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LD
Linux Plus Infrastructure Engineer at Nampak Ltd
Real User
Has a good spanning tree, with power over the ethernet and RRP, virtual redundant routing and GLBP capabilities

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features include the redundancy one and the spanning tree."
  • "I would like for Cisco to come up with an affordable dynamic VLAN solution."

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features include the redundancy one and the spanning tree. We also use the power over the ethernet. Moreover, we like the RRP, virtual redundant routing and GLBP, which are primarily on the Cisco Switches.

What needs improvement?

In the future it would be nice to see a dynamic VLAN database that's not managed by another, say, Cisco product.

I would like for Cisco to come up with an affordable dynamic VLAN solution. This would mainly serve the purpose of network access control. My thinking is along the lines of that of my colleagues, that there are non-Cisco infrastructures available which are more affordable. This would give us the option of using Cisco Catalyst or of moving on to the competition. 

Cisco ACI is a feature I would also like to see. When it comes to automation, it would be good to be able to use Ansible or Puppet to run one's network and enforce compliance. Roadmap is the way to go, especially when it comes to network engineers. I would be very pleased if Cisco were to enable its product to work with these automation tools. This is where the challenge lies in deployment for most network engineers. Automation is key. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Cisco Catalyst Switches for around 13 or 14 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable, durable and resilient. We had many issues in regards to other people and products and upgraded these solution so that they would be on par with Cisco.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had to make use of direct technical support. Mainly I have taken advantage of the one which is online and this works very well for me. There are no issues to report. It has provided me with much assistance, especially the forum, and I would rate it as pretty good. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have worked with switches from other vendors, specifically SP and Ubiquiti. Then we worked with Cisco, as well. However, multiple infrastructure mainly applies to Cisco and this is in accordance with our enterprise standards. This means that we deploy Cisco for all sites that we take over.

When it comes to the access points side, we found Cisco to be a bit pricey and have utilized a different product that we combined with the Cisco switches. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is on the high end. Recently, at the beginning of this year, we actually did a  comparison of Cisco and HP products. As far as I see it, given the same specifications and features, Cisco is comparatively expensive.

What other advice do I have?

Cisco delivers when it comes to business value. So, I would advise others to go for it. But, they should be aware of budgetary considerations vis-a-vis the pricing. This is key. 

The product is one which delivers, especially as concerns large enterprise networks that put an emphasis on visibility and the time it takes for deployment and reaction to situations. Keeping this in mind, I would say that Cisco Analyst is the best for me. 

I rate Cisco Catalyst Switches as an 8.5 out of ten. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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VK
Network Engineer at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Easy to use, flexible, and simple to set up

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is extremely flexible."
  • "The solution is expensive. They should work on their pricing model to try to make it more affordable for customers."

What is our primary use case?

We pretty much use the solution primarily for everything that connects to a network. For example, we use it for user work stations or some endpoint equipment.

What is most valuable?

The solution is quite stable.

We've found the product to be very easy to use.

The solution is extremely flexible.

You can scale the solution by simply adding another device.

The solution is very easy to set up.

What needs improvement?

The solution is expensive. They should work on their pricing model to try to make it more affordable for customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than a year at this point. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any issues with the stability. It doesn't crash or freeze. There aren't bugs or glitches. It's been good. It's a reliable product so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is not stackable. To gain any kind of scalability with the solution is just about adding another 2960 Catalyst device. IN that sense, you can scale it however you like.

In our organization, we have about 3,000 users on the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never contacted technical support and therefore I can't speak to how knowledgeable or responsive they are.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did use Ubiquiti switches at one point in time, however, they were not enterprise-level products. They were more designed for small or medium-sized organizations. It's hard to compare the two.

How was the initial setup?

The installation of the solution is not complex. The implementation is very, very straightforward. If you have a prepared configuration, a basic configuration, for example, it takes about, 10 minutes to configure the switch. Installation is just plugging power into it, and connecting it. It's very easy. You don't need to be too technical.

We had three people that handled deployment and maintenance.

We do plan to increase usage. We bought some more devices at the end of last year. We're just waiting for them to arrive. It's my understanding that the 2960-Plus is going out of sale this year. Therefore, we'll have to find some replacement series if we want to buy more switches.

What about the implementation team?

