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Cisco launches major upgrade to its Catalyst 6500 switch line

The network switch wars escalated this week in Las Vegas at Cisco Live, the company's annual IT and communications conference, with the launch of what it described as an "infusion of multiple innovations into its flagship Catalyst 6500 Series."


July 14, 2011  


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The network switch wars escalated this week in Las Vegas at Cisco Live, the company’s annual IT and communications conference, with the launch of what it described as an “infusion of multiple innovations into its flagship Catalyst 6500 Series.”

It also unleashed a torrid of product comparatives aimed specifically at HP, its one time ally and now rival saying HP customers would need to pay almost three times the price for a similar configured switch.

While an HP spokesperson refuted the claims, Cisco said the upgrade will provide Catalyst 6500 customers with the capability to evolve their network infrastructure for the coming decade’s proliferation of connected devices, growth of video traffic, cloud computing business models and increasingly mobile workforces — without requiring “rip and replace” upgrades.

According to Cisco, the Catalyst line, which was first introduced in 1999, has a US$42 billion installed base, nearly 700,000 systems/110 million ports deployed and more than 25,000 customers worldwide.

Key components of the upgrade are the Supervisor Engine 2T, a 2-terabit card that “unlocks” 80 gigabits per second per slot, new 10-gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet line cards, and new borderless services that provide customers with new mobility, security, network analysis and load balancing capabilities.

“The new supervisor engine can increase the throughput capability of the Catalyst 6500 from 720 Gbps to 2 Tbps, a threefold increase,” the company said. “It can also quadruple the number of devices or users that can connect to a network. For example, a single Catalyst 6500 can now support up to 10,000 mobile devices.”

Full news coverage of Cisco Live as well as a networking q&a with Cisco chief futurist Dave Evans will appear in the Sept./Oct. edition of CNS.