My Review of Cisco Switches
Updated January 22, 2019

My Review of Cisco Switches

Steve Davis | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Catalyst Switches

  • Catalyst 2960-L Series
  • Catalyst 3650 Series
  • Catalyst 3850 Series
While at Diamond IT, I implemented Cisco Catalyst switches for municipal governments as well as school districts. The problems they address are the reliability of equipment, uptime, and feature requirements.

One of the great things about Cisco gear is they always work. They have a high reliability in terms of hardware lifespan, as well as stability of IOS.
  • Excellent uptime. They rarely go down
  • A massive amount of features
  • Easy upgrade and maintenance
  • Name recognition
  • A wide variety of training and documentation to assist in support.
  • 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.
  • Fast track to Level 2 or 3 Cisco Support would be nice. This is true of all vendors however. Sometimes you can get stuck redoing all troubleshooting steps you've already done with Level 1 support.
  • Less maintenance requirements have a positive impact on ROI
  • Longevity of equipment have a positive impact on ROI
  • Higher cost is the only downside
  • More engineers are trained in Cisco than other products which allows one to pull from a larger support pool.
I love the ability to easily update configurations across devices. The ability to update from tools, CLI, or web GUI, as well as to export configurations and modify for new switches makes configuration quick.
Cisco switches are easy to manage as well as to customize provided you have an engineer that is familiar with the product. However, the mass amount of technical documentation and videos available online allow one to learn with ease.
I prefer Cisco in most avenues so far due to their reliability, uptime, easy to configure and ease of maintenance. Their high cost though prevents them from being the switch of choice for smaller customers with a smaller budget. They are one of the switches of choice for larger enterprise and government entities. I am currently beginning to evaluate other enterprise-level switches such as Juniper.
When more advanced network requirements are needed, as well as great uptime. Their TAC support is excellent as well. They may be higher in cost but they are also higher in reliability.

Cisco Catalyst Addtional Questions

There's a lot of knowledge online, a lot of engineers who know the product, and TAC support is easy to use.
  • Network connectivity
  • Network security
  • Power over ethernet for network devices.
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Prior Experience with the Product
  • Vendor Reputation
Knowledge that Cisco is a high end device and I can count on it to work. I've never had a bad experience or regretted with selecting a Cisco switch.
I would recommend having someone knowledgeable configure your switches. Some simple best practices would be to only provide access to bare minimum of resources. Access ports for end devices and trunks between switches and APs.
The product details and SKUs are readily available online. Very easy to find what you need and email your vendor to let them know what you are trying to order.
I usually did all of the configurations, so outside of ordering from distribution, there was rarely any need for interaction.
I rarely needed to engage TAC, however there were some times where it was needed. When deploying new features or new products, i would on occasion need to obtain assistance.

Using Cisco Catalyst Switches

500 - They represent our core network at our datacenter, and our access layer switches at all of our buildings. We utilize them in house, as well as in a majority of the clients that we were consulting for.
4 - I would recommend at minimum getting your CCNA to validate knowledge in your technicians. A CCNP would be ideal for a high level engineer. One can configure the switches without the certification, however it is a good method of validation.
  • Core network for datacenter
  • Provide power over ethernet for wireless access points and VoIP phones
  • 10 GB connectivity
  • front end and back end of virtualization environment
  • more and faster speed as the technology is deployed
  • additional network security
  • expansion of network

Evaluating Cisco Catalyst Switches and Competitors

Yes - We replaced Dell switches due to features and lifetime of switches.
I wouldn't change a choice in using Cisco Catalyst. Very happy with the product in our organization.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Support

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes - It provides software updates which I highly recommend having, as well as technical support and hardware warranty. I always recommend it.
There has been several times that I have received exceptional support. One time specifically was when I deployed brand new switches that did not support the features I was anticipating. TAC was able to determine the issue and get me on the BETA testing program so i could test the new software with the features I needed. This was when the Aironet 1560 APs were new.

Using Cisco Catalyst Switches

Once you learn the system you will feel confident in how superior it is to standard GUI only switches. It is feature rich and you can control a lot of your network with this product line.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Well integrated
Consistent
Convenient
Feel confident using
Requires technical support
Lots to learn
  • similarity in configuration across all products
  • easy to search across the configuration
  • context sensitive help was instrumental
  • first time users will need an engineer or training before configuring the system
  • ordering the product can be difficult on occasion due to the SMARTnet registration process
  • no other difficulties come to mind