- Centrally managed configuration and IOS via the attached 6880 catalyst pair.
- POE+ support for newer Access Points and speaker requirements
- Firmware rollout is very smooth and simple using upgrades to the 6880 "core"
- There are some known bugs that cause interface errors and are listed as "cosmetic" and they do not plan to address them. This makes troubleshooting very difficult to determine what are real errors and what are cosmetic.
- We have had a few batches that get stuck in random reboots.
- Cisco foolishly has discontinued R&D for this line of Catalyst when they were finally showing some innovation that set them apart from other vendors.
- Stack up to 8 high providing high port density with a single managed IP address
- Autosmart ports allow zero touch provisioning of edge connected devices
- IOS commands are congruent amongst most models (Obviously different features available for different products)
- My only complain is the boot time for a stack. Just more of an education thing to end users than a nuisance. Letting them know it may be 5-10 minutes before connectivity is restored in the event of a power loss.
- LAN traffic processing
- PoE power management and sensing
- Uptime, they can run forever in some of the worst conditions ive seen... Particularly one in an autoshop covered in oil, drained and it still functions today.
- Modularity in the lower end models could use a bit of a hand
- Power cord stress relief and retention options
- Integrated environment sensors, option to connect external directly
- I haven't worked on many other brands of routers/switches, but I can say with certainty that Cisco's IOS network operating system is very well written. Using the question mark helps you find a command or complete its options very easily.
- Cisco's Catalyst documentation is superb and if you can't find what you're looking for there, you can find a ton of great blogs by certified Cisco engineers.
- Cisco may be notorious for creating their own proprietary protocols, but for every proprietary protocol they also support the industry standard protocols.
- Cisco Catalyst switches are genuine workhorses; we still have some switches on our network that are older than 10 years and still performing great!
- Cisco Catalyst switches, like all Cisco products, are insanely expensive. However, the tech support they provide is unparalleled. You can get support from Cisco TAC (Technical Assistance Center) any time of day/night.
- It would be easier if Cisco stopped creating their own proprietary protocols and only supported the industry standards.
- One thing I don't like about Cisco IOS is that you must remember what interface you are configuring, as the command prompt will not tell you. It's not a huge deal, but it's worth fixing.
- Since Cisco's hardware and support maintenance is so expensive, they should drop the modular pricing on their IOS and give ALL their customers the full OS with all capabilities included. Their IP base OS doesn't even support cryptography! Who DOESN'T use SSH these days?
We were looking to segment our network as we transitioned from a small organization to a larger one. It allowed us to get a better understanding of the needs of our end users, implement appropriate security mechanisms and make network management easier.
Our newest scope for re-design is to stack several devices and allow even easier management and reduce the need for loop detection mechanisms.
- Integration with the rest of Cisco's product lines
- Price. There are competitors that provide similar service levels at the most reasonable prices.
- The innovation of emerging technology in areas of network management and integration.
- Model numbers can be confusing when wanting to find exactly what you need.
- Support for several types of interfaces on a single chassis.
- Hardware and software stability. We have some switches on our network that are at least 15 years old.
- Ease of implementation and software upgrades.
- The price point for some of the modular products, particularly in the 6500 series chassis makes it difficult for some companies to implement. So, competitors sometimes "win" because Cisco is just too expensive.
If you're looking for an inexpensive switch the Catalyst is not for you. If your looking for a Data Center switch the catalyst is not for you.
- Cisco Catalyst Switches are extremely reliable. I cannot recall a time when I have had to swap out one, or repair one.
- Cisco Catalyst Switches provide the power and data redundancy required in our research heavy environment that cannot suffer network failures.
- Cisco Catalyst Switches allow for growth, limiting upfront costs.
- It would be nice if configuring a new stack from the ground up was simpler. It's too easy to end up with a split stack situation on accident, and in general, setting up a new stack isn't as fluid as I would like.
- While we do make changes to the software on the switches, we expect them to work. They do this phenomenally. We rarely have a problem with the hardware.
- We use our catalyst switches as a layer 3 device to route traffic between buildings while segmenting our network.
- We are using port security to help protect the rest of the network.
- Cost. We love our Cisco switches but, other vendors present cost savings that is difficult to justify not using their product.
- SmartNet is a huge cost for a k-12 organization. We purchase licensing when we purchase the product. This should allow access to software upgrades. Other vendors offer a lower cost for the equipment, lifetime warranty without change, and software updates without charge.
