Cisco Updates Catalyst Switch Family

For solution providers, one of the more significant pieces of Cisco's product blitz is the rollout of Smartports, a series of preconfigured macros that replace the numerous command lines partners previously had to enter in order to enable features such as IP telephony, quality of service and security on Catalyst switches, said Steve Shalita, senior manager of worldwide product marketing at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

"They reduce the time it takes [solution providers] to implement these features, and partners can add incremental value by customizing the macros themselves to add in their own best practices," Shalita said. In addition, the macros can help solution providers ensure consistent rollout across the customer's network, which reduces network errors, he said.

Cisco is also adding new security features to its Catalyst lineup, including DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) snooping, Dynamic ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) Inspection and IP source guard, which help protect networks from denial of service and "man-in-the-middle" attacks, where hackers infiltrate the network by nabbing IP addresses and authenticated user credentials.

In addition, Cisco introduced a new Xenpak module for its Catalyst 6500 modular chassis switch lineup that supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet over copper, which can be easier to deploy for moderate distances than fiber. It is also significantly less expensive, driving the cost of 10 Gigabit Ethernet down to $600 per port, compared with $2,000 to $12,000 for fiber, excluding the line card, Shalita said. Other new Xenpak modules support 10 Gigabit Ethernet over Multi-Mode-Fiber.

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Cisco also rolled out a new 48-port Gigabit Ethernet module for the 6500, a high-performance daughter card for its Supervisor 720 switching engine, and enhancements to several of its integrated service modules.

In addition, the vendor added a new 10-slot chassis to its Catalyst 4500 lineup of modular switches, dubbed the Catalyst 4510R, and the new Supervisor Engine V to go with it, which can support increased capacity and throughput.

Cisco also expanded its Catalyst 3750 stackable lineup with a new switch that offers 16 ports of 10/100/1000 and one 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink. When the new switch is added to an existing 3750 stack, all ports in the stack can have access to the 10-Gigabit uplink, Shalita said.

The 48-port Gigabit Ethernet module for the 6500 is priced at $25,000. The Catalyst 4510R 10-slot chassis is priced at $12,495 and the Supervisor Engine V is priced at $16,495. The new Catalyst 3750 module is priced at $19,995. The new products are slated to start shipping in March and April.