Cisco soups up Catalyst line

Cisco this week introduced a slew of LAN switching products designed to improve network security and boost bandwidth at the network edge.

Highlights included supervisor engines for the Catalyst 6500 and 4500 series switches with improved security and availability features, as well as 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks; and Catalyst 6500, 3750 and 3560 Power over Ethernet products.

Improving security is at the top of every network infrastructure provider’s “To Do” list, notes Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with The Yankee Group in Boston. The enterprise networking market is becoming more like the carrier market, he says, in that networking vendors and their customers are pushing more intelligence out to the network edge.

“You see more of what you would have traditionally seen as a core feature as an edge feature,” Kerravala says.

The Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 32 lets customers enable hardware-based security features, such as Denial of Service mitigation, Cisco says. The engine includes either two 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks, or eight Gigabit Ethernet uplinks.

Other new 6500 products include: 48-port 10/100/1000Mbps modules and 48-port 10/100Mbps modules with enhanced QoS features and cable fault detection capabilities; a 96-port 10/100Mbps module for users seeking high port densities; a 48-port 100Base-X module for 100Mbps fibre deployments; a 600-watt power supply for high-density Power over Ethernet rollouts; and a Catalyst Content Switching Module with integrated SSL for data centres.

The Catalyst 4500 Series Supervisor Engine V-10GE offers a choice of two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports or four Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Cisco also unveiled new Catalyst 3750 with StackWise technology and Catalyst 3560 models that offer 24-port and 48-port 10/100/1000Mbps with optional Power over Ethernet capability.

While most enterprises aren’t ready to fill up 10 Gigabit pipes yet, Kerravala explains, they could be in the near future, since Gigabit to the desktop isn’t much more expensive than 100Mbps to the desktop.

Enterprises are also looking to keep their networking gear for longer, Kerravala says, so upgrading to 10G now could save money in the future. “If you’re going to upgrade your network now, you’re going to want to make sure it’s 10G capable,” he says.

Power over Ethernet products also offer upgrade protection, Kerravala explains.

“From a user perspective you know the IP phones will be powered by PoE, wireless access points will be powered that way and so will other devices,” he says.

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