Cisco Catalyst Switches Overview

Cisco Catalyst Switches is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Data Center Networking tools. It is most often compared to HPE ProCurve: Cisco Catalyst Switches vs HPE ProCurve

What is Cisco Catalyst Switches?
Web-based CRM that manages events, sales, marketing campaigns & contacts, offers customer history, case management, email integration.

Cisco Catalyst Switches is also known as Cisco Catalyst, Catalyst.

Cisco Catalyst Switches Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Catalyst Switches Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

Cisco Catalyst Switches Customers
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SR
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
The system runs very well, we haven't experienced any downtime

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is system integration on the client end. We propose this solution to our customers based on their individual capacities and requirements. We have also been using the basic functionalities of the tool internally, very basic not to any high-end degree.

Pros and Cons

  • "The new series has lots of great features, it's really lovely. From a management perspective, or a policy creation perspective, which we are seeing in the Catalyst 9000 series it is great."
  • "The current catalyst is probably outdated so we will most likely move to the newer version of the solution soon."

What other advice do I have?

Overall, I can say that the Cisco Catalyst Solution is a very stable product. Technical support is good from our experience. Everybody seems to know and work well with the tool, including management cross-functionally it's a tool that we enjoy using. I would rate it an eight out of ten. The only reason I'm not giving this solution a slightly high rating is due to the fact that we are seeing improvements in the new series of this solution. What we are seeing and what we are expecting are great improvements; the management team likes the new type of architecture we are seeing in the new series…
Md. Shahriar Hussain
Information Security Analyst at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The SmartPort feature has been valuable and helped my organization

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for provisioning.

Pros and Cons

  • "We heavily use the SmartPort features. It has really helped us. The U.S. policies are handled by the auto SmartPort feature"
  • "They should make so that they let users know five to ten minutes before productivity is restored in the case of power loss."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight and a half out of ten. They should develop more customization features. It would make things easier for the engineers.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
512,221 professionals have used our research since 2012.
JJ
Network Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Has become easier for us to troubleshoot but the newer models aren't so stable

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for routing, switching, and for interconnecting sites.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has become easier for us to troubleshoot and find issues faster in the management software for the switches. It saves us troubleshooting time because if the network is down it has a big impact on production."
  • "The newer models are not so stable. Other products like 6800, 3750, were stable but starting from 3850 it got worse. We have a lot of issues and a lot of bugs. It's a new product so it's understandable but it should be improved."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a seven out of ten. Not a ten because we are highly satisfied with all of their products but with the newer products, some parts have problems that take a while to fix. I would say to go for Cisco. It is a stable and quality solution.
ML
Network Engeneer at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Performs really well and has great support, we use it everywhere in our company

What is our primary use case?

We use it everywhere in our company. The switches are in our data center and our stores. It performs really well, it's stable. There are some software issues but it's generally good.

Pros and Cons

  • "Their technical support is very good. They know what to do and if they don't know what to do, they give me the person who does know."
  • "It should have better security and the prices can always be lower. The cheaper the price, the better but if the quality is good, it's worth it. They also have to improve the firewalling."

What other advice do I have?

Look at the pricing. If you can afford it, buy it. I would rate it a nine out of ten. I like it, it works.
MB
Chief Deputy Quality Audit
Real User
We use it for networking, it's very stable and has good scalability

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for networking, both for the local network and our internet network.

Pros and Cons

  • "The stability and Cisco's support are the most valuable features."
  • "The prices are high. It's more expensive than other similar options."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it an eight out of ten. Not a ten because of the prices. I would advise someone considering this solution to check out all of your options and go back to Cisco.
Akshay Balaganur
Founder and Lead Network Consultant at Airowire Networks
Consultant
Supports our entire line infrastructure and is easy to use

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for the campus network.

Pros and Cons

  • "Their technical support is good, one of the best in the industry."
  • "To make it a ten they should simplify the licensing, add the cloud-managed feature, and it should be more cost-effective."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten. To make it a ten they should simplify the licensing, add the cloud-managed feature, and it should be more cost-effective.
Alberto E. Luna Rodriguez
Network Security Coordinator at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The 802.1X port security works well and helps keep the network secure

What is our primary use case?

Access layer Switches. VLAN Segmentation, Inter-VLAN and LAN Routing. 802.1X network access device.

Pros and Cons

  • "The 802.1X port security and other security features work well and help keep the network secure."
  • "The CLI is pretty much the same across all switching and routing platforms from Cisco, making deployment of new switches, replacement of damaged equipment, or upgrades to newer platforms very easy."

    What other advice do I have?

    I have been working with Catalyst switches for 10 years. Cisco support is among the best there is. Use it.
    it_user408189
    User at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Vendor
    VLAN provides us with segregation, but I would like to see ongoing software improvement

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Catalyst for campus switches.

