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Cisco Catalyst Switches Room for Improvement

RK
System Administrator at a university with 5,001-10,000 employees

One thing I think should be improved is that billing should be customizable for end-user. If the customer wants a particular feature or upgrade or does not want the feature or upgrade, it should be their choice. If the user rejects the additional services those should be cut off from the pricing and not forced on the billing. Instead, they just include these things and the end-user has no choice. That is a concern for end-users who are trying to be cost-conscious and know what they need — and what they do not need — in their environment.  

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VA
Senior Network Engineer at High Frequency Trading

Most of the time, I struggle with the bugs. I don't find it very challenging to configure these because I have been using them for the last eight years, so I am pretty comfortable with the CLI. With these bugs, I don't know the configuration for a one time task, you configure it, you deploy it, and you forget about it.

The biggest issue we are having is with bugs and memory loss, which occurs when developing the IOS.

We also had an issue with Nexus 3548. The CPU started stalling and the switch became unresponsive. We had to call support and have someone remove that cable immediately, as we are not able to travel due to the COVID situation. Once the cable was removed, the switch came back to life.

I searched through the log and learned what happened. The CPU was stalled for 11 seconds. I searched Google and on the Cisco bug tracker, and I found that it was a bug. There is no workaround for that. It was a huge loss for us and we lost money as a result.

There was nothing that I could have done to prevent this from happening. This is a management interface that is supposed to be used to manage the device. I connected the cable not knowing that the bug existed.

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Senior Network Engineer & Technical Instructor at Improtech

The user interface needs improvement. It might make them a bit more user friendly.

The one thing that I came across with the Catalyst 2950-X switch was that I wanted to alter the dashboard, so I connected it to the management interface. I gave it an IP address and I used the browser. However, as soon as I accessed it, I realized that the system of the computer from which I was accessing it didn't support that version. I was using Linux and the OS didn't support the switch. I had to get a Windows computer to access the switch. The dashboard was difficult to manage. It would have been nice if they made it obvious that it didn't work on Linux.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Senior Infrastructure Solutions Specialist at Fiber Misr

The prices could be improved. Cisco is dedicated to providing their customers with the latest technology, but it comes with a price. It's very expensive and when compared to competitors' products, like HP or Aruba, this is the most expensive one. 

I can't think of any additional features I would like to see in the next version. The features included are sufficient. 

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AA
IT Manager at a non-tech company with 201-500 employees

Cisco switches are really expensive compared to other solutions, which is something that should be improved. They are almost double in price.

As of late, Cisco has been moving from one technology to the next and they don't support each other. If you want new features then you have to buy a new product and forget about the old one. This is from a licensing perspective. For example, the Cisco DNA license versus then Cisco One license are things that I don't know about.

I would like to see better compatibility between Cisco and other vendors. There are a lot of features that are for Cisco devices only, and when you bring in a second or third vendor there are a lot of problems. Fixing this incompatibility would be an improvement. I have not tried a lot of other brands, but I have connected both Huawei and Aruba Wireless with Cisco. Connecting Huawei with Aruba Wireless works well with no hangs. However, connecting Cisco and Huawei is terrible. Sometimes you have to restart one, whereas other times you have to restart the other. I do not recommend mixing equipment between these two companies.

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XS
Network Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

Cisco should work to lower its costs. It's quite expensive right now. They force the customer to buy the DNA license and that shouldn't be the case.

Instead of making automation cheaper, they are making it more expensive and clients don't like it.

They really need to simplify their licensing and simplify moving to a controller base. 

The scalability is limited.

Cisco also owns Meraki, however, they keep these switches as separate products, and customers are confused by that. Meraki has a lot of features and a customer questions why those features are there and not here. Meraki also allows for more integrations with solutions such as HP, and it's harder to integrate Cisco. 

The same is true of Nexus switches, which basically do the same thing and yet everything is siloed. It's confusing for the clients. 

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LS
Senior System Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

There is always something better. The price could be better.

The service contract for technical support should be included for at least the first year of purchasing the product.

