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Don’t be Bewitched by the Switch – What You Need to Know when You Evaluate Solutions

It’s undeniable that the biggest convergence happening in the access layer is Wired/Wireless. Today, we’re no longer forced to treat wired and wireless any differently when it comes to network visibility and management. However, the unification of Wired/Wireless doesn’t come without its own challenges and complexity.

As we’ve seen with the latest switching announcement at Interop 2015, there is a lot of noise in the marketplace and customers and partners increasingly need to cut through this to achieve their IT goals and meet today’s increasing demands on the network and the demands of tomorrow.

Earlier this week, HP made false claims about our Catalyst 4500E switch. To help you out, here is what you need to know about Cisco switching and, specifically, our Catalyst 4500E switch:

  • As the world becomes increasingly more digital, there is an elevated need for a flexible and scalable network to address rapid shifts in technology use and its associated traffic. We’ve seen tremendous demand for our modular switches that supply the best flexibility for this change. In fact, Cisco has the industry’s most widely deployed modular access switches with a modular PoE port share that just reached an all time high of 81.5 percent.
  • To tackle the biggest convergence in the access layer, Catalyst 4500E supports built-in wireless controller capabilities and delivers common intelligent services across wired and wireless for security and policy, application visibility and control, network resiliency, smart operations, and more.
  • Cisco’s Catalyst Multigigabit (mGig) technology available across the access portfolio including the Catalyst 4500E can prepare customers’ access switches for the next wave in wireless, 802.11ac wave 2 by delivering speeds beyond 1 Gigabit on existing Category 5e cables. This technology also supports PoE, PoE+, and Cisco Universal PoE (UPOE) so you don’t need to install new electrical circuits to power your access points.
  • Cisco’s modular access switch portfolio offers backward compatibility with up to three generation of line-cards providing unmatched investment protection – 2x in terms of number of years over other vendors.
  • A key operational consideration for IT is to maximize uptime and provide seamless code upgrades. In Service software upgrades (ISSU) have been available on Cisco’s 4500E portfolio for almost a decade
  • The Catalyst 4500E has unmatched scale to meet the needs of a customer’s network and future proof for an influx of new devices – 25X route entries, 16X multicast entries & 42X Security/QoS entries when compared to other vendors.
  • As IoT trends upward, more “things” connect to the access network and it is key that the network is able to scale to meet these needs – Cisco offers 33 percent more scale in terms of POE+ ports and 50 percent more POE+ scale for redundant power deployments to connect more users, devices and things. Additionally, Cisco supports UPOE, which future-proofs our customers for upcoming applications requiring more than 30W/port.
  • Security is a top of mind for our customers and Cisco offers a complete end-to-end solution with support for MacSec, Cisco TrustSec, Identity Services Engine and Flexible Netflow, providing the best in class network encryption, segmentation and networking sensing solutions.
  • The Catalyst 4500E is designed for supporting rich media services with its superior multicast scale and design. Cisco Catalyst 4500 is designed to support hardware accelerated multicast with deep buffers. The Cisco Catalyst 4500E accommodates up to nine times larger data bursts, delivered to otherwise loaded output ports, without loss.
  • Cisco Catalyst 4500E supports a multitude of capabilities that support IT simplicity and smart operations. Examples: Simplified provisioning with Plug and Play, Simplified configuration of switches & interfaces with AutoConfiguration and Interface templates and faster troubleshooting with embedded wireshark, a world-class protocol analyzer.

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Introducing Cisco Catalyst Multigigabit Technology to Future-Proof Your Network for 802.11ac Wave 2

As more and more users and devices are connecting to the network via WiFi, Cisco has been focused on creating the best wired network to enable mission critical wireless:

  • In 2013, we introduced Catalyst 3850 & 3650 Stackable Converged Access Switches for wired & wireless networks. These switches simplified networks by combining separate wired and wireless networks into a single platform. This simplification makes IT agile. These switches also enabled a better user experience through deeper application visibility across wired and wireless with Cisco Flexible NetFlow. Click here to see an interactive demo showing the other benefits of our converged access switches.
  • In 2014, we expanded the converged access portfolio by introducing Converged Access on Catalyst 4500E, our lead modular access platform.
  • Today, we take the next big step in our wireless strategy by introducing Cisco Catalyst Multigigabit technology across several campus switches: Catalyst 4500E, 3850 and 3560-CX.

So, what problem does Cisco Catalyst Multigigabit technology solve? Read More »

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A Different Kind of Crash Test for the Catalyst 4500E

Cat4K Vs TruckNetworking environments can be harsh. Outdoor environments are often harsher!

Do not try this at home. When testing your Cisco switches for high availability capabilities, we recommend not setting them on fire, crashing into, or flooding them with water. However, we do have some experience with these situations and our switches keep running.

The network must operate 24 hours a day. With many devices and applications running on the network, oftentimes a few seconds of downtime can mean tens of thousands of dollars in financial loss. And yet, none of these usual measures for uptime take into account an actual physical disaster. Indeed, seldom do people think about what could happen to their switches in the physical environment that they are being deployed. Read More »

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How does Cisco Access Switching help address BYOD, Mobility and Security Needs?

Cisco will host a live webcast on Wedn November 13, 2013 to discuss BYOD, mobility, security and how Cisco access switching address these customer needs. If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that your work is somehow related to these critical areas. To test how widely BYOD, mobility and security impact IT professionals, I’ve used an unscientific way to check it out on several popular online IT web sites. I want to see if they consider at least one of these areas to be their main focus.  Here’s what I’ve found – many of them (although not every single one) are devoted to at least one area. Read More »

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Demystifying the Catalyst: Video Application Monitoring and Troubleshooting

In my previous blog, we looked at how Catalyst switches can be used to assess video application readiness in the network before rolling out a video based collaboration application. In this blog, let us take a look at available tools on the Catalyst switches to monitor and troubleshoot video problems in the network.

As we know, fundamentally, video traffic is different from data traffic.  Video traffic is more dynamic and bandwidth intensive and even small changes in delay or loss can cause visible disruptions to user experience. Routinely, IT trouble tickets are opened by users that are faced with degraded video experience.  To add to that, interactive video is real time. Any delay in troubleshooting will make IT miss the window to rectify the problem. For a firm with many locations and buildings, finding the problem can be complex and time consuming without the right tools. 

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