Cisco Catalyst is the brand for a numerous of network switches, wireless controllers and wireless access points produces by Cisco Systems.
The newest version of the Catalyst is the Catalyst 9000 family which includes switches, wireless access points, and wireless controllers.
All models benefit basic layer 2 features switching Ethernet frames between ports. These switches provide VLANs, trunking and QoS and benefit from IOS or IOS XE which are fully manageable.
Most Cisco Catalyst switches that run IOS or IOS XE are also capable of performing as a router and are able to tackle large-scale enterprise routing tasks, using router technologies like OSPF or BGP.
Modular chassis-based Catalyst switching models have the concept of field-replaceable supervisor, line cards, power supplies and fans. These switches can work by separating the line cards, chassis, and supervisor engine. The chassis provides power and a high-speed backplane, the line cards provide interfaces to the network, and the supervisor engine moves packets, participates in routing protocols, etc.
Also, a redundant component may be installed to rapidly recover from component failures. Moreover, supervisor engine may be upgraded after purchase, increasing performance and adding features without losing any investment in the rest of the switch.
Cisco Catalyst switches enable advanced customization and manageability. The switches can be configured using a serial console, telnet or Secure Shell.
StackWise and StackWise Virtual are technologies provided by Cisco Systems that permits Catalyst switches to perform as though they were one switch. One switch from the stack will act as the master switch. The master switch will maintain the stack and allow you to configure and monitor the whole stack as though one via a single console. This allows for more efficient management and typically provides more bandwidth between individual switches than other uplink technology.
If one switch fails, the remaining switches will continue to operate by bypassing it. If the master switch fails, another switch in the stack will automatically take over as master. This feature means greater redundancy, as one switch’s failure will not bring about a failure of the entire stack.
Most new Cisco Catalyst switches supports hybrid type of licenses. All features can be activated either by using a specific product activation key (PAK) or with smart license.
Most Cisco Catalyst supports smart licensing when IOS XE upgrades to latest version. Cisco Catalyst smart license can be ordered and purchased with a smart account in the Cisco smart software management website. As an offline solution, customers could use the Catalyst PLR license to register all instances completely and forever.