The Wide Area Network (WAN) took off in 1997 when Cisco introduced the 2500 Series Routers. That was a humble beginning, with just under 5 Mbps of routing capacity while the actual circuits, at the time, were in Kbps. The important factor back then was connectivity. Our customers needed to connect from remote locations to their headquarters and data centers. At that time, the word “cloud” simply meant vapors of H2O, even amongst technology geeks. Fast forward to today, and WAN is not just mere connectivity. As we navigate through the different networking technology transitions, including digitization and the new way of working, WAN is increasingly playing a central role to bring the applications, wherever they might be, to the users in a secure fashion. The demand for greater scale and performance of the WAN and for connecting larger numbers of branches, coupled with new architectures of multicloud and SASE has never been more important.

To power the next generation of WAN that addresses these demands, you have to make devices that are purpose built and cloud scale. Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms are built with these requirements in mind.


Purpose Built

The Catalyst 8000 family is purpose-built for the next generation of WAN. Powered by a QuantumFlow Processor (QFP) 3.0 ASIC and a multi-core x86 architecture, the Catalyst 8000 platforms are optimized for the WAN edge, featuring industry-leading performance and support for rich services. The QFP 3.0 powers the Catalyst 8500 Series Edge Platforms and comes packed with several enhancements, but the most significant advancement is an embedded crypto engine. This allows the Catalyst 8500 to leap frog the crypto bandwidth to meet the demand of cloud-scale architectures.

A flexible multi-core CPU architecture powers the Catalyst 8300 Series Edge Platforms to satisfy the demands of secure and service rich branches. With more than 70 supported modules, Catalyst 8300 provides the most service rich SD-WAN branch solution.

The Catalyst 8000 family also comes with a software version that can be hosted in public and private clouds. Beginning the day it’s released, the virtual platform will be available on all major public clouds. With the Catalyst 8000V Edge Software, the Catalyst 8000 family extends its reach from branch networks to public & private clouds.

Natively built for their places in the network and powered by Cisco SD-WAN, the Catalyst 8000 family is fully loaded to deliver a cloud-scale architecture.


Unmatched Performance & Scale 

The Catalyst 8000 family has significantly enhanced performance and scale to meet the demand of modern cloud applications. Catalyst 8500 takes the total number of SD-WAN branches that it can aggregate to 8000. In addition, the crypto performance, DPI scale, NAT scale and many other services and features have improved several folds in performance and scale in comparison to what was supported by previous generations. This ensures the Catalyst 8500 meets the capabilities and requirements for a cloud scale SD-WAN without any additional footprint. In fact, Catalyst 8500 has packed all of this power in a one rack unit (RU) form factor.

The Catalyst 8300 similarly has improved the data plane and services performance by 4 to 5 times to enable a multi-gig SD-WAN branch with accelerated services. The additional bandwidth and scale ensure SaaS applications can be securely and conveniently accessed from remote locations.

In addition, the Catalyst 8000V provides a wide variety of choice for instances in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, taking cloud onramp bandwidth up to 10G when supported by the instance. The Catalyst 8000 family brings unmatched performance and scale from branch to cloud.


All-Inclusive Software with Subscriptions

The Catalyst 8000 family comes ready to attach to SD-WAN fabric out of the box with Cisco DNA software subscription. The software subscription gives you the option to choose the best security stack for the requirements that you have. Whether you have started on a SASE journey and would like to integrate with Cisco Umbrella SIG or you would like to keep it on-prem, all options are available as part of the software subscription. A software subscription also enables you to provision, manage and monitor the Catalyst 8000 based SD-WAN network with vManage and vAnalytics.

The three available subscription tiers give you the flexibility to adopt and grow your SD-WAN architecture. Cisco DNA Essentials provides the table stakes SD-WAN benefits of routing capabilities, circuit load balancing and intelligent path selection. Cisco DNA Advantage expands SD-WAN capabilities via advanced routing functions, more security options, plus Cisco’s Cloud OnRamp for SaaS, for IaaS, and for Colocation. Cisco DNA Premier is a fully actualized SASE model with Cisco Umbrella SIG Essentials integrations.

As we usher in the new era of WAN, the Catalyst 8000 family is ready to take us there, delivering SD-WAN, advanced multicloud, and SASE architectures. The Catalyst 8000 family is also backward compatible with legacy WAN technologies. On day 1 customers get 99%+ feature parity with Cisco’s existing routing platforms: ASR 1000 , ISR 4000, and CSR 1000V. Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family has the most comprehensive feature set for SD-WAN as well as traditional WAN, with the industry-leading performance and scale for tomorrow.

Learn more:

Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family webpage

8 Ways to Enable the Cloud Edge infographic

Transform Your WAN Architecture for the Cloud Edge white paper


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Muhammad A Imam

Director Technical Marketing

Intent Based Networking Group (IBNG)