The Catalyst family of modular and fixed-configuration switches offers speed and control at the access, aggregation, and backbone areas of converged IP voice, video, and data networks for organizations that range from small businesses and branches to multi-campus enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and onsite expertise with Catalyst switches to assist your organization to plan an efficient network architecture that addresses your unique business needs, set up pilot testing systems, deploy Catalyst switches, implement and validate a sensible security plan, automate network management and monitoring, provide repair and maintenance services, optimize switch performance, and set up Catalyst's high-availability (HA) solutions to achieve non-stop operation, Progent can assist you to maintain and repair your older Catalyst switches or migrate with minimal disruption to the latest models of Catalyst switches following industry best practices to ensure that you receive the highest business value from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The demand for smart, high-speed switching is the result 0f a combination of relatively recent computing patterns whose net impact is a virtual tsunami of data:

  • Cloud networking and an associated reliance on massive network virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of BYOD computing
  • Data guzzling rich media applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The popularity of Big Data in data analytics

Cloud computing is only operationally realistic because of virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized data centers slash costs by permitting very high hardware utilization and demanding very little data center space and energy use. But this also requires that relatively limited resources have to support substantial volumes of traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device revolution has created a dramatic rise in the amount of mobile users that must be supported by business networks, and these clients tend to run a great deal of bandwidth-intensive, HD video apps. Social media for business is replacing traditional email as the primary driver for collaboration and is producing an ever increasing demand for bandwidth. Enterprises who are trying to stay competitive are adopting Big Data techniques to search through enormous and varied repositories of corporate data, which as a result produces Big Traffic. All of these computing trends are fairly recent, and put together they cause a serious demand for a new generation of switches that feature much higher throughput, intelligence, availability and ease of management than older solutions were designed to provide.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution/core levels of campus deployments where mobile and stationary employees must be provided for by offering consistent high throughput, strict access management, tight segmentation, application intelligence, and wired/wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst series switches address the demand for performance and intelligence with features such as high-port-count 10G/40G/100G support, switching capacity as high as 11 Tbps per chassis and double that per system, a comprehensive catalog of tools such as Easy Virtual Network (EVN) to simplify the deployment of virtual networks, VSS technology for stateful interchassis failover with subsecond backup switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control (AVC) to optimize system utilization, and sophisticated QoS tools for video data prioritization.

Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switches for Organizations of All Sizes

Cisco Catalyst switches enable organizations of any size to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing services into their network infrastructure, creating an ecosystem that can meet current needs, scale to support expected capacity demands, protect sensitive information, and differentiate and manage processes to optimize network productivity.

Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and 3560-CX Switches
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Family Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port managed switch that is compact, fanless, power efficient, and allows flexible mounting options. The switch has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplinks and optionally provides Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX is a fixed-configuration switch housed in a sleek, noiseless and low-power enclosure that can be mounted virtually anywhere convenient. Models are available with eight or 12 1-GE ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and 2 multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplinks are offered, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) is also available.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family includes entry-level fixed-configuration managed switches designed for small offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is at a premium. Catalyst 2900-L compact appliances have 8 to 48 GE ports and either 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fan-free design for most versions eliminates noise. RJ-45 connectors handle 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

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

Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Switches ConsultantsCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable access devices based on Cisco's IOS XE OS and featuring comprehensive wireless controller functionality that allows you to converge wired and wireless networks on a single platform powered by a single operating system. Cisco offers versions with 24 or 48 built-in 1Gb Ethernet connections with Power over Ethernet plus (PoE+), four 1-Gigabit or four 10-Gigabit uplink ports, and capacity for as many as 9 Catalyst switches in a stack. All versions provide modular Quality of Service, fast failover for maximum uptime, software support for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and advanced security.

Since wireless traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, administrators can spot and assign priorities to wireless data using Cisco's Flexible NetFlow (FNF) solution along with advanced Quality of Service features for an improved user experience and faster problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching can handle the high-bandwidth defined by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi specification on existing cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet wireless products, and Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs, visit Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Products.)

The Catalyst 3650 delivers stacking bandwidth of up to 160 Gbps and can control up to 25 Wi-Fi access points and 1000 wireless users per switch. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 delivers stacking bandwidth of up to 480 Gbps and can control up to 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 wireless users per stack. Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber data ports at line rate, providing long distance connections, advanced protection, and an identical wired and wireless user experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for campus access and distribution environments where physical space for networking equipment is limited. Running Cisco's IOS XE OS software, both the 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X product lines simplify virtualization thanks to Cisco's Easy Virtual Network and VSS technologies. Virtualization makes it possible to segment a physical network into multiple virtual networks (VNs) whose data planes and control planes are logically distinct. This makes possible the high resource utilization, security and compliance, recoverability, and simplified management required for Cloud computing or other scenarios where a common infrastructure must be shared by applications and services that need to operate in total isolation from one another. EVN streamlines the process of creating virtual networks and can be expanded to 32 VNs for each switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates features of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and includes additional technologies such as VNET Trunks and a simple technique for duplicating replicating routes between VNs. VSS technology makes it possible to set up Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series platforms to create non-stop VNs with advanced load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches ConsultantsThe Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch has a built-in wireless controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the initial Cisco Catalyst supervisor to permit wired plus wireless services on one switch based on IOS XE software. Features include Cisco's FNF technology for application visibility encompassing both wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless security, consistent QoS for wired and Wi-Fi clients, and the expansion of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover (NSF/SSO) to include wireless traffic for world-quality availability.

