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The Catalyst 4500 series switches use the same line cards and supervisor engines as Cisco's two-year-old Catalyst 4000 models. But the latest devices have redundant inline power supplies and slightly faster processors.
Prices for the 4500 start at $14,475 (£9,328) and Cisco said they would be optimal in an enterprise wiring closet as part of networking applications that require intelligent services. They said the systems could also be installed in branch offices to support data, voice and video with wide-area network access as well as wireless access point deployments.
Chris Kozup, an analyst at Meta Group, said the most significant feature of the 4500 series is its ability to provide integrated electrical power over Ethernet for devices such as voice-over-IP phones. The Catalyst 4000 switches also support power, but only through an external module.
Kozup said Cisco faces a variety of competitors for such devices, including Nortel Networks and Extreme Networks. Analyst Mark Fabbi at Gartner said the 4500 would be "more attractive for medium-sized backbones because of the redundancy".