The Catalyst line of modular and fixed-configuration switches offers performance and intelligence at the access, aggregation, and core levels of converged voice, HD video, and data networks for organizations that range from small businesses and branches to global enterprises and service providers. Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE consultants can provide remote and on-premises expertise with Catalyst family switches to assist you to plan a cost-effective infrastructure that meets your specific business needs, configure pilot testing systems, install Catalyst switches, implement and validate a sound security and compliance plan, streamline system management and performance tracking, deliver repair and support services, optimize switch capacity, and configure Catalyst's high-availability (HA) solutions for non-stop operation, Progent can assist you to maintain and troubleshoot your older Catalyst switches or upgrade with minimal disruption to current models of Catalyst switches adhering to leading practices to ensure that you get the maximum business value from your investment in your network.

The demand for intelligent, high-performance switching is the result 0f a combination of fairly recent networking trends whose net effect is a virtual tsunami of traffic:

  • Cloud networking and an associated reliance on intensive network virtualization
  • The proliferation of BYOD computing
  • Bandwidth-intensive HD video apps
  • Social business technologies
  • The rise of Big Data in analytics

Cloud computing is only made practical by utilizing virtualization technology. Virtualized data centers slash expenses by permitting very high hardware utilization and requiring very little real estate and energy use. However this also means that comparatively limited network resources have to accommodate large amounts of data. The BYOD paradigm has resulted in a dramatic rise in the amount of mobile users that must be supported by business networks, and these clients run a great deal of data-intensive, HD video apps. Social business technologies are displacing traditional email as the main enabler of workforce collaboration and is generating an ever increasing requirement for bandwidth. Enterprises who are trying to stay competitive are adopting Big Data techniques to search through enormous and disparate silos of corporate data, which as a result produces Big Network Traffic. These computing trends are relatively new, and combined they create a critical demand for a new class of switches that offer significantly higher speed, intelligence, uptime and ease of management than older solutions were engineered to deliver.

Cisco's current portfolio of Catalyst switches are ideal for the distribution and core layers levels of campus environments where mobile and stationary employees must be provided for by offering unvarying high throughput, secure user access control, tight segmentation, application intelligence, and wired/wireless convergence. Catalyst switches address the need for performance and control with features that include high-density 10G/40G/100G services, switching capacity of up to 11 Tbps for each chassis and double that for each switching system, a powerful collection of technologies such as EVN to facilitate the deployment of virtual networks, Virtual Switching System (VSS) technology for stateful failover with subsecond virtual switch restoration and 99.999% uptime, IPv6 support, Application Visibility and Control (AVC) to optimize system utilization, and sophisticated Quality of Service tools for video data prioritization.

Catalyst Switches Planning and Support Services

Cisco Offers Catalyst Switches for Businesses of Any Size

Cisco Catalyst switches allow businesses of any size to build intelligent switching and routing services into their network architecture, deploying an environment that can deal with current requirements, expand to accommodate expected capacity demands, protect vital information, and differentiate and control tasks to optimize network operations.

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switches and Catalyst 3560-CX Switches
Catalyst 2900 Family Switches ConsultingCisco's Catalyst 2960-CX is a fixed-port switch that is low-profile, fanless, low power, and allows a variety of mounting alternatives. The device has eight 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports and has an option for Power over Ethernet. Cisco's Catalyst 3560-CX appliance is a fixed-port managed switch packaged in a compact, noiseless and energy-efficient enclosure that can be placed virtually anywhere outside a wiring closet. Versions are available with 8 or 12 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or with 6 1-GE ports and 2 multigigabit ports. Two or four uplink ports are offered, and PoE+ power is also available.