Available in chassis with from three to 10 plug-in slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can support as many as 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports, 193 1GE non-blocking fiber connections, 96 10GE fiber connections, and eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers as much as 928 Gbps of wired capacity for each system and as much as 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 Wi-Fi access points and 2000 wireless users can be handled per switch, and up to 250 wireless access points and 4000 clients can be managed in a two-switch deployment without a separate wireless network controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation switches that can provide 800 Gbps of backplane switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X switch can have up to 32 10GE ports on the unit's baseboard and eight extra 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of up to 40 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Eight 10GE uplink ports are also available via a separate module. In addition to offering non-stop performance and easy manageability, Cisco's VSS solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches offers increased system performance of up to 1.6 Tbps by enabling all possible capacity between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Additional features include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for traffic analysis, TrustSec protection, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches are campus core platforms that share the field-proven technology of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of products, which first appeared more than a decade ago and which have been continually enhanced since then. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series switches offer identical general features and operation, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch accepts the Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and the associated family of compatible line cards and service modules. This cross compatibility and commitment to ongoing improvement protects your IT investment and allows you to update your network backbone with little business disruption or management team training.

Common features of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE) for simple, centralized administration to put in place consistent policy throughout a distributed network, VSS capability for 99.999% uptime via multi-level redundancy, and Cisco's Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to support client roaming and device mobility and to simplify virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtual networking tools to partition distinct user groups and support the unique security 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 Network Address Translation NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnels, and Layer 2 extensions with virtual private LAN services. For converged wired/wireless networking, the Wireless Services Module 2 (WiSM2) for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches includes support for up to 1000 wireless APs and 15,000 wireless clients.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches Consulting FirmThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E line of modular switches are designed for aggregation and campus core environments that need world-class uptime and high densities of 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet access ports. Models include three to 13 expansion slots and work with a wide range of modules. Integrated service modules support wireless, traffic analysis, and data protection. Only E-Series versions of Cisco's broad family of Catalyst 6500 switches accept the Supervisor Engine 2T.

The entry-level Catalyst 6503-E has a 4RU form factor, includes 3 expansion slots, and offers 180 Gbps of switching performance per slot. The Catalyst 6503-E switch can support 97 1-Gigabit Ethernet connections, up to 99 1GE fiber ports, up to 34 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and up to 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

The high-end Cisco Catalyst 6513-E has a 19RU, 13-slot chassis and can deliver up to 180 Gbps of capacity per slot, providing a total system bandwidth of up to 4 Tbps. A VSS configured system can handle 8 Tbps of throughout. The Cisco Catalyst 6513-E Series switch can support a maximum of 529 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 534 1GE fiber connections, 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections, and 44 40GE connections.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6800 Family Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 6800 Series switches are campus backbone switches intended to deliver best-of-breed 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet support. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, compact switch for Ethernet aggregation intended for small or medium-size enterprise campus cores. The 6880-X switch supports up to 2 Tbps switching performance and includes four slots for port cards. The top port concentration on one chassis is 80 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports. With Cisco's Virtual Switching System, these switches can provide 4 Tbps performance and support as many as 158 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or up to 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10-rack-unit chassis with 7 expansion slots and supports existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and service modules. (Two of the slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and the other five are for expansion modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL offers as much as 880 Gbps of switching capacity per slot and a total of 11.4 Tbps of switching throughput while handling up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports. A two-chassis 6807-XL system configured with VSS can handle 22.8 Tbps of switching bandwidth, 480 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, 160 10GE ports or 40 40GE ports.