    Pros and Cons

    • "VLAN gives us segregation."
    • "Cisco should focus more on this type of product instead of on data center switches. They stopped improving the software of these switches and they are focusing on the data center. They should focus on this type of product, more than any other thing."

    What other advice do I have?

    The most important thing I can say is that Cisco is using a proprietary protocol, so you should design your network accordingly so that you don't get vendor lock. I would rate Cisco Catalyst a seven out of 10 because of the pros and the cons I have noted.
    Muklit Chopra
    Technical Specialist at Wipro Technologies
    Consultant
    A robust solution and it enables us to bring the network up in a very short time

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it for connecting the users on the network. The performance has been good.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The most important features are that Cisco is one of the most robust switches, it is easy to configure, and the documentation is pretty good."
    • "One feature that I would like to add is for the following: At times, when I add an access-list for a hostname, it doesn't actually add the hostname, it adds the IP address. So in the back-end, if my server changes the IP address I have to go in manually and change the IP address. If the capability was there in Cisco to add a hostname instead of the IP address that would be really good."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would definitely have colleagues go for Cisco Catalyst. It's a pretty good product, stable, and reliable. Most important when selecting a vendor are that the connection should be stable, it should have good support, and it should not be really complex to configure. I would rate Cisco Catalyst at nine out of 10. The one point I'm leaving is for the improvement I spoke about. There is always room for improvement. Cisco Catalyst is pretty good. I have never faced any issues or challenges with it.
    LL
    IT Consultant at L&M Alpha Solutions
    Real User
    Ease of configuration, the CLI, and the GUI are the key features for us

    What is our primary use case?

    The use case is for user access. It's good, it's performing very well.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The main valuable features for me are the ease of configuration, the CLI, and the GUI."

      What other advice do I have?

      The configuration is simple and the support is good. The equipment for networking is the best for an organization. It's working very well. I rate Catalyst at 10 out of 10 because of the performance and support.
      ITCS user
      IT Admin at UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization
      Real User
      Streamlines operations and maintenance and reduces end-user downtime

      What is our primary use case?

      LAN switch for both core and access layers. It has performed very well in this area.

      Pros and Cons

        • "It would be helpful to have the ability to load new IOS software without performing a reboot or to be able to perform the reboot without disrupting end-users."

        What other advice do I have?

        Consider your business requirements and only select the needed functions/features, to avoid over-complex solutions. I rate Catalyst a nine out of 10 because the product is extremely mature and reliable.
        it_user617499
        Senior Presales Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
        Consultant
        Provides our customers with feature-rich switching, including Layer 2 and Layer 3

        What is our primary use case?

        We usually use it for connecting campus switches and to provide access switching to the customer, through which they connect their end-user or end devices like WiFi, CCTV, or IP phone.

        Pros and Cons

        • "The most valuable features are the Stacking and the capacity of the switches because they have more throughput. Layer 2 is also part of its rich feature set."

          What other advice do I have?

          If you need any support you can find it easily on their website, including documentation. You can reach out to Cisco's virtual team. Cisco gives any type of support needed to their partners. I give Cisco Catalyst a 10 out of 10. It's scalable, resilient, and has rich features in terms of Layer 2, Layer 3, QoS. They have real vision.
          VP
          Senior Manager at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
          MSP
          Catalysts are very good in the LAN infrastructure, especially for a campus network

          What is our primary use case?

          Generally, we are using Cisco Catalyst switches for the campus network. We are currently using the Cisco Catalyst 3800 Series switches with IOS XE, and we also recently onboarded the Catalyst 9300 Series and 9400 Series, mostly for the campus network. We also use the 3800 Series switch for wireless connectivity, which provides UPOE, supporting up to 60 watts for the PoE devices. Performance-wise, Catalysts are so good in the LAN infrastructure, especially for a campus network. But for a data center environment, we mostly prefer the Cisco Nexus series.

          What other advice do I have?

          The main thing is that Catalyst has been around for quite a long period. Cisco is one of the leaders in campus area networks, so investing in Catalysts, given that they are reliable, is safe. My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are the * product knowledge * support from the vendor and the availability of the technical staff to support it. I would give a Cisco Catalyst a nine out of 10 because most campus networks use Cisco and it is one of the best campus network switches. Its performance is quite good, it’s seamless, and stability-wise it is good.
          KD
          Presales Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
          Reseller
          DNA and SDN enable us to provide a full solution to our customers

          What is our primary use case?

          The use case will depend on the customer's requirements. Generally, if they want the access layer, the 2960 works pretty well. If they are in the SMB market, we go with the SZ series which is okay. If the primary use case is more on the PoE side, Catalyst switches give the most. And with respect to two-port, the 2960 is better.

