Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed-configuration switches provides performance and control at the access, distribution, and core areas of converged voice, HD video, and data networks for organizations that range from small businesses and branch offices to multi-campus enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified consultants can provide online and onsite expertise with Catalyst family switches to help your organization to design a cost-effective infrastructure that addresses your specific business requirements, set up proof-of-concept testing systems, deploy Catalyst switches, establish and verify a sound security and compliance plan, automate system management and performance tracking, provide troubleshooting and support services, optimize switch capacity, and set up Catalyst's fault-tolerant technology for near-zero downtime, Progent can help you to manage and troubleshoot your legacy Catalyst switches or migrate with minimal disruption to current models of Catalyst switches adhering to leading practices to ensure that you realize the maximum return from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The need for intelligent, fast switching is driven by a combination of relatively recent computing trends whose overall impact is a virtual avalanche of data traffic:

  • Cloud networking and an associated demand for massive network virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of always-connected mobile devices
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media apps
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise data analytics

Cloud computing is only made practical by utilizing virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized data centers radically reduce expenses by allowing aggressively high resource utilization and demanding very little data center space and energy use. However this also requires that comparatively sparse resources must accommodate substantial amounts of data. The Bring-Your-Own-Device revolution has caused a steep increase in the number of mobile clients that have be supported by IT networks, and these users tend to run a high percentage of data-intensive, HD video apps. Social business technologies are replacing traditional email as the main driver for collaboration and is producing an ever increasing demand for bandwidth. Enterprises who want to remain competitive are adopting Big Data techniques to mine vast and varied repositories of corporate data, which in turn generates Big Traffic. All of these computing trends are relatively recent, and put together they create a critical demand for a new class of switches that offer significantly higher throughput, intelligence, uptime and manageability than older solutions were engineered to deliver.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are designed for the distribution/core layers of enterprise campus environments where mobile and stationary workers must be accommodated by providing dependable performance, strict user access management, careful segmentation, application intelligence, and wired and wireless convergence. Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the need for speed and control with capabilities such as high-port-count 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services, switching performance as high as 11 Tbps per switch and double that for each system, an extensive suite of technologies such as Easy Virtual Network to facilitate the creation of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology for switch failover with instant backup switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control to maximize system resource usage, and advanced QoS capabilities for video traffic prioritization.

Catalyst Switches Consulting Firm

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switching Solutions for Businesses of Any Size

Cisco Catalyst switches allow businesses of any size to build smart switching and routing features into their network architecture, creating an environment that can deal with current requirements, expand to accommodate expected growth, guard sensitive information, and differentiate and control processes to enhance network productivity.

Catalyst 2960 Swiches and 3560-CX Switches
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port managed switch that is low-profile, fanless, low power, and allows a variety of mounting options. The device incorporates eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplinks and has an option for PoE+ power. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX is a fixed-configuration switch packaged in a compact, quiet and energy-efficient enclosure that can be mounted virtually anywhere outside a wiring closet. Models are available with 8 or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two multigigabit ports. Two or four uplink ports are available, and Power over Ethernet is also an option.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line includes entry-level fixed-port managed switches intended for small offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is at a premium. These compact switches include eight to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and either 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. PoE support saves space and fanless design for most models eliminates noise. RJ-45 interfaces support 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series switches enhance the 2690-S family by offering switching throughput of up to 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking by means of a live-swappable module that can combine 8 switches in a FlexStack Plus stack with 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also support NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch is capable of L3 dynamic routing, offering the simplicity of having one switch for L2 and L3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Switches Consulting FirmCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed, stackable network access devices powered by Cisco's IOS XE operating system and incorporating comprehensive wireless controller functionality that lets you control wired and wireless infrastructure on a one platform powered by one OS. Cisco has models with 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet connections with Power over Ethernet plus (PoE+), four 1-Gigabit or four 10-Gigabit uplinks, and support for up to 9 Catalyst switches in a stack. All versions offer expandable Quality of Service, stateful switchover for maximum availability, support in software for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, network managers can spot and prioritize wireless traffic with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution along with advanced Quality of Service features for an improved user environment and quicker problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching can handle the high-throughput called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi specification using existing cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet Wi-Fi products, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed access points, visit Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Access Points and Controllers.)

