Cisco Catalyst switches give users flexibility

Cisco Catalyst switches give users flexibility

by J.B. Miles

The Cisco Catalyst 2900 XL series is a line of managed 10/100-Mbps auto-sensing switches that provide network design flexibility.

The series comprises five models, each with different port densities, configuration options and pricing. Software bundled with the switches comes in both Standard and Enterprise editions and is upgradeable to handle network changes.

Models 2912 XL, 2924 XL, 2924C XL and 2924M are designed to provide 10/100 bandwidths directly to the desktop.

The 12-port 2912 XL and the 24-port 2924 XL models offer the best per-port prices in the series, averaging about $80 and $55 per port, respectively. The 24-port 2924C XL model contains two 100Base-FX ports for deploying high-performance 100-Mbps connectivity over distances of up to two kilometers over fiber-optic cabling.

Going up

The 24-port 2924M XL model currently accepts 10Base-T, 100Base-TX and 100Base-FX expansion modules, and more will be available in the future. It also can be deployed in wiring closets to aggregate workgroup networking devices such as Fast Ethernet hubs, Ethernet hubs and other switches.

The 12-port 2912MF XL combines geographically dispersed Fast Ethernet workgroups over 100Base-FX fiber connections on a small or midsize network. It comes with two high-speed uplink slots that enable users to add up to eight additional 100Base-FX or 10Base-T ports. Different media types are in the planning stages, company officials said.

All Catalyst 2900 XL products support the collection of multiple ports via Cisco's Fast EtherChannel architecture to provide redundant high-bandwidth connections among switches, servers and other network devices.

Each switch in the series also can manage up to 64 port-based virtual LANs per switch so that groups of devices on a LAN can communicate as if they share the same wire, even when they are on different LAN segments.

Cisco provides excellent device management with all its switches, including Simple Network Management Protocol, Remote Monitoring and RMON-2, and Web management and other functions bundled into its proprietary software.

Prices for individual Catalyst 2900 XL models range from $1,495 and $6,995 depending on configurations, bundled software and other features but are available for less from third-party vendors.

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