Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed switches provides performance and intelligence at the access, distribution, and backbone levels of converged IP voice, video, and high bandwidth data networks for organizations that range from small businesses and branch offices to global enterprises and SPs. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and on-premises support for Catalyst switches to assist you to plan a cost-effective network architecture that meets your specific business needs, configure pilot testing systems, deploy Catalyst switches, implement and validate a sound security and compliance plan, streamline system management and monitoring, provide repair and maintenance services, maximize switch capacity, and configure Catalyst's high-availability (HA) technology for non-stop operation, Progent can help you to manage and troubleshoot your older Catalyst switches or upgrade efficiently to up-to-date versions of Catalyst switches following leading practices to make sure that you get the maximum business value from your investment in your network.

The demand for smart, high-speed switching is driven by a confluence of fairly recent networking trends whose net effect is a cyber avalanche of data traffic:

  • Cloud networking and an associated reliance on intensive virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of BYOD computing
  • Data guzzling HD video apps
  • Social business technologies
  • The popularity of Big Data in enterprise analytics

Private, public and hybrid clouds are only financially feasible because of virtualization technology. Virtualized infrastructures slash costs by permitting aggressively high resource utilization and demanding minimal data center space and power consumption. But this also means that comparatively sparse network resources must accommodate large amounts of traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device paradigm has created a dramatic increase in the number of mobile clients that have be handled by IT networks, and these users tend to run a high percentage of data-intensive, HD video apps. Social business applications are displacing traditional email as the primary driver for workforce collaboration and is generating an ever increasing thirst for bandwidth. Enterprises who are trying to remain competitive are resorting to Big Data techniques to search through enormous and varied silos of information, which as a result produces Big Traffic. These computing trends are fairly new, and combined they create a serious need for a new class of switches that offer significantly more capacity, intelligence, availability and manageability than previous solutions were built to deliver.

Cisco's current lineup of Catalyst switches are designed for the distribution/core levels of enterprise campus deployments where office workers must be accommodated by providing predictable high speed, strict client access control, tight segregation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst switches address the demand for performance and control with features that include high-port-count 10G/40G/100G services, switching throughput of up to 11.4 Tbps per switch and twice that per switching system, a powerful collection of tools such as EVN to facilitate the deployment of VLANs, Virtual Switching System technology for switch failover with subsecond virtual switch restoration and 99.999% uptime, IPv6 support, Application Visibility and Control to maximize network resource usage, and sophisticated Quality of Service capabilities for HD video data control.

Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Organizations of All Sizes

Cisco Catalyst switches allow organizations of all sizes to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing features into their network infrastructure, deploying an ecosystem that can meet real-time needs, expand to accommodate expected capacity demands, protect sensitive information, and separate and control processes to optimize network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Swiches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration switch that is ultra-compact, fanless, power efficient, and allows a variety of mounting options. The Catalyst 2960-CX incorporates eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplinks and optionally provides Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-port managed switch packaged in a compact, quiet and energy-efficient unit that can be placed virtually anywhere convenient. Versions are offered with eight or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and 2 multigigabit ports. Two or four uplink ports are available, and PoE+ power is also available.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of entry-level fixed-port managed switches intended for branch offices, retail venues, and other environments where space is limited. These compact appliances include 8 to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports and either two or four Small Form-Factor Pluggable uplink ports. Power over Ethernet support reduces clutter and fan-free operation for most versions eliminates noise. RJ-45 interfaces support 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR switches enhance the 2690-S family of switches by delivering switching capacity as high as 216 Gbps and supporting Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology via a live-swappable plug-in that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Catalyst 2900 family switches also work with NetFlow-Lite for application visibility and control. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch is capable of Layer 3 dynamic routing, offering the convenience of having one switch for Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed-configuration, stackable access devices powered by Cisco's IOS XE OS and featuring comprehensive wireless network controller capability that lets you converge wired and wireless networks on a one device powered by a single operating system. Cisco has versions with 24 or 48 built-in 1Gb Ethernet connections with Power over Ethernet plus (PoE+), four 1-Gigabit or four 10-GB Ethernet uplink connections, and capacity for up to nine switches in a FlexStack stack. All models provide expandable QoS, stateful failover for high uptime, software support for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless data traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, it is possible to identify and prioritize wireless traffic using Cisco's Flexible NetFlow (FNF) solution and sophisticated Quality of Service capabilities for an improved user experience and quicker problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching supports the high-bandwidth called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard on existing cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's consulting services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet Wi-Fi technology, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed access points, visit Configuration and Troubleshooting Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Products.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking performance of 160 Gbps and supports up to 25 Wi-Fi APs and 1000 Wi-Fi clients per stack. The Catalyst 3850 switch delivers stacking throughput of 480 Gbps and supports as many as 50 Wi-Fi access points and 2000 wireless users per switch. Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber connections at line rate on every port, offering long distance connections, advanced protection, and an identical wired/wireless experience.

