Cisco upgrades module for Catalyst 4000

Cisco Systems at the ComNet 2002 trade show here this week announced a supervisor module for its Catalyst 4000 modular switch that the company says can expand the box's reach from enterprise wiring closets to the network backbones of smaller businesses.

While upping by two-thirds the price of a basic six-slot Catalyst 4000 chassis and management module, the new Supervisor Engine III can forward packets 250 percent faster than the previous Catalyst 4000 Supervisor II module. Plus, it provides quality-of-service (QoS) controls necessary for IP (Internet Protocol) telephony systems. It has expanded QoS support and traffic prioritization queues, as well as Layer 3 and Layer 4 switching, the company says.

Catalyst 4000 Supervisor Engine III is a single-slot module with two Gigabit Interface Converter (GBIC) slots for Gigabit uplinks. With the new supervisor module - the blade in the chassis that provides switching intelligence to all ports - Cisco has bumped up the total packets per second (PPS) of its low-end chassis switch from 6 million PPS to 48 million PPS.

Intelligence upgrades to the box include full Layer 3 and Layer 4 switching, which was previously available but with a separate module in addition to the supervisor engine.

For enhanced QoS for applications such as voice or video, Type of Service (TOS) and Class of Service (CoS) support for Layer 4 traffic prioritization have been added to the new module, as well as four queues of Layer 2 prioritization (as opposed to two on the previous model).

While previous Catalyst 4000s ran Cisco's Layer 2 Catalyst operating system, or CatOS, the new supervisor can also run Cisco's IOS software, which has features like access control list rule enforcement to limit end users' access to network resources based on their physical port or IP address. IOS also brings RADIUS and TACACS+ authentication services to the box for controlling user access rights to a LAN or WAN (wide area network).

Cisco's Supervisory Engine III for the six-slot Catalyst 4000 chassis is available now for US$15,000, or $20,000 with the chassis included.

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