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

Catalyst 4500-E and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus and distribution deployments where physical space for networking equipment is at a premium. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE control software, the Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X families simplify network virtualization by supporting Cisco's EVN and VSS solutions. Virtualization makes it possible to divide a hardware network into a number of virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically distinct. This makes possible the efficient utilization, security and compliance, resilience, and ease of management needed for Cloud computing or other situations where a common resource pool must be used by software and services that need to operate in complete isolation from one another. Easy Virtual Network simplifies the process of deploying VNs and scales to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network utilizes features of Multi-VRF and adds additional features including VNET Tags and a simple way for duplicating replicating routes between VNs. Virtual Switching System makes it possible to configure Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches to create non-stop VNs with advanced load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E switch includes an integrated wireless network controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired and wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the first Cisco Catalyst supervisor to enable wired plus wireless services on a single switch based on Cisco's IOS XE. Technologies include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for capacity planning across both wired and Wi-Fi networks, TrustSec wired and wireless security, predictable QoS for wired and Wi-Fi clients, plus the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to cover Wi-Fi data traffic for world-quality high availability.

Available in chassis with from three to 10 plug-in slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series switches with Supervisor 8-E can support as many as 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, 193 Gigabit Ethernet fiber fiber ports, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplink ports. Cisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired throughput per system and up to 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 Wi-Fi access points and 2000 wireless users can be handled on each switch, and 250 wireless access points and 4000 wireless users are supported in a dual-switch deployment without requiring a separate wireless controller.

Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation platforms that provide as much as 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X switch supports as many as 32 10GE connections on the baseboard and eight more 10GE ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of 40 non-blocking 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports. Eight 10GE uplink ports are also available via another module. In addition to offering zero-downtime performance and easy manageability, Cisco's VSS technology on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches provides higher system performance of up to 1.6 Tbps by activating all possible capacity between redundant Catalyst 4500-X switches. Additional advanced features include Flexible NetFlow solution for application visibility, Cisco TrustSec security, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus core switches that share the field-proven technology of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of switches, which first appeared over a dozen years ago and have been continually enhanced since then. Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches provide identical features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and the associated family of compatible line cards and service modules. This mutual compatibility and program of continual improvement preserves your technology investment and permits you to upgrade your network with little downtime or IT staff training.

Common attributes of Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for simple, centralized administration to ensure unvarying policy throughout a distributed network, VSS capability for 99.999% availability through multi-level switchover, and the Cisco LISP protocol to support client roaming and mobility and to simplify virtualization and transition to IPv6. Additional virtualization tools to segment distinct user groups and support the unique security/compliance and QoS policy needs of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, full MPLS, EVN, VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware applications for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnels, and L2 geographic extensions with VPLS. For converged wired/wireless environments, the WiSM2 for Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches supports 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are intended for distribution and enterprise backbone environments that need maximum uptime and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Available versions include three to 13 expansion slots and work with a broad selection of interface modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless, network analysis, and security and compliance. Just E-Series versions of Cisco's broad line of 6500 switches work with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

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

The top-of-the-line Cisco Catalyst 6513-E switch has a 19RU, 13-slot chassis and can deliver as much as 180 Gbps of performance per slot, with a system bandwidth as high as 4 Tbps. A VSS configured system can support up to 8 Tbps of switching throughout. The Cisco Catalyst 6513-E switch can support a maximum of 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports, up to 534 Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 180 10GE access ports, and up to 44 40GE ports.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 6800 switches are campus core switches designed to provide optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet support. The Cisco Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, small form factor switch for Ethernet aggregation intended for small or midsize enterprise campus backbones. The 6880-X switch supports as much as 2 Tbps bandwidth and has four slots for port cards. The top port density on one chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 10GE ports or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. Configured with VSS, these switches can provide 4 Tbps bandwidth and handle as many as 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40GE access ports.

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

End-of-Life Catalyst Models Still Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco certified consultants have extensive backgrounds providing remote and on-premises support services for early-generation Catalyst switches which have reached End of Life. These outdated switches often cost more to manage and support than current products, deliver lower capacity and fewer features, and in some situations may expose organizations to regulatory compliance and even liability risks. Progent's consultants can assist you to maintain and troubleshoot these older Cisco products and can in addition assist you to design and carry out non-disruptive upgrades to current models from the Catalyst line or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus line of network switches which build upon Catalyst technology. Older Cisco Catalyst switches for which Progent offers support include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst Express 500 family of Layer 2 switches are intended for organizations with as many as 250 workers and provide the reliability, security, scalability, and feature set small and mid-sized companies require at an affordable price. PoE capability makes it easy to add network devices like wireless access points and closed-circuit TV cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 and 520 managed switches offer up to 24 10/100/1000BT ports as well as optional backup power with auto fail-over for extra reliability. Integration with Cisco access points allows organizations to build a local wireless network rapidly and effectively. The Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family offers strong security against viruses With the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Clean Access agents.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Family Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 2900 Series non-modular, managed 10/100 switches provide fundamental workgroup connectivity for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). These wire-speed desktop appliances offer Cisco IOS Software functions for simple mixed-media traffic services at the network edge. The Cisco 2940 Series managed switches are small, stackable devices with 8 Ethernet connections and one integrated Fast Ethernet or Gbit uplink. The enclosures can be installed outside the wiring cabinet in space-constrained office spaces like on a worker's desk or in a conference room.

Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches designed for small companies and branches. Available versions feature 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10-GB Ethernet uplink ports, and deliver throughput of up to 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology allows four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a FlexStack stack to perform like a single switch that offers 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that cuts operational costs because of single-switch setup. IPv6 First Hop Security technology guards against IPv6 address interception and other attacks.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Switches
Catalyst 3560 Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Catalyst 3560 family is a selection of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet functionality in Fast Ethernet and 10/100/1000 configurations. The Catalyst 3560 switch is an ideal access-layer switch for small enterprise network access or branch-office environments, offering both 10/100/1000 and Power over Ethernet (PoE) configurations for high productivity while streamlining the installation of vital technology such a Voice over IP, wireless connectivity, video surveillance, and building management systems. Customers can deploy network-wide smart features such as quality of service, rate management, access control lists, multicast management, and broadband IP routing with the simplicity of conventional network switching.

The Catalyst 3560 family switch is equipped with a robust array of features that permit network scalability and higher resilience through IP routing as well as a complete complement of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) enhancements designed to maximize throughput in an access Layer LAN. Improvements to the standard STP Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+), Uplink Fast, and Port Fast, as well as enhancements like Flex Links, contribute to network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) supports Layer 2 traffic balancing on backup connections to exploit the extra capacity associated with a redundant architecture.

Efficient protocols such as Open Shortest Path First, EIGRP, BGP, static routing, and Policy Based Routing increase system capacity; Protocol Independent Multicast increases utilization of network resources; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite secures network traffic.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Catalyst 3750 Family Switches Consulting FirmFor midsized organizations and corporate branch offices, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series facilitates integration of converged technologies and adapts to evolving business environments by offering setup flexibility, ability to manage unified network traffic, and automatic configuration of intelligent network functions. In addition, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch is designed for high-volume Gigabit deployments and incorporates a wide range of switches that address the access, aggregation, and backbone-interface requirements of small or midsized networks.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series has either the IP Base or the IP Services image. The IP Base image functions include advanced quality of service (QoS), rate-management, access control lists, and simple static and Routing Information Protocol routing support. The IP Services image provides a broader selection of enterprise network features, including advanced hardware-based IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is an architecture designed for Gigabit interfaces. StackWise is intended to respond to additions, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent operation. StackWise technology combines as many as nine separate switches into one functional unit, using special stack-interconnect cables and software. Each of the switches can be any combination of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switches and the Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack operates as a single switching unit that is directed by a master switch, selected from among the stack of switches. The master switch automatically creates and updates all the switching and optional routing tables. A working stack can accept new switches or remove existing devices with no operational interruption.

Ways That Progent Can Assist Your Business with Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the online or on-premises expertise of CCIE-certified consultants who have broad backgrounds delivering Catalyst switch support for small and medium sized businesses, branches, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and SPs. Progent's areas of expertise include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and with Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS control software. Consulting and support services available from Progent's experts for Cisco Catalyst Series switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis, topology design, migrations and project management, network virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, network management, performance optimization, troubleshooting, business continuity planning, and information security testing and verification.

Progent's Cisco-certified consultants have broad knowledge of industry standards and with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies related to switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, VLANs, FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), HSRP, VRRP, OSPF, Virtual Switching System (VSS), and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network specialists also have familiarity with important technologies such as TCP/IP, IPv4/IPv6, EIGRP, Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's ISSAP certified information security and compliance consultants can assist you to create a comprehensive security and compliance plan and deploy Catalyst switches so that they provide optimal enforcement to your network security policies.

If you require the highest available Ethernet density or sub-microsecond latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can help your organization to analyze, plan, and implement a transition to Cisco's Nexus switches. For information about Progent's consulting capabilities for Cisco's Nexus Series switches, refer to Cisco Nexus Switch consulting offered by Progent. Progent can also assist you to connect Catalyst core switches with Cisco Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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