Cisco Expands Switch Line, Supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Cisco Systems Inc. last week announced a series of additions to its Catalyst switch line, including devices with 10 Gigabit Ethernet capabilities.

For example, a new Catalyst 3750 edge switch with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink port is due for release late this month at a starting price of $20,000. Cisco also introduced two 10 Gigabit Ethernet modules, one for use with copper cables in data centers at distances of up to 15 meters for clustering servers and other IT equipment. The other module supports multimode fiber installations covering distances of up to 300 meters, Cisco said. The two products are priced at $600 and $4,000, respectively.

McGill University in Montreal has been beta-testing 20 Catalyst 3750s with the 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplink capability for the past two months, said Quan Nguyen, associate director of systems engineering at the school. McGill is trying to expand the amount of available bandwidth between its music performance venues and recording studios, so student recording engineers can take live video and audio streams from the performance halls via IP and mix them, Nguyen said.

"We're doing high-end audio and video research," he said. "We keep pushing more bandwidth to the music department, but they keep asking for more." Nguyen noted that the school uses a total of about 700 Cisco switches and sees no need to consider alternative vendors.

High costs have been a major factor in slowing the adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology, said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston. But the situation is changing as prices fall, he said, adding that 10 Gigabit Ethernet now "is going into the general enterprise, not just academic settings."

Health Net Inc. recently deployed new network analysis software modules that Cisco also announced last week for its Catalyst 6500 switch line (see chart). HealthNet is using the software on six Catalyst 6500s to do remote troubleshooting and analysis of voice-over-IP services, said Jeff Jacobs, a senior network design engineer who works at the company's data center in Sacramento.

The network analysis software "has solved a lot of different requirements, since it didn't require new management tools or rack space or much of a learning curve," Jacobs said.

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Other Announcements

Catalyst 6500: Upgraded supervisor engine, plus a 48-port Gigabit Ethernet module and software updates supporting content switching, SSL, IPsec VPNs and network analysis.

Catalyst 4500: 4510R chassis with 10 slots, plus a new Supervisor Engine V device.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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