NHR Insider's Guide - Latest Cisco Networking Equipment

The Latest Releases: Cisco Routers, Cisco Switches, Cisco ASAs, and More

Cisco's constant stream of new product releases can be hard to keep up with. Each quarter our Cisco engineers will highlight the most relevant new products, unravel the marketing spin to uncover the real changes, and let you know what that means to you.

October, 2013 updates

Cisco Network Convergence System
First up is Cisco's new Network Convergence System (NCS) family of 100GbE-focused carrier equipment.
The new family of NCS products is designed to provide end to end 100GbE transport and routing for modern service providers, and each model in this family is a key component to this.

NCS 2000 series:

This system is a 100GbE-focused DWDM transport system, meant to scale beyond what a 15454 based DWDM system can provide in terms of throughput.  All the expected DWDM components are present – transponder cards, amplifiers, and reconfigurable add/drop muxes are all available to build a complete 100GbE-centric DWDM system.  For existing 15454 customers, this system uses the same Web interface as the 15454, so adding these systems will not require relearning a new system.

NCS 4000 series:

The NCS 4000 system, currently only available in a 16 slot system, is a hybrid routing/transport system.  Physically, this system is designed to accommodate sites with limited depth – all inputs, data and power, are front-located, and the chassis is only 19” deep.  Interface options are gigabit Ethernet, OC48, 10GbE, and 100GbE, and system throughput is 200Gbps/slot.  Additionally, for extra expandability, two NCS 4016 chassis can be connected to each other via dedicated ports on the switch fabric cards to form a single logical system (similar in concept to other unified control plane stacking technologies). 

Operational details on this product are still scarce, however, it appears to run both IOS XR as well as CTC, as fitting its hybrid status. 

Additionally, it is currently unclear how this new system fits with existing optical transport equipment like the 15454 or the CPT line of products.

NCS 6000 Router

The NCS 6000 router is Cisco’s new top-end carrier routing platform, focused on 100GbE port density.  It is supplanting the CRS series in this role, but will not replace the CRS, which will still continue on as a platform focused for lower 100GbE density needs as well as carrier environments where high volumes of 10GbE or non-Ethernet interface technologies are still needed.  Like the CRS, there are two distinct types of forwarding engine, the multiservice engine and the LSP (label switch processor) engine.  The multiservice engine is what you would use in a traditional edge router application.  These cards have a very large TCAM as well as deep packet queues and buffers to provide the needed capacity for provider edge and large scale external BGP applications.  The LSP cards have much lower capacity internal resources, and are meant specifically for MPLS core router use.

Additional features include the ability to run multiple instances of IOS XR (in the same manner as the VDC feature in the Nexus 7000), and internal enhancements to the system to allow for zero packet loss in the event of a supervisor switch, so an RP failure is not service-affecting and software updates can be carried out with no interruption in traffic flow.

New Nexus 3000 Series Switches
Next up, for low latency datacenter environments, Cisco has released two new 40GbE –focused Nexus 3000 series switches.

Nexus 3172PQ
For environments where 10GbE connectivity is needed, but a larger number of 40GbE uplinks are needed (either for throughput or multihoming), the Nexus 3712PQ has been developed.  This switch has 48x SFP+ ports and 6x QSFP ports, 2 more than competing switches. 

Nexus 3132Q
This switch has 32x QSFP ports on it, and shares the same platform hardware capacity and features of the Nexus 3172.  The higher port count compared to the Nexus 3016 allows for larger deployments before a chassis based system is required.

Both of these switches share the same switch fabric, and as such, both have these hardware limits:
MAC Addresses: 288k
Routing table: 16k prefixes (shared between IPv4 and IPv6)
Packet Buffer: 12MB

Arista 7050X Switches
For those people who prefer a non-Cisco solution in the datacenter, Arista has also unveiled new hardware here at Interop – the 7050X line of switches. 
Arista 7050QX-32
When higher 40GbE density is needed, but a chassis based system cannot be justified, this switch is a very good option.  Just like the Nexus 3132 above, this switch doubles the 10GbE port count of its predecessor, allowing larger scale before a chassis based switch needs to be considered.  Note that only ports 1-24 can be used in 4x 10GbE mode; ports 25-32 are 40GbE only.

Arista 7050SX-128
This 2RU switch presents 96x 10GbE ports and 8x QSFP ports. The higher port count allows for fewer networking devices compared to more traditional 48 port 10GbE switches in high port count environments, for example where servers like the Dell PowerEdge C series are in use. Additionally, for smaller deployments, this switch would also be a candidate for use to further consolidate the network.

These switches and the Nexus 3100 switches above actually both use the same switch fabric chip, so performance is identical. However, there still are major difference between these two platforms. First is that Arista provides much greater control over how the hardware resources can be partitioned – Cisco uses a fixed partition, while Arista allows a much greater amount of end-user control over how the switch’s forwarding resources are allocated. Second is that Arista has implemented two different forwarding modes in these switches, a standard mode, and a 10GbE low-latency mode. The standard mode allows all 40GbE ports to forward in cut-through mode, while 10GbE ports use store-and-forward switching, while the 10GbE low-latency mode disables 40GbE switching and allows all 10GbE ports to switch using cut-through mode.
 

Catalyst 3650 Switches
As the 3850 is the eventual replacement to the 3750, the new Catalyst 3650 is the replacement to the 3560. Like the 3850, the 3560 supports netflow on all its ports, stateful failover when stacked, and can support up to 25 access points with appropriate licensing. The key differences between the 3650 and 3850 are:

  • 3650 has fixed uplink ports
  • 3650 supports stacking, but:
    • Stack throughput is 1/3 of the 3850 (160Gbps vs. 480Gbps for the 3850)
    • Stacking requires purchase of an additional module
  • 3650 does not support StackPower
  • Power supplies are not interchangeable between the 3650 and 3850

It should be said that the 3560 and 3750 will still remain exceptionally good options for the majority of customers; performance and features of these older switches are still well suited for most access layer switch deployments, and will be for many years to come.
 


July, 2013 updates

Nexus 7700 chassis and supporting components

The Nexus 7700 system is available in a 10 slot and an 18 slot chassis, and provides up to 1.3Tbps/slot of throughput when all six of the fabric card slots are populated (220Gbps/slot/fabric card). The Nexus 7710 is 14RU tall, making it a very easy swap-in for a Cat6509, while the Nexus 7718 is a 26RU monolith. Cisco has reworked the airflow of the Nexus 7700 to reduce the system's footprint yet maintain front-to-back airflow, and note that the way this has been engineered makes existing and future Nexus 7000 cards incompatible with the Nexus 7700 chassis – Nexus 7700 cards have a perforated faceplate to allow air to be drawn in through the linecard, while Nexus 7000 cards have a solid faceplate.

48 port 10GbE F2e series linecard for Nexus 7700

Per the fact that airflow changes in the Nexus 7700 break compatibility, this 48 port card, while functionally identical to the Nexus 7000 version, has the required perforated faceplate to be functional in the Nexus 7700 series chassis.

F3 Series Linecards

To go along with the big fabric of the new Nexus 7700 switches, we have big linecards.  A 6 port 100GbE and 12 port 40GbE card for the Nexus 7700 chassis, and a 12 port 100GbE and 24 port 40GbE linecard for the 7700 only.  Here is a list of the most important features available through the F3 series cards:

  • OTV
  • FabricPath
  • MPLS
  • VXLAN
  • FCoE
  • Nexus 2000 extender support

The F3 series cards' TCAM resources are:

  • 64k IPv4 routes/32k IPv6 routes (shared pool)
  • 64k MAC addresses
  • 32,768 VLANs (4096 per VDC, max of 8 VDCs supported)
  • 16,000 ACLs

Be aware that F3 series cards must be located in their own VDC; they cannot share a VDC with other, non-F3 series cards.

Another thing to be aware of is these new 100GbE cards use a Cisco-proprietary optical module called CPAK. As CPAK modules are Cisco-proprietary, there will be no 3rd party/NHR brand option for these optics, ever. Cisco has also said that all future 100GbE cards regardless of platform will use CPAK exclusively, so this is something all customers looking at 100GbE through Cisco should be aware of.

Cisco 4451-X router
For when a 3900 just doesn’t cut it and when an ASR1000 doesn’t have the needed features, this is the router to use.

The 4451-X is unique in that while it is a software forwarding platform, it uses a separate CPU for forwarding*, giving a much more consistent level of performance compared to the smaller ISR G2 models.  This gives us a throughput of up to 2Gbps with CPU-intensive features like zone-based/context-aware firewall, full tables BGP, and large scale VoIP/Call Manager express services.

As far as port and slot count go, the 4451-X presents two power supply bays, two enhanced SM slots, each with a 10Gbps connection to the router, and three network interface module (NIM) slots, each with a 2Gbps connection to the router.  The NIM slot is a new form factor, and is currently only used for T1/E1 interfaces and a SSD module. Note that currently, very few modules are compatible with the 4451-X, and that no HWIC or EHWIC cards can be used in the 4451-X.

Voice interfaces also work somewhat differently; on this router, PVDMs (specifically the new PVDM4) are installed on the NIM card directly, vs. being installed into the router directly.  There is one onboard PVDM4 slot, but that is only for use with CUBE features, not for voice interfaces.

Finally, the 4451-X has four onboard gigabit Ethernet ports, of which two are capable of providing PoE+ with the addition of a power converter module.

