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Technology Tuesday- The Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches

Cisco is setting the bar high and addressing the pressing issue faced by companies- network operations. The Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches bridges the gap between wired and wireless on a single platform. The Catalyst 3850 allows organizations to focus on activities of the business, rather than network infrastructure.


Cisco continually excels in technological innovation and the Catalyst 3850 is no exception. The 3850 is one of two new solutions encompassed by the Unified Access networking umbrella. According to a 2013 article by Cisco’s, The Network, Unified Access is “Cisco’s strategy to unify wired, wireless and virtual private networks (VPNs), into a single, highly secure network infrastructure based on one policy source and one management solution for the entire campus network.”


Cisco Catalyst 3850

Prior to the development of the Catalyst 3850, stackable switches did not have wireless capabilities. Thanks to Cisco, large volumes of wired and wireless network traffic can now be funneled into a single data plane- simplifying and improving business operations and causing smiles to spread across the faces of network professionals everywhere.

With throughput of 480 Gbps, incrementally larger than the 3750 model, the choice is evident. The ability to wirelessly support campus-wide networks through a stackable switch is remarkable; however, if additional support is necessary, the remainder of this article is for you.


The Catalyst 3850 can support up to 50 access points and 2000 wireless clients on each switch or stack, further increasing the connection and capacity of wireless users. Each switch of the 48-port model has 40G of wireless capacity (also available in a 24 port model). As members in the stack increase, wireless capacity will increase accordingly to meet current bandwidth requirements and insure improved wireless throughput.


StackWise 480 and StackPower Connectors

Additionally, the Power over Ethernet (POE) of the Catalyst 3850 is nearly twice that of the 3750 model (15.4W). The 3850 supports PoE+ (IEEE 802.3at standard), providing as much as 30W of power per port. Increased power is only the first benefit of PoE+ – wall power to each PoE-enabled device becomes obsolete, eliminating “the cost for additional electrical cabling and circuits that would otherwise be necessary in IP phone and WLAN deployments.” Thus, the total cost of ownership is decreased when deployments incorporating IEEE 802.3at-compliant end devices are used.


Wireless capabilities are compounded by the integration of evolved security and intelligence services. Flexible Net Flow (FNF), QOS, and security features (IEEE 802.1x, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) snooping, IP Source Guard and control plane protection, wireless intrusion prevention systems (WIPSs)) provide full-visibility and monitoring of the wireless traffic, bandwidth management, and protection against unauthorized users and attackers. The unified efforts of these aforementioned services grant businesses a greater sense of confidence and control.


Further, the Catalyst 3850 supports modular and field-replaceable network modules.  Customers are given the option to select one of three optional network modules for uplink ports. The ability to pick and choose and combine network modules, allows businesses to upgrade and make modifications as necessary while maximizing on their investment.


Network Module Configuration


The technological benefits are many, the company has proven excellence, and the product is innovative and groundbreaking, but one question remains- the price.


The Catalyst 3850 is the same price as the wired, 3750 model. For the same cost, businesses can simplify network operations and mesh wired and wireless initiatives.


The choice is simple- simplify your business with the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches.