Cisco Enterprise Ethernet Switch Buyer's Guide - Page 2

Networking leader Cisco says two key trends to watch are increasing demand for video and the consumerization of IT, and its Ethernet switch product line reflects that belief.

 By Drew Robb
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Campus LAN Access Switches

The Catalyst 2K, 3K, and 4K families ((http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps5718/Products_Sub_Category_Home.html) are better suited as access switches that allow the network to adapt and support new application deployments. They are designed for ease of operations and include enterprise-class security.

For LAN access, Conover touts the Cisco Catalyst 3750, starting at $3,900 per switch. It is good for rich media applications such as video due to features that ensure network readiness with integrated traffic simulation and QoS assessment capabilities. It can also identify and bring video streams onto the network based on priority and available bandwidth. Further, network managers can monitor and troubleshoot the network by tracing the route that video follows, identifying any nodes that may be responsible for jitter or delay in the path. Users can start with 1GE and upgrade to 10GE later.

"The Catalyst 3750-X switches secure communications and can help ensure compliance (to regulations such as HIPPA or SOX) by preventing man-in-the-middle attacks (so communications cannot be intercepted), preventing denial-of-service, and applying role-based, location-aware access control," said Conover. "It is available in three different price-performance points while allowing one to upgrade in the future."

Compact Switches

In the compact switch category, Conover suggests the Cisco Catalyst 2960-C and 3560-C. These compact switches extend services whenever and wherever you want with simplified LAN support, far from the wiring closet.

Starting at $795, Cisco C-Series Switches are good for unified communications, wireless access, IP video and other applications in wiring-, space-, and power-constrained environments. With Power over Ethernet (PoE) pass-through capability, the C-Series Switches eliminate the need for power outlets and so greatly reduce cabling complexities and overall infrastructure requirements.

"Cisco Catalyst Compact Switches help enable deployments of new applications easily, securely, and reliably," said Conover. "They are fanless and stylish, making them ideal for collocation with end users. And their small form factor makes them easy to deploy in spaces with limited wiring and cabling infrastructure."
Tips in Switch Selection and Deployment

Digging deeper into switch selection, Conover offered further advice. If you're looking for a standards-based switch with an enterprise baseline feature set at a competitive price, choose the Catalyst 2960-S. If, however, you are more interested in a switch to really address the new trends in enterprise around video, IT consumerization/mobility, security, or where availability is important (such as uninterrupted voice/video/data communications with customers, partners, and employees) then opt for either the Catalyst 3750-X or 4500E.

This article was originally published on Mar 17, 2011
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