Cisco's Catalyst family of modular and fixed-configuration managed switches provides performance and control at the access, distribution, and backbone levels of converged voice, HD video, and data networks for businesses that range from small businesses and branches to global enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants offer online and on-premises support for Catalyst switches to help you to plan an efficient network topology that addresses your specific business requirements, configure pilot testing, deploy Catalyst switches, establish and validate a sensible security plan, streamline system management and monitoring, deliver troubleshooting and maintenance services, maximize switch capacity, and set up Catalyst's high-availability (HA) solutions to achieve near-zero downtime, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your older Catalyst switches or upgrade with minimal disruption to up-to-date versions of Catalyst switches adhering to industry best practices to make sure that you receive the most return from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The demand for smart, high-speed switching is driven by a confluence of relatively recent networking patterns whose overall effect is a virtual avalanche of traffic:

  • Cloud computing and an associated need for intensive network virtualization
  • The proliferation of BYOD computing
  • Data guzzling HD video applications
  • Social media for business
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise analytics

Cloud computing is only financially feasible by utilizing virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized data centers slash costs by permitting aggressively high hardware utilization and requiring very little real estate and power use. However this also means that comparatively sparse resources must accommodate substantial amounts of data. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) revolution has caused a steep rise in the number of mobile users that must be supported by IT networks, and these users run a high percentage of data-intensive, HD video applications. Social business technologies are replacing email as the primary enabler of collaboration and is producing a growing requirement for data. Businesses who want to stay competitive are resorting to Big Data techniques to search through enormous and varied silos of corporate data, which in turn produces Big Network Traffic. These trends are fairly new, and combined they cause a critical demand for a new generation of switches that offer much more capacity, control, uptime and manageability than previous platforms were engineered to provide.

Cisco's latest portfolio of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution/core levels of enterprise campus deployments where mobile and stationary employees must be accommodated by providing dependable performance, strict user access control, careful segmentation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst switches address the need for performance and control with features that include high-density 10G/40G/100G support, switching performance of up to 11 Tbps per switch and double that for each system, an extensive suite of technologies such as EVN to facilitate the creation of VLANs, Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology for stateful failover with instant virtual switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv6 support, Application Visibility and Control to maximize network utilization, and sophisticated Quality of Service (QoS) tools for HD video data prioritization.

Catalyst Switches Consulting Firm

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Businesses of All Sizes

Catalyst switches allow organizations of all sizes to benefit from incorporating smart switching services into their network architecture, creating an environment that can meet real-time requirements, scale to accommodate future capacity demands, protect sensitive information, and separate and control tasks to enhance network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Swiches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration managed switch that is compact, fanless, power efficient, and allows a variety of mounting alternatives. The Catalyst 2960-CX incorporates eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplink ports and has an option for Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-configuration managed switch packaged in a sleek, noiseless and low-power unit that can be mounted virtually anywhere convenient. Versions are offered with eight or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and 2 multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplink ports are available, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) is also available.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of value-priced fixed-port switches intended for small offices, retail areas, and other places where space is limited. Catalyst 2900-L compact appliances include 8 to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and either two or four SFP uplink ports. PoE support saves space and fanless operation for 16- and 24-port versions does away with noise. RJ-45 interfaces accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series switches enhance the 2690-S family of switches by delivering switching performance as high as 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking by means of a live-swappable module that can combine 8 Catalyst switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Catalyst 2900 family switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for flow-based traffic monitoring. Cisco's Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch features Layer 3 dynamic routing, offering the convenience of having one switch for L2 and L3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed, stackable access devices powered by Cisco's IOS XE OS and featuring full wireless controller capability that lets you converge wired and wireless networks on a single platform powered by a single operating system. Cisco has versions with 24 or 48 built-in 1Gb Ethernet ports with PoE plus, four 1GE or four 10GE uplinks, and capacity for as many as nine Catalyst switches in a FlexStack stack. All versions offer modular QoS, stateful failover for maximum availability, software support for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless data traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, network managers can identify and assign priorities to wireless data with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow (FNF) solution and sophisticated QoS features for a better wireless user experience and quicker problem isolation. Fast Ethernet switching can handle the high-bandwidth defined by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard on existing cabling infrastructure. (For information about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi access points, visit Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

