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Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Line: Now With 5G

‘I see Cisco focusing on high-speed technology and connectivity, with a layer of security,’ a Cisco partner tells CRN regarding the Catalyst portfolio updates.

Cisco is growing its Catalyst 8000 Edge and cellular gateway product line to grant more flexibility to businesses with remote users.

The extended product line includes a new 5G Cellular gateway, a virtual CPE Edge device that can host Cisco or third-party virtual network functions, and two new Catalyst 8500 and 8200 branch products, the tech giant revealed Tuesday.

Cisco in October first unveiled the brand-new Catalyst 8000 product line, including the Catalyst 8500 Series Edge Platform, the Catalyst 8300 Series Edge Platform, Catalyst 8000V Edge Software, and the Catalyst Cellular Gateway series.

[Related: Cisco Partners: You’re Going To Need Us For Consumption-Based IT Shift ]​

The Catalyst Cellular Gateway series, a competitor to Cradlepoint, was introduced first in October as a series of small devices that give customers a simple way to connect to 4G LTE without changing their existing infrastructure. The Catalyst Cellular Gateways can be used as a cellular a back-up option or a primary SD-WAN link for locations without wired connectivity. The new Catalyst Cellular Gateway 5G, combined with SD-WAN, will give customers the highest connectivity speed at a lower price point, which helps them meet growing throughput demands of the branch, said Archana Khetan, senior director, product management, enterprise routing and SD-WAN infrastructure for Cisco’s Intent Based Networking Group, in a blog post about the updates.

“Whether your edge device is in the most remote closet or basement matters little, simply run the Catalyst Cellular Gateway to the nearest reception point and power your network with the latest in 5G,” she said.

5G will offer businesses “a giant leap forward” in bandwidth for businesses, said Kent MacDonald, senior vice president of Strategic Alliances for Long View Systems, a Calgary, Alberta-based Cisco partner. “Being able to create a hub using 5G technology will provide mobility that I think will be very welcomed,” he said. “I see Cisco focusing on high-speed technology and connectivity, with a layer of security.”

Partners will have a key role in delivering the new products to customers, Cisco told CRN.

The Cisco Catalyst 8500L was designed to meet the entry level 1G/10G aggregation use cases, said. The switch can support secure connectivity for thousands of remote sites and millions of firewall sessions, which is especially important for the only increasing remote worker trend, he said.

The new Catalyst 8200 SD-WAN appliance complements the already-shipping Catalyst 8300 Series WAN Edge product. The 8200’s form factor for most remote and mobile environments, which lets businesses easily extend SD-WAN to the farthest reaches of the network, Khetan said. The Cisco Catalyst 8200 Series Edge uCPE, the latest addition to Cisco’s SD-Branch portfolio, was built for customers and service providers looking for strong performance alongside quickly changing technology requirements.

The Cisco Catalyst 8500L is an upgrade from the Cisco Aggregation Service Routers (ASR)1x and the ASR2x. The Cisco Catalyst 8200 is an upgrade for the Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISR) 4300 and ISR 2900, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based tech giant.

Cisco’s latest Catalyst upgrades are about supporting connectivity wherever users are and helping users connect to cloud services, said Long View’s MacDonald. “That’s become critical, not only driven by COVID-19, but also because remote workers have been a growing percentage of the workforce,” he said.

Cisco’s portfolio is responding to the demands that enterprises have around performance and a reliable, secure connection for all users, regardless of location, MacDonald said. “Seeing that continued investment in enriching the cloud connectivity experience with security are the things I put a high value on,” he said. ”The real value is around how to make employees the most functional and the ability to get their jobs done, when they want to get it done.”

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