Licensing on the 4451-X
The 4451-X has moved away from key based licenses for the most part, and now, like many other Cisco platforms, has re-adopted the right-to-use model of licensing, so no more PAKs and dealing with Cisco Licensing.  The only exception to this is the HSEC license, used to allow the router to achieve its maximum IPSec capabilities.  This has been kept as a license key due to US export control policies.  Licensing structure, however, follows the same model as the ISR G2.  The options are:
Unified Communications (UC) – Needed for voice and Call Manager Express features
Security – needed for firewall and VPN
HSEC License – the only remaining key based license, this allows the 4451-X to exceed the export-controlled limits of 225 tunnels and 170Mbps of IPSec throughput.
Application Experience (AXP, formerly the Data license) – Features like IP SLA, WAAS express, and other application oriented features are enabled by this license.

Sub-features like CUBE or CME/SRST are still right-to-use.

*For the curious, the forwarding CPU uses a software-emulated version of the ASR1000’s forwarding engine

Cat4500/Sup8-E
The Sup8-E provides the same throughput (48Gbps/slot) as the Sup7-E, but adds more uplink ports (8x 10GbE vs. 4 on the Sup7) and the ability to act as a wireless LAN controller (up to 20Gbps of wireless throughput) or terminate CAPWAP tunnels in the same manner as the recently-announced Catalyst 3850 switches.

Licensing on the Sup8-E is, unfortunately, the same as on the Sup7-E, with license key enforcement and the default license being LAN Base.

Linecard compatibility is unchanged; practically all Cat4500 linecards old and new are supported with this supervisor.

Catalyst 6800 series switches
The Catalyst 6800 series switch lineup consists of three separate products:

Catalyst 6807 chassis
The Cat6807 chassis is the first of a series of chassis that will eventually replace the Cat6500-E.  Now, don’t panic; this is a long way away.  The 6807 currently uses the Sup2T, many of the same linecards as the Cat6500-S2T, and runs the same IOS.  It’s just literally a new box for the existing linecards at this time.  The Cat6807, however, is designed to be able to sustain up to 880Gbps/slot of throughput, compared to the 160Gbps/slot of the Cat6500-E.  Finally, a revised power supply system reduces the footprint of the system to 10RU and allows an extra slot compared to the 6506 chassis.

Catalyst 6880-X
The Catalyst 6880-X is a small form factor (4RU tall) re-engineering of the Sup2T and Cat6500 linecards.  This chassis, with an integrated Sup2T, has 16x 10GbE ports onboard, and 4 half card slots that can take a 16 port 10GbE or a 4 port 40GbE card.  Each slot can provide 80Gbps of throughput, so both card options and the onboard ports are 2:1 oversubscribed. 

The 6880-X is available in two versions, a standard TCAM (239k routes) and an XL TCAM (2M routes), and as it’s based on the Sup2T, it has the full array of features as the S2T, such as VSS mode and full MPLS and H-VPLS capabilities.  While performance is not that impressive compared to many other switches, keep in mind the fact that the array of WAN features and the option for full tables BGP are not found on any other switch on the market.

Catalyst 6000ia
Like the Nexus 2000 fabric extenders?  Want something similar on the Cat6500/Cat6800?  This is it.  The Cat6000ia provides virtual chassis capability to the 6500/S2T and 6800 series switches.  Operation is very similar to the Nexus 2000, with all forwarding being performed on the parent Cat6500.  However, there are some feature differences, which are:

  • Only two 10GbE uplinks, so this extender is 2.4:1 oversubscribed (48x GbE ports, only 20Gbps uplink throughput)
  • PoE+ versions are available for a virtualized access layer deployment
  • The Cat6000ia can stack up to 4 units for high port density deployments or for high availability
  • Must connect to a WS-X6904-40G linecard if used with the 6500 or 6807 chassis (all 6880-X linecards support the 6000ia)

With PoE+ options, stacking, and the much more robust featureset of the Cat6500, these extenders have numerous potential uses beyond where a Nexus extender would be considered.  Examples that come to mind:

  • Virtual access layer switching; drastically reduce the number of switches to manage, and have the full Cat6500 featureset available at the end user port.
  • Provider-managed CPE for Ethernet services; the 6000ia supports LR optics, so an extended distance is possible between the extender and its parent switches.

High-feature datacenter; with this extender, a Nexus-like deployment is possible, but with all of the high-capacity routing features of the 6500 available.


Contrary to what the Cisco Nexus marketing team would like you to believe, Fibre Channel is not dead, nor is it going anywhere. These new high performance storage switches will allow customers using Fibre Channel storage to scale to much higher density and performance levels, plus seamless integration with FCoE and iSCSI.

MDS 9700 series
The MDS 9700 is an ultra high performance Fibre Channel only switch, with 8 linecard slots capable of up to 1536Gbps/slot of throughput. Currently, the only available linecard is a 48 port 16G FC card, which is line rate, with FCoE card support scheduled for a future release.  The system is fully redundant - all system components (supervisors, fabric cards, power supplies) are redundant and hot-swappable for high availability.  For customers who have used the MDS 9500 series, configuration and many features are the same on the 9700 series, allowing for an easy transition to the new hardware.

