Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed-configuration managed switches provides speed and intelligence at the access, distribution, and backbone areas of converged voice, HD video, and high bandwidth data networks for businesses that range in size from small businesses and branches to multi-campus enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants offer remote and on-premises support for Catalyst family switches to assist your organization to design a cost-effective infrastructure that addresses your specific business requirements, configure pilot testing, deploy Catalyst switches, establish and validate a sound security strategy, streamline network management and performance tracking, deliver troubleshooting and maintenance services, maximize switch capacity, and configure Catalyst's high-availability (HA) technology to achieve non-stop operation, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your legacy Catalyst switches or upgrade smoothly to the latest versions of Catalyst switches adhering to industry best practices to ensure that you receive the most business value from your investment in your network.

The need for intelligent, high-performance switching is driven by a confluence of fairly new networking patterns whose overall effect is a cyber avalanche of data traffic:

  • Cloud computing and an associated requirement for intensive virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of always-connected mobile devices
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise analytics

Cloud computing is only operationally realistic by utilizing network virtualization. Virtualized data centers slash expenses by permitting very high hardware utilization and demanding very little real estate and energy use. But this also means that comparatively sparse resources must accommodate substantial amounts of traffic. The BYOD revolution has created a steep rise in the amount of mobile users that must be supported by IT networks, and these users run a high percentage of bandwidth-intensive, HD video applications. Social media for business is displacing traditional email as the primary enabler of workforce collaboration and is producing an ever increasing requirement for bandwidth. Enterprises who want to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data techniques to mine vast and varied silos of information, which in turn produces Big Network Traffic. These computing trends are relatively recent, and combined they cause a critical demand for an advanced class of switches that offer significantly more performance, control, availability and ease of management than previous platforms were built to deliver.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution and core layers levels of enterprise campus deployments where office workers must be supported with predictable high throughput, secure user access management, tight segmentation, application awareness, and wired and wireless convergence. Catalyst switches address the need for speed and intelligence with features such as high-density 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet support, switching performance as high as 11.4 Tbps for each switch and twice that for each system, a comprehensive catalog of technologies such as Easy Virtual Network (EVN) to facilitate the deployment of VLANs, VSS technology for stateful interchassis failover with subsecond virtual switch restoration and 99.999% uptime, IPv4 and IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control to maximize network resource usage, and sophisticated Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities for HD video traffic prioritization.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switching Solutions for Organizations of All Sizes

Catalyst switches enable businesses of all sizes to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing services into their network infrastructure, deploying an environment that can meet real-time requirements, scale to accommodate future capacity demands, protect vital information, and differentiate and control processes to enhance network operations.

Catalyst 2960 Swiches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration switch that is low-profile, fanless, low power, and allows flexible mounting options. The switch has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplink ports and optionally provides PoE+ power. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-configuration managed switch packaged in a compact, noiseless and low-power enclosure that can be mounted almost anywhere convenient. Versions are available with 8 or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports plus two multigigabit ports. Up to four uplink ports are offered, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) is also available.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family includes entry-level fixed-port managed switches targeted for small offices, retail venues, and other places where space is at a premium. These low-profile appliances have 8 to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and either two or four Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless design for the 8- versions eliminates noise. RJ-45 interfaces handle 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR switches enhance the 2690-S line of switches by offering switching performance of 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology by means of a live-swappable plug-in that allows 8 switches in a FlexStack Plus stack with 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for flow-based traffic monitoring. The Catalyst 2960-XR switch is capable of L3 dynamic routing, offering the simplicity of having a single switch for Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed-configuration, stackable network access devices powered by Cisco's IOS XE operating system and incorporating comprehensive wireless network controller capability that lets you control wired and wireless networks on a one device managed by a single operating system. Cisco has models with either 24 or 48 built-in 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections with Power over Ethernet plus, four 1GE or four 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and capacity for up to nine switches in a FlexStack stack. All versions offer expandable Quality of Service, fast switchover for maximum availability, software support for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and advanced security features.

Because wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, network managers can identify and assign priorities to wireless data using Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology along with advanced QoS capabilities for an improved user experience and quicker problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching can handle the high-bandwidth defined by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi specification using currently in-place cabling infrastructure. (For information about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet Wi-Fi access points and wireless controllers, and Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs, visit Planning and Deployment Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

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

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus access and distribution environments where space for infrastructure equipment is at a premium. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE operating system, the 4500-E and 4500-X product lines simplify virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System (VSS) technologies. Virtualization allows you to divide a hardware network into multiple virtual networks whose data planes and control planes are logically distinct. This makes possible the efficient utilization, security and compliance, recoverability, and ease of management required for Cloud computing or other situations where a common resource pool is shared by applications and services that need to run in total privacy from one another. Easy Virtual Network speeds up the task of creating virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network utilizes the capabilities of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding and includes new technologies such as VNET Tags and an easy way for duplicating replicating routes connecting VNs. Virtual Switching System technology makes it possible to set up Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series platforms to create zero-downtime VNs with optimized traffic load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Switches
Catalyst 4500E Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingThe Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch includes a built-in wireless controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the initial Catalyst supervisor engine to permit wired as well as wireless services on one switch powered by IOS XE software. Features include Cisco's FNF technology for capacity planning across both wired and Wi-Fi networks, TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless security, predictable QoS for wired and wireless networks, plus the expansion of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to include Wi-Fi data traffic for enterprise-class high availability.

