Cisco's Catalyst line of modular and fixed-configuration managed switches provides speed and control at the access, distribution, and core areas of converged voice, video, and high bandwidth data networks for businesses that range from small businesses and branch offices to multi-campus enterprises and SPs. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants offer online and on-premises expertise with Catalyst family switches to assist you to design an efficient network topology that addresses your specific business requirements, set up pilot testing systems, deploy Catalyst switches, implement and verify a sensible security plan, automate network management and monitoring, provide troubleshooting and support services, maximize switch performance, and configure Catalyst's fault-tolerant solutions to achieve near-zero downtime, Progent can assist you to manage and troubleshoot your older Catalyst switches or upgrade efficiently to up-to-date models of Catalyst switches following leading practices to ensure that you realize the most business value from your investment in your IT infrastructure.

The need for smart, high-performance switching is driven by a combination of relatively new computing trends whose net impact is a virtual tsunami of traffic:

  • Cloud computing and an associated demand for massive virtualization
  • The pervasiveness of BYOD computing
  • Bandwidth-intensive HD video applications
  • Social business technologies
  • The popularity of Big Data in enterprise analytics

Cloud computing is only operationally realistic because of virtualization on a massive scale. Virtualized data centers slash expenses by allowing very high resource utilization and demanding minimal real estate and power consumption. However this also requires that comparatively limited resources have to accommodate substantial volumes of traffic. The BYOD paradigm has resulted in a steep increase in the number of mobile clients that have be handled by IT networks, and these users tend to run a great deal of data-intensive, rich media apps. Social business technologies are replacing email as the primary driver for collaboration and is producing a growing thirst for bandwidth. Businesses who want to stay competitive are adopting Big Data technology to mine vast and varied repositories of information, which as a result generates Big Traffic. These computing trends are relatively recent, and put together they create a serious need for an advanced class of switches that feature significantly higher capacity, intelligence, uptime and ease of management than older solutions were built to provide.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution and core layers layers of campus deployments where office employees must be accommodated by providing dependable high throughput, strict client access control, tight segregation, application awareness, and wired/wireless convergence. Catalyst series switches are designed to meet the need for speed and control with features that include high-port-count 10G/40G/100G support, switching performance as high as 11.4 Tbps for each switch and double that for each system, an extensive collection of tools including Easy Virtual Network to simplify the deployment of VLANs, VSS technology for stateful interchassis failover with subsecond backup switch restoration and "five nines" (99.999%) availability, IPv4 and IPv6 capability, Application Visibility and Control to optimize network utilization, and sophisticated Quality of Service capabilities for HD video data control.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Consulting and Troubleshooting

Cisco Has Developed Catalyst Switching Solutions for Businesses of All Sizes

Cisco Catalyst switches enable businesses of any size to benefit from incorporating intelligent switching and routing services into their network architecture, creating an environment that can meet real-time requirements, expand to support future growth, guard vital data, and separate and manage tasks to optimize network productivity.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Series Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-configuration switch that is low-profile, fanless, power efficient, and allows flexible mounting options. The device incorporates eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports and optionally provides PoE+ power. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-configuration switch packaged in a compact, noiseless and low-power enclosure that can be placed almost anywhere convenient. Versions are available with eight or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with six 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports plus two multigigabit Ethernet ports. Two or four uplinks are offered, and PoE+ power is also available.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L family consists of value-priced fixed-configuration managed switches targeted for branch offices, retail venues, and other environments where space is at a premium. These compact switches have eight to 48 GE ports and 2 or 4 Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) uplink ports. Power over Ethernet support reduces clutter and fanless operation for most versions eliminates noise. RJ-45 connectors accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-ports.

Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series switches improve on the 2690-S family of switches by offering switching capacity of up to 216 Gbps and supporting Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking by means of a live-swappable module that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a stack with 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Cisco Catalyst 2900 family switches also support NetFlow-Lite for application visibility and control. The Catalyst 2960-XR Series switch features L3 dynamic routing, providing the simplicity of using a single device for L2 and L3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and Catalyst 3850 Series Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 switches are fixed-configuration, stackable access switches based on Cisco's IOS XE operating system and incorporating full wireless network controller functionality that allows you to control wired and wireless infrastructure on a single device powered by a single operating system. Cisco offers versions with 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet connections with PoE plus, four 1-Gigabit or four 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and support for as many as 9 Catalyst switches in a FlexStack stack. All models offer expandable Quality of Service, stateful failover for maximum availability, software support for IPv4 and IPv6 routing, multicast routing, and enhanced security features.

