Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed switches provides speed and intelligence at the access, aggregation, and core areas 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 offer remote and onsite expertise with Catalyst family switches to assist you to plan an efficient network topology that meets your specific business needs, set up pilot testing, deploy Catalyst switches, implement and validate a sensible security and compliance plan, automate network management and monitoring, deliver troubleshooting and support services, maximize switch performance, and set up Catalyst's fault-tolerant solutions to achieve near-zero downtime, Progent can help you to manage and troubleshoot your legacy Catalyst switches or migrate with minimal disruption to up-to-date models of Catalyst switches adhering to leading practices to ensure that you receive the most business value from your investment in your network.

The demand for intelligent, fast switching is the result 0f a combination of fairly new networking trends whose net impact is a cyber tsunami of data traffic:

  • Cloud computing and a consequent reliance on intensive virtualization
  • The proliferation of always-connected mobile devices
  • Bandwidth-intensive rich media applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in analytics

Cloud computing is only financially feasible because of virtualization technology. Virtualized infrastructures radically reduce expenses by allowing aggressively high hardware utilization and demanding minimal data center space and power use. However this also means that comparatively sparse network resources must accommodate substantial amounts of data traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device revolution has caused a dramatic rise in the number of mobile clients that have be handled by IT networks, and these users run a high percentage of bandwidth-intensive, HD video apps. Social business technologies are displacing email as the main driver for collaboration and is generating a growing demand for bandwidth. Businesses who are trying to stay competitive are resorting to Big Data technology to search through vast and varied repositories of corporate data, which as a result generates Big Network Traffic. These trends are relatively new, and put together they create a serious demand for a new class of switches that feature significantly higher capacity, control, uptime and manageability than older platforms were designed to deliver.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution and core layers levels of campus deployments where mobile and stationary workers must be provided for by offering unvarying performance, secure client access management, careful segregation, application intelligence, and wired/wireless convergence. Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the need for performance and intelligence with capabilities that include high-density 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet support, switching performance as high as 11.4 Tbps per switch and double that per system, a powerful catalog of tools including EVN to simplify the deployment of VLANs, Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology for stateful interchassis failover with instant virtual switch recovery and 99.999% availability, IPv4 and IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control to maximize network resource usage, and advanced QoS tools for HD video traffic control.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switches for Organizations of All Sizes

Catalyst switches allow organizations of all sizes to build smart switching and routing features into their network infrastructure, creating an ecosystem that can handle current needs, expand to support expected growth, protect vital data, and differentiate and control processes to optimize network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and 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, power efficient, and includes a variety of mounting alternatives. The device incorporates eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplink ports and has an option for PoE+ power. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-configuration switch packaged in a compact, quiet and energy-efficient unit that can be placed almost anywhere outside a wiring closet. Versions 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 uplink ports are available, and Power over Ethernet is also available.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family includes entry-level fixed-configuration managed switches intended for small offices, retail areas, and other places where space is limited. These low-profile switches have eight to 48 GE ports and either two or four SFP uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless operation for most versions does away with noise. RJ-45 connectors accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

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

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable network access switches 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 single device powered by a single operating system. Cisco has versions with either 24 or 48 built-in 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports with PoE plus, four 1-Gigabit or four 10GE uplinks, and capacity for up to nine switches per stack. All models provide expandable Quality of Service, fast failover for maximum availability, software support for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and advanced security features.

Because wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 family switch, administrators can spot and prioritize wireless traffic with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology and advanced QoS capabilities for an improved user experience and quicker problem isolation. Fast Ethernet switching supports the high-throughput defined by the new 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless standard using existing cabling solutions. (For information about Progent's support for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet wireless technology, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs, refer to Configuration and Troubleshooting Support for Cisco Wireless Products.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch delivers stacking throughput as high as 160 Gbps and supports as many as 25 wireless APs and 1000 Wi-Fi users on each switch or stack. The Catalyst 3850 Series switch offers stacking throughput of 480 Gbps and supports as many as 50 wireless APs and 2000 wireless users on each switch. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches have 12 or 24 1G fiber data ports at line rate, offering long distance connectivity, advanced protection, and a consistent wired and wireless user experience.