Like any other NX-OS platform, though, licensing is complicated, with all additional features above the base licensed individually, and at significant cost, so always be aware as to what features are needed for any specific deployment to ensure proper functionality.

MDS 9250i
The MDS 9250i is a multiprotocol storage switch/gateway, with support for many additional storage features not found in the larger MDS 9700 platform (which is by design; the MDS 9700 should be as simple as possible given its role in the SAN). By default, the 9250i comes with 20 16G FC ports and 8 10GbE FCoE ports enabled. An additional 20 16G FC ports can be enabled via a port activation license for higher 16G FC host counts. For extra features, there is an expansion bay that comes populated by default with 2 port 10GbE application services module that allows features like storage services over IP (iSCSI gateway and FCIP tunneling). Unusually for an NX-OS platform, there is a significant featureset enabled by default for this switch, so additional licensing will in many cases not be necessary. Here are a list of the features supported and if a license is needed:

  • FCoE: Default (10 ports on the chassis)
  • SAN Extension over IP (iSCSI gateway and FCIP): Default (but need application services module)
  • IOA services (WAN optimization for FC and FCIP): Optional
  • Mainframe services: Optional
  • Mainframe WAN optimization (called XRC): optional, also need mainframe services license

Nexus 7000 updates - July 2012

New supervisor 2 cards

The N7K-SUP2 and N7K-SUP2E parts provide much higher CPU performance and system memory than the original Sup1 parts for the N7K.

N7K-SUP2 has a quad-core processor and 12GB DRAM, while the N7K-SUP2E has two quad core processors and 32GB DRAM. 

The best use for the Sup2 parts are in these N7K deployments:

  • Large numbers of Nexus 2000 extenders connected to the N7K (20+)
  • N5K/N7K deployments using FabricPath
  • Use of the N7K-F248XP-25 cards as FCoE switching modules

Note that traditional high-capacity deployments such as BGP border router are still well-served by the SUP1 parts; other platform limits come into play in these applications long before the SUP1 parts are not sufficient for that application.

N7K-M224XP-23L card

The Nexus 5596T switch has the same features and capabilities as the other Nexus 5596 parts, but now in 10GBase-T form.  This switch presents 32x 10GBase-T ports and 16 SFP+ ports onboard, with three expansion bays for future growth.  Existing Nexus 5500 expansion cards and the L3 module work in the 5596T, and additionally, a 16 port 10GBase-T card is also available only for the 5596T.

Nexus 5596T 

This new 24 port 10GbE card is the line rate alternative to the oversubscribed N7K-M132XP-12L card.  It supports all the same features as the other M1 and M2 cards.

Nexus 5596T

The Nexus 5596T switch has the same features and capabilities as the other Nexus 5596 parts, but now in 10GBase-T form.  This switch presents 32x 10GBase-T ports and 16 SFP+ ports onboard, with three expansion bays for future growth.  Existing Nexus 5500 expansion cards and the L3 module work in the 5596T, and additionally, a 16 port 10GBase-T card is also available only for the 5596T.

ASR1000 Updates - July 2012

ASR1000-ESP100

For applications demanding larger numbers of 10GbE ports, this 100Gbps ESP card for the ASR1006 and 1013 chassis is the card to use. 

ASR1002-X router

The ASR1002-X router is a 2RU, higher capacity version of the ASR1001.  The ASR1002-X has 4 SFP slots onboard and 3 SPA card slots available (integrated SIP40).  Like the ASR1001, the ESP card is fixed in the system, and performance is upgradeable via license key (it starts at 5Gbps and can be upgraded to 10, 20, or 36Gbps total throughput).  Features and capabilities are the same as any other ASR1000 part.
 

Cat3560X/3750X - July 2011
Two new switches have joined the 3750X family – the WS-C3750X-12S and WS-C3750X-24S switches. These switches have 12 and 24 SFP slots, respectively. Additionally, alone in the 3750X family, these two parts are available in a '-E' version, with the IP Services license pre-applied, making it easier to get one of these units with full L3 support. Like the other 3750X switches, these two also have an expansion bay for additional SFP slots or a pair of 10GbE uplinks.

In addition to these two new switches, there are two new expansion modules available for the 3560X/3750X, which are:
C3KX-NM-10T – 2x 10GBase-T ports
C3KX-SM-10G – Same ports as the C3KX-NM-10G, but with the addition of a coprocessor that enables Netflow support on the uplinks. Note that the addition of this module makes the 3560X/3750X the only small switches in Cisco's lineup to support Netflow, which was formerly only available on Cat4500/Cat6500 platforms.

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WS-X4748-UPOE+E card for the Cat4500-E/Sup7-E - July 2011
This card is Cisco's first offering using their proprietary UPOE protocol. UPOE is a Cisco-exclusive power over Ethernet technology that allows for up to 60W/port of power to be provided. The card is otherwise the same as all the other WS-X4748 cards (48Gbps/slot, needs Sup7-E).

