Cisco offers power to the people with new switches

Cisco has juiced up its Catalyst switch line with improved Power-over-Ethernet support, backup power and failover, and 10G Ethernet connectivity at the LAN edge.


Cisco has juiced up its Catalyst switch line with improved Power-over-Ethernet support, backup power and failover, and 10G Ethernet connectivity at the LAN edge.

New Catalyst 3750-E and 3560-E switches are aimed at dense PoE deployments, where a majority of ports on a switch require in-line power for attached devices, such as IP phones or wireless LAN access points. The switches offer twice the PoE support as previous models and include expanded 10G Ethernet uplink options. Cisco has also beefed up the power supplies on its Catalyst 6500 series chassis to power as many as 420 ports in a chassis with PoE.

A number of products were launched at the same time including:

  • A Redundant Power System (RPS) 2300, a backup power supply and power-management device for Cisco PoE switches
  • Catalyst 3560 Compact Switch and Catalyst 2960 Compact Switch, for deployment in tight spaces or public areas
  • A 10G Ethernet-enabled Supervisor Engine for the Catalyst 4500 chassis, plus advanced IOS software imaging for the device

The Catalyst 3750-E comes in 24 and 48-port versions. Each has 10/100/1000Mbps autosensing ports and modular port slots, which can accept dual-port Gigabit Ethernet or single-port 10G Ethernet uplinks. The switch stacks with as many as eight other 3750-E switches or older versions of the Catalyst 3750, with Cisco’s StackWise interconnection technology. This lets switches be linked by a common 64Gbit/s interconnected backplane while being managed and configured as a single logical network device.

The Catalyst 3650-E’s features are similar to those of the 3750-E - as many as 48 ports of 10/100/1000Mbps PoE, and dual 10G Ethernet - except that the switches are stand-alone, and cannot be linked with StackWise technology.They both support Cisco’s new IOS Software Activation feature and will ship with full-feature versions of IOS on the hardware, which users will activate with software keys. For chassis-based deployments of PoE, Cisco has added an 8700W power supply for the Catalyst 6500 switch. The new power supply is an upgrade from previous 3000W and 6000W supplies or the switch, and allow as many as 420 PoE ports (each transmitting 15.4W) inside a nine-slot Catalyst 6500 chassis.

The new RPS 2300 meanwhile acts as a backup power supply for one or two Catalyst 3750-E or 3650-E switches, when there’s an internal power supply failure. It hooks to an alternative power source - such as a generator or UPS backup - to provide a smooth power transition and monitoring of power usage to switches in the event of a buildingwide power failure.

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 and 2960 Compact Switches are eight-port switches designed for tough environments. The 2960 supports 10/100Mbps, with a 10/100/1000Mbps small-form factor pluggable (SFP) uplink port. The 3560 has eight 10/100Mbps PoE ports and a single SFP uplink. Cisco said fan-less operation and small size means the devices can sit in public areas.

In addition, several upgrades were made to the Catalyst 4500 chassis, which is used in small-backbone, aggregation-layer or wiring-closet deployments. A new Supervisor V-10GE engine adds built-in 10G Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to the module, along with four optional SFP ports for two 10G or four 1G Ethernet uplink modules. The Catalyst 4500 now has Cisco’s In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) feature, previously available on the Catalyst 6500. This lets administrators make changes to IOS software configurations or to upgrade to different IOS versions without taking the device offline.

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