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Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 Remains the Network Switch to Beat

By Oliver Rowen

Summary: Upgrades and new features keep Cisco Systems at the top of market for network switches.

Note: This article was written to address the question of which Gigabit Ethernet switch is the most reliable. While this article references the findings of various IT news organizations, it is always best to base your purchase decision by consulting with a IT specialist about your specific needs. For further reading, I would recommend reading the articles in the reference section and conducting supplimental searches on the subject.

San Francisco, California October 10, 2006: Following a lackluster Q3, Cisco Systems emerges as the leader in the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch Market for the fourth quarter. Fueled by increased demand and an overall rise in the average selling price, Cisco experienced significant gains in a market of over $300 Million.

With almost 70% of the projected $1.3 Billion 10-Gig market share and a more powerful, yet affordable design, the Catalyst 6500 is poised to cement Cisco as the dominating force in the industry. With the recent release of an eight-port, 10-Gigabit Ethernet module for the 6500, Cisco is quickly pulling away from the rest of the pack.

In addition, upgrades like the Application Control Engine (ACE) module have prompted companies like Pure Video Networks to adopt Cisco switches to manage traffic of their popular video websites. Implementing simultaneous data center services such as server load balancing, integrated network and application switching/security, the ACE module delivers the highest performance in the industry. Already the most successful networking switch on the IT market, the 6500 Series reduces existing operational costs and improves a network’s ability to respond to intensive bandwidth demands.

Rival Foundry Networks, and newcomer Force 10 have recently launched new 10Gbe ready products aimed at disrupting Cisco’s market share. According to literature on Force 10’s Terascale E-Series 1200, the E1200 boasts of more than double the ports of the Catalyst 6500 (1260 vs. 576 Ethernet ports/chassis). While this may be good news for the company, Force 10 has been focused on the data center vertical, and is therefore still untested in the enterprise market. Foundry’s BigIron RX series switch has received favorable press for it’s size/performance ratio and lower prices. Even with the competition mounting new efforts, the Cisco name is still a major factor among IT professionals whose networks depend on their equipment. Fortunately for the stalwart Cisco, reputation is still the key to market dominance.

Update: For an explanation of various configurations for the 6500 switch on our new blog!


“10-Gigabit Ethernet Poised To Take Data Centers By Storm. ” CRN. October 10, 2006. September 25, 2006. <http://www.crn.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=193004953>

“10 Gigabit Ethernet Revenues Soar .” Dell’Oro Group. October 10, 2006. August 16, 2006. <http://www.delloro.com/news/2006/ES081606.htm

“Cisco Systems Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2006 Earnings .” Cisco Systems. October 10, 2006. August 08, 2006. http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2006/fin_080806.html>

“Force10 ? Terscale E-Series 1200 .” Current Analysis. October 10, 2006. January 26, 2006. <http://www.currentanalysis.com/p/files/samples/Force10TerascaleE-Series1200 2363.pdf#search=%22foundry%20rx%20catalyst%206500%22>

“PureVideo Networks Deploys Cisco Catalyst 6500 Switch with Application Control Engine Module .” Cisco Systems. October 10, 2006. September 27, 2006. <http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/partners/news/2006/pr_prod_09-27.html>

About Author

Oliver Rowen is currently Director of Corporate Accounts for Townsend Assets Group (TAG), a leading reseller of pre-owned data networking and refurbished equipment like the Catalyst 6500. With more than 2500 customers in 23 countries, TAG helps customers acquire, manage and remarket their technology. For more information go to http://www.townsendassets.com/

For information on current Cisco’s Catalyst 6500, 6509 , or other pre-owned networking hardware, be sure to check out our inventory page for current pricing and specials. We strive to help our customers find the right equipment to meet their unique needs. I can be emailed at oliver@townsendassets.com