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New Cat6500 Service Modules - July 2011
Two new Cat6500 service modules have recently been introduced. They are:
WS-SVC-NAM3-6G-K9 – this new NAM module provides the same software features as the NAM1 and NAM2 parts, but it can capture and analyze traffic at 10Gbps for high-performance deployments.

WS-SVC-ASA-SM1-K9 – this new firewall module improves performance to 16Gbps firewall throughput compared to the 5Gbps FW throughput of the older (but still current production) WS-SVC-FWM-1-K9. Feature-wise, this card is identical to the FWM card as well (no VPN capability), so upgrading an existing FWM system is relatively easy.

Note that currently, the Sup2T supports neither of these cards; these are currently Sup720 only. This is expected to change in the future.

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New Wireless Controller Hardware - July 2011
2500 Series Wireless Controllers – This replacement for the 2100 series WLCs provides significantly improved throughput for local mode APs (up to 4Gbps, vs. 100Mbps for the 2100 series), and is field upgradeable from 5 to 50 APs as the AP count grows.

7500 Series Remote AP Controllers – The 7500 series controllers are meant for wireless deployments over large distributed networks. Unlike the other controller models, this one is only able to run the LAPs in a mode called H-REAP (hybrid remote edge AP), which only uses the controller as a management and authentication gateway and eliminates the traffic tunneling ability found in other controllers. This allows the 7500 series units to manage up to 2000 APs per controller.

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The Aironet 1040 Series
Not to be confused with the obsolete Aironet 1000 series, the 1040 series is a low-cost 802.11n access point with integrated antennas, available in both AP and LAP versions. The difference between these and the 1140 series APs is in the antenna configuration. Whereas the 1140 has a 2x3 configuration (2 Tx, 3 Rx) for each of its radios, the 1040 only has a 2x2 (2x Tx, 2x Rx) configuration for its radios. This does not cause a throughput reduction, but it does affect maximum distance and the resilience of the connection in more RF-hostile areas. Practically speaking, there won't be much, if any, difference seen in a standard office/cube farm environment. Like the 1140 series, the 1040 series can be run off of 802.3af PoE, or the AIR-PWRINJ4.

For an alternative to the Aironet 1040 series, get a quote on the following pre-owned items, available immediately:

Cisco AIRONET Series Access Points

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The ASR1001
The ASR1001 family is a 1RU, fixed interface set of routers. There are currently three options available here — a unit with 4 SFP slots only, a unit with 4 SFP slots and 2 OC3 ports, and a unit with 4 SFP slots and 4 T3 ports. Each option has a 2.5Gbps switch fabric that can be upgraded via license key to 5Gbps. Other than the physical differences, it runs the same OS and is functionally identical to the other ASR1000 units.

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Catalyst 4500 Sup7-E
This new sup engine brings a few new features to the table. These are:
1) 48Gbps/slot throughput
2) NetFlow support has been reintroduced
3) IOS features are now governed via license key
4) The Sup7-E runs its own unique IOS, IOS XE.
However, there have been no major changes in the Cat4500 features – these sups really just provide more performance. All existing Cat4500 cards are still supported with the Sup7-E; no compatibility changes have occurred for older cards. Note that there is limited information on how the license key system will work with this new sup.

For a cost-effective alternative to this combo, get a quote on the following pre-owned items:

Catalyst 6500 + Sup720 + Cards + More

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WS-X47xx line cards
Along with the Sup7-E, Cisco has announced a pair of new line cards that can take advantage of the new Sup7-E. Those are:
WS-X4712-SFP+E – 12x 1G/10G SFP+ ports, 2.5:1 oversubscribed when populated with 10GbE optics.
WS-X4748-RJ45V+E – 48x 10/100/1000 PoE+ ports, line rate.

Cat4500 Chassis Updates
The current WS-C4507R-E and WS-C4510R-E chassis will support the Sup7-E, but not the 48Gbps/slot cards. For this support, Cisco has also announced the WS-C4507R+E and WS-C4510R+E chassis, which will support the full 48Gbps/slot capability. Note that the WS-C4503-E and WS-C4506-E do support 48Gbps/slot operation, and as such, have not been replaced.

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ASA5585-X Firewall

This new ASA is meant to replace the disaster that's the ASA5580. The ASA5585-X is a 2RU, 2 slot chassis with replaceable/upgradeable firewall and IPS modules. There are 4 different module types available – the SSP-10 (4Gbps), SSP-20 (10Gbps), SSP-40 (20Gbps), and SSP-60 (35Gbps), as well as corresponding IPS SSP cards. Port count on the ASA5585 depends on the SSP installed – the ports are on the SSP card itself. Either 8x 10/100/1000 and 2x 1G/10G SFP+ (SSP-10, SSP-20) or 6x 10/100/1000 and 4x 1G/10G SFP+ (SSP-40, SSP-60) are the available options.