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IT Manager at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees

Pricing mainly is the only issue. For our company, IT is not a major investment, so it would be harder to convince management to invest in Cisco switches. For quality, they are the best, however, in terms of pricing, especially due to the COVID crisis and everything, investment into a network is now a lower priority. Before, when the money flow was better, it was easier to sell. However, now, for this current situation, a major point of pain in the company is price. 

Even though my priority is reliability, in order to avoid downtime, management is harder to convince and they just see the price tag. 

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Network & Security Specialist at Fonicom

Out of the competition, Cisco switches are easily the most expensive.

There's something at Cisco called a console that is used for basic configuration and everything and I think that they excluded a normal USB. Instead of that micro USB they should put in the normal one. It would make things a bit easier.

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JN
User at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees

At present, we are adopting many cloud solutions. We are connected to several cloud platforms and do a lot of business in the cloud. So I think that in general, we don't need many features at the moment unless we want to create some applications on the cloud. But that's not the case right now. We are thinking of moving all the people from these 20 buildings to one building. So with all of them in the same building, we'll need to design a new architecture. We have the ACI in our data centers, so we must see how all of this works. We don't know if we'll go to SD-LAN too. So I don't know if we'll use Catalyst or another solution—a solution with ACI, SD-WAN, or SD-LAN. At this moment, I can't say because we are starting to think about this new design.

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Vice President, Technology, Research & Development at Thales

Its initial setup can be simpler, and it would be great if we can work with a reference architecture.

Cisco has the capability to provide a very integrated solution. They have DNA Center, Cisco ISE, Cisco Prime, FMC, and AMP. We are looking at all the products, but it is rather complex to pick out the right licenses that you need. The license structure is a bit complex. Sometimes, there is an overlap in products, which does not really make sense. For example, you have DNA Center and Cisco Prime, and it is not really clear what you would use for what exactly.

There is a lot of information on the Cisco website, but it takes a while to go through all this and look at the presentations that are available from Cisco Live. These presentations are appreciated, but sometimes, they are a bit too much like bullet points. You don't exactly know what's behind it, so you have to do a second guess. Overall, there is a lot of information but not always to the point.

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MR
Junior Network Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

The implementation of the solution is a little bit difficult. It would be nicer if the process was a bit easier.

The configuration process is hard.

The pricing of the solution is quite high.

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YS
Lead Presales at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

There are some models that can occasionally cause problems. If a particular switch is made for some specific use case or a particular environment, if you put that in other types of infrastructure or use cases, then you may face problems.

The licensing process could be a bit less complex.

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TH
Product Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees

There are several versions of Catalyst, and yet, they are quite similar. If, in the simplest one, they could create a Catalyst segment where all the possibilities like QSFP, SFP, 10G, that would be ideal. MikroTik, a Latvian company, has that as an option. They include 1G and 10G and QSFP all in one switch. Cisco, however, divides it into several switches across these features. Cisco is likely doing it to make money. However, clients sometimes don't want to pay more for the switches and they ignore Cisco and grab other brands like MikroTik. As distributors, it makes it hard to sell Cisco when features come at such a high price. 

Another issue is the restrictions on the product. Cisco applies restrictions in relation to renewals on a yearly basis. Many other brands don't have restrictions. If Cisco lifted them, they wouldn't lose so many clients to competitors.

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AA
IT Support Team Leader at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The device age becomes an issue. For example, with the 2960 version, they're not supporting that one anymore. I find that the device or the model age is a little bit short. It is five or eight years. When we have a big organization, we have 100 or 200 switches, and suddenly it's out of support, end of support, or end of life, or whatever, it's difficult as we cannot change switches every five years. At a minimum, they should last ten years. That's better. To upgrade, it's a huge budget. Therefore, the age of the product itself is a little bit short. They really should make it longer.

The technical response could be faster in the future. 

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Network System Specialist at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The product should work on its pricepoints. It's an expensive solution. It's the main complaint I hear from people.

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AR
eTrading Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

The managing of the changes and automatization should be addressed. We don't have control of the changes involving automation. In terms of what is new, network technologies and those on the cloud, the solution is outdated. Personal automatization is a feature that should be addressed. 