Cisco 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 access and distribution deployments where space for networking hardware is at a premium. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE OS software, both the 4500-E and 4500-X families facilitate virtualization by supporting Cisco's EVN and Virtual Switching System (VSS) solutions. Network virtualization allows you to divide a hardware network into a number of virtual networks (VNs) whose data and control planes are logically distinct. This provides the high resource utilization, security and compliance, recoverability, and manageability required for Cloud computing or other situations where a common infrastructure must be shared by software and services that must operate in total isolation from each other. EVN speeds up the process of deploying virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs for each switch. EVN utilizes the capabilities of Multi-VRF and includes new technologies including VNET Tags and a simple way for duplicating replicating routes connecting VNs. VSS technology makes it easy to configure Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series platforms to create non-stop virtual networks with advanced traffic load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E switch includes a built-in wireless network controller that works with Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the initial Catalyst supervisor engine to permit wired plus wireless services on a single switch based on IOS XE software. Features included are Cisco's FNF technology for application visibility across both wired and wireless networks, TrustSec wired/wireless data security, predictable QoS for wired and Wi-Fi clients, plus the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to cover wireless traffic for world-quality availability.

Offered in chassis with from three to 10 plug-in slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can handle up to 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, 193 1GE fiber fiber connections, 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 for each system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 wireless APs and 2000 wireless clients can be handled on each chassis, and 250 access points and 4000 wireless clients can be managed in a multi-switch deployment without a standalone wireless controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCatalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed 10GE aggregation platforms that deliver up to 800 Gbps of backplane switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have up to 32 10GE connections on the baseboard and eight more 10GE ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of up to 40 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports are also available with a separate module. In addition to providing zero-downtime operation and easy management, Cisco's virtual switching system technology on Catalyst 4500-X switches provides increased system performance of up to 1.6 Tbps by activating all possible bandwidth between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Additional advanced features include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for traffic analysis, Cisco TrustSec security, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches are campus backbone switches that incorporate the proven DNA of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of products, which first appeared over a dozen years ago and which have been steadily improved ever since. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series switches provide the same general features and operation, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL supports the Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T and its extensive portfolio of compatible line cards and service modules. This backwards compatibility and program of continual improvement preserves your IT investment and permits you to upgrade your network backbone with minimal business disruption or IT staff retraining.

Common features of Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 modular switches that have Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine for convenient, single-point administration to put in place unvarying policy throughout a distributed network, Virtual Switching System technology for 99.999% availability via multi-level failover, and Cisco's LISP protocol to support client roaming and device mobility and to simplify network virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtual networking features to segment specific user groups and serve the unique security/compliance and Quality of Service policy requirements of each group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, complete Multiprotocol Label Switching , Easy Virtual Network, VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware technology for Network Address Translation NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and Layer 2 geographic extensions with VPLS. For unified wired/wireless networking, the WiSM2 controller Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches includes support for 1000 wireless APs and 15,000 wireless users.

Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series of modular switches are designed for distribution and enterprise core environments that require world-class availability and high densities of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, or 10 and 40 GE access ports. Available versions include three to 13 expansion slots and work with a wide selection of interface modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless, traffic monitoring, and data protection. Only E-Series models of Cisco's extensive family of Catalyst 6500 switches are compatible with the Supervisor Engine 2T.

The Catalyst 6503-E has a 4RU chassis, holds 3 slots, and delivers 180 Gbps of switching bandwidth on each slot. The Catalyst 6503-E supports up to 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, up to 99 1GE fiber access ports, 34 10GE ports, and 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

The high-end Cisco Catalyst 6513-E has a 19RU, 13-slot form factor and offers up to 180 Gbps of performance per slot, with a total system bandwidth of up to 4 Tbps. A VSS configured system can handle up to 8 Tbps of switching bandwidth. The Catalyst 6513-E switch offers a maximum of 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to 534 Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, and 44 40GE connections.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingCatalyst 6800 Series switches are campus backbone switches designed to deliver optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet support. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, small form factor switch for Ethernet aggregation intended for small or medium-size campus backbones. The Catalyst 6880-X switch supports as much as 2 Tbps throughput and has four slots for port cards. The top port concentration on one chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10GE access ports or up to 20 40GE ports. With Cisco's Virtual Switching System, these switches can deliver 4 Tbps switching bandwidth and handle as many as 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or 10GE access ports or as many as 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch has a 10 RU form factor with 7 slots and supports existing Supervisor Engine 2T cards and service modules. (Two of the slots are for the Supervisor Engine and the other five are for expansion modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL can deliver up to 880 Gbps of switching bandwidth on each slot and a total of 11.4 Tbps of switching performance while handling up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, 80 10GE 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 connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

End-of-Life Catalyst Products Still Supported by Progent
Progent's Cisco certified consultants have broad backgrounds delivering remote and onsite support services for early-generation Catalyst switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life (EOL). These outdated Catalyst switches usually are more expensive to manage and support than contemporary models, deliver less performance and functionality, and in many situations can expose organizations to regulatory compliance and liability risks. Progent are available to assist your business to manage and troubleshoot these legacy switches and can also help you to design and carry out seamless migrations to current products from the Catalyst line or to devices from Cisco's Nexus portfolio of switches which take advantage of Catalyst design experience. Older Catalyst models for which Progent offers support include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Line of Switches
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Family Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst Express 500 and 520 line of managed Ethernet switches are designed for businesses with up to 250 employees and deliver the reliability, protection, expandability, and feature set small companies need at an economical price. Power over Ethernet capability makes it simple to add network appliances such as wireless access points and closed-circuit cameras.

