Cisco switches add 10GigE features

Cisco Systems has beefed up its switching portfolio with several new and upgraded switches and systems designed to make 10GigE more affordable, increase availability, boost security, and add power over Ethernet features.

The additions to the Cisco Catalyst switch portfolio include Cisco Catalyst 6500 and 4500 Series supervisor engines with enhanced security, availability, and integrated 10GigE and/or GbE uplinks, as well as the Cisco Catalyst 6500, 3750, and 3560 10/100/1000 Power Over Ethernet (PoE) products. High availability offerings and a GbE-enabled IP Phone have also been announced.

The Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 32 is an update to the brains behind Cisco's high-end modular switch family. Among the security features it offers is multiple CPU rate limiters for DoS mitigation. It also includes upgrade support for advanced IP services, such as hardware GRE, IPv6 and MPLS. It also supports second stateful switchover, which moves IP phone calls and wireless LAN connections to another supervisor during a failover. It can also perform diagnostics while continuing to run, according to Cisco officials. The Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 32 will be available next month for $US15,000.

Cisco also added a new mid-range supervisor, the Catalyst 4500 Supervisor V-10 GE. Like the higher-end 6500, it includes sub-second stateful switchover and security features. It will also be available next month, priced at $US19,995.

"With this new supervisor, an existing 4500 customer can swap out just the supervisor, replace it with this, and be able to upgrade their modular system to 10GigE," vice-president and general manager for Cisco's switching group, John McCool, said.

To complement the new supervisors, Cisco is concurrently updating its Catalyst 6500 LAN access interface modules.It's unveiling a pair of 48-port modules that support power over Ethernet, rapid cable fault detection, enhanced quality of service, and optional 10GigE support.

Cisco also announced switches that support 10GigE to its 3750 and 3560 product lines. Four of the eight new 24- and 48-port devices offer power over Ethernet support of as much as 370 watts,eliminating the need for an external power supply. Already available, they range is price from $US4795 to $US15,495.

Cisco also added a new GbE IP phone, the 7971G-GE. It enables companies to extend GbE connectivity from the switch to a user's phone and desktop PC. It is available now for $US845.

"This new release of products from Cisco shows that more capacity is coming to the edge of the network, as well as [providing] more intelligence," said Zeus Kerraval, network analyst at Yankee Group, Zeus Kerraval, said.

The new GbE phone demonstrated how enterprises were extending 10GigE capabilities all the way to the desktop, he said. "It allows a PC to plug into the phone and access high bandwidth with no degradation," Kerraval said. "As the price of 10GigE comes down, you are going to see more companies deploying more capacity to the edge of the network, and this phone indicates how serious IT managers are about this."

Sales of 10GigE switches have increased as prices have fallen for the products.

According to the Dell (Profile, Products, Articles) 'Oro Group, total sales of Ethernet switches were nearly $US3.5 billion in the third quarter this year, up 9 per cent over the second quarter, and an increase of 24 percent over the third quarter last year, according to the report.

Other companies have also recently announced 10GigE products. Foundry Networks announced new 10GigE products, such as an 8-port GbE module for its BigIron MG8 switch designed for high-density, bandwidth-intensive enterprises and service providers.

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