Cisco rolls out LAN tsunami

Cisco Systems this week unveiled more than 20 LAN switching products designed to improve security, availability, performance and investment protection.

Among the key additions to the company's Catalyst line include, Catalyst 6500 and 4500 Series supervisor engines with integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and uplinks, as well as Catalyst 6500, 3750 and 3560 10/100/1000M bit/sec Power Over Ethernet (PoE) products. Also announced were high availability offerings and a Gigabit Ethernet IP phone.

All products address the network edge and wiring closet, and extend capabilities that until now were reserved for the network core.

An example is the Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 32, which is based on Cisco's Supervisor Engine 720 for the core Catalyst 6500 switch. The Supervisor Engine 32 allows customers to enable hardware based security features, such as denial of service mitigation to protect network application performance. It also provides scalable support for multicast applications at the network edge, Cisco says.

Cisco is also extending 10 Gigabit Ethernet to the network edge. Supervisor Engine 32 offers a choice of two 10-Gigabit or eight Gigabit Ethernet uplinks.

Also announced are Catalyst 6500 LAN Access Interface modules. These include 48-port 10/100/1000, and 48-port 10/100 modules with enhanced QoS and cable fault detection capabilities. The modules also include a 96-port 10/100 RJ21 module for high port densities in compact form factors.

Other additions to the Catalyst 6500 include a 48-port 100BASE-X module to support highly secure 100M bit/sec fiber deployments; a 6000Watt power supply for high density PoE deployments; and a content switching module with integrated SSL security for datacenter deployments.

For the 4500, Cisco rolled out the Layer 2/3/4 Supervisor Engine V-10GE, which offers dual wire-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports or four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Support for both interfaces provides investment protection for customers looking to upgrade from Gigabit to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Additions to the Catalyst line include the Catalyst 3750 switch with "StackWise" technology and the Cisco Catalyst 3560 models that support 24- and 48-port 10/100/1000 with optional standards-based PoE. StackWise enables stacked switches to share configuration and routing information through a 32G bit/sec stack interconnect.

The Gigabit Ethernet phone is called the Cisco IP Phone 7971G-GE. As Cisco's highest-end phone, it's designed to allow unconstrained Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth from the network to desktops. The 7971 is powered by Cisco 10/100/1000 Ethernet switches that support the IEEE 802.3af standard for PoE.

Software enhancements to improve the uptime of these devices include Cisco IOS with Layer 3 non-stop forwarding and stateful switchover on the Catalyst 6500; and Layer 2 stateful switchover on the Catalyst 4500 and 6500. Also, the 6500 includes a so-called generic online diagnostics feature to proactively detect and address potential faults in the switch.

All products are orderable now, with the exception of Supervisor 32 with the dual 10-Gigabit Ethernet links. That will be available in February 2005.

Catalyst 6500 products range from US$5,000 to US$20,000. The Supervisor Engine V-10GE costs US$20,000 and the content switching modules costs US$50,000.

Pricing for the 3750 and 3560 switches range from US$4,800 to US$15,500. The phone costs US$845.

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