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Cisco Unifies Wired And Wireless In New Catalyst Switch

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior wraps up wired and wireless in a Catalyst 3850

Cisco has announced a new version of its Catalyst switch family which combines wired and wireless networks, as well as a new wireless LAN controller with up to 60Gbps capacity, at the Cisco Live event in London.

The new Catalyst 3850 includes wireless LAN control, so IT managers can control both wired and wireless networks using the same policies, according to the company’s announced Cisco ONE (Open Network Environment) strategy. It is based on a new custom ASIC, which is also applied in the new wireless LAN controller, the 5760.

Cisco Live 2013 Padmasree Warrior CTO

Cisco wants to be the One

“We are the unquestionable leader for networking in the enterprise and for service providers, and we are becoming stronger in the data centre,” said Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior (pictured). She listed the usual drivers of massive change – big data generated  from the Internet of things (Cisco calls it the Internet of Everything) and consumerisation along with the trend to allow employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

The 3850 is not just a new Catalyst switch (adding to the 25 million already sold) but a “fundamental change in networking,” said Rob Soderbery, vice president for enterprise networking. “It is an awesome box.” Based on a new custom ASIC processor, called the Unified Access Device Plane (UADP), the new switch costs the same as the previous Catalyst 3750, starting at $5000.

Cisco Live 2013 Rob Soderbery VP Enterprise Networking

The 5760 wireless uses three of the new UADP chips, and is intended to support vast numbers of client devices – Cisco says we have on average 2.5 Wi-Fi devices each. Like upgrades from rivals such as Aruba, it is designed to handle the load from mobile apps and be ready for the faster speeds that will come with 802.11ac.

Users of the new products lined up at the Cisco Live press conference, with Gareth Bulpin from the Cardiff and Vale Unified Health Board particularly pleased that he had the very first Catalyst 3850 in the UK, and got it up and running within a few days, to support a busy network for patients and staff, which handles a load including more than 37,000 blood tests a day.

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