Cisco Boosts Catalyst Switching Capacity

You can teach an old switch new tricks.

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) today announced new cards for their Catalyst switching providing a route to the next generation of networking demands. The Catalyst 6500 series is a $42 billion book of business for Cisco with over 700,000 systems deployed going back to 1999.

 With the help of the new Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T, the venerable switching platform now gains a new 2 terabit card that provides up to 80 gigabits per slot of switching capacity. According to Cisco the new card provides a threefold increase in capacity for the Catalyst 6500 from 720 Gbps to 2 Tbps.

The Supervisor Engine 2T is available for the 6500 E Series providing enterprise with a way to update existing systems. It’s not clear what percentage of the total Catalyst install base the E-series represents as Cisco was unable to respond to a query from <em></em> by press time about the Catalyst 6500 update.

Cisco has been updating the Catalyst 6500 series regularly over the last decade. Back in 2007, Cisco introduced a Virtual Switching System for the Catalyst 6500 enabling users to combine multiple physical switches into a single logical one.

While the Catalyst 6500 has long been the workhorse of the Cisco switching portfolio, it has been joined by the Nexus switch in recent years. The Nexus is a key component of the Cisco Unified Computing System and Cisco’s cloud strategies.

Cisco’s switching business has faced its share of challenges lately too. During Cisco’s second quarter of fiscal 2011, the company reported a 7 percent decline in switching revenues.

The competitive market for switching has also ramped up in recent years as rivals Juniper and HP have aggressively entered the space.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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