- LAN switching
- Voice segmentation
- Routing and MPLS tagging
- Port aggregation
- Per port costs are higher than other vendors, even though those vendors do not provide as much out of their switches, the number is a selling obstacle
- Connecting end user devices
- Multiple vlans assigned to ports
- Reliable switches
- Labeling of port numbers vary between switches
- Recently with 3850s, seems more than 4-5 in a stack - it has issues and a switch will put
- Port-security issues
- Access switches
- Colapse Core switch
- Many redundancy functions, depending on the model, there are stacks, VSS, even working separately provide L3 redundancy with HSRP for example
- Maybe interference speed, the highest I have seen is 10Gbps. Nexus is working in 40 Gbps and even 100 Gbps
- Great at connecting end-user devices
- Very good at securing the edge of the network
- Easy to troubleshoot any issues that you might encounter
- Cost per port could always be less
- Ports could be labeled better
- Management ports should be on the back
- They WORK. Our Cisco switches remain in operation until they had to be replaced to allow for we features.
- Easy configuration. We manage many of our switches with a single config that needs only minor tweaks.
- Configuration by CLI guarantees that we can easily reconfigure and troubleshoot our devices, even under very low bandwidth conditions.
- Web interface. A fully functional web interface with all configuration capabilities would help for admins with less experience.
- They need built in monitoring that gives real statistics and other data.
4000+ switches have been instrumental in setting up our regional corporate offices. Their flexibility makes them perfect for setting up the more complex scenarios in locations with 100+ users.
- We use stacking technology to help with redundancy.
- Great uptime, rarely do they fail.
- The MultiGig technology - we enjoy using it for our access points.
- Found cosmetic bugs with PoE. Seems to affect a few versions of code.
- Seems to be a little pricier than competitors.
- Great access and distribution layer switches.
- Easy to configure, have redundancy options, and great throughout.
- Single management IP per stack, one logical switch composed of several physical switches.
- 10Gbps to the edge switches
- Reliable - very few service interruptions due to switch failure.
- SMARTnet can be expensive for continued support
- Earlier version of code had a bug that impacted our environment
- No real netflow capability
- No SDN capability
The 2960-X is not really designed for SDN or network programmability. They just don’t have the horsepower to support it.
- They are bulletproof, you can abuse and neglect these things and they just keep working.
- PoE (power over ethernet) is simple and dependable.
- They are super forgiving of configuration mistakes.
- I have always wanted a wireless way of connecting to the console. We have very small network closets and struggle to balance a laptop and make configuration changes.
- If physical labeling of the device is neglected it is difficult the know which device is which in a stack.
- They are sometimes extremely loud and difficult to install in non-dedicated areas.
- If you need an enterprise-grade access layer switch, you won't regret the catalyst.
- Small business or in the home you would be over buying for the catalyst.
- 1X integration with ISE
- API access, with Python bindings
- The guest shell allows customers to do almost anything they need with these switches.
- Some of the default settings are ridiculous. I always update the log and debug settings to include the timestamp, and auto secure is a must. Why shouldn't these be defaults?
- The LAN Lite image is useless, I have no reason to sell such a limited switch.
- Excellent uptime. They rarely go down
- A massive amount of features
- Easy upgrade and maintenance
- Cisco is more expensive which is why many small organizations sometimes do not opt to use them.
- Better built-in GUI for less experienced users. The java based GUI is buggy. CLI configurations are my preference.
I also have experience working with the 3750 and 3850 switches which are modular. Up to nine of them can be power and data stacked together and be used in the same way as one 6500 was used. The 3850 is the industry standard now in the education system, as one access stack can be placed in each building and it make supporting the infrastructure much easier for the IT department.
- Cisco Catalyst Switches are excellent for easily configuring VLANs
- Trunking which handles what ins and outs of the VLANS
- Redundancy because of the power stacking ability
- Small datacenter footprint
- Catalyst switches are smart switches, by that I mean if your master goes down for some reason the next one in line "steps up" and takes over as the master
- The biggest issue that I have with Catalyst switches is the licensing as it is a royal pain to install all of them
- Packet loss is an issue from time to time, but that is to be expected
- Pricing is very high, but I will say that for the price you pay, you get 24/7 support
- Command line configuration is very easy to mass deploy config changes and base configurations.
- 1x authentication
- All bugs publically available and not hidden behind Technical Assistance Center (TAC) for "internal" bug id
- Longevity of recent IOS software releases
- Adding new features to older stable tested trusted software code
- Provide access to end users
- Easily configurable for basic needs
- Allow devices to be powered via Ethernet
- Price point on a perpetual licensed model is high compared across the industry.
- Licensing model is getting better with Smart Licenses however not all devices support this.
Cisco Catalyst Switches Scorecard Summary
About Cisco Catalyst Switches
Our Cisco Catalyst family of switches includes enterprise LAN access, distribution, and core switches. Designed for an entirely new era of intent-based networking, these switches deliver stellar performance and functionality and prepare your network for the future with breakthrough innovations for security, mobility, IoT, and the cloud.
When designing switches for your network, we wanted to protect your investment with the most advanced digital-ready switching platform. Our Catalyst switches offer true differentiation through advanced security capabilities, scale for IoT, and cloud readiness.
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