Cisco's Catalyst family of modular and fixed managed switches provides speed and intelligence at the access, aggregation, and backbone areas of converged voice, video, and high bandwidth data networks for businesses that range in size from small businesses and branches to multi-campus enterprises and SPs. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and onsite support for Catalyst family switches to assist you to design an efficient network architecture that meets your specific business needs, set up pilot testing, install Catalyst switches, establish and validate a sensible security and compliance plan, streamline system management and monitoring, provide troubleshooting and support services, maximize switch capacity, and set up Catalyst's high-availability (HA) technology for near-zero downtime, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your older Catalyst switches or upgrade with minimal disruption to current models of Catalyst switches adhering to leading practices to ensure that you realize 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 trends whose net effect is a cyber avalanche of traffic:

  • Cloud computing and an associated requirement for massive virtualization
  • The proliferation of BYOD computing
  • Data guzzling rich media applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in enterprise data analytics

Private, public and hybrid clouds are only financially feasible by utilizing network virtualization. Virtualized data centers slash costs by permitting aggressively high resource utilization and demanding minimal real estate and energy use. But this also requires that relatively sparse resources must support substantial volumes of traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device paradigm has resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of mobile clients that must be handled by IT networks, and these clients tend to run a high percentage of bandwidth-intensive, HD video apps. Social media for business is replacing traditional email as the main driver for collaboration and is producing an ever increasing thirst for data. Businesses who want to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data techniques to mine vast and varied repositories of information, which in turn produces Big Network Traffic. All of these trends are fairly recent, and put together they cause a serious need for a new class of switches that feature significantly higher capacity, intelligence, uptime and manageability than previous platforms were built to deliver.

Cisco's latest portfolio of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution and core layers layers of campus environments where office workers must be provided for by offering consistent high throughput, secure user access management, tight segregation, application awareness, and wired and wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst series switches address the demand for performance and intelligence with capabilities such as high-port-count 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet support, switching throughput of up to 11 Tbps per chassis and double that for each system, a comprehensive catalog of technologies including Easy Virtual Network to facilitate the creation of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System technology for switch failover with instant virtual switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv4 and IPv6 support, Application Visibility and Control (AVC) to optimize network utilization, and sophisticated Quality of Service tools for HD video data control.

Catalyst Switches Consulting and Troubleshooting

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Organizations of All Sizes

Catalyst switches enable organizations of any size to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing features into their network infrastructure, creating an environment that can deal with real-time requirements, expand to support future growth, protect vital information, and separate and control processes to enhance network productivity.

Catalyst 2960 Swiches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port switch that is compact, fanless, power efficient, and includes a variety of mounting alternatives. The switch 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 is a fixed-port switch packaged in a sleek, noiseless and energy-efficient unit that can be mounted virtually anywhere convenient. Versions are available with 8 or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with 6 1-GE ports plus 2 multigigabit ports. Up to four uplinks are available, and Power over Ethernet is also available.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line includes entry-level fixed-configuration switches designed for branch offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L compact appliances have 8 to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and two or four SFP uplink ports. PoE support saves space and fan-free operation for 16- and 24-port versions eliminates noise. RJ-45 connectors handle 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR Series switches improve on the 2690-S line by offering switching throughput as high as 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking via a hot-swappable plug-in that allows 8 switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for conserving forwarding data for analysis. Cisco's Catalyst 2960-XR switch features Layer 3 dynamic routing, providing the simplicity of having one device for Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed-configuration, stackable access devices based on Cisco's IOS XE OS and featuring comprehensive wireless network controller functionality that lets you converge wired and wireless networks on a single platform managed by a single operating system. Cisco offers versions with either 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections with PoE plus, four 1GE or four 10GE uplinks, and capacity for as many as 9 Catalyst switches in a FlexStack stack. All models provide modular Quality of Service, fast failover for maximum availability, support in software for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, administrators can spot and prioritize wireless traffic with Cisco's FNF solution and sophisticated QoS capabilities for an improved wireless user environment and quicker problem isolation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching can handle the high-bandwidth called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless standard on existing cabling infrastructure. (To find out about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi access points, refer to Planning and Deployment Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking performance of 160 Gbps and supports as many as 25 Wi-Fi access points and 1000 Wi-Fi users per stack. The Catalyst 3850 offers stacking throughput of 480 Gbps and supports as many as 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 wireless users on each switch. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber ports at line rate, providing far reaching connections, advanced protection, and a consistent wired and wireless user experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for access and distribution deployments where space for infrastructure hardware is at a premium. Running Cisco's IOS XE control software, both the Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X families simplify virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network and VSS technologies. Virtualization allows you to segment a hardware network into multiple virtual networks (VNs) whose data and control planes are logically segregated. This makes possible the efficient utilization, security and compliance, resilience, and simplified management needed for Cloud environments or other scenarios where a common resource pool is used by software and services that need to run in complete isolation from each other. EVN streamlines the process of deploying virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network utilizes features of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding and adds additional features such as VNET Tags and a simple technique for duplicating replicating routes between virtual networks. Virtual Switching System technology makes it easy to set up Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches to produce zero-downtime virtual networks with advanced load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesThe Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E switch includes an integrated wireless controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the initial Catalyst supervisor engine to allow wired as well as wireless services on one platform based on IOS XE software. Features include Cisco's FNF solution for traffic analytics across wired and Wi-Fi networks, TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless security, identical Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi clients, and the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to cover wireless traffic for enterprise-quality high availability.

