Cisco's Catalyst family of modular and fixed managed switches offers speed and intelligence at the access, aggregation, and backbone levels of converged voice, HD video, and high bandwidth data networks for organizations that range from small businesses and branches to multi-campus enterprises and SPs. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and on-premises expertise with Catalyst family switches to assist your organization to plan a cost-effective network architecture that addresses your specific business requirements, set up proof-of-concept testing, install Catalyst switches, implement and verify a sound security and compliance strategy, automate network management and performance tracking, deliver repair and support services, optimize switch performance, and configure Catalyst's high-availability (HA) technology for near-zero downtime, Progent can help you to manage and repair your older Catalyst switches or upgrade efficiently to current versions of Catalyst switches adhering to industry best practices to ensure that you receive the maximum business value from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The need for smart, high-performance switching is driven by a combination of fairly recent networking patterns whose net impact is a virtual tsunami of traffic:

  • Cloud computing and a consequent reliance on massive virtualization
  • The proliferation of BYOD computing
  • Bandwidth-intensive HD video apps
  • Social media for business
  • The popularity of Big Data in enterprise analytics

Cloud computing is only financially feasible because of virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized infrastructures radically reduce expenses by permitting aggressively high hardware utilization and demanding minimal real estate and energy consumption. However this also means that relatively sparse network resources have to support large volumes of traffic. The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) paradigm has resulted in a steep increase in the amount of mobile users that have be supported by IT networks, and these users run a high percentage of data-intensive, rich media applications. Social media for business is displacing email as the main enabler of workforce collaboration and is producing an ever increasing requirement for bandwidth. Businesses who want to stay competitive are resorting to Big Data technology to mine vast and varied silos of corporate data, which in turn produces Big Network Traffic. These computing trends are relatively new, and put together they cause a serious need for an advanced class of switches that feature much higher capacity, control, uptime and manageability than previous platforms were designed to provide.

Cisco's current lineup of Catalyst switches are best suited for the distribution/core levels of enterprise campus environments where mobile and stationary workers must be provided for by offering unvarying high speed, secure client access management, careful group isolation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Cisco's Catalyst switches address the need for performance and intelligence with capabilities such as high-density 10, 40, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services, switching capacity as high as 11 Tbps per switch and twice that for each system, a comprehensive catalog of technologies such as EVN to simplify the deployment of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology for stateful interchassis failover with instant virtual switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) uptime, IPv6 support, Application Visibility and Control to optimize system resource usage, and sophisticated Quality of Service (QoS) tools for HD video data control.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Consulting Firm

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switching Solutions for Organizations of All Sizes

Catalyst switches allow organizations of all sizes to build smart switching features into their network infrastructure, deploying an environment that can handle real-time needs, expand to accommodate future growth, protect vital data, and separate and manage processes to optimize network operations.

Catalyst 2960 Swiches and 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port switch that is low-profile, fanless, low power, and allows flexible mounting alternatives. The device has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two 1-GE uplink ports and optionally provides Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX is a fixed-port managed switch packaged in a sleek, quiet and low-power enclosure that can be mounted almost anywhere convenient. Versions are available with eight or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 1-GE ports plus two multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplinks are offered, and PoE+ power is also an option.

Cisco Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line consists of entry-level fixed-configuration switches intended for small offices, retail venues, and other environments where space is at a premium. These low-profile appliances include eight to 48 GE ports and 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless design for 16- and 24-port models eliminates noise. RJ-45 connectors handle 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series switches enhance the 2690-S family of switches by offering switching performance of 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus stacking technology via a live-swappable module that can combine 8 Catalyst switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking throughput. Cisco Catalyst 2900 family switches also support NetFlow-Lite for flow-based traffic monitoring. The Catalyst 2960-XR switch is capable of L3 dynamic routing, offering the convenience of having a single device for Layer 2 and Layer 3 routing.

Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Switches ConsultantsCisco Catalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed, stackable access devices powered by Cisco's IOS XE operating system and featuring full wireless controller capability that allows you to control wired and wireless networks on a one platform powered by one OS. Cisco offers versions with either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports with Power over Ethernet plus, four 1GE or four 10-Gigabit uplink connections, and capacity for up to 9 Catalyst switches in a FlexStack stack. All models offer expandable Quality of Service, fast failover for maximum availability, software support for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast, and enhanced security features.

Because wireless traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, it is possible to identify and assign priorities to wireless traffic with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow (FNF) solution and sophisticated Quality of Service features for a better wireless user experience and quicker problem mediation. Fast Ethernet switching supports the high-throughput called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless specification on currently in-place cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's consulting and support services for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet Wi-Fi technology, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed APs, visit Planning and Deployment Support for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

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

Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E and and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are intended for campus and distribution environments where physical space for infrastructure hardware is limited. Powered by Cisco's IOS XE software, the Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X product lines facilitate network virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and VSS technologies. Virtualization allows you to segment a physical network into a number of virtual networks whose data and control planes are logically separate. This makes possible the high resource utilization, protection, resilience, and ease of management required for Cloud environments or other scenarios where a single resource pool must be shared by software and services that need to run in complete privacy from each other. EVN streamlines the task of creating VNs and can be expanded to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates features of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and adds new features such as VNET Trunks and an easy technique for duplicating replicating routes between virtual networks. VSS makes it easy to set up Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series platforms to create zero-downtime virtual networks with optimized traffic load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Switches
Catalyst 4500E Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E switch includes a built-in wireless network controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access solution for wired and wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the first Catalyst supervisor to support wired plus wireless services on a single platform based on Cisco's IOS XE. Features included are Cisco's FNF solution for traffic analytics encompassing wired and wireless networks, TrustSec wired/wireless data security, consistent Quality of Service for wired and wireless networks, plus the expansion of NSF/SSO to include wireless data traffic for world-class high availability.

Offered in chassis that have from three to 10 slots, Cisco Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can handle up to 384 1-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, 193 Gigabit Ethernet non-blocking fiber connections, 96 10GE fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplinks. Cisco's Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers as much as 928 Gbps of wired capacity per system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination capacity. 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 Wi-Fi clients can be handled on each switch, and 250 wireless access points and 4000 wireless users can be supported in a two-switch deployment without requiring a separate wireless controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Consulting FirmCisco's Catalyst 4500-X switches are fixed 10GE aggregation platforms that provide 800 Gbps of core switching capacity per device. The Catalyst 4500-X switch can have up to 32 10GE connections on the unit's baseboard and eight extra 10GE ports on the optional expansion module for a total of 40 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplinks are available via another module. In addition to offering zero-downtime performance and simple manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system technology on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches provides higher system throughput of as much as 1.6 Tbps by enabling all possible bandwidth across VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other advanced features include Cisco's FNF technology for application visibility, Cisco TrustSec security, and wire-rate IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series switches are campus backbone platforms that incorporate the proven technology of the Catalyst 6500 family of switches, which were introduced over a dozen years ago and which have been continually improved since then. Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches offer identical general features and operational consistency, and the modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch accepts the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and the associated family of compatible line cards and modules. This backwards compatibility and commitment to continual enhancement preserves your technology investment and allows you to update your network backbone with minimal downtime or IT staff training.

Shared features of Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches that have Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE) for simple, single-point administration to put in place unvarying policy across a distributed environment, Virtual Switching System technology for maximum uptime via multi-level redundancy, and Cisco's Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol to facilitate roaming and device mobility and to streamline virtualization and migration to IPv6. Other virtualization features to partition specific user groups and support the special security and QoS policy needs of every group include Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN, complete Multiprotocol Label Switching , Easy Virtual Network, VRF-aware technology for NAT NetFlow, IPv6 over IPv4 GRE Tunnel Protection, and L2 geographic extensions with virtual private LAN services. For converged wired/wireless networking, the Wireless Services Module 2 (WiSM2) controller Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches can manage as many as 1000 wireless access points and 15,000 wireless users.