I've handled the installation myself. I did not need the assistance of anyone. We didn't need to hire consultants or integrators.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is a bit expensive.

What other advice do I have?

We use the Catalyst Series 2960 or the 2960-Plus and some L3 switches for distribution-level switches, such as the 3850, which are out of sale and at end-of-life now. We're using the current versions of the solution for the most part.

I'd recommend the solution to other organizations.

Overall, I would rate it at a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,586 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Pierre Claver B Traore
Head, IT Division at USTTB
Real User
Top 5
Easy to deploy, stable, and have been running without any problem

Pros and Cons

  • "They are stable. We haven't had any particular problem with them."
  • "Their price should be improved. They are a little bit expensive."

What is our primary use case?

We have the Cisco Catalyst 2940 Series switches. We usually use these switches for connections inside our office. We have a three-story building, so we have quite a number of switches to connect specific departments. These switches are mainly used to share a connection among computers in a specific department. 

What is most valuable?

They are stable. We haven't had any particular problem with them. 

What needs improvement?

Their price should be improved. They are a little bit expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using these switches for around five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

They are stable. We haven't had any problems. There was a time when due to power failures or outages, we lost some switches and had to replace them. Power is very unstable here, and we are experiencing outages due to heat.

In one of the devices that I am using, I notice lights blinking from time to time. I don't know whether it is related to the equipment, but it seems that the connection is not going through. It only occurs from time to time. I am yet to understand the reason behind this. It is not a big problem, and we are able to use it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our network doesn't grow so much, and it has more or less the same things. We are a public university, and we have three sites. I am at one of the sites. At this site, we have about 60 to 70 people. We also have our campuses where some of these switches are used. All in all, we have about 1,000 people.

We are setting up a national research and education network for which we have acquired some Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series switches, which are new to me. When we start using these, I would have more to say about what they can achieve in terms of scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't have external technical support. Unfortunately, this is not something that works very well in a country like ours. We have to rely on our own technicians. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have had the opportunity, although not so extensively, to use MikroTik. In my experience, they are easy to use, and they are cheaper. Our financial department opted for Cisco, but we are satisfied with Cisco. 

How was the initial setup?

It is easy. We haven't had much trouble.

What about the implementation team?

I can do it by myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

They are a little bit expensive. We are a public institution, so we go through other traders, and sometimes, they put in their own surplus price because it is a government contract. Cisco products are expensive, especially when you compare them to Huawei.

What other advice do I have?

I would surely recommend this solution. We plan to keep using these switches. 

I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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SZ
Information Technology & Audio Visual Engineer at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Great PoE capability, good scalability, and useful analytics

Pros and Cons

  • "The PoE capability of Catalyst Switches is great for using WAPs and other PoE equipment, such as security cameras."
  • "I would like to see better efficiency. They are powering all the PoE ports 100% of the time instead of powering only when there is a draw on them. It has too many options. Therefore, there is a reasonably high barrier to entry in terms of learning about this stuff. A lot of times, you need to be a CCNA, which is like your ticket into the industry, but it is not the easiest thing to get."

What is our primary use case?

We deploy various Cisco solutions, such as Catalyst 3850 to 4500, 9000 Series, and Nexus lineup for data centers.

We've got various clients, ranging from financial services to hotels and higher education facilities. There are many use cases, such as data centers, disaster recovery.

How has it helped my organization?

Our clients are able to get analytics on how often people are in rooms or using a certain area of a building. By doing this, in the future, they can often opt for a slightly smaller space and use multi-purpose rooms instead. They have higher efficiency and lower overhead for rent and other things.

What is most valuable?

The PoE capability of Catalyst Switches is great for using WAPs and other PoE equipment, such as security cameras.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better efficiency. They are powering all the PoE ports 100% of the time instead of powering only when there is a draw on them.

It has too many options. Therefore, there is a reasonably high barrier to entry in terms of learning about this stuff. A lot of times, you need to be a CCNA, which is like your ticket into the industry, but it is not the easiest thing to get.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Catalyst Switches for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

You expect reliability and security when you're using Cisco. If you're getting a switch from some manufacturer on the other side of the world, it may fail after 10,000 hours.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is pretty good. Our clients are more on the large side. 