Offered in chassis that have from three to 10 slots, Catalyst 4500-E Series switches with Supervisor 8-E can support up to 384 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports, 193 1GE fiber fiber ports, 96 10GE fiber connections, and eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E provides up to 928 Gbps of wired throughput per system and up to 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 wireless clients can be supported per switch, and 250 wireless access points and 4000 wireless clients can be managed in a two-switch installation without requiring a separate wireless network controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCatalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation switches that deliver up to 800 Gbps of core switching performance per chassis. The Catalyst 4500-X switch can have as many as 32 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections on the unit's baseboard and eight extra 10GE ports on the expansion module for a total of up to 40 non-blocking 10GE connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are also available with another module. In addition to offering zero-downtime operation and easy management, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches provides increased system performance of as much as 1.6 Tbps by activating all available bandwidth between redundant Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other features include Flexible NetFlow solution for capacity planning, TrustSec security, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus backbone platforms that share the field-proven technology of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 line of switches, which were introduced over a decade ago and which have been continually improved since then. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches provide identical features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and the associated family of line cards and modules. This mutual compatibility and program of continual enhancement protects your technology investment and allows you to upgrade your network with little service interruption or management team retraining.

Shared features of Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches that have the Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE) for convenient, single-point management to ensure consistent policy throughout a distributed network, VSS Quad Sup SSO (VS4O) technology for maximum uptime through multi-level switchover, and Cisco's LISP protocol to facilitate client roaming and mobility and to streamline network virtualization and transition to IPv6. Additional virtual networking features to segment distinct user groups and support the special security/compliance and Quality of Service policy requirements of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, complete MPLS, Easy Virtual Network, VRF-aware technology for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and L2 extensions with virtual private LAN services (VPLS). For unified wired/wireless networking, the Wireless Services Module 2 for Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches supports as many as 1000 wireless APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E line of modular switches are designed for distribution and enterprise backbone environments that need maximum uptime and high concentrations of 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet access ports. Models include three to 13 slots and work with a broad range of interfaces. Integrated service modules support wireless, network monitoring, and security. Only E-Series versions of Cisco's broad family of 6500 switches are compatible with Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The Cisco Catalyst 6503-E has a 4 rack unit form factor, holds 3 slots, and delivers up to 180 Gbps of switching bandwidth on each slot. The Catalyst 6503-E supports 97 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, up to 99 1GE fiber connections, 34 10GE ports, and 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

The top-of-the-line Catalyst 6513-E has a 19RU, 13-slot chassis and offers 180 Gbps of throughput on each slot, providing a total system bandwidth of up to 4 Tbps. A VSS configuration can support up to 8 Tbps of switching capacity. The Cisco Catalyst 6513-E Series switch offers up to 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports, up to 534 Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 180 10GE connections, and up to 44 40GE connections.

Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are campus core platforms designed to deliver best-of-breed 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet support. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, small form factor platform for high-density Ethernet designed for small or medium-size campus cores. The Catalyst 6880-X supports up to 2 Tbps switching bandwidth and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port density per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. With VSS, a two-chassis system can deliver 4 Tbps capacity and support up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or as many as 20 40GE ports.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch has a 10-rack-unit chassis with 7 expansion slots and accepts standard Supervisor Engine 2T cards and service modules. (Two slots are for the Supervisor Engine and five are for expansion modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL offers up to 880 Gbps of switching throughput on each slot and up to 11.4 Tbps of switching bandwidth while handling up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 1GE fiber ports, 80 10GE connections or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. A two-chassis 6807-XL system configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching performance, 480 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber ports, up to 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