Catalyst 6500-E Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Series Switches ConsultantsThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series of modular switches are intended for distribution and campus core environments that require world-class uptime and high densities of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 Gigabit Ethernet fiber, and/or 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Available versions have three to 13 expansion slots and accept a wide selection of interfaces. Integrated service modules enable wireless, traffic monitoring, and security. Just E-Series models of Cisco's extensive line of Catalyst 6500 switches accept Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The value-priced Cisco Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4 rack unit chassis, includes 3 expansion slots, and offers up to 180 Gbps of switching capacity per slot. The Catalyst 6503-E switch can support up to 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 99 1GE fiber ports, 34 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 8 40-Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The top-of-the-line Catalyst 6513-E switch has a 19RU, 13-slot form factor and offers up to 180 Gbps of throughput on each slot, with a total system bandwidth of up to 4 Tbps. A VSS configuration can support 8 Tbps of throughout. The Cisco Catalyst 6513-E Series switch supports up to 529 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 534 Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 180 10GE access ports, and 44 40GE connections.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 6800 switches are campus core switches designed to deliver best-of-breed 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet services. The Cisco Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed, compact device for high-density Ethernet designed for small or medium-size enterprise campus backbones. The Catalyst 6880-X switch delivers up to 2 Tbps switching throughput and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The maximum port concentration per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 10GE ports or as many as 20 40GE connections. With VSS, these switches can deliver 4 Tbps switching capacity and handle up to 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10GE ports or up to 20 40GE ports.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10 RU form factor chassis with 7 slots and accepts standard Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and modules. (Two of the slots are for the Supervisor Engine and the other five are for modules.) The Catalyst 6807-XL switch can deliver as much as 880 Gbps of switching capacity on each slot and 11.4 Tbps of switching capacity while supporting up to 240 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports or 1GE fiber connections, up to 80 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or up to 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 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber connections, 160 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports.

End-of-Life Catalyst Models Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco certified network consultants have extensive experience delivering remote and onsite consulting and troubleshooting services for legacy Catalyst Series switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life or End of Support. These legacy Catalyst switches usually are more expensive to manage and support than contemporary products, deliver lower capacity and fewer features, and for some situations may expose businesses to regulatory and even liability issues. Progent can assist your business to support and troubleshoot these older Cisco products and can in addition assist you to design and carry out seamless migrations to current models within the Catalyst line or to solutions from Cisco's Nexus line of network switches which build upon Catalyst design experience. Older Catalyst switches for which support is available from Progent include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series Switches Professional ServicesCisco's Catalyst Express 500 line of managed Ethernet switches are designed for organizations with up to 250 workers and deliver the reliability, security, expandability, and features small companies require at an affordable price. PoE capability makes it easy to add network devices such as wireless access points and IP cameras.

Versions of the Catalyst Express 500 managed switches support up to 24 10/100/1000BT Ethernet ports plus the option of redundant power supplies with automatic fail-over for additional reliability. Interoperation with Cisco wireless access points helps organizations to build a local wireless environment rapidly and easily. The Catalyst Express 500 family provides solid security against viruses thanks to the Cisco Self-Defending Network strategy and Clean Access agents.

Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCatalyst 2900 Series non-modular, managed 10/100 Ethernet switches offer basic workgroup connectivity for small to medium-size businesses (SMBs). These wire-rate desktop appliances deliver IOS Software features for simple mixed-media traffic services at the edge of the network. The Catalyst 2940 family of switches are small, entry-level devices featuring eight Fast Ethernet connections plus a single integrated Fast or Gigabit Ethernet uplink. The enclosures can be deployed outside the wiring cabinet in cramped office spaces such as on or under a worker's desk or in a classroom.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches intended for small businesses and branches. Current models feature either 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10GE uplink ports, and deliver switching capacity of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack feature allows up to four 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a FlexStack stack to act like one switch that offers 40 Gbps of stacking throughput and that cuts administrative costs because of one-switch setup. IPv6 First Hop Security (FHS) capability guards networks against IPv6 address interception and malicious attacks.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Cisco 3560 Family Switches SupportCiscoís Catalyst 3560 Series is a line of non-modular switches that features IEEE 802.3af and Power over Ethernet functionality in 10/100 and 10/100/1000 implementations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 is a proven Layer 2 switch for small enterprise network access or branch-office environments, offering both 10/100/1000 and PoE configurations for high efficiency while streamlining the deployment of vital technology such a IP telephony, wireless connectivity, video surveillance, and remote video kiosks. IT managers can deploy comprehensive intelligent features such as quality of service (QoS), rate limiting, access control lists, multicast management, and fast IP routing with the ease of traditional network switching.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series is equipped with a powerful array of capabilities that permit network scalability and higher availability through IP routing plus a full suite of Spanning Tree Protocol enhancements designed to increase availability in an access Layer network. Enhancements to the standard Spanning Tree Protocol, such as PVST+, and Port Fast, as well as innovations such as Flex Links Layer 2 interfaces, improve network uptime. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) allows for Layer 2 traffic sharing on backup links to exploit the extra bandwidth associated with a redundant architecture.

Important routing mechanisms including Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Border Gateway Protocol, static routing, and Policy Based Routing increase network scale; Protocol Independent Multicast improves utilization of network resources; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) protects data.

Catalyst 3750 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches HelpFor midsized businesses and enterprise branches, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch facilitates integration of unified applications and adapts to changing business needs by providing configuration versatility, support for converged network traffic, and management-free set up of smart system services. Also, Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch is designed for high-density Gigabit environments and incorporates a wide range of switches that meet the access, distribution, and backbone-connectivity requirements of small or mid-size deployments.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 switch includes the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image features include industry-leading QoS, rate-limiting, ACLs, and simple static and Routing Information Protocol (RIP) routing capability. The IP Services image provides a broader set of high-end features, such as advanced built-in IP unicast and multicast routing.

Cisco StackWise technology is a stacking architecture designed for Gigabit Ethernet. Cisco StackWise is designed to respond to additions, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining consistent performance. StackWise combines as many as nine individual switches into a single functional unit, utilizing special stack-interface cables and utilities. Each of the switches can be any mix of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switches and Cisco's Catalyst 3750-E Series switches. The stack behaves as a single switching device that is managed by a master switch, elected from one of the stack of switches. The control switch automatically creates and updates all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A running stack can accept new members or remove old members without service interruption.

Ways That Progent Can Help You with Catalyst Switches
Progent offers the remote or onsite support services of CCIE-certified consultants who have broad experience delivering Catalyst switch technology support for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and service providers. Progent's areas of expertise include Catalyst and Nexus lines of managed switches and with Cisco's IOS, IOS-XR and NX-OS operating systems. Support services available from Progent's experts for Catalyst switches include pilot testing and validation, network analysis and monitoring, topology design, migrations and project management, network virtualization, wired and wireless unification, management automation, capacity planning, troubleshooting, business continuity preparedness, and information security testing and validation.

Progent offers deep knowledge of open standards as well as with Cisco-owned protocols and technologies associated with switching and routing including Border Gateway Protocol, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, VLANs, Cisco FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP), VRRP, OSPF, Virtual Switching System (VSS), and LISP. Progent's network specialists also offer experience with key technologies including TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, EIGRP, Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and Internet Group Management Protocol. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified network security consultants can show you how to develop a comprehensive security and compliance strategy and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so they offer maximum support for your network security policies.

In case you require the highest available density or sub-microsecond latency switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can help you to analyze, design, and implement a transition to Cisco's Nexus family of switches. To find out about Progent's support capabilities for Nexus Series switches, refer to Cisco Nexus Switch configuration and support services. Progent can also assist you to connect Catalyst data center switches with Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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