Models 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 switch-over for extra dependability. Integration with Cisco access points helps organizations to build a local wireless environment quickly and effectively. The Catalyst Express 500 family offers strong protection against malicious attacks thanks to the Cisco Self-Defending Network technology and Cisco Clean Access agents.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultantsCisco Catalyst 2900 non-modular, managed 10/100 switches offer basic workgroup connectivity for small to medium-size businesses (SMBs). These wire-speed desktop switches deliver Cisco IOS Software features for simple mixed-media traffic services at the edge of the network. The Cisco Catalyst 2940 line of switches are small-footprint, entry-level devices with 8 Fast Ethernet connections and a single built-in Fast or Gbit uplink. The enclosures can be installed away from the wiring cabinet in space-constrained office spaces such as on a worker's desk or in a classroom.

Catalyst 2960-S Series Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches designed for small businesses and branch offices. Current models feature either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10GE uplinks, and provide switching capacity of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature allows four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to perform like one switch that provides 40 Gbps of stacking performance and that cuts administrative expense because of single-switch configuration. Cisco's IPv6 First Hop Security capability protects against address interception and malicious threats.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Family Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches ConsultantsCiscoís Catalyst 3560 family is a selection of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality in 10/100 Ethernet and 10/100/1000 Ethernet implementations. The Catalyst 3560 is a proven access-layer switch for midsize business LAN access or satellite-office environments, combining both 10/100/1000 and Power over Ethernet (PoE) options for high efficiency while streamlining the deployment of key applications such a VoIP, wireless connectivity, video surveillance, and building management systems. IT managers can activate network-wide intelligent services such as quality of service, rate limiting, access control lists, multicast management, and high-performance IP routing with the simplicity of traditional network switching.

The Catalyst 3560 Series switch has a robust array of features that permit network expandability and higher availability through IP routing plus a full suite of Spanning Tree Protocol improvements designed to maximize throughput in an access Layer network. Enhancements to the conventional Spanning Tree Protocol, including Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+), and Port Fast, as well as enhancements like Flex Links Layer 2 interfaces, improve network uptime. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus allows for Data Link Layer traffic sharing on redundant connections to take advantage of the additional capacity associated with a redundant design.

Important protocols including OPSF, EIGRP, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), and static routing improve network scale; PIM helps improve resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) secures network traffic.

Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Catalyst 3750 Series Switches SupportFor midsized organizations and corporate branches, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch facilitates integration of unified applications and accommodates evolving competitive needs by offering configuration flexibility, support for unified network patterns, and automatic set up of smart network services. Also, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch is engineered for high-density 1000 Ethernet environments and includes a wide range of switches that meet the access, distribution, and backbone-interface demands of small or midsized systems.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch has either the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image features include industry-leading quality of service (QoS), rate-limiting, access control lists (ACLs), and simple static and RIP routing support. The IP Services image offers a broader set of enterprise-level features, such as advanced built-in IP unicast and multicast routing.

StackWise technology is a mechanism optimized for 1000 Ethernet. StackWise is designed to react to additions, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent operation. StackWise unites as many as nine separate switches into a single logical device, utilizing special stack-interface cables and software. The individual switches can be any mix of the Catalyst 3750 Series and Cisco's Catalyst 3750-E switches. The stack behaves as an individual switching device that is directed by a control switch, elected from one of the member switches. The master switch automatically creates and updates all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A running stack can accept new members or delete old devices with no service discontinuity.

Ways That Progent Can Help You with Catalyst Series Switches
Progent offers the remote or on-premises services of CCIE-certified consultants who have extensive backgrounds delivering Catalyst switch solutions for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud environments, and service providers. Progent's skills include Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS operating systems. Consulting and support services offered by Progent for Cisco Catalyst Series switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis, network architecture design, migrations and project management, network virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, network management, capacity planning, problem mitigation, disaster recovery and business continuity preparedness, and information security assessment and remediation.

Progent has deep knowledge of industry standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies associated with switching and routing including Border Gateway Protocol, MPLS, PIM, VPNs, ISIS, VLANs, FabricPath, VPC, Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), VRRP, OSPF, Virtual Switching System (VSS), and LISP. Progent's infrastructure experts also offer familiarity with important technologies such as TCP/IP protocols, IPv4/IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol, Routing Information Protocol, and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified information security consultants can show you how to develop a comprehensive security and compliance plan and deploy Catalyst switches so they offer optimal enforcement to your security posture.

If you need ultra high density or extremely low latency switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help your organization to evaluate, plan, and manage a migration to Cisco's Nexus family of switches. To learn about Progent's support services for Nexus Series switches, refer to Cisco Nexus Switch consulting services available from Progent. Progent can also help you to connect Catalyst core switches with Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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To ask Progent about technical support for Cisco products, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.