Today, Cisco is undoubtedly one of the most well-known IT solution providers worldwide. The company has built a reputation as a pioneer of modern computing as well as networking. Switches are one area of hardware where you can see firsthand Cisco’s dominance. The sheer number of Cisco Catalyst switches available and the variety of services on offer demonstrate the importance of Cisco as a company.
If you are looking to install Cisco switches on your network, we have an article to walk you through the best Cisco monitoring tools. In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about Cisco switches. It includes basic information on how it works and guides to some of the most popular switch circuits available today.
The Basic Cisco Catalyst Switches
Before getting into the switches themselves, it’s important to note that Cisco offers several different switches depending on user needs. The two main categories of switches are Catalyst and Nexus. Catalyst switches are designed for campus networks and Nexus switches are intended for data centres. In this article, we will focus on the network Cisco Catalyst switches on campus, but we will also cover the various Nexus switches. I am sure after reading this article you get to know about the Cisco switches in detail.
Campus Network Switches
There are two main types of network switches used by Cisco; Fixed configuration switches and modular switches. The differences between the two are explained below:
Fixed Configuration Switches
You cannot replace or add optional modules with this type of switch.
Modular switches allow you to modify and add additional modules.
Switching in a network environment depends on the network requirements. Below is a list of some of the most popular Cisco campus switches. For now, let’s limit the discussion to the keys above. At the basic level, you will most likely find the Cisco Catalyst 6500 or Catalyst 6800 series. Alternatively, high-traffic networks can use switches such as the Cisco Catalyst 4500-X series at the distribution level.
Several network switches are classified as “managed”. With a managed switch, users can configure the IP address of the device. The 2960-X, 3850-X, 4500-X, and 6800-X switches are all types of managed switches. The advantage of this switch is that you can use a managed IP address to connect using Secure Shell or Telnet.
Cisco Catalyst 3850-X Series (Modular Switch)
Cisco Catalyst 3850-X Series switches have a choice of network modules (Ethernet or fibre optic) and power modules. This series is universal because it can be used in both small and large organizations. Smaller organizations can place switches at the base level if they don’t have a distribution level, and on a larger enterprise network at the access level.
One of the newest switch types from Cisco is the programmable line switch (seen in the Catalyst line of 9000 switches). Programmable switches are used by Cisco to provide intent-based networking. These switches have special ASICs compatible with future technologies.
These programmable Cisco Catalyst switches operate on an intent-based network platform. Programming the network infrastructure through these switches allows administrators to customize their infrastructure to the services and experiences they want to provide. For example, if a team is making a video call with a customer, the video application will design the network to match the caller’s needs to ensure the best performance.
At its core, intent-based networking is about synergistically combining the efforts of administrators and developers. The goal is to create and maintain services that provide a better end-user experience. However, programmable switches also allow network administrators to automate routine network management tasks.
Cisco Switching Methods
There are three different methods that Cisco IOS-based routers use to route packets over the network. The three methods are as follows:
The router processor uses packet routing and rewriting packets. It is the slowest of the three methods because it is not scalable.
Route Caching or Fast Switching
Here the first packet of the packet stream is routed and rewritten by the route processor, and subsequent packets are processed by the hardware instead.
Cisco Express Forwarding
Cisco Express Forwarding uses hardware forwarding tables for the most common flows. This allows the router to work on other tasks.
Cisco routers aim to prioritize Cisco Express Forwarding whenever possible. If this or fast switching is not possible, process switching can be used. Most Cisco switches have routing processors that are not designed for process switching and therefore perform poorly when used. However, most of the time, you will be using Cisco Express Forwarding or Fast Switching.
Switch LED Indicators: Performance Monitoring
If you have used Cisco Catalyst switches in the past, you know that they have a variety of LED lights that are used as performance indicators. Depending on the switch model, there are different LEDs from one product to another. These lamps have various meanings in all products. In the sections below, we have listed some of the main LED indicators for Cisco Catalyst 2960 switches.
Cisco Catalyst Switches
Cisco Catalyst switches are specifically designed for enterprise networking environments. Cisco offers a wide variety of these network switches on campus, so we’ve given you a guide to the most popular switches below for uninterrupted internet connectivity.
Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series
The Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series is a suite of switches positioned as the next generation of Cisco network switches. These switches are designed with Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). The result is a switch that provides software-defined access (SD access). SD-Access is useful because it allows users to quickly create and deploy services.
Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series
This switch is a toggle switch with a fixed core switch platform specially designed for IoT and the cloud. They offer support for MPLS, MVPN, NAT and Layer 2/3 VPN. They also have their SD access function and Cisco StackWise Virtual technology.
Cisco Catalyst 9400 Series
The Cisco Catalyst 9400 Series Switches are Cisco’s answer to modular enterprise switching. They offer system bandwidth support of up to 9 Tbit/s and are expandable up to 384 access ports. This is a secure switching option that Cisco DNA and SD access also offer. The 9400 Series is a great choice for businesses looking for scalability and the ability to grow.
Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series
The Cisco Catalyst 9300 switch is listed as a trusted enterprise switching platform. The 9300 switch provides support for 802.11ax and 802.11ac Wave 2 access points. It is also a good choice for flexible deployments due to the use of StackWise virtual technology that supports the NSF/SSO architecture. The most unique aspect of this switch is that it is the only switch platform with front and rear stacking.
Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series
The Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series is a toggle switch that has been specifically optimized for 1, 10, and 40 Gbit/s secure services. They offer support for Cisco DNA and SD access and are fully compatible with the Cisco Catalyst 6500-E Series chassis. The modular design of this series makes it ideal for companies looking for a secure and scalable solution.The control plane is responsible for routing protocols and decisions, and the forwarding plane is responsible for the actual routing (or switching) of most packets.There are two main categories of switches: modular and fixed configurations. There are differences between these categories of network switches, but the basic definition of each remains the same.