Cisco Unifies Wired & Wireless Access In New Catalyst Switch

At the Cisco Live! London conference, Cisco (CSCO) announced the new Cisco Catalyst 3850 Switch, which offers integrated wired and wireless LAN controller functionality.

John Rath

January 29, 2013

3 Min Read
Cisco Unifies Wired & Wireless Access In New Catalyst Switch



With its new Catalyst 3850 switch, Cisco is integrating wired and wireless access with a Unified Access Data Plane ASIC (Image: Cisco Systems).

At the Cisco Live! London conference this week Cisco (CSCO) announced new solutions under the Cisco Unified Access umbrella that simplify network design by converging wired and wireless networks. The technologies come together in the new Cisco Catalyst 3850 Switch, which offers integrated wired and wireless LAN controller functionality.

The new products address an evolving environment in which employees may access corporate networks from a variety of devices, locations and networks.

The strategy for Cisco's Unified Access is to unify wired, wireless and virtual private networks (VPNs), into a single, secure network based on one policy source and one management solution for the entire campus network. To realize this strategy many years and millions of dollars were spent developing a platform with a unified access data plane (UDAP) ASIC, a modular IOS-XE network operating system, and OnePK Software Defined Network APIs.

The new ASIC (Application Specfic Integrated Circuit) terminates wired and wireless traffic and enables consistent services to be applied to both wired and wireless. Since the ASIC is programmable, it offers extreme flexibility and scale, and it is compliant with Open Flow 1.3. This new UADP ASIC is featured in the new access switch and WLAN controller being announced.

New Unified Access equipment

The Catalyst 3850 Switch brings the best of wired and wireless features into a single platform, built on the new UADP ASIC, and powered by the modular IOS-XE network operating system. It supports network-wide visibility and analytics for faster troubleshooting, and granular hierarchical quality of service across the entire wired-wireless infrastructure. A total of 480G of throughput can be achieved by stacking 4 Catalyst 3850s together. The new Catalyst 3850 performs 7 times faster than the previous Catalyst generation.

Cisco also introduced a new Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller, which features the UADP ASIC and runs on IOS-XE network operating system. Designed for high performance, large campus deployments, one controller can support up to 12,000 connections on one layer 3 architecture. The 5760 delivers 60Gbps of capacity with hierarchical QoS capabilities for a centralized deployment.

“Customers want a simple, highly secure network with reduced TCO that allows them to address new access requirements such as BYOD and new innovative line of business applications," said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president, Enterprise Networking Group at Cisco. "Cisco Unified Access allows customers to achieve these goals by moving away from individual vertical stacks of technology and disparate components toward a single architecture for an intelligent network.”

Policy and Management Solutions

The new Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 1.2 release adds mobile device management (MDM) integration with top industry solutions, including Good, Airwatch, Mobile Iron Zenprise and SAP, to improve mobile device management and deliver a single simplified policy management solution. A new version 2.0 of Cisco Prime Infrastructure is also updated to allow IT to integrate the new Unified Access infrastructure components, including the Cisco Catalyst 3850 switch and Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller.  Cisco onePK open architecture for software-defined networking was introduced. It is a developer toolkit that allows applications to receive information from Cisco switches and routers offering a programmable data plane that enables investment protection through fast feature rollout.

“At University Hospital of Wales, our "dream" is to deliver a highly secure and sustainable healthcare without boundaries," said Gareth Bulpin, technical development network and support manager, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.  "The successful partnership working between Cisco, Damovo UK and the Hospital  Network Team delivered our ‘dream’ into reality in 58 days with the Cisco Unified Access being the ’game changer’ Cisco Unified Access has enabled us to apply consistent wired and wireless policies at the access layer of our wired and wireless network which now supports our mobile workforce to leverage BYOD in a sustainable and highly secure fashion.”

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