California Educational Data Processing Association
DataBus - Vol. 38, No. 2
February-March, 1998
Cisco Announces Full Line of Autosensing 10/100 Switches for Desktop Connectivity

Catalyst: New units deliver wire-speed performance, versatile modularity, more.

Sue Mangiapane, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Cisco Systems, Inc. recently announced the Cisco Catalyst(R) 2900 Series XL, a new family of high-performance autosensing 10/100 Fast Ethernet desktop switches with various port densities, configuration options and pricing to meet a broad range of network design requirements.

The Catalyst 2900 Series XL switch family delivers wire-speed performance, versatile modularity and easy-to-use Web-based management through four models and two expansion modules. With full support for Cisco IOS(TM) software, the new family of switches provides superior functionality for end-to-end integration, including bandwidth aggregation, networked multimedia support and future virtual LAN (VLAN) support.

"As a maker of Internet data management software, our developers require on-demand high-speed desktop network access to handle large file transfers," said Jeremy Franzen, Webmaster and network administrator at Magnifi Corporation. "By delivering Fast Ethernet desktop connectivity where and when our developers need it most, the Catalyst 2908 XL has significantly increased our overall network performance, which translates into measurable increases in individual productivity."

"The new Cisco Catalyst 2900 Series XL switches are significant because they expand Cisco's Catalyst switch offerings to give customers the most comprehensive set of end-to-end switching solutions from the desktop to the central-site data center," said Larry Birenbaum, vice president and general manager of the Small Internetworks Business Unit at Cisco Systems. "This family of auto-sensing 10/100 switches constitutes a scalable, highly manageable solution that provides customers with flexible desktop connectivity accompanied by wire-speed performance."

Performance, versatile modularity and manageability

The Catalyst 2900 Series XL switches are based on an advanced architecture that offers a 3.0 million packet-per-second forwarding rate and a 1.6 Gbps forwarding bandwidth to deliver wire-speed performance for up to 16 ports in full-duplex operation. Bandwidth aggregation through Fast EtherChannel(R) technology enhances fault tolerance and offers up to 800 Mbps of bandwidth between switches, routers and individual servers. Autosensing on all ports ensures that each connection is served at its optimal 10/100, full-duplex capability, without management intervention or reconfiguration. Cisco Group Management Protocol (CGMP) reduces overall network traffic by enabling a switch to forward routed IP multicast selectively and dynamically to targeted multimedia desktop users.

Versatile module slots provide low-cost expansion capabilities, higher-speed connectivity and support for future interface and feature modules, allowing users the flexibility to upgrade their networks with new features, technologies and functionality at their own pace. The switches are managed through a Web-based interface that allows users to monitor the switch from anywhere on the network through a standard browser; CiscoWorks network management software provides a common management interface for all Cisco hubs, routers and switches on the network. In addition, the switches also support the traditional Cisco Command Line Interface (CLI) management and standard SNMP. An autoconfiguration feature eases deployment by automatically configuring multiple switches across a network from a single boot server. An embedded Remote Monitoring (RMON) software agent provides enhanced traffic management, monitoring and analysis.

Catalyst 2900 Series XL Family

The Catalyst 2900 Series XL family of switches is comprised of four models and two expansion modules to address a variety of network design requirements.

The eight-port Catalyst 2908 XL switch is ideal for aggregating smaller Ethernet and Fast Ethernet workgroups and servers. The Catalyst 2916M XL switch offers 16 ports and two versatile module slots. In addition to being an excellent aggregation device, the 2916M XL is also tailored to provide dedicated 10- or 100-Mbps bandwidth to individual users. For workgroups, the 24-port Catalyst 2924 XL and 2924C XL switches are ideal for delivering low-cost, high-performance 10- or 100-Mbps bandwidth to individual users and servers. For high-speed connectivity over extended distances, the Catalyst 2924C XL switch offers 22 10BaseT/100BaseTX ports and two 100BaseFX ports.

Two expansion modules for the Catalyst 2916M XL--a four-port 10BaseT/100BaseTX switch module and a two-port 100BaseFX switch module--allow customers to easily increase port density and provide higher-speed uplinks through bandwidth aggregation. Future Gigabit Ethernet, ATM and ISL VLAN modules will enable users to upgrade the network backbone and enhance the functionality of the switch at their own pace.

Pricing and availability

The Catalyst 2908 XL and 2916M XL switches have a U.S. list price of $2,295 ($297 per port) and $3,995 ($250 per port), respectively; both are available now. The $995 four-port 10BaseT/100BaseTX and $1,495 two-port 100BaseFX expansion modules for the 2916M XL are also available now. The Catalyst 2924 and 2924C switches will be available in March, priced at $3,995 ($166 per port) and $4,995 ($208 per port), respectively. Modules for Gigabit Ethernet and ISL VLAN support will be available in the second half of 1998. Educational discounts must be applied to list pricing above.
Sue Mangiapane is Account Manager for Cisco Systems, Inc. She can be reached by telephone at (714) 789-5006, by FAX at (714) 789-5005, or by e-mail at [email protected].

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