On January 26 Cisco introduced a line of 4-port switches that provide Gigabit Ethernet and PoE Plus. In a blog post announcing the switches, Cisco product marketing manager for enterprise networking Leslie Van Zee said the Catalyst Micro Switches “can be mounted in cable ducts or on the desktop.
“For those looking to provide Gigabit Ethernet right to the end device, these full-featured, enterprise-class switches make it easy for you to extend intent-based networking all the way to your work zones,” Van Zee continued.
She further explained that micro switches can be discreetly mounted right near the endpoints that connect to them. Micro switches are commonly used in fiber-to-the-office network architectures and allow for a simpler, more-flexible environment, she added.
“In a fiber-to-the-office network, fiber-optic cable is pulled throughout the building instead of copper,” Van Zee explained. “The extended range and higher bandwidth of fiber means that only one aggregation closet is needed to supply the entire building. This thereby eliminates the need for immediate distribution frames, freeing up valuable real estate and reducing hardware, electricity and cooling infrastructure. In addition, failure control is highly localized, and floorplans can be easily reconfigured.”
The Catalyst Micro Switches incorporate security features including 1x authentication, IPv4 first-hop security, Trustworthy Solutions technology, and automated policy-based segmentation with Cisco Software-Defined Access. Cisco points to installation and management attributes including the snap-in mounting hardware, industry-compatible power supplies, plug-and-play capability, and the ability to manage with Cisco DNA Center, CLI or third-party software.
“PoE+ with Perpetual PoE continues power to devices even when the switch is rebooted,” Cisco added, further noting that USB-C ports on the desktop model deliver up to 60 watts of power.
Cisco detailed the following use cases for the new line of micro switches.
- Update existing FTTx infrastructure: The Cisco Catalyst Micro Switches conform to the Mosaic-45x45 industrial standard and are compatible with most existing mounting accessories. It can reuse selected third-party power supplies.
- New buildings and major retrofits: Some organizations are turning to a fiber-to-the-office type of network architecture in order to support higher bandwidth applications. This is commonly determined during planning and design of a new building, since changing over from full copper cabling to full fiber is a major retrofit. A major advantage here is having Cisco hardware throughout the network, making it easier to manage everything from a single pane of glass with Cisco DNA Center, and roll out a Software-Defined Access network fabric.
- Widespread physical spaces: In locations like airports, stadiums and entertainment venues, fiber-optic cable is preferable over copper due to distance limitations of copper. This makes it possible to have just one network to manage and allows IT to take full advantage of the full capabilities of Cisco DNA Center.
- PoE-powered workspaces: Cisco Catalyst Micro Switches provide Power over Ethernet to power wireless access points as well as the myriad IoT devices that are being adopted to automate building systems. The desktop model can provide power over integrated USB-C ports, making it possible to power laptops from a switch located near the user. These features make the micro switches a great option for healthcare, hospitality and smart buildings.