Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches Debut at Cisco Partner Summit

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On June 4th, 2013, Cisco announced that it upgraded its best-selling Catalyst switch by doubling its stacked port density, stacking bandwidth, buffers and CPU performance at Annual Cisco Partner Summit event. Cisco introduced the next generation of its wildly successful Catalyst 2K switches with the new Catalyst 2960-X series of stackable Gigabit Ethernet access switches, which builds on the foundation of the 3-year-old Catalyst 2960-S/SF. It is available in 24- or 48-port configurations, with 10G uplinks and a stacking capacity of 40G-80G.

Cisco says the Catalyst 2000 line is its best-selling Ethernet switch based on number of units and ports shipped. Over the years, the vendor has shipped over 14 million Catalyst 2960 series switches, encompassing over 420 million ports.

A Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switch Family

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches Family

The introduction of the Catalyst 2960-X Series switches effectively allows customers to address the growth needs of their businesses, all with new intelligent services. The innovative capabilities of the Catalyst 2960-X is highly differentiated when it comes to comparable offerings, and will no doubt increase the competitive intensity in the market.

But don’t just take our word for it. According to industry analyst Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research, “the Catalyst 2960-X gives customers an access layer switch that will help them transform their role from being focused on keeping the lights on to being a business catalyst.”  The richness of features in the new 2960-X is extensive, with comprehensive access layer security built-in, simple operations with Smart Install, OnePK and OpenFlow readiness.

Kerravala also notes that “it’s great that Cisco is providing its customers with investment protection through backwards compatibility with the 2960-X’s popular predecessor, the 2960-S/SF. I believe the 2960-X is a product that will allow customers to stay on top of rapidly evolving trends like BYOD, VDI, IoT and collaboration, all at a price point suited to those medium-sized businesses whose pockets have been stretched due to the tough economy. The feature-richness of the 2960-X will be a key draw for these customers who want ease-of-use, security and performance in order to continue to evolve their businesses and be successful over the long-term.”

“Green” Energy-Saving Benefits

The Cisco Catalyst 2960-X was designed to reduce the total cost of ownership over comparative industry switches with energy-saving features that can reduce power consumption by up to 80 percent. Part of that savings comes from a new hibernation mode that can be set to conserve energy. The switch also supports Cisco’s EnergyWise technology, which can be used to control energy usage on connected devices.

How does this energy-saving performance compare with the rest of the industry? For context, IDC reported roughly 230 million comparable switch ports were sold in 2012. (Note: IDC Q4CY12 Switch Tracker, L2+3 Fixed Managed Switches, 100Mb & 1 GB)

Not that we’re being greedy – but if these were all Catalyst 2960-X units, that would mean roughly 14.4 Billion kWh of energy saved.

Note: Based on a mix of PoE+ powered wireless access points and Cisco DX650 Class 4 IP phone connected to 48-port configuration of Catalyst 2960-X. Includes savings from up to 27% lower energy consumption compared to competitor switch, and savings from Cisco EnergyWise, Energy Efficient Ethernet, Downlink Hibernation, and Switch Hibernation.

Tips: What could you do with that energy?

  • Shut down the Hoover Dam for 3.4 years.
  • Power all households in San Francisco for 3.3 years.
  • Make 76 round trips to Mars in a Toyota Prius, 45,000 round trips to the Moon, or 870,000 trips around the Earth.
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 7.5 billion pounds (3.4 billion kg), the equivalent of planting 193 million trees, the same as every household in the United States planting 1.7 trees.

Additional Features

The Catalyst 2960-X series is also built for network programmability. The new switches are Cisco onePK-ready–Cisco onePK is an easy-to-use Cisco Software Defined Networking (SDN) toolkit for development, automation and rapid service creation. As a result of being onePK-ready, the Catalyst 2960-X series switches enable customers to build applications to automate and create services across the campus, further extending the investment protection capabilities of this new switch series.

The Cisco 2960-X introduces another first for the Catalyst 2K family: Layer 3 routing based on RIP, OSPF and EIGRP protocols–the 2960-S/SF are Layer 2-only–and application visibility through NetFlow-Lite, a less CPU intensive “NetFlow-like” traffic monitoring capability, which effectively making it the “smartest” switches in its family’s history.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X series switches are simple to deploy, manage and troubleshoot. As part of Cisco’s Unified Access portfolio, the Catalyst 2960-X series switches are also fully integrated with Cisco Prime for simple operation from a central location and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for simplified One Policy management. The switches can also be managed by Cisco Network Assistant (CNA), which features an intuitive GUI to allow users to easily apply common services across Cisco switches, routers and access points.

Midmarket Customer Focus

The 2960-X has double the stacking capabilities of the last-generation 2960 switch, with up to 8 stacking switches. The 2960-X comes in both 24 and 48x 10/100/1000 port configurations, with up to 2x SFP+ uplinks per switch.

“The 2960 is very targeted at the midmarket,” Inbar Lasser-Raab, senior director of marketing for enterprise networking at Cisco, told“The beauty of the new 2960-X is the doubling of everything we had before.”

At Cisco Partner Summit 2013, the focus has been on the midmarket and the opportunity it offers Cisco partners for growth. Our Midmarket customers are dealing with challenges associated with BYOD, scalability, and security–many of the same needs as a big business, but with smaller IT staffs and budgets to meet them. They are looking for simple; easy-to-use solutions that can scale as their businesses grow–which makes the Catalyst 2960-X a perfect fit for them.

Additionally, midmarket customers typically rely on channel partners as their “trusted advisors” for designing and implementing their IT solutions, and Cisco’s approach to midmarket starts with a deep understanding of midsize customers. The Cisco Catalyst 2960-X switches will continue to make the Catalyst 2000 family the world’s most widely-deployed access switch by addressing business challenges of today and helping customers prepare for their future.

The Cisco 2960-X will be available in July. It costs $1,895 in a 24-port configuration and $3,395 in a 48-port model.

You can read more about the new Cisco Catalyst 2960-X switches at

More Cisco 2960 Series Tips:

Cisco Catalyst 2960 LAN Base Series & Catalyst 2960 LAN Lite Series

Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Enables Routing

What is Exact Cisco Catalyst 2960-S FlexStack?

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