Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed switches offers performance and intelligence at the access, distribution, and backbone levels of converged voice, HD video, and data networks for businesses that range in size from small businesses and branch offices to global enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide online and on-premises support for Catalyst family switches to help your organization to plan a cost-effective infrastructure that addresses your unique business requirements, set up proof-of-concept testing, install Catalyst switches, establish and verify a sensible security strategy, automate network management and monitoring, provide repair and support services, optimize switch performance, and set up Catalyst's fault-tolerant technology for non-stop operation, Progent can help you to manage and repair your older Catalyst switches or upgrade smoothly to up-to-date versions of Catalyst switches following leading practices to make sure that you receive the most return from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The need for intelligent, fast switching is driven by a combination of relatively new networking patterns whose overall effect is a virtual tsunami of data traffic:

  • Cloud networking and a consequent demand for intensive virtualization
  • The proliferation of always-connected mobile devices
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media applications
  • Social media for business
  • The popularity of Big Data in analytics

Private, public and hybrid clouds are only made practical because of virtualization technology. Virtualized data centers slash expenses by allowing very high resource utilization and demanding minimal real estate and power consumption. However this also means that comparatively limited network resources must accommodate large amounts of data. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) paradigm has created a dramatic rise in the amount of mobile users that must be supported by IT networks, and these clients tend to run a great deal of data-intensive, HD video applications. Social business technologies are displacing email as the main driver for collaboration and is producing a growing requirement for data. Businesses who are trying to remain competitive are adopting Big Data technology to mine enormous and disparate repositories of corporate data, which as a result produces Big Traffic. These trends are fairly new, and put together they cause a serious demand for a new generation of switches that feature significantly more throughput, intelligence, uptime and ease of management than older platforms were designed to provide.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution and core layers levels of campus deployments where mobile and stationary employees must be accommodated by providing dependable high speed, secure client access control, careful segregation, application awareness, and wired and wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst series switches address the need for performance and control with features that include high-port-count 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services, switching throughput of up to 11 Tbps for each chassis and double that for each system, a comprehensive catalog of technologies such as EVN to facilitate the deployment of virtual networks, VSS technology for stateful interchassis failover with instant backup switch recovery and "five nines" (99.999%) uptime, IPv6 support, AVC to optimize system utilization, and advanced Quality of Service (QoS) tools for video traffic prioritization.

Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Organizations of All Sizes

Catalyst switches enable organizations of all sizes to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing services into their network architecture, deploying an ecosystem that can handle current needs, scale to support expected growth, protect sensitive information, and separate and manage tasks to enhance network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port managed switch that is ultra-compact, fanless, low power, and includes flexible mounting options. The Catalyst 2960-CX has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplinks and optionally provides PoE+ power. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-configuration managed switch packaged in a compact, quiet and energy-efficient enclosure that can be placed virtually anywhere outside a wiring closet. Versions are available with eight or 12 1-GE ports or with 6 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and 2 multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplinks are offered, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) is also an option.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultantsCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of value-priced fixed-port switches intended for small offices, retail venues, and other environments where space is limited. Catalyst 2900-L low-profile appliances have 8 to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fan-free design for the 8- versions eliminates noise. RJ-45 connectors accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series switches improve on the 2690-S family of switches by delivering switching throughput as high as 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology by means of a hot-swappable plug-in that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Cisco Catalyst 2900 family switches also support NetFlow-Lite for application visibility and control. Cisco's Catalyst 2960-XR switch features Layer 3 dynamic routing, providing the convenience of having a single switch for Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable network access devices based on Cisco's IOS XE operating system and featuring full wireless controller capability that allows you to control wired and wireless infrastructure on a one device powered by one OS. Cisco has versions with either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet connections with PoE plus, four 1GE or four 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and support for up to nine Catalyst switches per stack. All models provide modular QoS, stateful failover for maximum uptime, support in software for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security.