Catalyst 2900-L Switches Integration and TroubleshootingCisco's Catalyst 2960-L line consists of value-priced fixed-configuration managed switches intended for branch offices, retail areas, and other environments where space is limited. Catalyst 2900-L compact switches have eight to 48 GE ports and either 2 or 4 SFP uplink ports. PoE support reduces clutter and fanless design for 16- and 24-port models does away with noise. RJ-45 connectors accommodate 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-T SFP-based ports.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and Catalyst 2960-XR Series switches enhance the 2690-S line of switches by delivering switching performance of up to 216 Gbps and providing Cisco's FlexStack-Plus Stacking via a hot-swappable plug-in that allows 8 Catalyst switches in a stack capable of 80 Gbps of stacking performance. Catalyst 2900 Series switches also support NetFlow-Lite for application visibility and control. The Catalyst 2960-XR switch features Layer 3 dynamic routing, offering the convenience of using one switch for L2 and L3 routing.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 and 3850 Switches
Catalyst 3650 Switch and 3850 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCatalyst 3650 and Catalyst 3850 series switches are fixed, stackable network access switches based on Cisco's IOS XE operating system and incorporating comprehensive wireless controller functionality that lets you control wired and wireless networks on a one platform managed by a single OS. Cisco has versions with either 24 or 48 1Gb Ethernet ports with PoE plus, four 1GE or four 10-GB Ethernet uplinks, and support for up to nine Catalyst switches in a stack. All models offer modular Quality of Service, stateful failover for maximum availability, support in software for IPv4/IPv6 routing, multicast, and advanced security.

Since wireless data traffic is present at the Catalyst 3000 Series switch, administrators can identify and assign priorities to wireless data with Cisco's Flexible NetFlow solution along with sophisticated Quality of Service capabilities for a better wireless user experience and faster problem mediation. Multigigabit Ethernet switching supports the high-bandwidth defined by the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi standard on currently in-place cabling solutions. (To find out about Progent's support for Cisco's 802.11ac Aironet wireless products, and Cisco's Meraki cloud-managed Wi-Fi APs, refer to Planning and Deployment Consulting Services for Cisco Wireless Technology.)

The Catalyst 3650 switch offers stacking throughput of 160 Gbps and can control up to 25 Wi-Fi access points and 1000 Wi-Fi users on each stack. The Catalyst 3850 offers stacking throughput as high as 480 Gbps and supports up to 50 wireless APs and 2000 Wi-Fi users per switch or stack. Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switches incorporate 12 or 24 1G fiber ports at line rate, offering long distance connections, advanced protection, and a consistent wired/wireless user experience.

Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Cisco's Catalyst 4500-E Series and and Catalyst 4500-X Series switches are designed for campus and distribution environments where physical space for networking hardware is limited. Running Cisco's IOS XE operating system, the 4500-E and 4500-X families facilitate virtualization by supporting Cisco's Easy Virtual Network (EVN) and Virtual Switching System (VSS) technologies. Virtualization allows you to divide a physical network into a number of virtual networks whose data planes and control planes are logically distinct. This makes possible the high resource utilization, protection, resilience, and ease of management required for Cloud environments or other situations where a single infrastructure must be used by applications and services that need to run in total isolation from one another. EVN speeds up the process of creating virtual networks and scales to 32 VNs for each switch. Easy Virtual Network incorporates the capabilities of Multi-virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) and includes new features including VNET Tags and a simple way for duplicating replicating routes connecting virtual networks. Virtual Switching System makes it possible to configure Catalyst 4500-E and Catalyst 4500-X Series platforms to produce non-stop VNs with advanced load balancing.

Catalyst 4500E Switches
Catalyst 4500E Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingThe Supervisor Engine 8-E for the Catalyst 4500-E modular switch has an integrated wireless controller that supports Cisco's Unified Access technology for wired and wireless convergence. The Supervisor Engine 8-E is the first Catalyst supervisor engine to support wired as well as wireless services on a single platform powered by IOS XE software. Technologies include Cisco's Flexible NetFlow technology for capacity planning across wired and wireless networks, Cisco TrustSec/SGT2 wired and wireless security, identical Quality of Service for wired and Wi-Fi clients, and the extension of NSF/SSO to include Wi-Fi traffic for enterprise-class high availability.