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Have a datacenter? Need 10GbE? Well, these new products are for you:

Catalyst 6513-E Chassis
Talked about for years now, the 6513-E chassis has finally been announced. The major change is that the 6513-E is now wired for full fabric connectivity on all 13 slots, allowing the use of 67xx and similar cards in all slots for maximum port density when new sup engines are announced later this year. Additional improvements include full support for the 8700W power supply (it maxes out at 6000W in the original 6513), and a rear-accessible fan tray for easier replacement. Note that with the currently available supervisors, the slots on the 6513-E behave the same as on the regular 6513, though.

Nexus 5548P
The Nexus 5548P is a 32 port 1G/10G switch with an expansion bay that can, currently, take a 16 port 1G/10G card. Feature-wise, it's largely the same as the original Nexus 5000 switches, but there are a few enhancements. First, the 5548 provides a significant latency improvement over the older switches, bringing the latency down to 2 microseconds. Second, the 5548P has much-improved QoS capabilities, offering full DSCP-based marking and classification. Finally, the 5548P will, in the future, be upgradeable with a L3 module.

The available expansion modules are a 16 port 10GbE card, and an 8 port 10GbE card/8 port 8G FC card. Note that like the Nexus 5000 switches, use of FC ports or FCoE features requires a storage protocol license.

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Nexus 7000 32 port 10GbE module, XL version
This new card shares the same architecture as the original 32 port card, the N7K-M132XP-12 (80Gbps connection, 4:1 oversubscribed), but has a forwarding engine that can take up to 1M routing table entries (vs. the 128k entries of the standard cards).

For a cost-effective alternative to the Nexus 7000, get a quote on the N7K-M132XP-12:

N7K-M132XP-12 Catalyst 6500 + Sup720 + Cards + More

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Cisco Cius
This is Cisco's new high-end phone/personal videoconference station/executive toy. It runs a version of Google's Android software, giving this unit the ability to run any Android-compatible application, really making this a hybrid of a Cisco IP phone and an iPad. It will have a 3G radio in it, allowing the user to place calls or perform videoconferences over the 3G network using Cisco's existing remote IP phone access technologies (such as the UC proxy feature for the ASA). It'll also support remote desktop technologies, allowing the user to access their desktop PC while on the road. When the user is at their desk, a docking station is available that will allow the Cius to be used as a standard IP phone, as well.

Hardware-wise, it's pretty beefy, with 1GB DRAM and a 1.6GHz processor. It also has dual cameras on it, one front-facing and one rear-facing.

However, there are a few caveats:
1) This isn't shipping until next year (Cisco announced it over 6 months before the planned ship date).
2) Software licensing requirements will be communicated at a later date...Expect the license costs to be high, and also expect to have to install additional hardware for the call manager system to handle the additional features—such as an app store—that this device supports.

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Nexus 7000 32 port 1G/10G high performance module
Once you've deployed all those Cius tablets to your end users, you may find that your current Nexus 7000 cards can't keep up with the higher data demands. No need to fear, Cisco has you covered now, with the N7K-F132XP-15 card. This new card requires a full complement of fabric cards in the Nexus 7000 chassis (previous 80Gbps/slot cards only needed 2), and has a 236Gbps/slot forwarding engine, giving a 1.36:1 oversubscription rate. Note that this card does not use shared ASICs, so there is no blocking.

This card also supports FCoE, allowing you to use it as a SAN switch as well. However, this card does not support XL mode, and as such, is limited to 128k routing table entries.

Along with this card, Cisco has introduced a new feature called FabricPath (which needs its own license key) that aims to reduce/eliminate the need for spanning tree and VLANs in the datacenter.

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ME3600X Switch
The ME3600X switch is a new MPLS-aware (with license) high-performance provider edge switch. The available models have either 24x 10/100/1000 and 2x 10GbE (activated with another license) ports, or 24x SFP and 2x 10GbE (w/ license) ports. The big advantage of these over the ME-C3750 is the gigabit port capability, and the ability to have MPLS support on all the switch's ports. Also, compared to the ME-C6524, the big advantage is the 10GbE option and the line rate throughput.

Additional features are a BITS port and Synchronous Ethernet features to allow the switch to provide timing information to connected devices, such as routers at cell towers and other applications that depend on accurate timing. Otherwise, the features are pretty standard for a metro Ethernet switch these days, with 2 rate 3 color policing, dual power supplies with AC or DC option, and so on.

For a wireless WAN provider, this switch would be a great complement to all those Cius tablets that Cisco sells to the businesses using their service J.

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ME3800X Switch
The ME3800X switch shares the same features as the ME3600X switch, but with additional hardware resources available (unlocked via license key). The ME3800X is also only available in SFP form – no 10/100/1000 available for it.