With 4500 Series, you can add extra blades pretty easily, which makes things easier. You can also just stack them on top of 3850s or something else, add ports, and connect with fiber or ethernet. You're good to go. It is pretty easy.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have always used Cisco.

How was the initial setup?

Depending on the use case, it can be pretty complex, but it is all done by people who are trained on it. The fact that you need somebody trained to do it means that it is pretty complex.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cisco switches are expensive. Their price range is based not only on what the product does but also the name in the industry. 

They are good at what they do. If you need a better product, there are other lineups available.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you buy the right product and it does what you want. Don't get something that won't be what you think it will do.

I would rate Cisco Catalyst Switches a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MB
Founder, Director at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable and one of the easiest solutions to run and manage

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is stable."
  • "The solution offers a bit of complexity and you need a specialized workforce."

What is our primary use case?

Office network

How has it helped my organization?

Stable solution

What is most valuable?

Everyone knows Cisco as a product. It is definitely one of the easiest solutions to run and manage. 

It's a product that has dominated the marketplace for many years.

You have many professionals out there who are Cisco-certified, which makes them comfortable working with Cisco. Therefore, getting a trained workforce is easy when you look at Cisco from a deployment perspective.

The solution is stable.

What needs improvement?

The solution offers a bit of complexity and you need a specialized workforce.

The scalability can be a bit limited due to the stacking topology which limits the number of switches that can be added in a given stack

It's always a while before you can get through to technical support.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for a few weeks to a few months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When it comes to scalability, Cisco is the one who has been pretty heavy on the switch-stacking deployment topology, which hinders your capacity to scale, especially when you compare it against their arch-rival, Arista.

We have about ten clients who have been working with Cisco forever. 

I'd recommend the solution to other organizations. When it comes to the budget, everything boils down to that and that's where Cisco would take the cake compared to Arista.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support could be better. When you call, the wait times are quite long. They need to hire more support or to work to make the wait times lower in some way.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also have some experience and knowledge of Arista products.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is something like Arista, as they do have a central deployment model. The only complaint about Cisco is that too many units have to be deployed to have things done in a much better way, which makes it costly. They could improve on that and make it easier for the administrators to implement Cisco.

The size of the technical team you need for deployment and maintenance depends
completely on the size of the network and the kind of operations that you carry out as a company. With Cisco, you likely would need at least one person for every 50 or 60 switches.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is less expensive than, for example, Arista.

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten. The only complaint I have about Cisco is the wait time when you call tech support.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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DM
facility manager
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to configure, stable, and scalable

Pros and Cons

  • "Configuring the solution is very easy. It's quite a straightforward process, and it's not difficult at all."
  • "Compared to other switches, the Cisco products are expensive."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for the LAN and WAN.

What is most valuable?

Configuring the solution is very easy. It's quite a straightforward process, and it's not difficult at all.

The solution has proven itself to be very stable.

We've found the solution to be quite scalable.

The initial setup is quick and simple. Technical support is very good.

What needs improvement?

You need to have dual powers, dual power points for each to take into account the redundancy.

Compared to other switches, the Cisco products are expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a long time now. It's been ten years. It's been at least a decade.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. There are no bugs and glitches. It doesn't crash and freeze. It's reliable and the performance is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales well. If a company needs to expand it out, it can do so with relative ease.

Everyone in our company uses the solution. We have about 4,000 employees currently.

We do plan to continue to use the solution going forward.

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco is available for support. We've been satisfied with them overall. I have no complaints.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

When I started with this company, they were using Cisco, and they've used Cisco since then. I do not know if any other solution has ever been used.

How was the initial setup?

The solution was not complex to set up. It was very straightforward and simple. It's a hot spot, and therefore everything happened very quickly. The experience was very good.

It took our IT department about three hours to set everything up for us.

We have 11 IT personnel in our organization that are capable of handling maintenance and deplyment.

What about the implementation team?

I'm just an end-user. Our IT department handled the installation and it was very simple. They didn't need the assistance of consultants or integrators. They handled it in-house themselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price is higher, however, I would argue that with the price you are getting a lot of value for money. That said, compared to other switches, the Cisco switches are expensive.

We pay a yearly licensing fee to Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

We keep changing the version as it comes in. Every time we are going a new installation, we do the new modem.

Cisco switches are superior. They're a robust product. Therefore, I would rate them at a nine out of ten overall. We are very satisfied with the technology. 