Since wireless data traffic is visible at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, administrators can identify and prioritize wireless data with Cisco's FNF technology along with advanced QoS features for an improved user experience and faster problem isolation. Fast Ethernet switching can handle the high-throughput called for by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard using existing cabling infrastructure. (For information about Progent's support for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet Wi-Fi access points and wireless controllers, and Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi access points, refer to Configuration and Troubleshooting Support for Cisco Wireless Access Points and Controllers.)

The Cisco Catalyst 3650 switch delivers stacking bandwidth of up to 160 Gbps and can control up to 25 Wi-Fi APs and 1000 Wi-Fi clients per stack. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series switch offers stacking throughput as high as 480 Gbps and supports as many as 50 wireless APs and 2000 Wi-Fi clients on each switch or stack. Cisco Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber data ports at line rate on every port, providing far reaching connections, advanced security, and a consistent wired and wireless experience.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-E Series and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E and and Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus and distribution deployments where space for infrastructure equipment is limited. Running Cisco's IOS XE control software, the 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X product lines simplify network virtualization by supporting Cisco's EVN and VSS technologies. Network virtualization makes it possible to segment a hardware network into a number of virtual networks (VNs) whose data and control planes are logically distinct. This makes possible the high resource utilization, protection, resilience, and manageability required for Cloud computing or other situations where a common resource pool must be shared by applications and services that must run in complete isolation from each other. EVN simplifies the process of creating virtual networks and can be expanded to 32 VNs per switch. Easy Virtual Network utilizes the capabilities of Multi-VRF and includes additional technologies such as VNET Trunks and an easy way for duplicating replicating routes connecting virtual networks. VSS technology makes it easy to configure Catalyst 4500-E and 4500-X Series switches to create zero-downtime VNs with optimized traffic load balancing.

Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series Switches
Catalyst 4500E Family Switches ConsultantsThe Supervisor Engine for for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch has an integrated wireless network controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired/wireless convergence. this is the initial Catalyst supervisor engine to support wired as well as wireless services on a single platform powered by IOS XE software. Technologies included are Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology for application visibility encompassing wired and Wi-Fi networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired/wireless security, consistent Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi networks, plus the extension of Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover to cover Wi-Fi data traffic for world-quality high availability.

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

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Switches
Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches Planning and Support ServicesCisco's Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation platforms that can provide as much as 800 Gbps of backplane switching performance per device. The Catalyst 4500-X can have as many as 32 10GE connections on the baseboard and eight extra 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports on the optional expansion module for a maximum of 40 non-blocking 10GE connections. Eight 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports can be added with a separate module. In addition to providing zero-downtime performance and simple management, Cisco's VSS solution on Catalyst 4500-X switches provides increased system throughput of up to 1.6 Tbps by enabling all available bandwidth across redundant Catalyst 4500-X Series switches. Other features include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution for application visibility, Cisco TrustSec protection, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches are campus core platforms that incorporate the proven DNA of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of switches, which first appeared over a dozen years ago and which have been continually improved ever since. Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches offer the same features and operation, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch accepts the Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and its family of line cards and modules. This backwards compatibility and commitment to continual improvement preserves your technology investment and enables you to update your network backbone with minimal service interruption or management team retraining.