Offered in chassis that have from three to 10 slots, Catalyst 4500-E switches with Supervisor 8-E can support up to 384 10/100/1000 Ethernet access ports, 193 1GE non-blocking fiber ports, 96 10GE fiber ports, and eight 10GE uplinks. The Catalyst 4500-E Supervisor Engine 8-E delivers up to 928 Gbps of wired throughput per system and 20 Gbps of wireless termination performance. 50 Wi-Fi APs and 2000 Wi-Fi clients can be supported on each switch, and 250 access points and 4000 clients are supported in a dual-switch deployment without a standalone wireless controller.

Cisco Catalyst 4500-X Series Switches
Catalyst 4500-X Family Switches ConsultantsCatalyst 4500-X Series switches are fixed 10-Gigabit Ethernet aggregation platforms that provide up to 800 Gbps of core switching performance per device. The Catalyst 4500-X switch supports up to 32 10GE connections on the baseboard and eight more 10GE ports on the optional expansion module for a total of 40 10GE connections. Eight 10GE uplinks can be added via another module. In addition to providing zero-downtime operation and easy manageability, Cisco's virtual switching system solution on Catalyst 4500-X Series switches offers increased system throughput of up to 1.6 Tbps by enabling all available bandwidth between VSS-linked Catalyst 4500-X switches. Other features include Cisco's FNF technology for application visibility, Cisco TrustSec protection, and fast, hardware-based IPv6 forwarding.

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 switches are campus core platforms that incorporate the field-proven DNA of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 family of products, which were introduced over a dozen years ago and have been steadily enhanced ever since. Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 6800 switches provide identical features and operational consistency, and the modular Catalyst 6807-XL switch supports the Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 2T and its extensive portfolio of compatible line cards and service modules. This backwards compatibility and program of continual improvement protects your infrastructure expenditures and enables you to update your network backbone with little business disruption or IT team re-education.

Common attributes of Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 6800 modular switches equipped with the Supervisor Engine 2T include Cisco's Identity Services Engine for convenient, single-point management to ensure unvarying policy throughout a distributed environment, VSS Quad Sup SSO (VS4O) capability for 99.999% availability through multi-level failover, and Cisco's Campus Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP) to support roaming and device mobility and to streamline network virtualization and migration to IPv6. Additional virtual networking tools to segment distinct client groups and support the special security/compliance and QoS policy needs of every group include L2/L3 VPN, full Multiprotocol Label Switching , Easy Virtual Network, VRF-aware technology for Network Address Translation NetFlow, GRE for v4/v6, and Layer 2 geographic extensions with VPLS. For unified wired/wireless networking, the WiSM2 controller Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Catalyst 6800 Series modular switches includes support for as many as 1000 wireless access points and 15,000 wireless users.

Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Switches
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches Consulting and TroubleshootingThe Cisco Catalyst 6500-E line of modular switches are intended for distribution and campus backbone networks that require maximum uptime and high concentrations of 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 GE fiber, and/or 10 and 40 GE ports. Models come with three to 13 expansion slots and accept a wide range of interface modules. Integrated service modules enable wireless management, network analysis, and security. Only E-Series versions of Cisco's extensive line of 6500 switches accept Cisco's Supervisor Engine 2T.

The value-priced Catalyst 6503-E switch has a 4RU chassis, includes 3 slots, and offers as much as 180 Gbps of switching throughput per slot. The Catalyst 6503-E switch supports up to 97 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections, up to 99 Gigabit Ethernet fiber ports, up to 34 10GE ports, and 8 40GE ports.

The high-end Cisco Catalyst 6513-E switch has a 19 rack unit, 13-slot form factor and can deliver as much as 180 Gbps of bandwidth per slot, with a total system bandwidth of up to 4 Tbps. A Virtual Switching System configuration can handle up to 8 Tbps of bandwidth. The Catalyst 6513-E switch supports up to 529 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections, up to 534 1GE fiber ports, 180 10-Gigabit Ethernet connections, and up to 44 40GE connections.

