Cisco Switches Support IEEE 802.3af Standard

Cisco is adding IEEE 802.3af support to its Catalyst LAN switches.

After building up an installed base of some 18 million prestandard power-over-Ethernet ports, Cisco Systems Inc. has launched a series of IEEE 802.3af POE offerings across its portfolio of Catalyst LAN switches.

The new standard, ratified last summer, extends Ethernet support for in-line power devices beyond just IP phones and wireless LAN access points to connect more power-hungry devices such as IP-powered video surveillance cameras, security systems, and fire protection and motion detection devices, said Cisco officials in San Jose, Calif.

The new offerings, which support the 802.3af standard for end devices drawing 15.4 watts, are backward-compatible with existing Cisco prestandard devices.

The offerings also support the IEEE 802.3af standards optional Power Classification feature, which allows a LAN switch to identify the power requirement of the end device and reserve that power based on the class number of the device. Cisco added more granular power management to allow administrators to control how many high-power devices are attached to the network to minimize the power draw, restrict power delivery from specific ports and prioritize power delivery.

For the Catalyst 6500 chassis switch, Cisco added a single-slot, 96-port 10/100M-bps module with an optional 802.3af POE daughter card for high-density deployments.

In addition, Cisco made it possible for customers to upgrade the pair of 48-port Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet line cards it launched last year for the Catalyst 6500 with POE through an optional 802.3af daughter card.

For the Catalyst 4500, Cisco added a pair of 48-port line cards with 802.3af POE for both 100M-bps Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet links.

Cisco also expanded its stackable line of Catalyst 3750 switches to incorporate two new models with 802.3af support. The models include a 24-port 10/100M-bps Ethernet option and a 48-port 10/100M-bps Ethernet option. For small-enterprise or branch office wiring closets, Cisco also added the nonstacking, fixed-configuration Catalyst 3560 switch with 802.3af and prestandard POE. It provides 24- and 48-port 10/100M-bps Ethernet connectivity, Layer 3 and Layer 4 intelligent services, and Layer 3 routing.

All the offerings are available now and range from $2,000 for the optional 802.3af daughter card to $14,000 for the Catalyst 6500 48-port Gigabit Ethernet line card with 802.3af.