Common features of Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for convenient, centralized control to put in place unvarying policy throughout a distributed network, VSS technology for 99.999% availability through multi-level failover, and the Cisco Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to facilitate roaming and device mobility and to simplify network virtualization and transition to IPv6. Other virtual networking tools to segment specific user groups and support the unique security/compliance and QoS policy requirements of each group include L2/L3 VPN, full 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 virtual private LAN services. For converged wired/wireless environments, the Wireless Services Module 2 (WiSM2) for Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches includes support for as many as 1000 APs and 15,000 wireless users.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E family of modular switches are designed for distribution and enterprise backbone environments that require world-class uptime and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, or 10 and 40 GE ports. Available versions come with three to 13 slots and accept a broad selection of modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless management, traffic monitoring, and data protection. Just E-Series versions of Cisco's extensive line of Catalyst 6500 switches accept Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The Cisco Catalyst 6503-E has a 4 rack unit (4RU) form factor, holds 3 expansion slots, and delivers 180 Gbps of switching throughput per slot. The Cisco Catalyst 6503-E switch can support 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports, up to 99 1GE fiber access ports, 34 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and up to 8 40GE access ports.

The high-end Catalyst 6513-E has a 19 rack unit, 13-slot chassis and can deliver up to 180 Gbps of throughput on each slot, with a total system capacity of up to 4 Tbps. A Virtual Switching System configuration can handle 8 Tbps of capacity. The Cisco Catalyst 6513-E switch offers a maximum of 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections, up to 534 1GE fiber ports, 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports, and 44 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Consulting FirmCatalyst 6800 switches are campus core platforms intended to provide best-of-breed 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet services. The Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, small form factor device for Ethernet aggregation intended for small or medium-size campus backbones. The Catalyst 6880-X supports up to 2 Tbps switching throughput and has four slots for plug-in port cards. The top port concentration per chassis is 80 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports or as many as 20 40GE access ports. Configured with VSS, a two-chassis system can provide 4 Tbps capacity and support up to 158 1 Gigabit Ethernet access ports or 10GE access ports or up to 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

The modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch has a 10-rack-unit form factor chassis that has 7 slots and supports existing Supervisor Engine 2T line cards and service modules. (Two of the slots are for the Supervisor Engine and five are for expansion modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL offers up to 880 Gbps of switching performance per slot and 11.4 Tbps of full-duplex switching performance while supporting up to 240 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 1GE fiber connections, 80 10GE access ports or 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet access ports. A two-chassis 6807-XL system with VSS can support 22.8 Tbps of switching capacity, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 160 10GE access ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

End-of-Life Catalyst Series Switches Still Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco certified network consultants have extensive experience providing remote and on-premises consulting and troubleshooting services for early-generation Catalyst Series switches for which Cisco has announced End of Life (EOL). These legacy Catalyst switches usually cost more to operate and maintain than contemporary models, provide less performance and functionality, and in many cases can expose businesses to regulatory compliance and even liability risks. Progent's consultants can help your business to maintain and troubleshoot these legacy Cisco products and can also assist you to design and execute non-disruptive migrations to current models within the Catalyst line or to solutions from Cisco's Nexus portfolio of switches which take advantage of Catalyst technology. Older Catalyst models for which support is available from Progent include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Line of Switches
Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Series Switches ConsultantsThe Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family of managed Ethernet switches are intended for businesses with as many as 250 employees and deliver the reliability, security, expandability, and feature set small and mid-sized businesses require at an economical cost. PoE support makes it easy to add network devices like wireless access points and IP TV cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 managed switches offer from 8 to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports as well as the option of redundant power with auto fail-over for additional dependability. Integration with Cisco wireless access points allows organizations to set up a wireless LAN environment quickly and effectively. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 family provides solid protection against malicious attacks thanks to Cisco's Self-Defending Network technology and Cisco Clean Access solutions.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series Switches SupportCisco Catalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed 10/100 switches provide basic workgroup networking for small to medium-sized companies. These wire-speed desktop switches deliver IOS Software features for basic data, video, and voice services at the edge of the network. The Cisco 2940 Series switches are small-footprint, entry-level switches featuring 8 Fast Ethernet connections plus one built-in Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet uplink. They can be installed outside the wiring cabinet in space-constrained areas such as on or under a worker's desk or in a conference room.