Catalyst 4500-E Series and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus and distribution environments where space for networking hardware is limited. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE control software, the 4500-E and 4500-X families simplify virtualization thanks to Cisco's Easy Virtual Network and Virtual Switching System (VSS) solutions. Virtualization allows you to divide a hardware network into multiple virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically separate. This provides the high resource utilization, protection, recoverability, and simplified management needed for Cloud computing or other scenarios where a single infrastructure must be used by applications and services that need to run in total isolation from each other. EVN simplifies the task of deploying VNs and scales to 32 VNs per switch. EVN incorporates features of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding and includes additional features including VNET Tags and an easy way for duplicating replicating routes connecting VNs. VSS technology makes it possible to configure Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series platforms to produce zero-downtime virtual networks with optimized traffic load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500E Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesThe Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E switch has a built-in wireless network controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired/wireless convergence. this is the first Cisco Catalyst supervisor to allow wired plus wireless services on one switch powered by IOS XE. Features included are Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology for capacity planning across wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired/wireless security, consistent Quality of Service for wired and wireless clients, and the extension of NSF/SSO to cover Wi-Fi traffic for enterprise-class availability.

Offered in chassis with from three to 10 slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches can handle as many as 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, up to 192 1GE fiber fiber connections, 96 10GE fiber connections, and eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. Cisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired access per system and as much as 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 wireless APs and 2000 wireless users can be supported per switch, and 250 APs and 4000 wireless clients can be supported in a two-switch installation without a separate wireless network controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed-configuration 10GE aggregation switches that can deliver 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per chassis. The Catalyst 4500-X switch supports as many as 32 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections on the unit's baseboard and eight additional 10GE ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of up to 40 non-blocking 10GE connections. Eight 10GE uplink ports are also available via a separate module. In addition to offering zero-downtime operation and simple management, Cisco's VSS solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches offers higher system performance of as much as 1.6 Tbps by activating all available capacity across VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Additional features include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for traffic analysis, Cisco TrustSec security, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 switches are enterprise campus core platforms that share the proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 line of switches, which were introduced over a decade ago and have been continually improved ever since. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches offer identical features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL supports the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and its portfolio of line cards and modules. This cross compatibility and program of ongoing enhancement preserves your IT investment and allows you to update your network backbone with little business disruption or IT team re-education.

Shared attributes of Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches that have the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine for simple, centralized administration to put in place consistent policy across a distributed environment, VSS Quad Sup SSO (VS4O) capability for maximum availability via multi-level redundancy, and the Cisco Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to support client roaming and device mobility and to streamline virtualization and transition to IPv6. Additional virtual networking tools to partition specific user groups and support the unique security/compliance and QoS policy requirements of every group include L2/L3 VPN, complete MPLS, Easy Virtual Network (EVN), VPN Routing and Forwarding-aware applications for Network Address Translation NetFlow, GRE for v4/v6, and Layer 2 extensions with VPLS. For unified wired/wireless networking, the Wireless Services Module 2 controller Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches includes support for as many as 1000 wireless APs and 15,000 wireless users.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Catalyst 6500 Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Catalyst 6500-E Series of modular switches are intended for aggregation and enterprise backbone networks that require maximum uptime and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, and/or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Available versions have three to 13 slots and work with a broad selection of interface modules. Integrated service modules support wireless, network analysis, and data protection. Just E-Series models of Cisco's broad family of 6500 switches work with the Supervisor Engine 2T.

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

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

Catalyst 6800 Switches
Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco's Catalyst 6800 Series switches are programmable backbone switches designed to deliver optimal 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, compact device for Ethernet aggregation designed for small or midsize campus cores. The 6880-X switch supports as much as 2 Tbps switching throughput and features four slots for port cards. The maximum port concentration per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or as many as 20 40GE ports. Configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System, these switches can provide 4 Tbps switching throughput and handle up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or as many as 20 40GE ports.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10-rack-unit form factor chassis that has 7 slots and supports existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and modules. (Two slots are for the Supervisor Engine and the other five are for modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL can deliver as much as 880 Gbps of switching performance on each slot and 11.4 Tbps of switching performance while providing up to 240 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports or Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. an 6807-XL system with VSS is capable of supporting 22.8 Tbps of switching capacity, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber connections, 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