Catalyst 6800 Series Switches
Catalyst 6800 Series Switches Planning and Support ServicesCatalyst 6800 Series switches are campus core switches designed to provide best-of-breed 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet services. The Cisco Catalyst 6880-X switch is a fixed-configuration, compact switch for Ethernet aggregation designed for small or midsize campus cores. The Catalyst 6880-X supports as much as 2 Tbps bandwidth and includes four slots for plug-in port cards. The maximum port concentration per chassis is 80 1 Gigabit Ethernet connections or 10GE connections or as many as 20 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections. With Cisco's Virtual Switching System, a two-chassis system can deliver 4 Tbps performance and handle as many as 158 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 10-Gigabit Ethernet access ports or as many as 20 40GE access ports.

The modular Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch comes in a 10-rack-unit form factor with 7 slots and supports standard Supervisor Engine 2T cards and service modules. (Two slots are reserved for the Supervisor Engine and five are for expansion modules.) The Cisco Catalyst 6807-XL switch offers up to 880 Gbps of switching capacity on each slot and up to 11.4 Tbps of full-duplex switching bandwidth while supporting up to 240 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports or 1GE fiber ports, up to 80 10GE ports or up to 20 40GE access ports. an 6807-XL system configured with Cisco's Virtual Switching System can support 22.8 Tbps of switching performance, 480 10/100/1000 Ethernet connections or Gigabit Ethernet fiber connections, up to 160 10GE ports or 40 40-Gigabit Ethernet connections.

Legacy Catalyst Switches Supported by Progent's Consultants
Progent's Cisco CCIE-certified consultants have extensive backgrounds delivering remote and on-premises consulting and troubleshooting expertise for older Catalyst Series switches which have reached End of Life (EOL). These outdated switches often are more expensive to manage and maintain than current products, provide lower capacity and functionality, and for many cases may subject organizations to regulatory and liability risks. Progent's consultants can assist your business to maintain and repair these older switches and can also assist you to design and execute non-disruptive migrations to newer products from the Catalyst family or to devices from the Cisco Nexus portfolio of switches which build upon Catalyst design experience. Legacy Catalyst models for which Progent offers support include:

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family
Catalyst Express 500 and 520 Family Switches HelpCisco's Catalyst Express 500 line of managed Ethernet switches are designed for businesses with as many as 250 workers and deliver the reliability, protection, scalability, and feature set small and mid-sized businesses require at an economical cost. PoE capability makes it simple to install network appliances such as VoIP phones and IP TV cameras.

Versions of the Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 managed switches offer up to 24 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports as well as the option of redundant power supplies with automatic switch-over for extra reliability. Integration with Cisco wireless access points helps businesses to set up a wireless LAN network quickly and effectively. The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 and 520 platform offers solid security against malicious attacks thanks to Cisco's Self-Defending Network technology and Clean Access agents.

Cisco Catalyst 2940 Switch
Cisco Catalyst 2900 Family Switches SupportCatalyst 2900 Series fixed-configuration, managed Ethernet switches provide fundamental workgroup connectivity for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). These wire-rate desktop switches offer IOS Software functions for simple mixed-media traffic services at the edge of the network. The Cisco Catalyst 2940 family of switches are compact, entry-level devices featuring eight Ethernet ports and a single built-in Fast or Gbit uplink. The enclosures can be deployed outside the wiring cabinet in space-constrained areas like on a user's desk or in a classroom.

Catalyst 2960-S Switch
The Cisco Catalyst 2960-S Series are fixed-configuration switches intended for small companies and branches. Available models incorporate 24 or 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, four 1-Gigabit or two 10GE uplink connections, and deliver switching capacity of 176 Gbps. Cisco's FlexStack technology permits four Catalyst 2960-S chassis to be grouped in a FlexStack stack to act as one switching unit that provides 40 Gbps of stacking bandwidth and that reduces operational expense because of single-switch setup. IPv6 FHS technology guards networks against address theft and other attacks.

Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
Catalyst 3560 Series Switches Consulting FirmCiscoís Catalyst 3560 family is a selection of non-modular switches that includes IEEE 802.3af and Cisco Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality in 10/100 and Gigabit Ethernet configurations. Cisco's Catalyst 3560 Series switch is a proven Layer 2 switch for midsize business LAN access or branch-offices, combining both Gigabit and Power over Ethernet configurations for high productivity while streamlining the deployment of vital applications including VoIP, wireless connectivity, video surveillance, and remote video kiosks. IT managers can deploy network-wide smart services including quality of service (QoS), rate limiting, ACLs, multicast management, and broadband IP routing with the simplicity of traditional LAN switching.

Cisco's Catalyst 3560 switch has a powerful array of features that permit network expandability and higher availability through IP routing as well as a full suite of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) improvements aimed to maximize availability in a Layer 2 LAN. Improvements to the standard Spanning Tree Protocol, such as PVST+, and Uplink Fast, combined with enhancements such as Flex Links Layer 2 interfaces, contribute to network uptime. PVST+ allows for Data Link Layer load balancing on backup links to take advantage of the additional bandwidth inherent in a redundant architecture.

Efficient protocols including Open Shortest Path First (OPSF), Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), BGP, static routing, and PBR improve system capacity; Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) helps improve the efficiency of system resource use; and VRFLite protects network traffic.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Family Switches
Catalyst 3750 Family Switches ConsultingFor mid-size organizations and corporate branch offices, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series facilitates deployment of unified applications and adapts to changing competitive environments by providing setup flexibility, ability to manage unified network traffic, and management-free set up of intelligent system services. In addition, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series is designed for high-density 1000 Ethernet deployments and incorporates a wide selection of switches that meet the connectivity, aggregation, and backbone-interface demands of small or midsized deployments.

Cisco's Catalyst 3750 Series switch includes the IP Base image or the Services image. The IP Base image features include advanced QoS, rate-limiting, access control lists (ACLs), and basic static and Routing Information Protocol routing support. The IP Services image offers a broader set of enterprise-level functions, including sophisticated built-in IP unicast and multicast routing.

StackWise technology is an architecture designed for 1000 Ethernet. StackWise is intended to react to installs, deletions, and relocations while providing dependable operation. Cisco StackWise combines as many as 9 individual switches into one logical unit, using special stack-interconnect cables and stacking software. Any of the switches can be any combination of the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series and the Catalyst 3750-E Series. The stack operates as an individual switching appliance that is managed by a control switch, selected from among the member switches. The control switch automatically creates and keeps current all the switching and user-selected routing tables. A deployed stack can accept new members or delete existing devices without operational interruption.

How Progent Can Assist Your Business with Catalyst Switches
Progent can provide the remote or onsite expertise of Cisco CCIE-certified consultants who have broad backgrounds providing Catalyst switch technology solutions for small and midsize businesses, branch offices, enterprise campuses, data centers, Cloud networks, and service providers. Progent's practice areas include Catalyst and Nexus lines of smart switches and Cisco's IOS and NX-OS operating systems. Support services available from Progent for Catalyst switches include pilot testing and validation, system analysis and monitoring, topology planning, upgrades and project management, virtualization, wired and wireless convergence, management automation, performance optimization, problem mitigation, disaster recovery and business continuity preparedness, and information security and compliance testing and remediation.

Progent offers deep expertise with open standards as well as with proprietary Cisco technologies associated with switching and routing such as BGP, MPLS traffic engineering, PIM, VPNs, Spanning-Tree Protocol, virtual LANs, FabricPath, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), HSRP, Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Virtual Switching System (VSS), and Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP). Progent's network specialists also have deep knowledge of important technologies including TCP/IP protocols, IPv4, IPv6, Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), Routing Information Protocol, and Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified information security and compliance consultants can show you how to develop an enterprise-wide security strategy and implement Cisco Catalyst switches so that they provide optimal support for your security posture.

If you require the highest available density or extremely low latency switches for a world-class data center, Progent can assist your organization to evaluate, design, and manage a migration to Cisco's Nexus switches. For information about Progent's support capabilities for Nexus switches, refer to Cisco Nexus Switch consulting offered by Progent. Progent can also assist you to integrate Catalyst core switches with Cisco Meraki distribution switches. (See Cisco Meraki switch integration consultants.)

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