As we are experienced with the solution, we found the initial setup to be easy, but an enterprise which is more new to this technology may find the implementation and deployment to be somewhat challenging. 

While the solution was very good for its time, this may not be so, at present, for big, leading enterprises, such as a bank consisting of 10,000 people. 

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AA
Founder at a computer software company with 11-50 employees

There aren't any features that are missing. It's quite a good solution.

There are two different families, the older family is not programmable. The newer family is programmable and everything is there, so for now, most of the improvement is in the capacity and the speed and other items.

They could use more layer trees or VXLAN. Any modern setup which uses the SD axis and other features would benefit from this. It would definitely be more stable as we could remove all spanning trees. It's already technically there in Catalyst 9K.

Any improvements that they make should be in the wireless area of the product.

We could see more 100 GB interfaces and higher speeds in the future.

The access levels could be improved.

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LD
Linux Plus Infrastructure Engineer at Nampak Ltd

In the future it would be nice to see a dynamic VLAN database that's not managed by another, say, Cisco product.

I would like for Cisco to come up with an affordable dynamic VLAN solution. This would mainly serve the purpose of network access control. My thinking is along the lines of that of my colleagues, that there are non-Cisco infrastructures available which are more affordable. This would give us the option of using Cisco Catalyst or of moving on to the competition. 

Cisco ACI is a feature I would also like to see. When it comes to automation, it would be good to be able to use Ansible or Puppet to run one's network and enforce compliance. Roadmap is the way to go, especially when it comes to network engineers. I would be very pleased if Cisco were to enable its product to work with these automation tools. This is where the challenge lies in deployment for most network engineers. Automation is key. 

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VK
Network Engineer at a retailer with 10,001+ employees

The solution is expensive. They should work on their pricing model to try to make it more affordable for customers.

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Head, IT Division at USTTB

Their price should be improved. They are a little bit expensive.

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SZ
Information Technology & Audio Visual Engineer at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees

I would like to see better efficiency. They are powering all the PoE ports 100% of the time instead of powering only when there is a draw on them.

It has too many options. Therefore, there is a reasonably high barrier to entry in terms of learning about this stuff. A lot of times, you need to be a CCNA, which is like your ticket into the industry, but it is not the easiest thing to get.

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MB
Founder, Director at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

The solution offers a bit of complexity and you need a specialized workforce.

The scalability can be a bit limited due to the stacking topology which limits the number of switches that can be added in a given stack

It's always a while before you can get through to technical support.

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DM
facility manager

You need to have dual powers, dual power points for each to take into account the redundancy.

Compared to other switches, the Cisco products are expensive.

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Telecommunications Engineer at Universidad

I would like to see a graphical user interface for the configuration. This is something that other brands and models have.

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Project Manager at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

The technical support, in some cases, should be faster and could improve.

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WS
IT Coordinator - Networking Team at a maritime company with 11-50 employees

I can't use older Cisco devices with newer versions of the controller or switches. For example, if a switch was manufactured in 2014, I can't use it with a controller made in 2019. I have to change the switch so that I can upgrade my network or my devices. I don't have the option to update the version I have on the image of the AP or the controller.

Also, in the K5 Series of the switches —  Cisco calls them "Core" switches — they have some commands that Catalyst doesn't support, so you have to know the command lines for two different devices to configure them. It's a bit confusing when you are working on both at the same time, and you have some problems, then you notice that you didn't use the correct command for that switch.

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SZ
Team Lead Network Infrastructure at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

Cisco should support all of the features that are included with the suite.

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VK
CISO at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

Cisco can definitely improve the training part. They can provide more training related to configuration.

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RK
Account Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

Cisco Catalyst Switches do not have an open architecture and you have to buy into the Cisco architecture to be able to use them.

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JO
Network Support Engineer at a government with 201-500 employees

The solution should work to become more scalable. 

The price of the product is very expensive.

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AI
Manager, Information Technology at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees

It can have more security features to secure the access layer.

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FB
Manager Customer Engineering South (Presales) at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees

With their constant innovation and investment in R&D, there isn't really very much the solution isn't lacking or building upon in terms of features.

The pricing could be better.

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Senior Project Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

There aren't any features that are lacking from my perspective. It's pretty complete.

The solution itself is quite expensive. It would be ideal if they could lower the pricing a bit.

The product could offer more integrations with other solutions. 

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GM
Project Manager at a wholesaler/distributor with 51-200 employees

The cost of this product is very high and not all companies can afford it. Government entities can but corporations these days are hesitant to get Cisco. They're looking for other options that can cut their costs by 30% or 40% from the cost of Cisco Catalyst Switches. I think the command line in the platform could be improved because it's divided and can complicate things, maybe they can go direct to GUI. Using all the commands is a bit difficult. 

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MA
Presales Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

There is a complexity with Cisco.

They should have unified software that includes all of the licenses. We should not have to pay for different software on the same platform. Each one has a specific use or a specific feature.

If you need dynamic routing then you have to purchase the software, if you need basic IP routing, you need different software. Why do you need this type of complexity?

They have their own propriety protocols while other competitors go with other standards and are easy. Cisco is a bit complex.

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BB
Managing Director at Aster Networks

The solution is quite expensive for our clients. It's a pain point for some companies. They should work to reduce the price.

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RK
Senior Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

Cisco is basically the number one switch in the market. It makes it hard for other options to compete. 

The solution is expensive. Sometimes we will choose some cheaper options even though they are not as stable as Cisco's offering. However, if it is a small project, it may not be worth paying Cisco prices to get it done.  

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KW
Director of Product Management at a engineering company with 11-50 employees

I used to use the CLI, the command line, but some users may want to use the Web GUI.

They need to simplify the Cisco 2960 Web GUI control, but not the entire version or the functionality for the Web GUI control.

IT people will most often use the CLI to configure the Cisco Switch.

They need to simplify the Web GUI and make it easier to use, and more intuitive for the users.

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ZP
Owner & General Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

They need to implement sFlow, other than that, I can't think of anything else that needs to be improved — I am happy.

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IT MANGER PAN-INDIA at Escon Elevator Private Limited

The configuration setup is a little more complex if you go into detail.

The price is something we would definitely like improved. It would be nice if it was more economical.

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EG
Information Security Officer at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees

Their price should be cheaper. We lose a lot of work because of the price that they have.

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OH
Telecommunication Department Head at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees

We would like the solution to be more stable.

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SW
System Administrator at a computer software company with 11-50 employees

We are not working off the latest version so the switches on the product are very old and that could be improved. The one gig boards are strictly one gig and not backward compatible. This switch also does not have power over ethernet, so that's old.  

I'd like to see a better web interface. I can't tell you what the existing generations have so I'm sure there have been improvements. These are so old and I'm sure modern switches now have much better tools to interface with them.

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GC
Science Technician at a government with 201-500 employees

In the next release, they should lower the price. It's too expensive. 

They should also have a graphic interface for the switches too without the command line. 

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KR
Senior Executive at a leisure / travel company with 201-500 employees

While it is scalable, it could be better.

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DH
Head of Project Management at a tech vendor with 1-10 employees

We'd like Cisco to integrate better with other solutions, including their own.

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EE
NOC Manager at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees

The pricing needs improvement.

Price stops entries in Africa. We are not at that level where IT is considered a very big business enabler.

When I compare with the competition, MikroTik or NETGEAR I can purchase the switch and use it for whatever I want. I don't have to add the license, or the BGP routing license, and an ERGP writing license. Other switches are the providers that work out of the box without additional hidden fees.

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DP
Sr. Project Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

Scaling can be quite costly.

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MY
Senior Network Consultant at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

All other modules have comparatively many more functions or power than regular Catalyst switches.

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JM
Professor at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees

Cisco is weird about their pricing models, so that's one problem. Their operating system is also a little outdated.

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CB
Director of Information Systems / ISSO at Spectra Technologies LLC

Their centralized management could be better. There should be some kind of software for centralized management so that I don't need somebody else to manage it.