          Pros and Cons

          • "If we are providing a switching solution, it's not just switching, it's a whole solution with DNA. That is where the whole concept of Network Management and Network Assurance comes in. So Catalyst plays a big role in putting everything together and providing a whole solution to the customer."
          • "One good feature is UPOE. Another is having a built-in controller, the customer doesn't have to ask for another controller. For example, you get a built-in controller with the C650. And two-port is one of the premium factors from Cisco."
          • "Dell switching is coming up with a solution where you can put your own OS inside their switching infra. That is where they are talking about open networking. We can show that our Cisco is also an open-source. We are open to different switching operating systems if the customer is willing to put it in. We can support multiple operating systems inside the switching infrastructure. It removes the hardware and software dependency on each other. That is where I think there can be room for improvement. Then we can talk about open networking and that is where Cisco can also come up with open networking access."

          What other advice do I have?

          I will always tell you to go with Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series. That is the one to go with because you never know - any day, Cisco could make certain devices or certain components of a switch end-of-life. That is always a concern for our customers: "Are you giving me a product that is not end-of-life?. Will it not go end-of-life in the coming years? I need that assurance." I always tell customers to take a device that is very new so at least it's unlikely to go end-of-life in the near future. So Catalyst 9000 is the one we are positioning because it has a lot of new features, plus it is new in…
          SL
          Project Manager at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
          Real User
          Provides us with a robust and scalable access switch solution

          What is our primary use case?

          We use it mainly for access, as an access switch to other PCs.

          Pros and Cons

            • "In terms of additional features or improvements, I would like to see more fiber ports, more security features, and perhaps the integration of wireless features into the switch."

            What other advice do I have?

            Do a comparison with other brands and look at their features. The main Cisco Catalyst features are that it is scalable and reliable. These are two things you should look into when doing your comparison. I would rate Cisco Catalyst at eight out of 10. It's reliable, the features are quite full-fledged, and it's scalable.
            Akshay Balaganur
            Founder and Lead Network Consultant at Airowire Networks
            Consultant
            Supports external flash disks for storing images and file systems

            What is our primary use case?

            I was a Support Engineer with Cisco, I used to support customers who were using Cisco Catalyst features.

            Pros and Cons

            • "A good feature of Cisco Catalyst is that it records crash log files which can be used to literally identify the cause of a crash because there is a lot of information. And Cisco Catalyst supports the use of external flash disks for storing of images and file systems."
            • "Currently, Catalyst is completely proprietary with Cisco. They should have programmability options, through open-source controllers."

            What other advice do I have?

            I would give this solution an eight out of 10. To get to a 10, it should become more open-source friendly, more customizable, easy to configure, and less complex in terms of the licensing.
            Al Faruq Ibna Nazim
            Head of Technology at BDPEER Ltd.
            Real User
            Provides cost-effective posture assessment, captive portal, and a policy-driven network

            What is our primary use case?

            The last Catalyst I used was for a core solution in an airport. That was a 3850. The previous use case was as the backbone of an ISP. We used different models of Cisco Catalyst including 3560s and 3700s.

            Pros and Cons

              • "I have had a little hiccup working with Catalyst switches. They used a few power integration features but I'm not sure they really resulted in much power saving. But, it caused cross-vendor equipment trouble."

              What other advice do I have?

              If you are considering going for a Dell or Cisco or Huawei, even certain other products out there, Dell has really good performance, and Huawei is also doing really well. ZTE is there, certain other organizations are there. But I always pitch good solutions for Cisco. I do that because Cisco has a variety of products, and Cisco has an enterprise-class solution. Whenever we are providing solutions to our customers, we have to consider security. On that basis, Cisco has a variety of security products. They have IAC, they have good sandboxing with Threat Grid. They have a benchmarking monitoring…
              Shun Hiyama
              Network Engineer at NHN Techorus Corp
              Real User
              Makes QoS CBWFQ easy to use

              What is our primary use case?

              AWS Direct Connect.

              What is most valuable?

              BGP Familiar CLI We have used BGP over IPSec to AWS but there were problems with bandwidth. I migrated to the Catalyst C3850 because AWS Direct Connect doesn't need IPSec. We have to use the QoS (CBWFQ) function. I understand the function of QoS and it is easy to use.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              One to three years.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              It's a stable product.

              How is customer service and technical support?

              Technical support is average.

              How was the initial setup?

              The initial setup was easy.

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

              The pricing could be better.

              What other advice do I have?

              I would suggest looking into the Cisco…
              Mikhail Kozlov
              Lead Software QA / DevOps Engineer at a comms service provider
              Real User
              Configuration is straightforward and all our switches are working without any downtime

              What is our primary use case?