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 1Gb Ethernet ports, four 1GE or two 10GE uplink connections, and provide throughput of up to 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology allows up to four Catalyst 2960-S switches to be grouped in a stack to act like a single switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking performance and that reduces administrative expense with single-switch setup. Cisco's IPv6 FHS capability guards against address interception and malicious threats.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 Family Switches
Catalyst 3560 Series Switches ConsultantsThe Catalyst 3560 family is a selection of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Cisco PoE functionality in Fast Ethernet and Gigabit configurations. The Cisco Catalyst 3560 is an ideal Layer 2 switch for midsize business LAN connectivity or satellite-offices, offering both Gigabit and Power over Ethernet options for high efficiency while facilitating the installation of key technology including VoIP, Wi-Fi, video surveillance, and remote video kiosks. Customers can deploy comprehensive smart services such as quality of service, rate limiting, ACLs, multicast administration, and high-performance IP routing with the ease of traditional network switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series offers a powerful array of capabilities that permit network scalability and enhanced availability via IP routing plus a complete complement of Spanning Tree Protocol improvements designed to maximize availability in an access Layer network. Improvements to the standard STP Protocol, such as Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus, Uplink Fast, and Port Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links interfaces, contribute to network uptime. Per-VLAN Spanning Tree Plus (PVST+) supports Data Link Layer load balancing on redundant links to efficiently use the extra bandwidth inherent in a redundant architecture.

Efficient protocols including Open Shortest Path First, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), static routing, and PBR increase system scale; PIM helps improve resource utilization; and Virtual Route Forwarding Lite (VRFLite) secures network traffic.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches SupportFor midsized organizations and enterprise branches, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch eases integration of unified technologies and accommodates evolving business needs by offering setup versatility, ability to manage converged network traffic, and management-free set up of intelligent network services. Also, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch is engineered for high-volume Gigabit Ethernet deployments and includes a diverse selection of switches that address the connectivity, aggregation, and backbone-connectivity requirements of small or midsized systems.

The Cisco Catalyst 3750 switch includes either the IP Base or the IP Services image. The IP Base image capabilities include industry-leading quality of service, rate-limiting, access control lists (ACLs), and basic static and RIP routing support. The IP Services image provides a broader set of high-end functions, such as sophisticated built-in IP unicast and multicast routing.

StackWise technology is a stacking architecture optimized for Gigabit Ethernet. Cisco StackWise is intended to react to additions, deletions, and redeployments while maintaining predictable performance. StackWise unites up to nine individual switches into one logical device, using special stack-interface cables and software. Each of the switches can be any mix of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series switches and Cisco's Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack operates as a single switching device that is directed by a control switch, chosen from one of the stack of switches. The master switch intelligently creates and updates all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A deployed stack can accept new members or remove existing switches with no service interruption.

Ways That Progent Can Help Your Business with Cisco Catalyst Series Switches
Progent offers the remote or onsite expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified consultants who have extensive experience providing Catalyst switch support for small and medium sized businesses, branches, campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and SPs. Progent's practice areas include Cisco's Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and with Cisco's IOS and NX-OS operating systems. Services offered by Progent for Catalyst Series switches include proof-of-concept testing, system analysis, topology planning, upgrades and project management, network virtualization, wired/wireless convergence, management automation, capacity planning, troubleshooting, disaster recovery preparedness, and information security and compliance assessment and validation.

Progent offers broad knowledge of industry standards as well as with proprietary Cisco protocols and technologies related to switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, Protocol Independent Multicast, VPNs, ISIS, VLANs, Cisco FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), OTV, VRRP, OSPF, VSS, and LISP. Progent's network consultants also have familiarity with important networking technologies such as TCP/IP, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Routing Information Protocol (RIP), and IGMP. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified data security and compliance consultants can assist you to create a comprehensive security plan and deploy Cisco Catalyst switches so they offer optimal enforcement to your security posture.

In case you require the highest available density or sub-microsecond latency Cisco switches for an enterprise-class data center, Progent can assist you to evaluate, plan, and carry out a transition to Nexus Series switches. To find out about Progent's support capabilities for Nexus Series switches, see Cisco Nexus Switch consulting offered by Progent. Progent can also help you to connect Catalyst data center switches with Cisco Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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To get in touch with Progent about technical help for Cisco networking, call 1-800-993-9400 or go to Contact Progent.