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15454 M2 and M6 Chassis
Once you've aggregated all that cell tower traffic, it's time to transport it back to your datacenter, usually over some variety of DWDM system. With Cisco focusing on the 15454 as their DWDM platform of choice for all functions, one of the biggest complaints was the size of the 15454 chassis – you'd need an 8RU chassis to provide DWDM services to a 1RU switch! These new 15454 chassis provide either 2 slots (M2) or 6 slots (M6) for any 15454 DWDM card, and present a much more reasonable form factor for small sites. Note, though, that these small chassis cannot accept an XC card, and as such, cannot be used for DSx/OCx transport – you're stuck with the full size 15454 chassis for those needs. In addition, these chassis, due to their compact size, require special TCC cards unique to their respective chassis.

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1841, 2800 and 3800 Successors Announced

Cisco recently announced the successors to the 1841/2800/3800 routers. These new routers offer some significant changes in the way Cisco sells their small routers and modules. We've summarized the changes into four categories:

Router Licensing
The new routers now use license keys and a universal image to determine the available features in the same manner as a PIX or ASA. This new licensing scheme produces a clear division between the version of IOS installed and the feature set installed, so one can be changed without affecting the other.

In addition, the licensing structure has been further streamlined, now leaving just 4 feature sets, none of which overlap. Here are the contents of each available feature package:

IP Base: The default feature set; has support for common routing protocols (RIP, OSPF, EIGRP, BGP), common WAN technologies (MLPPP, MLFR), and common LAN technologies (802.1q trunking). No VPN, firewall, or voice features are present.

Data: The Data license adds support for MPLS, ATM, IS-IS, and non-IP L3 protocols.

Unified Communications (UC): The UC feature set adds support for voice interfaces, CallManager Express, and Unity Express modules.

Security: The Security feature set adds IPSec VPN capabilities, SSL VPN capabilities, and IOS firewall features.

Router Hardware
The new routers offer some significant hardware changes compared to their predecessors. First, the port type and count has improved.

1941: 2x 10/100/1000
2901: 2x 10/100/1000
2911: 3x 10/100/1000
2921: 2x 10/100/1000, 1x shared T/SFP
2951: 2x 10/100/1000, 1x shared T/SFP
3925: 1x 10/100/1000, 2x shared T/SFP
3945: 1x 10/100/1000, 2x shared T/SFP

For a cost-effective alternative to these new products, get a quote on the following pre-owned items:

1841: 2x 10/100
2801: 2x 10/100
2811: 2x 10/100
2821: 2x 10/100/1000
2851: 2x 10/100/1000
3825: 2x 10/100/1000, 1x shared SFP
3845: 2x 10/100/1000, 1x shared SFP

Performance also has improved substantially, and the new routers are much faster. The increase is so substantial that throughput will likely not be a deciding factor in selecting one of these routers. Slot and onboard port count, max VPN tunnels, max phones supported, and other concerns will determine the fit for a particular application, rather than performance. Below are the published throughput specs for the new routers:

ISR G2 Series Original ISR Series
CISCO1941 – 153Mbps Cisco 1841 – 35 Mbps
CISCO2901 – 167Mbps Cisco 2801 – 45 Mbps
CISCO2911 – 180Mbps Cisco 2811 – 61 Mbps
CISCO2921 – 246Mbps Cisco 2821 - 80 Mbps
CISCO2951 – 297Mbps Cisco 2851 – 112 Mbps
CISCO3925 – 426Mbps Cisco 3825 – 176 Mbps
CISCO3945 – 502Mbps Cisco 3845- 256 Mbps

 

Note: When looking at the throughput figures of the ISR G2 series compared to the original ISR series, it's hard to not be impressed by the ISR-G2 stats. In some cases, the total throughput is over 5x higher for the ISR G2 (1941 vs. 1841). However, when the environments where these routers are used is examined, we see a different picture emerge, one where even the much-slower 1841 is limited by the WAN connection rather than the router's CPU. Take for example a small branch office, in which there may be two WAN connections, a DSL or cable connection for internet use and a point to point T1 for connectivity back to the central office. At most, the total throughput needed here will be on the order of 10Mbps, still well within the capability of the 1841. Because of this, it's important to perform a careful examination of what kind of WAN connectivity the router will be required to handle.

The 2900 and 3900 series routers do away with NM slots replacing them with the new Service Module (SM) slots. The SM slots, with an adapter card (PN SM-NM-ADPTR), will accept many current NM cards. In addition to this, the 2900 and 3900 series routers use either the new PVDM3 DSP modules or a PVDM adapter kit (PN is PVDM2-ADPTR).

In addition, the 1900/2900/3900 has improved the system architecture, with the SM slots and the HWIC slots now having a high-throughput, point-to-point connection instead of the old bus-based architecture of previous routers. The 1800/2800/3800 and earlier used the PCI bus in several incarnations including 33MHz, 66MHz, 64 bit, etc. These new routers use PCI Express -- a switched architecture -- giving each slot several Gbps of dedicated throughput. The SM-NM adapter is just a carrier card and a PCI-PCIe bridge.

