Cisco unveils switches and software for SMBs

Cisco Systems is targeting small and medium-sized businesses with a pair of Lan switches and a graphical management application.

Cisco Systems is targeting small and medium-sized businesses with a pair of Lan switches and a graphical management application.

The Catalyst 4503 modular switch and the Catalyst 4948 rack-mounted server switch are designed to meet SMBs' growing need for network resiliency and to support technologies such as wireless Lans and IP telephony as customers embrace them, said John McCool, vice-president and general manager of Cisco's Gigabit Systems Business Unit.

The Cisco Network Assistant (CNA) software is intended to open up management of Cisco switches, routers and wireless Lan access points in SMBs to employees who lack the training to use Cisco's CLI (command-line interface.)

CNA provides a graphical user interface for tasks such as designating switch ports for IP telephony and dividing up a physical Lan into separate virtual Lans for different groups.

The Catalyst 4503 is based on the existing 4500 switch line and brings over security characteristics from that line as well as accommodating dual power supplies for high availability.

Whereas existing 4500 switches have been designed to sit at the edge of a larger enterprise network, the 4503 is intended as the core of a smaller network. It is designed to support high-speed connectivity even with advanced functions such as user authentication and prioritisation for voice and video traffic turned on.

The roll-out follows Cisco's introduction earlier this month of Wan routers with integrated IP telephony and security features for branch offices and small businesses.

The heart of the 4503 switch is the Supervisor II-Plus-TS, which provides the platform's 64gbps of switching capacity as well as 12 integrated 10/100/1000mbps ports with power over Ethernet capability, and eight integrated SFP (small form factor pluggable) interfaces that can accommodate Gigabit Ethernet fiber or copper ports.

The Supervisor II-Plus-TS costs $5,995 (£3,320). Power over Ethernet can be used to power IP phones or wireless access points, removing the need to run a power cord to each of those devices.

The Catalyst 4948 Series switch, also based on the 4500 architecture, is designed for server switching and server aggregation. It offers Layer 2/3/4 switching at full wire speed on 48 10/100/1000mbps ports and also has four shared SFP interfaces. The 4948 also has dual hot-swappable power supplies. It is priced at $13,495 (£9,200).

Stephen Lawson writes for IDG News Service

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