Legacy Catalyst Switches Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants have broad experience providing online and on-premises support services for legacy Catalyst Series switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life or End of Support. These outdated switches often cost more to operate and support than current products, deliver lower capacity and functionality, and for some cases can subject organizations to regulatory compliance and even liability issues. Progent's consultants are available to help you to maintain and troubleshoot these legacy Cisco products and can also assist you to plan and execute seamless migrations to current products from the Catalyst family or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus line of switches which build upon Catalyst technology. Older Cisco Catalyst models for which support is available from Progent include:

Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Switches
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series Switches Professional ServicesThe Catalyst Express 500 family of Layer 2 switches are designed for businesses with as many as 250 workers and deliver the dependability, security, scalability, and features small businesses require at an economical price. PoE support makes it easy to install network appliances like VoIP phones and IP cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 switches offer from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports plus optional redundant power supplies with automatic switch-over for extra reliability. Interoperation with Cisco access points allows businesses to set up a local wireless network quickly and easily. The Catalyst Express 500 and 520 platform provides solid security against viruses With the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Clean Access agents.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCisco Catalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 Ethernet switches offer fundamental small-group connectivity for small to medium-size organizations. These wire-rate desktop appliances deliver IOS Software features for basic data, video, and voice control at the edge of the network. The Catalyst 2940 family of switches are small, stackable devices with eight Fast Ethernet connections and one built-in Fast Ethernet or Gbit uplink. They can be deployed away from the wiring closet in space-constrained locations like on or under a worker's desk or in a conference room.

Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches designed for small companies and branches. Available versions have 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and provide switching capacity of up to 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature allows as many as four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to act as one switch that provides 40 Gbps of stacking throughput and that cuts management expense with one-switch configuration. IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) capability guards against IPv6 address interception and malicious threats.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Catalyst 3560 Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of non-modular switches that features IEEE 802.3af and PoE functionality in 10/100 and Gigabit implementations. The Catalyst 3560 switch is a proven access-layer switch for small enterprise LAN connectivity or branch-offices, combining both Gigabit Ethernet and Power over Ethernet (PoE) configurations for high efficiency while streamlining the installation of key technology including Voice over IP, Wi-Fi, video monitoring, and building management systems. Customers can deploy network-wide smart features including quality of service, rate limiting, ACLs, multicast management, and broadband IP routing while maintaining the simplicity of conventional LAN switching.

The Catalyst 3560 family switch is equipped with a robust set of features that permit network expandability and enhanced availability via IP routing plus a complete suite of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) enhancements aimed to maximize throughput in a Layer 2 network. Improvements to the standard Spanning Tree Protocol, including Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, and Uplink Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links, contribute to network uptime. PVST+ allows for Layer 2 traffic balancing on redundant links to take advantage of the extra capacity associated with a redundant design.

Efficient protocols such as OPSF, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), BGP, and static routing improve system scale; Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) helps improve resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) secures network traffic.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Cisco 3750 Series Switches ConsultantsFor midsized businesses and corporate branch offices, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series eases integration of converged technologies and adapts to evolving business needs by offering setup flexibility, support for unified network traffic, and management-free set up of intelligent network services. Also, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series is engineered for high-density Gigabit Ethernet environments and includes a wide selection of switches that address the connectivity, aggregation, and backbone-connectivity demands of small or mid-size networks.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series includes the IP Base or the Services image. The IP Base image capabilities include advanced quality of service (QoS), rate-limiting, access control lists, and basic static and RIP routing capability. The IP Services image offers a broader set of enterprise-grade functions, including sophisticated hardware-based IP unicast/multicast routing.

StackWise technology is a mechanism designed for Gigabit interfaces. This technology is designed to respond to additions, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent operation. Cisco StackWise technology unites up to 9 individual switches into one functional unit, using special stack-interconnect cables and stacking software. Each of the switches can be any mix of the Catalyst 3750 Series switches and the Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack operates as a single switching appliance that is directed by a master switch, selected from among the member switches. The control switch intelligently creates and keeps current all the switching and optional routing databases. A deployed stack can accommodate new switches or delete existing devices without operational interruption.

How Progent Can Assist You with Catalyst Series Switches
Progent offers the online or on-premises support services of CCIE-certified network consultants who have broad experience providing Catalyst switch solutions for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, enterprises, data centers, Cloud networks, and SPs. Progent's practice areas include Catalyst and Nexus families of managed switches and Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS control software. Support services available from Progent for Catalyst Series switches include proof-of-concept testing, network analysis, topology planning, migrations and project management, virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, network management, capacity planning, troubleshooting, business continuity preparedness, and data security and compliance assessment and validation.

Progent has broad knowledge of open standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies associated with switching and routing including BGP, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, VLANs, FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), VRRP, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), VSS, and LISP. Progent's infrastructure specialists also offer deep knowledge of crucial technologies such as TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified network security and compliance consultants can assist you to develop an enterprise-wide security plan and deploy Catalyst switches so they offer maximum support for your network security posture.

If you need the highest available Ethernet density or extremely low latency switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help you to evaluate, plan, and manage a migration to Nexus family of switches. To find out about Progent's support capabilities for Cisco's Nexus Series switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting services available from Progent. Progent can also assist you to integrate Catalyst data center switches with Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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If you wish to get in touch with Progent about professional support for Cisco products, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.

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