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All I want for Christmas is a new line of switches from Cisco

Check your list twice this holiday season

By Liam Keegan - December 14, 2017

It's that time. Out with the old, in with the new. Cisco has revamped one of their switch lineups. I'm going to take a minute and tell you about how things are changing, what the new options are, and what it means for your Cisco switching purchases.
The writing is on the wall for the Cisco 3650 and 3850 switches. If you're still purchasing them, know that they will be end of life (EOL) in the not-so-distant future. You'll still get five years of life with Cisco's EOL policy, but they're done. The writing isn't quite as clear on the Catalyst 4500 chassis, but if you're looking at ANY of these, we strongly suggest you look at the new product families.
Cisco's new switch lines are the Catalyst 9300, 9400 and 9500 families. Here's the summary of the new switch lines:
  • Catalyst 9300: This is the replacement for the 1U Catalyst 3650 and 3850 switches. This series has both 24 and 48-port PoE/non-PoE devices, stacking, full Layer 3, redundant power and 10/40 Gig uplinks.
  • Catalyst 9400: This is the replacement for the Catalyst 4506/4507/4510 modular switches. They come in both a 7 and 10 slot chassis, support 60W of PoE per port, and have 10 and 40G uplinks.
  • Catalyst 9500: This is a 1U 40Gig aggregation switch. Think of it as the Catalyst 4500X, only with 40G ports instead of 10G. It's designed to act as the aggregation layer for closets upon closets of 9300/9400 switches and route traffic up to a core.
The software licensing model also changed. The big news is that there is no more LAN Base. If you're looking for a LAN Base switch (Layer 2 only, no IP routing, basic features), the Catalyst 2960 series is still the way to go.
The other software feature packs have been renamed. IP Base is now "Essentials", and IP Services is now "Advantage". Essentials includes basic Layer 3 routing (OSPF routed access, static routing), and Advantage includes full OSPF/EIGRP/BGP.
Price? Generally speaking, the pricing on the newer switch modules is less expensive! Here's a comparison on a 24-port PoE switch without any expansion modules:
So, that's a plus!
Note that the new switches have a DNA subscription on them. That's Cisco's Digital Network Assistant, and is a required service that's purchased at time of order. You don't have to use it, but you do have to buy it. I'll do another write-up on exactly what DNA includes, but don't be surprised when you see it.
Happy Holidays!