Network switches are multiport network bridge hardware that connects devices on a computer network that use MAC addresses to receive and forward packets to destination devices. The Cisco Catalyst 3550 Series Intelligent Ethernet Switches are enterprise-class, stackable and multilayer capable.
An ‘Enterprise-class’ switch is defined as a switch that focuses on reliability, security, manageability, flexibility and lifecycle. An enterprise-class switch should be able to perform well and continue performing well while holding standards such as Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), noise and interference, redundancies are built into the device to ensure that it stays running. A secure switch keeps data travelling through it and data in it secure using security technologies such as Virtual LANs and Access Control Lists (ACLs) while keeping the connection efficient. A manageable switch means a switch that can be monitored, troubleshot and managed from a central, integrated system, such as debugging and system monitoring. A flexible switch can address multiple use cases, this can be achieved by integrating granular customisation options, allowing users to mould the device to suit their needs and requirements. Lifecycle focus means the ability of the device to be available when needed, with investment protection and supports scaling up/out. The scalable technology built into a Cisco 3550 switch allows backward compatibility with other switches and allows it to be stackable, allowing it to be an investment that can make an impact in the long run.
The Cisco 3550 switches can address the recent advancements in networking requirements such as the increase in desktop computing power, the introduction of bandwidth-intensive applications, the increased importance of data security and accommodating the rapidly expanding number of devices and device types.
The Cisco 3550 offers Quality of Service (QoS) services so that certain mission-critical and/or bandwidth-intensive network traffic such as Voice Over IP (VOIP) can be prioritised so that latency can be decreased and therefore an increase in connection quality. The 3550 also offers rate-limiting so that administrators can control the bandwidth available to certain users. Bandwidth can be allocated through criteria such as port numbers, MAC destination/source addresses and IP destination/source addresses.
Network security can be implemented using VLANS and ACLs within the switch and/or switch cluster. VLANs create multiple broadcast domains to provide bandwidth efficiency and security as hosts on different VLANs cannot communicate with each other unless configured to do so. Bandwidth is used more efficiently as broadcasts are not forwarded to other VLANs and are restricted to individual VLANs. Up to 1005 VLANs can be created, giving administrators great power and flexibility when managing a network.
Enhanced data security can also be implemented using ACLs. ACLs can deny or permit packets based on their source MAC address, destination MAC address, source IP address, destination IP address and TCP/UDP ports. ACLs can prevent network intrusion and prevent users from accessing parts of the network they are not allowed to access.
The Cisco Catalyst 3550 switches are devices that can be configured as a command or member switch in a network that allows administrators to easily manage, configure and maintain a network and the various functions that keep it operating efficiently through a wide variety of mechanisms.