Announcing: New Catalyst 3850 SFP Fiber Switch Models Expand Cisco Unified Access

May 19, 2014 - 8 Comments

Catalyst 3850 FiberOver a year ago, Cisco launched its first flagship Catalyst 3850 series switches at Cisco Live London. With its integrated wireless LAN controller functionality and the innovative UADP ASIC, the Catalyst 3850 switches provide a converged wired and wireless platform that is the heart of “One Network” in the Cisco Unified Access “One Policy. One Management. One Network” approach.

Today, we are excited to announce an addition to the Cisco Catalyst 3850 series switch family: the new Catalyst 3850 1G SFP fiber switch models. They are new SKUs in the Catalyst 3850 switch family and they help further expand the Cisco Unified Access solution. I’ll explain how later, but first let me help you get familiar with this new product offering.

The new Catalyst 3850 SFP fiber switch models have nearly everything identical with their sibling access switches in the Catalyst 3850 switch family:

  • they run the same advanced IOS-XE networking operating system;
  • they are powered by the same intelligent and robust UADP ASIC;
  • they deliver the same rich Catalyst switching feature set; and
  • they have the latest hardware and software capabilities such as 9-member stacking  and embedded Wireshark for troubleshooting, monitoring, and security analysis.

In fact, the new fiber models are fully stackable with existing Catalyst 3850 access switches to deliver the sophisticated Cisco StackWise-480 technology. The only noticeable difference is that the new 3850 SFP fiber switch models give you 12 or 24 fiber data ports, instead of copper data ports that you normally find with the Catalyst 3850 access switches.

In the Catalyst 3850 switch family photo above, you can see the 2 new 3850 SFP fiber switches on the top. They are perfectly stacked together with 4 Catalyst 3850 access switches below. The entire stack runs as a single logical switch – because of that, you get ease of management, outstanding resiliency and OpEx savings.

Why do I need Catalyst 3850 SFP fiber switch models, you might ask? Here’s why:

The Catalyst 3850 SFP fiber switches expand the Cisco Unified Access solution by adding traffic aggregation functionality. Because these fiber models have the same switching feature set as the Catalyst 3850 access switch models, all Unified Access intelligent services can be persevered and delivered across the entire network from the access layer to the aggregation layer, including security (TrustSec, Security Group Tag or SGT), monitoring (Flexible NetFlow), user application prioritization (QoS for both wired and wireless, which is a unique advantage for you when you deploy Catalyst 3850) and resiliency (StackWise-480, StackPower).

The Catalyst 3850 SFP fiber switches can also be used to connect branch offices and small campus buildings. The fiber connections can support up to 80 KM of physical distance. Furthermore, the Catalyst 3850 SFP fiber switches support a variety of optical modules and connectors, therefore allowing many deployment options.

In addition, the Catalyst 3850 SFP fiber switches can help you with enhanced security. It comes with native TrustSec functionality such as Security Group Tag (SGT) so that you have it enabled everywhere – from access to aggregation.  Also, fiber connections provide strong physical security.

Many Cisco customers have achieved great success with Cisco Catalyst 3850 series switches. Carilion Clinic makes best use of advanced diagnostic tools with state-of-the-art Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series switches. School District of New London triples wireless throughput by deploying Catalyst 3850 Switches. I’m sure that the new Catalyst 3850 fiber switches will give you more opportunities for your success.

Need more information? Visit the Catalyst 3850 switch product page here.


In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Does this 3850 have WLAN feature parity with WLCs, and is it fully manageable by wireless PI?

    • Hi Lee, the Catalyst 3850 switch family has WLAN feature parity with the Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) since they are running the same IOS-XE software. There are some differences when compared with other Cisco WLCs (5500s etc). Yes the Catalyst 3850 switches are fully manageable by Cisco Prime Infrastructure (PI).

  2. Hi Doug, we’ll turn on orderability around end of May or early June. Thanks!

  3. Its great these switches are finally announced but when will they be available?
    They are still not showing on CCW.


    • Hi- the 12-port is already available on CCW. The 24-port version will be available by early next week.


  4. Great, I’ve been waiting for this one!
    But I’ve also hoped that some new features should be presented. Don’t you have any plans for EVN and EIGRP OTP for this platform?


    • Thank you Johan for your comment. New software features have been added steadily (3.2.xSE, 3.3.xSE). Even though we cannot provide specific dates, we will continue to add new features over time.