I'd recommend the solution to other organizations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Hermann Medrano
Telecommunications Engineer at Universidad
Real User
Top 5
Good performance and load-balancing capabilities, and good integration with other brands

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is load balancing."
  • "I would like to see a graphical user interface for the configuration."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and Cisco Catalyst Switches are one of the network products that we provide to our clients. Within the past year, we have implemented Catalyst 2960 switches and Cisco 1900 Series routers.

I am implementing complex solutions with the Catalyst series that include the Spanning Tree Protocol. I build these solutions for educational institutions that are servicing professors and students, including wireless services.

What is most valuable?

The performance is good for complex solutions.

The most valuable feature is load balancing.

The integration with other brands is good.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a graphical user interface for the configuration. This is something that other brands and models have.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked with the Cisco brand for the past seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I am fine with the stability. With the protocol that was implemented, the network has not gone down.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good and is suitable for an enterprise network.

My clients are normally small companies.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't usually contact technical support. I am familiar with the forum, so I search there when I need information. The documentation, manuals, and community support are all good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My client is using switches from MikroTik and Ubiquiti access points. We have also dealt with other vendors, including Cisco and Huawei, in the delivery of solutions to our customers. My clients choose Cisco because of the stability and performance.

I have also worked with telecom enterprises in the past, which included working with Cisco products Catalyst and Nexus. 

How was the initial setup?

I have worked with these switches and know how to configure them.

The length of time required for deployment depends on the size of the network. For a network of 15 switches, it takes me two or three days to configure.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price is too high for this market. Catalyst switches are more expensive than the competing options.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am currently evaluating several options for my client. Their goal is to improve the reliability and architecture of the network, to give them improved scalability and performance. They need a good switch, but the budget is small so I am searching for the most cost-economical one that suits their needs. In fact, for them, the price is essential now.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, these switches are very good. I like to work with them because they have advanced capabilities. I recommend this product because Cisco has proprietary protocols and we are happy with them.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller and Implementer
WS
IT Coordinator - Networking Team at a maritime company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Reliable but not very flexible

Pros and Cons

  • "Catalyst Switches are reliable. We don't have major problems like lost connections, and we only have a minor issue with something every few months. In the last five years, a switch broke down once, and that was due to human error."
  • "I can't use older Cisco devices with newer versions of the controller or switches. For example, if a switch was manufactured in 2014, I can't use it with a controller made in 2019. I have to change the switch so that I can upgrade my network or my devices. I don't have the option to update the version I have on the image of the AP or the controller."

What is our primary use case?

We use Catalyst switches to extend our network throughout the facility. It's a big facility, so we need to use switches the ABS to get the signal out to the entire facility.

What is most valuable?

I like Cisco because you are dealing with something old that the new generation doesn't know about, like telnet or how to configure the switch. I don't like simple GUIs where you can do everything with a click. 

What needs improvement?

I can't use older Cisco devices with newer versions of the controller or switches. For example, if a switch was manufactured in 2014, I can't use it with a controller made in 2019. I have to change the switch so that I can upgrade my network or my devices. I don't have the option to update the version I have on the image of the AP or the controller.

Also, in the K5 Series of the switches —  Cisco calls them "Core" switches — they have some commands that Catalyst doesn't support, so you have to know the command lines for two different devices to configure them. It's a bit confusing when you are working on both at the same time, and you have some problems, then you notice that you didn't use the correct command for that switch.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Cisco Catalyst for five years, but I've only been working with the solution in-depth for the past few months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Catalyst Switches are reliable. We don't have major problems like lost connections, and we only have a minor issue with something every few months. In the last five years, a switch broke down once, and that was due to human error.

How are customer service and support?

Cisco customer service is excellent. We had some issues with devices, and Cisco replaced them for us. We had some significant problems with one of the switches because they changed the image. It took a while, but overall, the support is good.

How was the initial setup?

It's not hard if you have some networking experience. I didn't deploy the switches by myself. We had some help from the vendor, and I supervised them.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

With some competitors, yes, it's about, let's say very high price. Half the price you can get Jupiter, or I think also, I forget the brand, TP-Link, you can have something like that, but half the price with it, with maybe also advanced features to deal with it.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Cisco Catalyst switches seven out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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