              LAN and WAN links in our offices and data centers.

              Pros and Cons

              • "Stability. We have many Catalyst switches now, and they work without any downtime."
              • "It would be good if they added some machine learning which would allow us to abandon the rigid rules for processing traffic priorities and, at the same time, save money, because equipment with similar logic (like DPI) is much more expensive."
              • "Soon, we plan to migrate to the cloud infrastructure. It would be good if the Cisco switches worked quickly in the cloud, like their hardware devices. Ideally, they would be like OVS-DPDK, but they would work out-of-the-box."

              What other advice do I have?

              It's a very good product but the price is high, so I would rate it at eight out of 10. Overall, it's worth it. Cisco switches have rich functionality.
              JR
              IT Infrastructure Administrator at Concepcion Business Services Inc
              User
              Keeps our network connections in a healthy state

              What is our primary use case?

              Our primary use is LAN and WAN links for our enterprise network.  Cisco Catalyst is used to connect all our WAN links to a central data center. 

              How has it helped my organization?

              Low maintenance and very stable; not much of a problem.  It helps keep our network connections in a healthy state. 

              What is most valuable?

              VLAN Routing capabilities and security features  It can easily be enabled and used as need dictates. 

              For how long have I used the solution?

              One to three years.

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

              It has a very high cost, but understandably, due to its very good quality. This is the reason why some customers opt to buy cheaper brands with same/similar features.
              it_user845862
              Senior Technical Sales Engineer at Ingram Micro Inc.
              Consultant
              It uses many protocols to ease operations, such as CDP and the interoperability of other Cisco products

              What is our primary use case?

              Switching environments, as part of a LAN management solution, where the customer needs to build, operate, and maintain Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks for internal use.

              How has it helped my organization?

              It uses many protocols to ease operations, such as CDP and the interoperability of other Cisco products.

              What is most valuable?

              Perpetual POE is a valuable feature, because when the switch reboots, access points do not. This helps minimize infrastructure downtime and impacts internals.

              What needs improvement?

              Services should be improved. The delivery of the product lead time should be improved as well.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              More than five years.

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

              The price should…
              ITCS user
              Head of Development at a tech vendor
              Real User
              Network has increased stability, security, and usability

              What is our primary use case?

              * Corporate network * IP phones * Video conference * Security * Connecting branches with corporate network

              Pros and Cons

              • "If we lose some network connections, the system automatically creates new connections between equipment."
              • "It has the ability to create new services for users, such as IP phones and video conference."
              • "We decreased budgets on the support corporate network and increased user satisfaction."
              • "Needs to improve cloud services and mobile software."
              it_user683439
              Network Administrator at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              I can dissect my network based on the users within a particular location.

              What other advice do I have?

              Real-world scenarios will always surprise you.
              ITCS user
              Infrastructure Specialist at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
              Consultant
              Technically it supports most deployment scenarios.

              Valuable Features:

              This is the Enterprise Class Switch platform. Technically it supports most deployment scenarios and things that you never know that it supports.  The hardware is the most reliable, I saw some Catalyst in hot and dusty racks, working hard and with no issues from a lot of years.  Great switching solution from Cisco!

              Improvements to My Organization:

              It's resolved most of our customer communication needs.

              Room for Improvement:

              It can be a little more cheaper.

              Deployment Issues:

              We've had no issues with deployment.

              Stability Issues:

              We've had no issues with stability.

              Scalability Issues:

              We've had no issues with scalability.

              Cost and Licensing Advice:

              It's quite pricey.
              ITCS user
              Director of Technical Services at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
              Consultant
              ​This switch and its functionality allowed me to deploy a secure network connection in three months.​

              What is most valuable?

              Security Configuration

              What needs improvement?

              At first glance this switch looks exactly like the an Ethernet switch, I would recommend that there be verbage in the documentation on exactly what gbit connectors are required.

              For how long have I used the solution?

              We've been using it for eight years.

              What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

              There have been no issues with the deployment.

              What do I think about the stability of the solution?

              The stability has never been an issue.

              What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

              We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

              How are customer service and technical support?

              Customer Service: It's great. Technical Support: It's great.

              Which solution did I use previously and

              ITCS user
              Customer Experience Manager at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
              Vendor
              We now have the ability migrate to multiple sites, but the TAC speed needs improvement.

              What other advice do I have?

              Ensure you select the right license, power supply and other components to install the switch into the rack.
              it_user5274
              Network Manager at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
              Vendor
              Small switch with a lot of features - good for enterprises and small businesses

              What other advice do I have?

              It is a nice product for enterprises and small businesses. It is a small switch with a lot of features.