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Cisco Systems on Jan. 31 launched a series of campus networking upgrades for its Catalyst switching line aimed at helping users add advanced services like voice and video to their IP networks.

The wide ranging enhancements, which include new Catalyst 2900, 3500 and 3700 series switches, new power supplies and redundant power systems, address the trend in the enterprise toward adding more real-time and interactive types of applications to the network.

“We see a trend away from static, centralized server applications toward more real-time, application-centric, dynamic computing,” said Weiller, director of network systems at Cisco in San Jose, Calif.

“Applications like [Cisco’s] Meeting Place and new wireless, multimedia and video devices are conforming to the way we communicate. That’s creating the interactive campus with the need to support multi-directional traffic. We need to distribute intelligence throughout [the network] to deal with that.”

The new Cisco Catalyst 3750-E Series stackables and Catalyst 3560-E standalone wiring closet switches deliver IEEE 803.3af Class 3 Power over Ethernet to every port in a single rack mount unit. The switches deliver 15.4 watts of power on all 48 ports in the units.

Both switches support the new Cisco TwinGig Converter Module, which allows users to convert two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks into a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink without having to change out the entire unit to add a faster uplink.

“It’s an easy migration from Gigabit [Ethernet] to 10 Gigabit [Ethernet]. All you have to do is pull out the converter module, put in [an optional] 10 Gigabit optic [transceiver] and you’re done. It’s the 10 second 10 Gig upgrade,” said Ish Limkakeng, director of Cisco’s desktop switching business unit in San Jose, Calif.

In addition, both the Catalyst 3750-E and Catalyst 3560-E Series switches will be the first Cisco switches to ship from manufacturing with an IOS software image containing all the feature sets. Customers only pay for the feature sets they want, but if they choose to upgrade at a later date, they receive a key to activate the feature set(s) they want without having to install a new IOS software image.

Cisco also announced that capability, dubbed In-Service Software Upgrade, for the Catalyst 4507R and 4510R Switches.

The Catalyst 3750-E incorporates Cisco’s StackWise Plus higher bandwidth stacking protocol, providing backward compatibility with existing Catalyst 3750 Series switches as well as integration with Cisco’s Catalyst 3750 Wireless LAN Controller and Integrated Services Router.

For switch deployments outside the wiring closet, Cisco also added the new small form factor Catalyst 3560 and Catalyst 2960 Compact Switches.

Click here to read about what Cisco plans to do with new video technologies.

Intended for use in meeting rooms, classrooms, micro-branch offices or other spaces, the small form factor units incorporate advanced security and Power over Ethernet. They don’t require a fan for cooling, can be mounted under a desk or on a wall, and can be locked down to prevent theft.

As users require more ports to be powered for VOIP (voice over IP) phones, Wireless Access Points and video surveillance, Cisco also added an enhanced power supply for its Catalyst 6500 Series chassis switches.

The new 8700W enhanced AC power supply increases the number of Catalyst 6500 Series ports that can be powered, and it adds a new remote restart capability that eliminates the requirement to send a technician to the power supply to restart it in the event of a shut down.

To help insure greater uptime to mission critical, real-time applications, Cisco also added the new Cisco Redundant Power System 2300, which provides backup power for as many as six devices, including Catalyst switches and ISRs.

All the new offerings will be available within the next month, and they range in price from $895 for the Catalyst 2960 Compact Switches to $9,495 for the Catalyst 3750-E Series Switches.

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