Cisco Enhances Catalyst Switches

The additions aim to boost security, manageability and performance of network core, data center and wiring closet.

Cisco Systems Inc. plans to advance its Intelligent Information Network strategy for embedding advanced services into the network with a range of enhancements for its Catalyst line of switches.

The enhancements span the Catalyst 6500, Catalyst 4500 and Catalyst 3750 network switches, bringing new security, manageability and performance to the network core, data center and wiring closet.

New software-based security enhancements add the ability to lock down ports to prevent attacks.

Cisco also sought to reduce the complexity of configuring more advanced services such as quality of service for voice over IP through new macro templates that package a series of command language interface configuration commands into a more digestible whole.

On the hardware front, Cisco added a new copper transceiver interface for the Catalyst 6500s 10G-bit Ethernet interfaces that can help to bring down its cost. The CX4 Xenpak, which works over coaxial cable at distances up to 50 feet, is well-suited for data centers where servers are clustered. It costs $600, compared with optical-fiber interfaces that can range from $2,000 to $12,000, according to Cisco officials.

Cisco also added multimode fiber support for the Catalyst 6500s 10G-bit Ethernet support. Although the standard calls for single-mode fiber, fewer enterprises have deployed single-mode fiber. Multimode fiber allows customers to use their existing fiber plant and easily migrate to 10G-bit Ethernet by adding the new interface. The multimode fiber support can span distances up to 975 feet.

Cisco also doubled the port density for Gigabit Ethernet in the Catalyst 6500 with a new 48-port module. The module leverages Ciscos Supervisor 720 module architecture to provide 40G-bps throughput on the switchs backplane. Cisco added a new policy processor for the Supervisor 720 that can support up to 1 million IPv4 routes or 500,000 IPv6 routes and provides advanced functions for Multiprotocol Label Switching.

For the wiring closet, Cisco added a new 10-slot chassis to the Catalyst 4500 line dubbed the Catalyst 4510R.

Cisco is also bringing 10G-bit Ethernet uplinks to its Catalyst 3700 switches with the new Catalyst 3750G-16TD, which provides 16 ports of 10/100/1,000 Gigabit with a single 10G-bit Ethernet uplink.

The new offerings are available between now and the end of May and range from $600 for the new 10G-bit Ethernet Xenpak interface to $40,000 for the new 720 Supervisor module for the Catalyst 6500.

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