Cisco's Catalyst family of modular and fixed switches provides speed and control at the access, distribution, and core levels of converged IP voice, HD video, and high bandwidth data networks for businesses 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 expertise with Catalyst family switches to assist your organization to plan a cost-effective network topology that meets your unique business needs, configure pilot testing systems, deploy Catalyst switches, implement and verify a sound security and compliance strategy, streamline system management and performance tracking, deliver troubleshooting and support services, maximize switch performance, and set up Catalyst's fault-tolerant solutions for non-stop operation, Progent can help you to maintain and troubleshoot your legacy Catalyst switches or upgrade smoothly to current models of Catalyst switches following industry best practices to ensure that you realize the most business value from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The demand for smart, high-performance switching is the result 0f a combination of relatively new computing patterns whose overall impact is a cyber tsunami of data traffic:

  • Cloud networking and a consequent need for massive network virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of always-connected mobile devices
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in data analytics

Private, public and hybrid clouds are only financially feasible because of virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized infrastructures radically reduce costs by permitting very high hardware utilization and demanding minimal real estate and energy consumption. But this also means that relatively sparse resources have to support large amounts of data traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device paradigm has created a dramatic rise in the amount of mobile clients that must be handled by business networks, and these users run a high percentage of data-intensive, rich media applications. Social media for business is displacing email as the primary enabler of collaboration and is generating a growing demand for bandwidth. Businesses who are trying to stay competitive are adopting Big Data techniques to mine enormous and disparate repositories of information, which as a result generates Big Network Traffic. All of these trends are fairly recent, and put together they cause a critical demand for an advanced class of switches that feature significantly higher capacity, control, availability and manageability than previous solutions were designed to deliver.

Cisco's current lineup of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution/core layers of enterprise campus environments where office employees must be provided for by offering consistent high speed, strict access management, careful segregation, application intelligence, and wired/wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the demand for speed and intelligence with capabilities that include high-density 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services, switching performance of up to 11.4 Tbps for each chassis and double that for each system, an extensive suite of technologies such as Easy Virtual Network (EVN) to facilitate the deployment of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System technology for stateful failover with instant backup switch recovery and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv4 and IPv6 capability, AVC to maximize network utilization, and advanced Quality of Service tools for video data control.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switching Solutions for Organizations of All Sizes

Catalyst switches allow organizations of any size to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing features into their network architecture, creating an ecosystem that can deal with current requirements, expand to accommodate expected growth, protect vital data, and separate and manage processes to enhance network operations.

Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and 3560-CX Switches
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration switch that is ultra-compact, fanless, power efficient, and includes flexible mounting alternatives. The Catalyst 2960-CX 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-configuration switch packaged in a sleek, noiseless and energy-efficient unit that can be mounted virtually anywhere convenient. Models are offered with 8 or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two multigigabit ports. Two or four uplinks are offered, and Power over Ethernet is also an option.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of value-priced fixed-configuration switches targeted for small offices, retail venues, and other places where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L low-profile switches have eight to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and two or four Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. PoE support saves space and fan-free operation for the 8- models eliminates noise. RJ-45 interfaces support 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR Series switches improve on the 2690-S family of switches by delivering switching capacity of up to 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking by means of a hot-swappable plug-in that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a FlexStack Plus stack capable of 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Cisco Catalyst 2900 family switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch is capable of Layer 3 dynamic routing, providing the simplicity of having a single switch for Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed, stackable access devices based on Cisco's IOS XE control software and incorporating full wireless network controller functionality that allows you to control wired and wireless infrastructure on a one device managed by one operating system. Cisco offers versions with either 24 or 48 built-in 1Gb Ethernet connections with PoE plus, four 1GE or four 10-Gigabit uplinks, and capacity for as many as nine Catalyst switches per stack. All models provide expandable Quality of Service, fast failover for maximum uptime, support in software for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast, and enhanced security.

Since wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, administrators can spot and assign priorities to wireless traffic using Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology along with sophisticated QoS features for a better wireless user experience and faster problem isolation. Fast Ethernet switching can handle the high-throughput called for by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless standard on existing cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's support for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, and Meraki cloud-managed APs, refer to Configuration and Troubleshooting Support for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking performance of up to 160 Gbps and supports up to 25 Wi-Fi APs and 1000 wireless clients on each switch. The Catalyst 3850 switch offers stacking performance of up to 480 Gbps and supports up to 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 Wi-Fi users per stack. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber data ports at line rate, providing far reaching connectivity, enhanced protection, and an identical wired and wireless experience.

Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E and and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus access and distribution environments where physical space for infrastructure hardware is limited. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE operating system, both the 4500-E and 4500-X product lines facilitate network virtualization thanks to Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System technologies. Virtualization allows you to segment a physical network into a number of virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically separate. This makes possible the high resource utilization, security and compliance, recoverability, and simplified management required for Cloud computing or other situations where a single infrastructure must be used by software and services that need to run in complete privacy from one another. EVN streamlines the task of deploying virtual networks and can be expanded to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates the capabilities of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and includes additional technologies including VNET Tags and a simple technique for duplicating replicating routes between VNs. VSS makes it easy to set up Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches to produce non-stop VNs with advanced load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500E Family Switches ConsultantsThe Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch includes an integrated wireless controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the first Cisco Catalyst supervisor engine to support wired plus wireless services on one switch powered by IOS XE. Features include Cisco's FNF technology for application visibility encompassing wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless security, consistent Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi networks, and the expansion of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to include wireless data traffic for enterprise-class high availability.

Available in chassis that have from three to 10 slots, Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can support as many as 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, 193 1GE fiber fiber ports, 96 10GE fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers as much as 928 Gbps of wired capacity for each system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 wireless access points and 2000 Wi-Fi clients can be supported on each switch, and up to 250 wireless access points and 4000 clients are supported in a two-switch installation without a standalone wireless network controller.

Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 4500-X switches are fixed-configuration 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation platforms that can deliver as much as 800 Gbps of backplane switching performance per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have as many as 32 10GE ports on the unit's baseboard and eight extra 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the expansion module for a total of 40 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are also available with another module. In addition to offering non-stop operation and easy management, Cisco's virtual switching system technology on Catalyst 4500-X switches offers higher system performance of as much as 1.6 Tbps by enabling all available bandwidth between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other advanced features include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for capacity planning, Cisco TrustSec security, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus backbone switches that share the proven technology of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of switches, which first appeared over a dozen years ago and have been continually improved since then. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches offer the same features and operation, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch accepts the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of line cards and modules. This backwards compatibility and commitment to continual enhancement protects your information technology expenditures and allows you to update your network with little business disruption or management team retraining.

Common features of Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco ISE technology for simple, centralized management to ensure consistent policy throughout a distributed network, VSS technology for 99.999% availability via multi-level redundancy, and Cisco's LISP protocol to facilitate client roaming and device mobility and to streamline network virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtualization tools to segment distinct user groups and support the unique security and QoS policy requirements of every group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full Multiprotocol Label Switching , Easy Virtual Network, VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware technology for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and Layer 2 extensions with VPLS. For unified wired/wireless environments, the WiSM2 for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches supports up to 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Series Switches Consulting FirmThe Catalyst 6500-E line of modular switches are intended for distribution and campus backbone environments that need maximum availability and high concentrations of 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Models come with three to 13 slots and work with a broad range of interface modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless, traffic analysis, and security and compliance. Only E-Series models of Cisco's broad family of Catalyst 6500 switches are compatible with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The entry-level Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4 rack unit chassis, holds 3 expansion slots, and offers as much as 180 Gbps of switching throughput on each slot. The Catalyst 6503-E switch can support 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 99 1GE fiber access ports, 34 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and up to 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

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

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Switches
Catalyst 6800 Family Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 6800 switches are programmable backbone switches designed to provide best-of-breed 10/40/100 GE services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, small form factor platform for high-density Ethernet intended for small or medium-size enterprise campus cores. The 6880-X delivers up to 2 Tbps switching throughput and includes four slots for port cards. The top port density per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or as many as 20 40GE connections. With Cisco's Virtual Switching System, these switches can deliver 4 Tbps performance and support up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10GE connections or as many as 20 40GE access ports.

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

End-of-Life Catalyst Products Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco certified network consultants have broad experience providing online and onsite support services for early-generation Catalyst switches which have reached End of Life (EOL). These legacy switches often are more expensive to operate and maintain than current switches, deliver less capacity and fewer features, and in many cases can expose organizations to regulatory compliance and liability issues. Progent's consultants are available to help your business to manage and troubleshoot these older switches and can in addition help you to plan and carry out seamless upgrades to newer models within the Catalyst line or to devices from the Cisco Nexus line of switches which take advantage of Catalyst design experience. Older Cisco Catalyst switches supported by Progent include:

Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Line of Switches
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches HelpThe Catalyst Express 500 line of fixed-configuration switches are designed for businesses with up to 250 employees and deliver the dependability, protection, extensibility, and feature set small and mid-sized companies need at an economical price. Power over Ethernet capability makes it easy to install network appliances like wireless access points and IP TV cameras.