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WIC/HWIC/NM Compatibility

IMPORTANT! The following are three of the most notable changes regarding WIC/HWIC/NM compatibility:

  • WIC-1DSU-T1-V2 is not supported. The HWIC-1DSU-T1 or VWIC2s must be used instead.
  • Original VWICs are not supported, so only the VWIC2s are compatible.
  • All NM card parts need an associated SM-NM-ADPTR card to fit into the router.

Cisco provides an interface and module compatibility chart for the new routers at this link.

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New Modules
Cisco has introduced new SM cards including a services engine card and a line of newer Ethernet switch modules. In addition, high density PVDM3s are available for voice apps.

Services Ready Engine
Prior to these cards, Cisco has had a proliferation of services NM cards, each with its own separate part ID and unique software. Examples are the NM-NAM, NM-CUE, NM-WLC, and many others. While some of these NM service engines are still supported on the 2900/3900, Cisco now offers three general purpose services engine cards, the ISM-SRE-300-K9 (for internal installation), SM-SRE-700-K9, and SM-SRE-900-K9. Each one of these cards can run one of six different Cisco applications, as well as a number of third-party applications.

Enhanced Ethernet Switching modules
These cards provide similar functionality to the NME-ES cards. The Enhanced EtherSwitch Service Modules run their own IOS image which is synced to the 3560E switch software. These cards are available in L2 only w/ FE ports, L3 with FE ports, or L3 with gigabit ports. If you need the switched Ethernet ports to be directly visible from the router, the NM-16ESW is still supported in the SM-NM adapter card.

PVDM3 Modules
For high density voice applications, the 2900 and 3900 support the new PVDM3 DSP cards. Options are 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256 voice resources per PVDM3. As above, with an adapter the PVDM2 also works in these routers.

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2960S Switches Join 2960 Line

The 2960S sits above the 2960G switches in the 2960 line, and does not replace any existing models. From a configuration and IOS feature perspective, there is no change (other than stacking) to the IOS features of this switch compared to any other 2960 running LAN Base IOS. To stack these switches an additional module is required. The 2960S line of switches adds 30W/port PoE, stacking capabilities and 1G/10G uplinks to the 2960 line. The uplink ports are in SFP+ form, and as they are 1G/10G, they can accept both standard SFPs (GLC-SX-MM, etc) and SFP+ (SFP-10G-SR, etc). With the 2960S, both gigabit and PoE are available in the 2960 line.

Other 10 Gig options include:

2960S
3560E
3750E

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3560X and 3750X Switches Add Power Redundancy

The 3560X and 3750X switches are yet another revision of the 3560/3750 series. These new switches use the same internals as the 3560E/3750E, so performance and IOS features are once again identical. These new switches, however, add dual power supplies, 30W/port PoE and the ability to use SFP+ modules natively. (No need for the CVR-X2-SFP+.) Plus, with the 3750X, power redundancy is further improved with the ability to connect the power supplies in a switch stack to each other. In the case of a severe failure, this configuration allows a switch to draw needed power from the rest of the stack.

For cost-effective alternatives to dual power try:

3750E with PWR-RPS2300 and RPS power cords
3650E with PWR-RPS2300 and RPS power cords

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Two New Families of 802.11n

On May 1, Cisco announced two new families of 802.11n wireless access points for use with Cisco's wireless LAN controllers. Both models will require that the WLC software be updated to version 7.0 or higher for the new LAPs to register with the controller.

Aironet 1260 Series LAPs
The 1260 series access points are the replacement for the older 1250 series access points. The 1260 series uses external antennas and supports the same features found on the 1250 series, but now with an 802.3af-compliant power draw (13W per AP). It will use the same antennas and power hardware as the 1250 series. Cisco has not yet announced end-of-sale for the 1250 series, but, with the same feature set as the 1260, expect the announcement soon.

Aironet 3500 Series LAPs
The 3500 series LAPs are a new addition to Cisco's access point offerings and integrate RF spectrum analyzer technology, called Cisco CleanAir, into the access points themselves. The access points and WLCs can use this information to better manage the RF spectrum compared to the standard access points. In addition, when used with Cisco's WCS software package, the onboard spectrum analyzer can identify, log, and attempt to mitigate the impact on the WLAN from interference caused by non-802.11 compliant wireless devices such as wireless keyboards, mice, and security cameras. This will allow transient sources of interference that wouldn't be detected by a wireless site survey to be located, as well as providing a significantly more robust way to manage and troubleshoot remote office wireless deployments.

Like the 1260 series above, the 3500 series uses the same antennas and power hardware as Cisco's other 802.11n access points, and can be powered by standard 15W/port PoE switches.

For current wireless access points, get a quote for:

AIR-LAP1242AG-A-K9 (used)
AIR-LAP1142N-A-K9

 

For a quote from a Certified Cisco Sales Expert, click here.

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