabit ports. Up to four uplinks are available, and Power over Ethernet is also available.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line consists of value-priced fixed-port switches targeted for branch offices, retail venues, and other environments where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L low-profile switches have eight to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and two or four SFP uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fan-free design for the 8- models eliminates noise. RJ-45 interfaces accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR switches improve on the 2690-S line by delivering switching throughput of 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking by means of a hot-swappable module that can combine 8 Catalyst switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Catalyst 2900 family switches also support NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. Cisco's Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch features L3 dynamic routing, providing the convenience of having a single switch for L2 and L3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed-configuration, stackable access switches based on Cisco's IOS XE control software and featuring full wireless network controller capability that allows you to converge wired and wireless infrastructure on a one device powered by one OS. Cisco offers versions with either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet connections with Power over Ethernet plus, four 1-Gigabit or four 10-GB Ethernet uplink connections, and support for as many as 9 Catalyst switches per stack. All versions offer modular QoS, fast switchover for high availability, support in software for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and advanced security features.

Because wireless traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, administrators can spot and assign priorities to wireless data with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology along with advanced QoS capabilities for a better user experience and faster problem mediation. Fast Ethernet switching supports the high-bandwidth called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi specification on existing cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi products, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs, refer to Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Access Points and Controllers.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking performance as high as 160 Gbps and supports as many as 25 wireless APs and 1000 Wi-Fi clients per stack. The Catalyst 3850 Series switch delivers stacking bandwidth as high as 480 Gbps and can control up to 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 wireless clients on each switch or stack. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber ports at line rate on every port, providing far reaching connections, advanced protection, and a consistent wired and wireless experience.

Catalyst 4500-E and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for campus access and distribution deployments where physical space for networking hardware is at a premium. Running Cisco's IOS XE software, both the Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X families simplify network virtualization thanks to Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System technologies. Network virtualization makes it possible to divide a physical network into multiple virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically distinct. This provides the high resource utilization, security and compliance, resilience, and ease of management needed for Cloud computing or other scenarios where a common infrastructure must be shared by software and services that need to run in complete isolation from each other. Easy Virtual Network streamlines the process of deploying VNs and can be expanded to 32 VNs for each switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates features of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and includes additional features such as VNET Tags and an easy technique for duplicating replicating routes connecting virtual networks. Virtual Switching System technology makes it easy to configure Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series platforms to create zero-downtime virtual networks with advanced traffic load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch has an integrated wireless controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the initial Cisco Catalyst supervisor engine to allow wired plus wireless services on a single switch based on Cisco's IOS XE software. Features included are Cisco's FNF solution for traffic analytics encompassing both wired and wireless networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless data security, predictable QoS for wired and Wi-Fi clients, and the expansion of NSF/SSO to include Wi-Fi data traffic for enterprise-class availability.

Available in chassis that have from three to 10 plug-in slots, Catalyst 4500-E switches can handle as many as 384 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports, up to 192 Gigabit Ethernet fiber fiber connections, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, and eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E provides up to 928 Gbps of wired access per system and up to 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 wireless access points and 2000 wireless users can be supported per switch, and up to 250 access points and 4000 clients are supported in a dual-switch installation without requiring a standalone wireless controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed-configuration 10GE aggregation platforms that deliver as much as 800 Gbps of core switching performance per device. The Catalyst 4500-X switch can have up to 32 10GE ports on the unit's baseboard and eight extra 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the expansion module for a maximum of 40 10GE ports. Eight 10GE uplinks are also available with another module. In addition to providing non-stop performance and simple management, Cisco's virtual switching system technology on Catalyst 4500-X switches provides increased system performance of up to 1.6 Tbps by enabling all possible bandwidth across redundant Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other advanced features include Flexible NetFlow technology for traffic analysis, TrustSec protection, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series switches are enterprise campus backbone switches that share the field-proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 line of products, which were introduced more than a decade ago and have been steadily improved ever since. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches offer the same general features and operation, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch accepts the Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and its extensive family of compatible line cards and service modules. This mutual compatibility and program of ongoing enhancement preserves your information technology expenditures and allows you to update your network backbone with little business disruption or IT staff retraining.

Common attributes of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for convenient, centralized administration to ensure consistent policy throughout a distributed environment, VSS capability for maximum uptime through multi-level failover, and the Cisco LISP protocol to support client roaming and device mobility and to simplify network virtualization and migration to IPv6. Additional virtual networking features to partition specific client groups and serve the special security and Quality of Service policy needs of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full MPLS, Easy Virtual Network, VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware applications for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and Layer 2 geographic extensions with VPLS. For converged wired and wireless environments, the WiSM2 for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches includes support for 1000 wireless APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series of modular switches are designed for distribution and campus backbone environments that need maximum availability and high densities of 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, and/or 10 and 40 GE access ports. Models include three to 13 expansion slots and work with a wide selection of modules. Integrated service modules support wireless, traffic monitoring, and data protection. Just E-Series models of Cisco's broad line of 6500 switches work with the Supervisor Engine 2T.

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

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

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Switches
Catalyst 6800 Family Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are programmable backbone switches designed to deliver best-of-breed 10/40/100 GE services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, compact device for Ethernet aggregation designed for small or medium-size campus cores. The Catalyst 6880-X switch supports as much as 2 Tbps capacity and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port concentration on one chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 10GE connections or as many as 20 40GE connections. Configured with VSS, a two-chassis system can provide 4 Tbps switching throughput and support up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports or 10GE ports or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10 RU form factor with 7 slots and accepts existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and service modules. (Two slots are for the Supervisor Engine and five are for expansion modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL can deliver up to 880 Gbps of switching capacity per slot and 11.4 Tbps of switching throughput while handling up to 240 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber connections, up to 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or up to 20 40GE ports. an 6807-XL system with VSS is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching bandwidth, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 40 40GE connections.