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

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for access and distribution environments where physical space for networking hardware is at a premium. Running Cisco's IOS XE control software, the 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X families simplify network virtualization thanks to Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System solutions. Network virtualization allows you to divide a physical network into a number of virtual networks (VNs) whose data and control planes are logically separate. This provides the efficient utilization, security and compliance, resilience, and ease of management needed for Cloud computing or other scenarios where a single infrastructure must be shared by software and services that must run in complete isolation from one another. EVN streamlines the process of deploying VNs and can be expanded to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates the capabilities of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and adds additional technologies such as VNET Trunks and a simple technique for duplicating replicating routes between virtual networks. Virtual Switching System technology makes it possible to configure Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series switches to produce non-stop VNs with advanced load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches ConsultantsThe Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch includes an integrated wireless controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired/wireless convergence. this is the initial Catalyst supervisor to allow wired plus wireless services on a single platform powered by IOS XE software. Technologies included are Cisco's FNF solution for capacity planning encompassing both wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired/wireless data security, consistent QoS for wired and wireless networks, and the expansion of NSF/SSO to include Wi-Fi traffic for enterprise-class availability.

Available in chassis that have from three to 10 slots, Catalyst 4500-E switches can handle as many as 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 192 Gigabit Ethernet non-blocking fiber ports, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplink ports. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E provides as much as 928 Gbps of wired capacity per system and as much as 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 wireless clients can be handled on each chassis, and 250 access points and 4000 clients are managed in a multi-switch deployment without a standalone wireless network controller.

Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation switches that can deliver up to 800 Gbps of backplane switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have as many as 32 10GE ports on the unit's baseboard and eight additional 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the expansion module for a maximum of 40 10GE connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks can be added with another module. In addition to offering zero-downtime performance and easy management, Cisco's VSS solution on Catalyst 4500-X switches provides increased system throughput of up to 1.6 Tbps by activating all possible bandwidth across VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other features include Cisco's FNF solution for capacity planning, Cisco TrustSec security, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus core platforms that share the proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 line of switches, which were introduced more than a decade ago and have been continually enhanced since then. Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series switches offer identical features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL supports the Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of line cards and modules. This cross compatibility and commitment to continual enhancement protects your information technology investment and allows you to update your network backbone with little service interruption or IT staff re-education.

Shared features of Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE) for simple, centralized control to put in place unvarying policy across a distributed environment, VSS technology for maximum uptime through multi-level switchover, and Cisco's LISP protocol to facilitate client roaming and mobility and to simplify virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtual networking tools to segment distinct user groups and serve the special security and Quality of Service policy requirements of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full Multiprotocol Label Switching , EVN, VRF-aware technology for Network Address Translation NetFlow, GRE for v4/v6, and Layer 2 extensions with virtual private LAN services. For converged wired and wireless environments, the Wireless Services Module 2 for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches supports up to 1000 wireless access points and 15,000 wireless users.

Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Family Switches ConsultantsThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are designed for aggregation and enterprise core environments that need maximum availability and high densities of 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, or 10 and 40 GE ports. Available versions have three to 13 slots and work with a broad range of interface modules. Integrated service modules support wireless, traffic analysis, and security. Just E-Series versions of Cisco's extensive family of 6500 switches work with the Supervisor Engine 2T.

The value-priced Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4 rack unit (4RU) chassis, holds 3 slots, and delivers as much as 180 Gbps of switching throughput per slot. The Cisco Catalyst 6503-E switch can support up to 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports, up to 99 Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 34 10GE ports, and up to 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

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

Catalyst 6800 Switches
Catalyst 6800 Family Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 6800 switches are campus backbone switches intended to provide optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, compact device for high-density Ethernet designed for small or medium-size enterprise campus backbones. The 6880-X supports as much as 2 Tbps bandwidth and features four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port concentration on one chassis is 80 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. With VSS, these switches can provide 4 Tbps throughput and handle as many as 158 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or up to 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10-rack-unit chassis with 7 slots and supports existing Supervisor Engine 2T cards and modules. (Two of the slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and the other five are for modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL switch can deliver as much as 880 Gbps of switching throughput per slot and 11.4 Tbps of switching capacity while supporting up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. A two-chassis 6807-XL system with VSS is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching capacity, 480 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

