In a move designed to enable users to build higher-capacity gigabit backbones and add voice to their switched LANs, Cisco Systems has launched a new switch family: the Catalyst 6000.
The Catalyst 6000s will be able to handle large network aggregation requirements, such as concentrating links from multiple Catalyst 5000 workgroup switches. The Catalyst 6000 can serve as the core backbone switch for Catalyst 5000 workgroups or it can provide very high-density front-end aggregation for a Catalyst 8500 Campus Switch Router in the network core. Until now, Cisco's offerings didn't have the horsepower or price/performance to anchor a multigigabit network.
The Catalyst 6000 includes integrated voice support - a first for Cisco's LAN switch family. Cisco is expected to shortly announce the availability of a new NetFlow Feature Card for the Catalyst 5000s that provides classification and prioritisation for voice traffic.
Cisco declined to comment on the Catalyst 6000.
With the unveiling of the Catalyst 6000, Cisco solidly positions the successful Catalyst 5000 as its 10/100 Layer 2/ Layer 3 switch. Until now, the Catalyst 5000 line served as Cisco's gigabit aggregation offering, but it was limited by a backplane speed of 3.6Gbps.
The Catalyst 6000 will come in two versions: the 6000 and the 6500. They will include six- and nine-slot chassis configurations called the 6006 and 6009, and 6506 and 6509, respectively.
The 6000 will have a 32Gbps backplane, and the 6500 will feature a 256Gbps backplane. The switches will support up to 130 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 384 10/ 100Mbps ports.
Performance is expected to be 24M packets per second for the 6000 and 192M packets per second for the 6500. For Layer 3 switching, the Catalyst 6000s will support the same Express Forwarding Application Specific Integrated Circuits that are featured in the Catalyst 8500s. Express Forwarding distributes packet forwarding to line cards, thereby increasing performance.