Legacy Catalyst Switches Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants have extensive experience delivering online and onsite support services for early-generation Catalyst Series switches which have reached End of Life or End of Support. These outdated switches usually cost more to manage and support than current products, provide lower performance and functionality, and in many cases can expose organizations to compliance and even liability issues. Progent's consultants are available to assist your business to support and troubleshoot these legacy Cisco products and can in addition help you to plan and execute seamless upgrades to current products within the Catalyst line or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus portfolio of network switches which build upon Catalyst design experience. Older Cisco Catalyst switches for which support is available from Progent include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Line
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches HelpCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 line of managed Ethernet switches are intended for organizations with as many as 250 employees and provide the reliability, protection, expandability, and feature set small and mid-sized companies need at an affordable cost. PoE capability makes it simple to install network devices like VoIP phones and IP cameras.

Models of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 managed switches support up to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports plus optional redundant power with auto switch-over for extra reliability. Interoperation with Cisco access points helps organizations to set up a wireless LAN environment quickly and effectively. The Catalyst Express 500 and 520 platform provides solid protection against malicious attacks With the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Clean Access solutions.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCatalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 switches provide fundamental small-group connectivity for small to medium-size businesses. These wire-speed desktop appliances deliver IOS Software functions for simple data, video, and voice control at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 family of managed switches are small-footprint, entry-level devices with 8 Fast Ethernet connections and one built-in Fast or Gigabit uplink. The enclosures can be installed away from the wiring cabinet in cramped areas such as on or under a user's desk or in a conference room.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches intended for small businesses and branch offices. Available models feature 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and deliver switching capacity of up to 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature permits up to four Catalyst 2960-S chassis to be combined in a stack to perform like a single switch that offers 40 Gbps of stacking performance and that reduces management costs with single-switch configuration. Cisco's IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) capability guards against address theft and malicious attacks.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Family Switches ConsultantsThe Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of fixed-configuration switches that features IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet functionality in 10/100 Ethernet and 10/100/1000 implementations. The Catalyst 3560 switch is an ideal access-layer switch for small enterprise LAN connectivity or local-offices, offering both Gigabit and Power over Ethernet (PoE) options for high efficiency while facilitating the installation of vital technology including Voice over IP, Wi-Fi, video monitoring, and building management systems. IT managers can activate comprehensive smart services including quality of service (QoS), rate management, ACLs, multicast administration, and high-performance IP routing with the ease of conventional LAN switching.

The Catalyst 3560 Series switch has a powerful array of capabilities that permit network scalability and enhanced resilience through IP routing as well as a full suite of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) enhancements aimed to increase throughput in an access Layer LAN. Improvements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, including Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, and Uplink Fast, combined with innovations like Flex Links, contribute to network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) supports Data Link Layer traffic sharing on backup links to exploit the extra capacity inherent in a redundant design.

Efficient routing protocols such as OPSF, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, BGP, and Policy Based Routing increase system capacity; PIM improves the efficiency of system resource use; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) secures data.

Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches ConsultingFor mid-size organizations and enterprise branch offices, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series simplifies deployment of unified applications and accommodates evolving business needs by providing setup flexibility, ability to manage converged network traffic, and management-free configuration of intelligent network services. In addition, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series is engineered for high-density Gigabit deployments and incorporates a diverse range of switches that address the connectivity, aggregation, and backbone-interface requirements of small or midsized networks.

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

Cisco StackWise technology is a mechanism designed for Gigabit interfaces. This technology is designed to respond to installs, deletions, and redeployments while providing consistent performance. Cisco StackWise unites up to 9 separate switches into a single functional unit, using special stack-interconnect cables and software. Any of the switches can be any mix of the Catalyst 3750 Series and the Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack behaves as a single switching unit that is managed by a master switch, elected from one of the stack of switches. The master switch intelligently creates and keeps current all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A running stack can accept new devices or remove old members without service interruption.

Ways That Progent Can Assist Your Business with Cisco Catalyst Series Switches
Progent offers the online or on-premises expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants who have extensive experience delivering Catalyst switch technology support for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and SPs. Progent's skills include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and Cisco's IOS and NX-OS operating systems. Services available from Progent's experts for Cisco Catalyst switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis and monitoring, network architecture design, upgrades and project management, virtualization, wired/wireless unification, network management, capacity planning, troubleshooting, business continuity planning, and IT security and compliance testing and verification.

Progent has deep expertise with industry standards and with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies associated with switching and routing such as Border Gateway Protocol, MPLS, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, ISIS, virtual LANs, Cisco FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), VRRP, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), VSS, and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network experts also have experience with important networking technologies including TCP/IP protocols, IPv4/IPv6, EIGRP, Routing Information Protocol, and IGMP. Progent's CISSP and ISSAP certified network security and compliance consultants can assist you to develop a comprehensive security and compliance plan and implement Catalyst switches so they offer maximum support for your security posture.

In case you need the highest available density or extremely low latency Cisco switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help you to analyze, plan, and manage a migration to Nexus family of switches. To learn about Progent's consulting capabilities for Nexus Series switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting and support services available from Progent. Progent can also assist you to integrate Catalyst data center switches with Cisco Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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