Legacy Catalyst Models Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants have extensive backgrounds providing remote and onsite support services for older Catalyst Series switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life or End of Support. These legacy Catalyst switches usually are more expensive to manage and maintain than current switches, deliver lower capacity and functionality, and for some situations can expose businesses to regulatory compliance and liability issues. Progent can help your business to manage and repair these older Cisco products and can also assist you to plan and implement non-disruptive upgrades to newer models within the Catalyst family or to devices from Cisco's Nexus line of network switches which take advantage of Catalyst technology. Legacy Cisco Catalyst models supported by Progent include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Switches
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches ConsultingThe Catalyst Express 500 line of managed Ethernet switches are intended for businesses with as many as 250 employees and provide the dependability, protection, expandability, and features small and mid-sized businesses need at an affordable price. PoE support makes it simple to add network devices such as VoIP phones and closed-circuit cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 managed switches offer up to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports as well as optional redundant power supplies with automatic switch-over for additional reliability. Integration with Cisco wireless access points helps businesses to set up a wireless LAN environment quickly and effectively. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 family offers strong protection against malicious attacks thanks to the Cisco Self-Defending Network technology and Clean Access agents.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCatalyst 2900 fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 switches offer fundamental workgroup networking for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). These wire-rate desktop switches offer IOS Software functions for basic data, video, and voice services at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 line of switches are small-footprint, entry-level devices with 8 Fast Ethernet connections plus one built-in Fast or Gigabit uplink. They can be installed away from the wiring closet in space-constrained areas like on or under a user's desk or in a classroom.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches designed for small companies and branches. Current versions incorporate either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10GE uplinks, and provide throughput as high as 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology permits four Catalyst 2960-S switches to be grouped in a stack to perform like a single switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking performance and that reduces operational costs because of one-switch setup. Cisco's IPv6 FHS technology guards networks against IPv6 address theft and malicious threats.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco 3560 Series Switches HelpCisco’s Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and PoE capability in 10/100 and Gigabit configurations. The Catalyst 3560 is a proven access-layer switch for midsize business LAN connectivity or local-office environments, combining both Gigabit Ethernet and Power over Ethernet (PoE) configurations for high efficiency while facilitating the installation of key applications including VoIP, wireless access, video monitoring, and remote video kiosks. IT managers can activate comprehensive intelligent services such as QoS, rate limiting, access control lists (ACLs), multicast management, and high-performance IP routing while maintaining the ease of conventional network switching.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series switch has a robust set of features that permit network expandability and higher resilience via IP routing plus a full complement of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) improvements aimed to increase availability in an access Layer LAN. Enhancements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, including PVST+, Uplink Fast, and Port Fast, as well as innovations like Flex Links interfaces, improve network uptime. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) allows for Layer 2 load sharing on redundant connections to exploit the additional bandwidth associated with a redundant design.

Important routing mechanisms including Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), EIGRP, BGP, static routing, and Policy Based Routing improve system scale; Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) increases resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite protects data.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches ConsultingFor mid-size organizations and corporate branch offices, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch simplifies integration of unified applications and accommodates evolving business needs by offering setup flexibility, support for converged network traffic, and management-free set up of smart system services. In addition, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch is designed for high-volume 1000 Ethernet deployments and incorporates a diverse selection of switches that meet the access, distribution, and backbone-interface requirements of small or midsized networks.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch has the IP Base or the IP Services image. The IP Base image functions include industry-leading quality of service (QoS), rate-management, access control lists, and basic static and Routing Information Protocol routing support. The IP Services image offers a broader selection of high-end features, such as sophisticated built-in IP unicast and multicast routing.

StackWise technology is a mechanism optimized for Gigabit interfaces. StackWise is designed to react to additions, deletions, and relocations while maintaining consistent performance. StackWise combines as many as nine separate switches into a single logical device, using custom stack-interface cables and software. Each of the switches can be any combination of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series and the Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series switches. The stack behaves as an individual switching unit that is directed by a control switch, chosen from one of the member switches. The master switch automatically builds and updates all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A working stack can accept new switches or delete existing switches with no operational discontinuity.

How Progent Can Assist You with Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the remote or on-premises support services of CCIE-certified consultants who have extensive backgrounds providing Catalyst switch technology support for small and medium sized organizations, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and SPs. Progent's skills include Catalyst and Nexus families of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS control software. Support services available from Progent for Cisco Catalyst Series switches include proof-of-concept testing and validation, network analysis and monitoring, network architecture planning, upgrades and project management, virtualization, wired and wireless unification, management automation, performance optimization, problem mitigation, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, and IT security and compliance assessment and verification.

Progent offers broad knowledge of industry standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies related to switching and routing including BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, STP, virtual LANs, Cisco FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), OTV, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Virtual Switching System (VSS), and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network consultants also have deep knowledge of crucial networking technologies such as TCP/IP, IPv4/IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), RIP, and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's ISSAP certified data security consultants can assist you to create an enterprise-wide security and compliance plan and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so they provide optimal support for your network security policies.

In case you need ultra high Ethernet density or sub-microsecond latency switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help you to analyze, plan, and carry out a transition to Cisco's Nexus family of switches. To learn about Progent's support services for Nexus switches, refer to Nexus Switch configuration and support offered by Progent. Progent can also assist you to connect Catalyst data center switches with Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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