Available in chassis with from three to 10 slots, Catalyst 4500-E switches can handle up to 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, up to 192 1GE fiber fiber ports, 96 10GE fiber connections, and eight 10GE uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired capacity per system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 wireless access points and 2000 wireless users can be handled on each chassis, and 250 wireless access points and 4000 wireless clients can be supported in a dual-switch installation without requiring a separate wireless controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation switches that can deliver up to 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per chassis. The Catalyst 4500-X supports as many as 32 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections on the baseboard and eight additional 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the expansion module for a total of up to 40 non-blocking 10GE ports. Eight 10GE uplinks are available with another module. In addition to offering non-stop performance and easy manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system technology on Catalyst 4500-X switches provides higher system throughput of as much as 1.6 Tbps by activating all available capacity across redundant Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other features include Flexible NetFlow solution for capacity planning, TrustSec protection, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series switches are enterprise campus backbone switches that share the field-proven DNA of the Catalyst 6500 line of products, which first appeared over a decade ago and have been continually improved ever since. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches provide identical general features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of line cards and service modules. This backwards compatibility and program of ongoing enhancement protects your IT expenditures and allows you to upgrade your network backbone with little downtime or IT team training.

Shared attributes of Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches that have the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for convenient, centralized management to put in place unvarying policy throughout a distributed network, Virtual Switching System capability for maximum availability through multi-level switchover, and the Cisco Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol to support client roaming and mobility and to simplify virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtualization tools to segment specific user groups and serve the unique security and Quality of Service policy needs of every group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full Multiprotocol Label Switching , EVN, VRF-aware technology for Network Address Translation NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnels, and Layer 2 geographic extensions with VPLS. For unified wired and wireless environments, the WiSM2 for Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches includes support for up to 1000 wireless access points and 15,000 wireless users.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingThe Catalyst 6500-E line 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, or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Available versions have three to 13 slots and work with a broad selection of interfaces. Integrated service modules enable wireless management, network analysis, and security. Just E-Series versions of Cisco's extensive family of Catalyst 6500 switches are compatible with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The value-priced Cisco Catalyst 6503-E has a 4RU form factor, holds 3 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 connections, up to 99 1GE fiber access ports, up to 34 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

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

Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 6800 switches are campus backbone switches intended to provide optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet support. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, compact device for high-density Ethernet designed for small or midsize enterprise campus cores. The Catalyst 6880-X switch delivers as much as 2 Tbps switching performance and includes four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port density per chassis is 80 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports or 10GE ports or up to 20 40GE ports. Configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System, these switches can provide 4 Tbps throughput and handle up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or as many as 20 40GE connections.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10 RU form factor chassis that has 7 expansion slots and accepts existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and modules. (Two slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and five are for modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch can deliver up to 880 Gbps of switching throughput on each slot and 11.4 Tbps of full-duplex switching capacity while providing up to 240 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber ports, 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. an 6807-XL system with Cisco's Virtual Switching System is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching performance, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber connections, 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

End-of-Life Catalyst Products Still Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco certified consultants have extensive backgrounds delivering remote and onsite consulting and troubleshooting services for legacy Catalyst switches which have reached End of Life (EOL). These outdated switches typically cost more to operate and support than current switches, deliver lower performance and functionality, and for some situations may expose organizations to compliance and even liability issues. Progent are available to help you to manage and troubleshoot these legacy Cisco products and can also assist you to plan and execute non-disruptive migrations to newer models from the Catalyst family or to devices from Cisco's Nexus line of switches which build upon Catalyst technology. Legacy Cisco Catalyst switches for which Progent offers support include:

Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Line of Switches
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst Express 500 line of Layer 2 switches are designed for businesses with as many as 250 employees and deliver the reliability, security, extensibility, and feature set small businesses require at an economical price. Power over Ethernet capability makes it simple to install network appliances like wireless access points and closed-circuit cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 and 520 switches support up to 24 10/100/1000BT ports as well as the option of backup power with auto switch-over for additional dependability. Integration with Cisco access points allows organizations to build a wireless LAN network rapidly and effectively. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 platform provides solid protection against malicious attacks With the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Cisco Clean Access solutions.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches SupportCatalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed Ethernet switches offer basic workgroup networking for small to medium-sized businesses. These wire-rate desktop switches deliver Cisco IOS Software features for basic data, video, and voice support at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 Series fixed-configuration switches are small, entry-level devices with eight Ethernet connections and one integrated Fast Ethernet or Gigabit uplink. They can be deployed outside the wiring closet in cramped locations like on or under a worker's desk or in a classroom.

Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches intended for small businesses and branches. Available versions feature 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10GE uplink ports, and provide switching capacity as high as 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature permits as many as four Catalyst 2960-S switches to be combined in a FlexStack stack to act like one switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that cuts management expense because of one-switch setup. Cisco's IPv6 FHS technology guards networks against IPv6 address theft and other threats.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco 3560 Family Switches Professional ServicesThe Catalyst 3560 family is a selection of fixed-configuration switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet capability in 10/100 Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet implementations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 switch is an ideal Layer 2 switch for midsize business network connectivity or local-office environments, combining both Gigabit Ethernet and Power over Ethernet (PoE) configurations for high efficiency while streamlining the deployment of vital applications including Voice over IP, wireless connectivity, video monitoring, and building management systems. Customers can activate comprehensive intelligent services including quality of service (QoS), rate limiting, access control lists (ACLs), multicast administration, and high-performance IP routing with the ease of traditional LAN switching.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series is equipped with a robust array of capabilities that allow for network scalability and enhanced availability via IP routing plus a full complement of Spanning Tree Protocol improvements aimed to increase throughput in a Layer 2 network. Enhancements to the conventional STP Protocol, such as PVST+, Uplink Fast, and Port Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links Layer 2 interfaces, improve network uptime. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) allows for Data Link Layer traffic sharing on redundant links to take advantage of the extra capacity associated with a redundant architecture.

Important technologies including Open Shortest Path First, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, Border Gateway Protocol, and static routing increase network scale; PIM helps improve utilization of network resources; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite secures data.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Catalyst 3750 Series Switches ConsultantsFor mid-size organizations and enterprise branches, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series eases integration of unified applications and adapts to changing business needs by providing setup flexibility, support for unified network patterns, and automatic set up of intelligent system functions. Also, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series is engineered for high-density Gigabit Ethernet environments and incorporates a diverse selection of switches that meet the access, distribution, and backbone-connectivity demands of small or midsized deployments.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series includes either the IP Base or the Services image. The IP Base image capabilities include industry-leading quality of service, rate-management, ACLs, and simple static and Routing Information Protocol (RIP) routing support. The IP Services image provides a richer set of enterprise network features, including advanced hardware-based IP unicast and multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a mechanism optimized for Gigabit Ethernet. StackWise is designed to respond to installs, deletions, and relocations while providing dependable operation. Cisco StackWise technology combines as many as nine separate switches into one functional unit, using custom stack-interconnect cables and stacking utilities. The individual switches can be any mix of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switches and the Catalyst 3750-E switches. The stack behaves as an individual switching device that is managed by a master switch, selected from one of the member switches. The control switch automatically creates and updates all the switching and optional routing tables. A running stack can accept new switches or remove old switches with no service discontinuity.

How Progent Can Assist You with Cisco Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the remote or on-premises services of CCIE-certified network consultants who have extensive experience providing Catalyst switch technology solutions for small and medium sized organizations, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and service providers. Progent's practice areas include Catalyst and Nexus families of managed switches and Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS operating systems. Support services offered by Progent for Cisco Catalyst Series switches include pilot testing and validation, network analysis and monitoring, network architecture design, upgrades and project management, virtualization, wired and wireless unification, management automation, performance optimization, problem mitigation, business continuity preparedness, and information security and compliance assessment and validation.

Progent's Cisco-certified consultants have broad expertise with industry standards as well as with proprietary Cisco protocols and technologies related to switching and routing such as Border Gateway Protocol, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, ISIS, virtual LANs, Cisco FabricPath, VPC, Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, OSPF, VSS, and LISP. Progent's infrastructure specialists also offer deep knowledge of crucial networking technologies including TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, RIP, and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's CISSP and ISSAP certified information security consultants can assist you to create an enterprise-wide security and compliance strategy and deploy Catalyst switches so that they offer optimal support for your security posture.

In case you require ultra high density or sub-microsecond latency Cisco switches for a world-class data center, Progent can help your organization to evaluate, design, and carry out a transition to Nexus switches. For information about Progent's consulting capabilities for Nexus Series switches, see Nexus Switch configuration and support services available from Progent. Progent can also assist you to connect Catalyst core switches with Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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