End-of-Life Catalyst Products Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants have broad backgrounds delivering remote and on-premises consulting and troubleshooting expertise for older Catalyst Series switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life or End of Support. These outdated Catalyst switches typically are more expensive to operate and maintain than contemporary switches, deliver lower performance and functionality, and for some cases may subject organizations to compliance and liability risks. Progent's consultants are available to assist your business to maintain and troubleshoot these older Cisco products and can also help you to plan and implement non-disruptive migrations to newer products from the Catalyst line or to solutions from Cisco's Nexus portfolio of network switches which build upon Catalyst technology. Older Cisco Catalyst models for which support is available from Progent include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series
Catalyst Express 500 Family Switches Professional ServicesThe Catalyst Express 500 line of Layer 2 switches are designed for businesses with up to 250 workers and deliver the reliability, security, expandability, and features small and mid-sized businesses need at an affordable cost. PoE capability makes it simple to install network devices such as wireless access points and closed-circuit TV cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 managed switches support from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BT ports as well as optional backup power with automatic switch-over for extra reliability. Interoperation with Cisco access points allows businesses to build a wireless LAN environment rapidly and effectively. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family provides solid security against malicious attacks With Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and Cisco Clean Access agents.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Series Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 2900 fixed-configuration, managed Ethernet switches provide basic workgroup networking for small to medium-sized businesses. These wire-rate desktop appliances offer IOS Software functions for simple data, video, and voice support at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 Series managed switches are compact, stackable switches with 8 Fast Ethernet ports plus one integrated Fast Ethernet or Gbit Ethernet uplink. They can be installed outside the wiring cabinet in space-constrained locations such as on or under a user's desk or in a classroom.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches designed for small businesses and branches. Available models offer 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10-Gigabit uplink ports, and deliver switching capacity as high as 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology permits as many as four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to act as one switch that offers 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that reduces administrative expense because of one-switch setup. IPv6 FHS technology guards networks against address theft and malicious attacks.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Family Switches SupportCisco’s Catalyst 3560 family is a line of non-modular switches that features IEEE 802.3af and Cisco Power over Ethernet functionality in 10/100 and Gigabit configurations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series switch is a proven Layer 2 switch for small enterprise network access or satellite-office environments, offering both Gigabit Ethernet and PoE options for high productivity while facilitating the installation of vital applications including VoIP, wireless connectivity, video monitoring, and building management systems. Customers can activate comprehensive intelligent services including QoS, rate limiting, ACLs, multicast administration, and high-performance IP routing with the ease of conventional LAN switching.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series is equipped with a robust set of features that permit network expandability and enhanced resilience through IP routing plus a complete complement of Spanning Tree Protocol enhancements aimed to maximize throughput in an access Layer LAN. Enhancements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, and Port Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links interfaces, improve network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus allows for Data Link Layer load sharing on backup links to take advantage of the additional capacity inherent in a redundant design.

Important protocols including Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, Border Gateway Protocol, and static routing increase network capacity; Protocol Independent Multicast increases resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite protects data.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Catalyst 3750 Family Switches HelpFor mid-size businesses and corporate branches, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch eases deployment of unified technologies and adapts to evolving business needs by providing setup flexibility, ability to manage converged network traffic, and management-free set up of intelligent network functions. In addition, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series switch is designed for high-density Gigabit deployments and incorporates a wide range of switches that meet the connectivity, distribution, and backbone-connectivity demands of small or mid-size deployments.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series includes the IP Base or the IP Services image. The IP Base image functions include industry-leading QoS, rate-management, access control lists (ACLs), and basic static and RIP routing capability. The IP Services image provides a broader selection of enterprise-class features, including sophisticated built-in IP unicast and multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a stacking architecture optimized for 1000 Ethernet. This technology is intended to respond to installs, deletions, and relocations while providing consistent performance. Cisco StackWise combines as many as 9 individual switches into one functional unit, utilizing special stack-interconnect cables and stacking utilities. Any of the switches can be any mix of the Catalyst 3750 Series switches and the 3750-E Series switches. The stack behaves as an individual switching appliance that is directed by a master switch, selected from among the stack of switches. The control switch intelligently creates and updates all the switching and optional routing databases. A running stack can accommodate new devices or delete existing members with no service discontinuity.

Ways That Progent Can Help You with Cisco Catalyst Series Switches
Progent can provide the remote or on-premises services of CCIE-certified consultants who have broad experience providing Catalyst switch technology solutions for small and medium sized organizations, branches, campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and service providers. Progent's areas of expertise include Catalyst and Nexus lines of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS control software. Support services offered by Progent's experts for Catalyst switches include proof-of-concept testing, network analysis and monitoring, topology design, upgrades and project management, network virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, management automation, performance optimization, troubleshooting, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, and IT security assessment and validation.

Progent has deep expertise with open standards as well as with proprietary Cisco protocols related to switching and routing including BGP, MPLS, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, ISIS, virtual LANs, FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), HSRP, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, OSPF, Virtual Switching System (VSS), and LISP. Progent's network experts also have deep knowledge of crucial technologies including TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and IGMP. Progent's CISSP certified data security and compliance consultants can show you how to create an enterprise-wide security plan and deploy Catalyst switches so that they offer maximum enforcement to your network security posture.

In case you need ultra high Ethernet density or extremely low latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can help you to evaluate, design, and implement a transition to Cisco's Nexus switches. For information about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's Nexus switches, refer to Nexus Switch consulting services. Progent can also assist you to connect Catalyst data center switches with Cisco Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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