Bulletproof switch
Updated January 19, 2019

Bulletproof switch

Hawkinson, John | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches

  • Catalyst 2960 X/XR Series
  • Catalyst 3560-CX Series
  • Catalyst 3850 Series
We currently use Cisco Catalyst Switches as our standard enterprise and WAN switch solution. They connect almost 100 WAN sites, 2,000 VOIP phones, and 300 wireless access points. The business services that we provide would cease to function without the catalyst switch.
  • 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.
  • PoE has reduced power costs.
  • QoS (quality of service) has given us the ability to deploy VoIP and reduce our cabling costs.
  • During budget crunch times the catalyst has given us the confidence to extend replacement cycles.
We are currently in the begining stages of experimenting with automation. Once implemented we should be able to trust the new deployment of switches to our level one techs decreasing our personnel costs.
We have recently begun using Cisco Prime for central management capabilities cutting our day to day keep the lights on time in half.
We choose Catalyst based on cost.
  • 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.

Cisco Catalyst Addtional Questions

  • Access layer connectivity
  • The key to VoIP
  • Distribution layer connectivity
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Prior Experience with the Product
I work for the public sector and we are constantly asked to do more with less. The catalyst switch product line has been very reliable and has continued to work. When funding is tight the first thing to go is preventative maintenance. The catalyst switch has worked way past its recommended lifecycle and beyond the support lifecycle.
The best advice I can give is to create standard templates for different use cases. This will allow for quicker deployment and quicker troubleshooting. When I started my current job 4 years ago and took over responsibility for the network, I found that none of our switch configurations were the same. When you have around 200 devices to manage that becomes a very large burden to bare.
In my experience, you will always receive the best service and have the smoothest interaction with a vendor when you are looking to purchase something new. In this case, my score is due to the relationship that my organization and Cisco has built over the last four years. They have truly built trust with us to not only sell us things but to help us be strategic in the way we introduce new technology and understand our needs.
Our Cisco team has become a true partner in our success. Any time we have an issue regarding a dead on arrival device or damaged equipment and even when it winds up being the wrong device for what we are doing Cisco has always made things right. They have gone to great lengths to allow us to demo products longer than we probably should have.
I have tapped into Cisco's vast pool of Engineering services over the last 2 years. We have had Optic engineers help us to design how we would go about building and supporting Fiber rings. They have taken us through the DNA product and provided a deployment plan. We are working on a Smart Cities plan and the Cisco Engineers have taken us through reference architectures and are helping to modify them to our specific goals.

Using Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches

2 - Our IT department.
2 - Experiened network engineers and admins.
  • Emergency network in a box.
  • Temporary training locations.
  • Building automation
  • Building access control
  • Smart lighting
We are already planning our next switch refresh with Catalyst 9000.

Evaluating Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches and Competitors

I wouldn't make any changes. No regrets.

Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Implementation

Automation was the key to minimizing the initial update and configuration.
  • Third-party professional service company
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - Make sure you know all of the non-standard situations.
  • Not knowing all of the special connection requirements.

Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Training

I have found that with all of the forums and Google information you can successfully manage the Catalyst switch. Training however helps find the little extras that can save valuable time.

Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Support

Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Quick Initial Response
We only do this for mission-critical devices. Other wise we keep a couple on shelf stock in case of emergencies.
Yes - No it wasn't. It was deemed not to be on the radar.
We had a device that had taken a massive power overload that came in over a T1 line. This was a public safety related site. Our support tech expedited the RMA and we had the switch by noon the next day.
Overall Cisco does a very good job supporting all of their products. However, there is always the human element that plays a role in support. I have had some issues with the timeliness of the resolution and some people don't have the expected customer service skills or training. Which can be frustrating when you are getting pressure from your bosses.

Using Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches

Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Port configuration
  • Port security
  • Trunking
  • Quality of Service beyond auto QoS.
  • VRF
Everything can be improved, the Catalyst devices are great but some more advanced issues get very complex and if you aren't doing it every day it is easy to lose knowledge and need help.

Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches Reliability

Not every device is suited for every situation.
Cisco Catalyst is bulletproof, these things just work. Even with neglect packets just seem to flow.
No, the packets flow. Sometimes you will see collisions and broadcast storms can happen which will slow performance but that can be fixed and the packets will flow.

Relationship with Cisco

We were able to negotiate a partnership with Cisco. The best way to achieve that is to be open on honest with your Cisco team, tell them what you want, need and expect from a partner. Keep the honesty you never know for sure until you ask, and be willing to flex and rethink how to achieve your goals.
If you don't have a positive relationship with the Rep in your district try and forge one as soon as you can. Cisco is and has been changing over the last few years. Send some of your staff to Cisco Live or other local events to get connected not only to the local support but the Cisco employees that are part of the other divisions.