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In a wide-ranging switching launch, Cisco Systems Inc. is spotlighting the wiring closet with a range of options that lower costs, increase flexibility and security, and bring higher availability to the network’s edge.

The 20-plus Catalyst switching additions offered last week increase the level of integrated security and availability at the network’s edge; bringing 10 Gigabit Ethernet from the core to the wiring closet; and providing Gigabit Ethernet and POE (Power over Ethernet) to the desktop, said Cisco officials in San Jose, Calif.

Cisco added two Supervisor modules for the Catalyst 6500 and Catalyst 4500 that extend Supervisor 720 features to the wiring closet at a more affordable price and bring 10 Gigabit Ethernet into the closet.

The Catalyst 6500 Supervisor Engine 32 delivers more cost-effective, hardware-based security functions, such as mitigation for DoS (denial-of-service) attacks, to a Catalyst 6500 in the wiring closet. It adds two 10 Gigabit Ethernet Xenpak or eight Gigabit Ethernet SFP (Small Form-Factor Pluggable) uplinks.

Along with adding a more “attainable price point for enterprises that want to go with a single chassis end to end, the Supervisor Engine 32 will let them do much more cost-effective wireless LAN solutions,” said Joel Conover, an analyst with Meta Group Inc., in Sterling, Va. “This’ll cut about $11,000 out of a $50,000 wireless LAN solution.”

For Catalyst 4500 users looking to future-proof wiring closets and prepare for more advanced services such as VOIP (voice over IP), Cisco added the Catalyst 4500 Supervisor Engine V-10G, which provides two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports or four Gigabit Ethernet ports. When users upgrade to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, they won’t have to swap out the Supervisor—just change the optical connections, officials said.

Cisco added the IOS (Internetwork Operating System)-based Stateful SwitchOver function to the Catalyst 6500 and 4500, which is key for IP telephony applications. That function “worked as advertised” in a beta test at Clarian Health Partners Inc., a health care nonprofit in Indianapolis, said Tom Jones, a Clarian technology architect. “We’re most interested in things that provide patient care and things that don’t lose connectivity.”

3Com frecently overhauled its switch line too. Click here to read more.

In the VOIP area, Cisco laid claim to the first Gigabit Ethernet-enabled IP phone and added switches with POE, including the Catalyst 3750 with StackWise technology and a pair of Catalyst 3650s with 24- or 48-port Gigabit Ethernet interfaces with optional IEEE 802.3af POE.

The offerings are available between now and February.

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