Models of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 switches offer from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BT Ethernet ports plus optional redundant power supplies with auto fail-over for additional reliability. Interoperation with Cisco wireless access points helps organizations to set up a wireless LAN network quickly and easily. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 family provides strong protection against viruses With Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and Clean Access solutions.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches HelpCisco Catalyst 2900 non-modular, managed Ethernet switches offer fundamental workgroup networking for small to medium-sized businesses. These wire-speed desktop switches offer Cisco IOS Software features for simple mixed-media traffic control at the network edge. The Cisco Catalyst 2940 Series fixed-configuration switches are small, entry-level switches featuring eight Fast Ethernet ports plus one built-in Fast or Gigabit Ethernet uplink. They can be installed away from the wiring closet in cramped locations such as on or under a user's desk or in a conference room.

Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches intended for small businesses and branches. Current versions incorporate either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10-Gigabit uplinks, and provide switching capacity of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature allows as many as four Catalyst 2960-S chassis to be combined in a stack to perform like a single switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that reduces operational expense because of one-switch setup. IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) capability guards networks against IPv6 address interception and malicious attacks.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Family Switches SupportCisco’s Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of fixed-configuration switches that features IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability in 10/100 and 10/100/1000 configurations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series switch is an ideal access-layer switch for midsize business LAN access or local-office environments, offering both 10/100/1000 and Power over Ethernet (PoE) options for high productivity while streamlining the deployment of vital technology including IP telephony, Wi-Fi, video surveillance, and building management systems. IT managers can deploy comprehensive smart features such as quality of service (QoS), rate management, access control lists (ACLs), multicast administration, and high-performance IP routing with the ease of traditional LAN switching.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 switch is equipped with a robust set of features that permit network scalability and higher resilience via IP routing as well as a complete complement of STP improvements aimed to increase throughput in a Layer 2 LAN. Improvements to the standard STP Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+), Uplink Fast, and Port Fast, as well as innovations such as Flex Links interfaces, improve network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) allows for Data Link Layer load balancing on backup links to efficiently use the extra bandwidth associated with a redundant architecture.

Efficient protocols such as OPSF, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Border Gateway Protocol, static routing, and PBR increase network capacity; Protocol Independent Multicast helps improve resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite protects network traffic.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches Professional ServicesFor mid-size organizations and corporate branches, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series eases deployment of unified applications and adapts to evolving business needs by providing configuration versatility, ability to manage unified network traffic, and management-free configuration of intelligent system services. Also, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch is designed for high-density 1000 Ethernet environments and incorporates a diverse range of switches that address the access, aggregation, and backbone-connectivity demands of small or mid-size systems.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series switch includes the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image features include advanced quality of service, rate-limiting, access control lists (ACLs), and basic static and Routing Information Protocol routing capability. The IP Services image provides a broader selection of enterprise-level features, such as advanced hardware-based IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a stacking architecture optimized for 1000 Ethernet. This technology is designed to react to additions, deletions, and redeployments while providing predictable performance. Cisco StackWise combines as many as 9 separate switches into a single functional unit, using custom stack-interconnect cables and stacking utilities. Each of the switches can be any combination of Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series and the Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack operates as an individual switching appliance that is managed by a control switch, elected from among the stack of switches. The control switch automatically builds and updates all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A running stack can accept new switches or remove existing members without service discontinuity.

How Progent Can Help Your Business with Catalyst Series Switches
Progent offers the remote or on-premises expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants who have extensive backgrounds providing Catalyst switch technology support for small and medium sized businesses, branch offices, enterprises, data centers, Cloud networks, and SPs. Progent's skills include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS operating systems. Services offered by Progent for Catalyst switches include pilot testing and validation, network analysis, network architecture design, migrations and project management, virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, network management, performance optimization, problem mitigation, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, and data security and compliance testing and validation.

Progent offers deep knowledge of open standards as well as with proprietary Cisco technologies associated with switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, STP, VLANs, Cisco FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), VRRP, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Virtual Switching System (VSS), and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's infrastructure experts also offer experience with crucial technologies including TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, EIGRP, RIP, and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). Progent's CISSP and ISSAP certified network security consultants can show you how to create a comprehensive security strategy and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so they provide optimal enforcement to your security policies.

In case you require ultra high density or extremely low latency Cisco switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help you to analyze, plan, and manage a transition to Nexus family of switches. For information about Progent's consulting and support services for Nexus Series switches, see Nexus Switch configuration and support services. Progent can also help you to connect Catalyst data center switches with Cisco Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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