Legacy Catalyst Switches Still Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco certified consultants have extensive experience providing online and on-premises consulting and troubleshooting expertise for legacy Catalyst Series switches which have reached End of Life (EOL). These legacy Catalyst switches typically cost more to manage and support than contemporary switches, deliver less performance and fewer features, and in many cases can expose businesses to regulatory compliance and liability issues. Progent can help you to support and repair these legacy Cisco products and can also help you to plan and carry out seamless migrations to newer models within the Catalyst family or to solutions from the Cisco Nexus portfolio of switches which build upon Catalyst technology. Older Cisco Catalyst models for which Progent offers support include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Line
Catalyst Express 500 Series Switches SupportCisco's Catalyst Express 500 line of Layer 2 switches are designed for businesses with as many as 250 workers and provide the reliability, protection, expandability, and features small companies need at an affordable cost. PoE support makes it simple to install network devices such as wireless access points and IP TV cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 and 520 managed switches support from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T ports plus the option of redundant power with automatic switch-over for additional dependability. Interoperation with Cisco wireless access points helps organizations to build a local wireless environment rapidly and easily. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 platform offers solid protection against malicious attacks thanks to Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and Cisco Clean Access solutions.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Series Switches Professional ServicesCatalyst 2900 Series non-modular, managed 10/100 switches provide fundamental workgroup networking for small to midsize companies. These wire-speed desktop appliances offer IOS Software functions for basic data, video, and voice control at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 Series managed switches are compact, entry-level switches with 8 Ethernet connections plus one built-in Fast or Gbit uplink. They can be deployed outside the wiring cabinet in cramped locations like on a worker's desk or in a conference room.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches intended for small companies and branch offices. Current models feature either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10GE uplink connections, and provide throughput of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology permits up to four Catalyst 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a stack to act as one switch that provides 40 Gbps of stacking throughput and that reduces management costs with single-switch setup. Cisco's IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) technology protects networks against IPv6 address interception and malicious attacks.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3560 Family Switches Consulting FirmThe Catalyst 3560 family is a line of fixed-configuration switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet capability in Fast Ethernet and Gigabit configurations. The Catalyst 3560 is an ideal access-layer switch for midsize business network access or local-offices, combining both 10/100/1000 and Power over Ethernet (PoE) options for high efficiency while facilitating the deployment of key technology such a VoIP, wireless access, video monitoring, and building management systems. Customers can deploy comprehensive smart features including quality of service, rate management, ACLs, multicast administration, and high-performance IP routing with the ease of conventional LAN switching.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series has a robust set of capabilities that allow for network expandability and higher availability through IP routing as well as a full complement of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) improvements aimed to maximize availability in an access Layer LAN. Enhancements to the standard STP Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, and Uplink Fast, as well as innovations such as Flex Links interfaces, contribute to network uptime. PVST+ supports Layer 2 traffic sharing on redundant links to efficiently use the additional bandwidth inherent in a redundant architecture.

Important routing protocols including Open Shortest Path First, EIGRP, Border Gateway Protocol, and Policy Based Routing improve system scale; Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) helps improve the efficiency of system resource use; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite secures data.

Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Cisco 3750 Family Switches Consulting FirmFor midsized organizations and enterprise branches, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch eases deployment of unified applications and adapts to evolving business needs by providing setup flexibility, ability to manage converged network patterns, and automatic configuration of smart system services. Also, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series switch is engineered for high-volume Gigabit environments and incorporates a diverse selection of switches that address the connectivity, distribution, and backbone-interface requirements of small or midsized deployments.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch has the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image features include advanced QoS, rate-limiting, ACLs, and basic static and Routing Information Protocol routing capability. The IP Services image offers a richer selection of enterprise-class features, including advanced built-in IP unicast/multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is an architecture designed for Gigabit Ethernet. StackWise is intended to respond to installs, deletions, and relocations while providing dependable operation. Cisco StackWise unites as many as 9 individual switches into a single logical device, using custom stack-interface cables and stacking software. Each of the switches can be any combination of the Catalyst 3750 switches and the Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack behaves as an individual switching unit that is managed by a control switch, selected from among the stack of switches. The master switch intelligently builds and keeps current all the switching and optional routing tables. A working stack can accept new members or remove existing members without operational discontinuity.

Ways That Progent Can Help You with Cisco Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the online or on-premises expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified network consultants who have extensive backgrounds delivering Catalyst switch solutions for small and medium sized businesses, branches, enterprises, data centers, Cloud networks, and service providers. Progent's practice areas include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus families of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS control software. Services available from Progent's experts for Cisco Catalyst switches include proof-of-concept testing and validation, network analysis and monitoring, network architecture design, upgrades and project management, virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, network management, capacity planning, troubleshooting, disaster recovery and business continuity preparedness, and network security testing and remediation.

Progent offers broad expertise with industry standards and with Cisco-owned protocols related to switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, STP, virtual LANs, Cisco FabricPath, VPC, Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), VRRP, OSPF, VSS, and LISP. Progent's infrastructure specialists also offer familiarity with crucial technologies such as TCP/IP, IPv4/IPv6, EIGRP, Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified network security consultants can assist you to create an enterprise-wide security plan and implement Cisco Catalyst switches so that they offer maximum support for your network security posture.

In case you need the highest available density or extremely low latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can help you to analyze, design, and carry out a transition to Cisco's Nexus switches. To learn about Progent's support capabilities for Cisco's Nexus Series switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting and support services. Progent can also help you to integrate Catalyst core switches with Cisco Meraki aggregation switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

For additional details about Progent's engineering assistance for Cisco solutions, select a topic:

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