Because wireless traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, it is possible to identify and prioritize wireless traffic using Cisco's Flexible NetFlow (FNF) solution along with advanced QoS capabilities for an improved wireless user environment and faster problem isolation. Fast Ethernet switching can handle the high-bandwidth called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless specification using currently in-place cabling solutions. (For information about Progent's support for Cisco's 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points and wireless controllers, and Meraki cloud-managed access points, visit Configuration and Troubleshooting Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch delivers stacking performance of 160 Gbps and supports as many as 25 wireless APs and 1000 Wi-Fi users per switch or stack. The Catalyst 3850 switch offers stacking bandwidth as high as 480 Gbps and can control up to 50 wireless access points and 2000 Wi-Fi clients per switch or stack. Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber ports at line rate, providing long distance connections, advanced security, and a consistent wired/wireless user experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for access and distribution environments where space for networking hardware is limited. Running 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 (VSS) technologies. Virtualization makes it possible to divide a hardware network into a number of virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically distinct. This provides the economy, security and compliance, resilience, and simplified management needed for Cloud computing or other situations where a single resource pool is shared by applications and services that need to run in total privacy from each other. Easy Virtual Network streamlines the task of deploying virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs per switch. EVN incorporates the capabilities of Multi-VRF and adds new features including VNET Trunks and a simple technique for duplicating replicating routes connecting VNs. Virtual Switching System makes it easy to set up Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches to produce zero-downtime VNs with advanced traffic load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches ConsultantsThe Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E switch has an integrated wireless network controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired and wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the first Cisco Catalyst supervisor to support wired plus wireless services on one platform powered by IOS XE software. Technologies include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology for capacity planning across both wired and Wi-Fi networks, TrustSec wired and wireless security, identical QoS for wired and wireless networks, plus the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to cover wireless traffic for enterprise-class high availability.

Offered in chassis that have from three to 10 slots, Catalyst 4500-E switches can handle up to 384 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, up to 192 Gigabit Ethernet fiber fiber connections, 96 10-Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplinks. Cisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired capacity per system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 Wi-Fi clients can be supported per chassis, and 250 access points and 4000 wireless clients can be supported in a two-switch installation without requiring a standalone wireless network controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10GE aggregation switches that deliver up to 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per chassis. The Catalyst 4500-X supports up to 32 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections on the unit's baseboard and eight additional 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of 40 non-blocking 10GE ports. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports are also available with another module. In addition to offering zero-downtime performance and easy manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches provides higher system performance of up to 1.6 Tbps by activating all possible bandwidth across VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Other features include Flexible NetFlow solution for traffic analysis, Cisco TrustSec security, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series switches are campus core switches that incorporate the field-proven DNA of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 line of products, which first appeared more than a decade ago and have been steadily improved ever since. Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series switches offer the same general features and operation, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL supports the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and its extensive portfolio of compatible line cards and service modules. This mutual compatibility and program of ongoing enhancement preserves your IT expenditures and allows you to update your network backbone with minimal business disruption or IT staff training.

Common features of Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine for simple, single-point control to put in place unvarying policy across a distributed environment, Virtual Switching System capability for maximum availability through multi-level failover, and Cisco's Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol to support roaming and mobility and to simplify network virtualization and migration to IPv6. Other virtual networking tools to segment distinct user groups and support the unique security and QoS policy requirements of each group include L2/L3 VPN, complete MPLS, Easy Virtual Network (EVN), VRF-aware technology for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnels, and L2 extensions with virtual private LAN services (VPLS). For unified wired and wireless networking, the Wireless Services Module 2 (WiSM2) for Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 modular switches includes support for up to 1000 wireless access points and 15,000 wireless clients.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches ConsultantsThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series of modular switches are designed for aggregation and campus backbone environments that require world-class availability and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, and/or 10 and 40 GE access ports. Available versions have three to 13 slots and accept a broad selection of interface modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless management, network monitoring, and security. Just E-Series versions of Cisco's broad line of 6500 switches work with the Supervisor Engine 2T.

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

The top-of-the-line Cisco Catalyst 6513-E has a 19 rack unit, 13-slot form factor and offers as much as 180 Gbps of throughput per slot, with a total system capacity of up to 4 Tbps. A VSS configuration can support up to 8 Tbps of switching bandwidth. The Catalyst 6513-E switch supports up to 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 534 1GE fiber connections, up to 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 44 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 6800 switches are programmable backbone switches designed to deliver optimal 10/40/100 GE support. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, small form factor switch for Ethernet aggregation designed for small or midsize enterprise campus backbones. The Catalyst 6880-X delivers as much as 2 Tbps performance and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The maximum port concentration per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Configured with VSS, a two-chassis system can provide 4 Tbps throughput and support up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or up to 20 40GE ports.

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

End-of-Life Catalyst Models Still Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified consultants have broad experience providing online and onsite support expertise for older Catalyst switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life or End of Support. These legacy switches often cost more to manage and maintain than current switches, deliver less performance and functionality, and in some situations may subject organizations to regulatory compliance and liability risks. Progent's consultants can help you to support and troubleshoot these older switches and can also help you to design and implement seamless upgrades to current products within the Catalyst family or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus portfolio of network switches which take advantage of Catalyst technology. Legacy Catalyst models for which Progent offers support include:

Catalyst Express 500 Family of Switches
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 line of fixed-configuration switches are intended for organizations with as many as 250 employees and provide the reliability, protection, expandability, and features small businesses require at an affordable price. PoE capability makes it easy to install network devices such as VoIP phones and IP TV cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 managed switches offer up to 24 10/100/1000BT ports as well as the option of redundant power supplies with automatic fail-over for extra reliability. Integration with Cisco access points helps organizations to set up a local wireless environment rapidly and effectively. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 platform provides strong protection against malicious attacks With Cisco's Self-Defending Network technology and Cisco Clean Access agents.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches HelpCisco Catalyst 2900 non-modular, managed Ethernet switches offer fundamental small-group networking for small to medium-size organizations. These wire-rate desktop appliances offer IOS Software features for basic mixed-media traffic control at the network edge. The Cisco Catalyst 2940 Series switches are compact, entry-level switches with eight Ethernet ports and a single integrated Fast Ethernet or Gbit Ethernet uplink. They can be deployed away from the wiring closet in cramped areas such as on or under a worker's desk or in a conference room.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed switches designed for small businesses and branches. Current versions feature 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10-GB Ethernet uplink connections, and deliver switching capacity of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology allows as many as four Catalyst 2960-S chassis to be combined in a FlexStack stack to act like a single switch that provides 40 Gbps of stacking throughput and that reduces operational expense because of one-switch configuration. Cisco's IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) technology protects networks against address interception and malicious attacks.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco 3560 Family Switches Consulting FirmCisco’s Catalyst 3560 family is a line of fixed-configuration switches that features IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet functionality in 10/100 Ethernet and 10/100/1000 configurations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 switch is a proven Layer 2 switch for small enterprise LAN connectivity or branch-office environments, combining both 10/100/1000 and PoE configurations for high efficiency while facilitating the installation of key applications such a VoIP, Wi-Fi, video surveillance, and remote video kiosks. Customers can activate comprehensive smart features such as QoS, rate management, ACLs, multicast management, and fast IP routing while maintaining the ease of conventional LAN switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series has a robust array of features that permit network scalability and higher availability through IP routing as well as a complete suite of STP improvements aimed to maximize throughput in a Layer 2 network. Enhancements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, and Uplink Fast, combined with innovations like Flex Links interfaces, contribute to network efficiency. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus allows for Data Link Layer load balancing on backup links to exploit the extra capacity inherent in a redundant design.

Efficient technologies including Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), and static routing improve network capacity; PIM helps improve the efficiency of system resource use; and VRFLite protects network traffic.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches Consulting FirmFor midsized organizations and enterprise branch offices, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series facilitates integration of converged applications and accommodates evolving business environments by offering setup versatility, support for unified network traffic, and management-free configuration of smart network services. In addition, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch is engineered for high-volume Gigabit Ethernet environments and incorporates a diverse selection of switches that address the access, aggregation, and backbone-connectivity requirements of small or mid-size systems.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch has the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image features include industry-leading QoS, rate-management, ACLs, and simple static and RIP routing capability. The IP Services image offers a richer selection of enterprise-level features, such as sophisticated hardware-based IP unicast and multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a mechanism designed for 1000 Ethernet. Cisco StackWise is intended to respond to installs, deletions, and relocations while providing consistent performance. Cisco StackWise technology unites as many as nine individual switches into a single logical device, using special stack-interface cables and software. Any of the switches can be any mix of the Catalyst 3750 Series and the Catalyst 3750-E Series switches. The stack operates as an individual switching device that is directed by a master switch, selected from one of the member switches. The control switch intelligently builds and updates all the switching and optional routing tables. A working stack can accept new members or delete existing members without operational interruption.

How Progent Can Assist You with Cisco Catalyst Series Switches
Progent offers the remote or onsite services of CCIE-certified consultants who have broad experience delivering Catalyst switch technology support for small and medium sized organizations, branches, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and SPs. Progent's practice areas include Catalyst and Nexus families of smart switches and Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS control software. Services offered by Progent for Catalyst Series switches include pilot testing and validation, network analysis and monitoring, network architecture design, migrations and project management, network virtualization, wired and wireless convergence, management automation, performance optimization, problem mitigation, disaster recovery planning, and network security and compliance testing and verification.

Progent offers deep knowledge of industry standards as well as with proprietary Cisco protocols related to switching and routing including Border Gateway Protocol, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, virtual LANs, FabricPath, VPC, Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Virtual Switching System (VSS), and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's infrastructure experts also have deep knowledge of important networking technologies including TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, EIGRP, Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's CISSP certified information security consultants can show you how to create a comprehensive security and compliance strategy and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so they provide optimal enforcement to your security posture.

If you need the highest available density or extremely low latency Cisco switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help your organization to evaluate, design, and manage a migration to Cisco's Nexus Series switches. To learn about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's Nexus switches, see Nexus Switch consulting offered by Progent. Progent can also assist you to integrate Catalyst core switches with Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

For additional information about Progent's engineering support for Cisco solutions, select a topic:

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