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TG
CEO at a construction company with 11-50 employees

Installing and configuring these switches requires the proper training.

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System Administrator at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees

Its price should be improved. It is very pricey. 

Its installation can be simplified. Its installation is a bit complex.

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AL
Infrastructure Manager at a non-profit with 51-200 employees

The solution could be easy to use, you need a certificate to use it.

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BS
SCCM Administrator at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

The initial setup can be easier in cases where the policy and ruleset are complex.

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RB
Software Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees

You need to predict your scaling considerations at the outset. 

The product is expensive. 

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DR
Head Cyber Security at a retailer with 10,001+ employees

In terms of what could be improved, more integration is the main thing they should be focused on.

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Founder at SDWAN Clan

In a future upgrade, I would like to see integrated wireless in the solution.

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Group Head of IT at a maritime company with 501-1,000 employees

I'd like to see better reporting and also integration possibilities with other platforms. It's quite an expensive product and it would be helpful if they reduced the cost. 

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Region Head - S1@Dimension Data India at a computer software company with 51-200 employees

The only improvement I would like to see with Cisco Catalyst Switches is the pricing.

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JG
IToV Implementation Engineer at a renewables & environment company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The licensing process should be back to how it was before. Now, you have to register online, and it makes staging a bit trickier.

Pricing could be cheaper as well.

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MM
Network and Infrastructure Engineer at a tech vendor with 1-10 employees

Reducing the price would be an improvement.

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SS
Senior Consultant

Cisco Catalyst Switches could improve by having more integration with third-party products.

In the next release, I would like the solution to be able to integrate easily with third-party WFi products.

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Deputy Chief Engineer at SYSCOM COMPUTER ENGINEERING CO.

I would like to see support for one-touch provisioning.


By use zero touch provision , We do need a lot of config for system boot and other, That should be improved.


https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/...

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Supervisor at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

We have configurations for port channels between two facilities, and we cannot communicate between these two buildings. An SFP configuration uses one wire to send and receive the signal. It's opt-in. We cannot use it after the upgrade. What can we do in this situation? We already bought it. 

We have a lease between these buildings, so it's important for us. There are some other SFPs, but we cannot order them at the moment. It's a very slow project. We will order those and receive them after two or three months.

Cisco devices should support Cisco SFPs. Right now, I'm testing it on Cisco and some small devices, like Planets, and it worked. It has changed, but it's working. But it doesn't work using the original Cisco because inside of a Cisco Data Sheet it says they do not support this product on the device.

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DG
Consultant at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees

I would like to see the integration of the 2960 SX switches. I would also like to see more information about them.

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Senior Network Administrator at Calm blue ambassador - abcallcenter

The solution could improve by adding a user-friendly GUI. We use third-party applications for log monitoring that are expensive and if Cisco could provide log monitoring as part of this solution it would be beneficial.

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DG
Sr.Manager at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

I think one switch should go beyond the 10 gig connectivity to 40 gigs.

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Network Administration Section Head at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

We need to rely on other devices to provide management features. Other solutions provide more features and Catalyst Switches is not user-friendly. Even the configuration is difficult for our new engineers. Cisco has some weaknesses. 

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OP
Electronic Engineer at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees

It would be good if Cisco Catalyst Switches could align maintenance with one version.

Also, the protocols for management should be better.

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DN
Senior Buyer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

The general price of the solution could be cheaper. 

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RA
Network Administrator

The solution could improve by allowing administrators to create scripts to help automate processes to make tasks easier.

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RD
Senior Network Administrator at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The solution could improve by having a video IP feature.

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LC
Head of Corporate Security at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees

When you compare it with HPE and Aruba, it should be fancier.

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Branch Manager / Team Leader at Bank Al Habib Limited

In an upcoming release, adding SD-WAN capabilities would be a big advantage for our company.

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NJ
Administrator at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees

Its price can be improved. It is currently expensive.

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VA
IT Operations Section Head at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The price could be better. For Cisco, there is no need for improvement except for the price. It's expensive.

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RS
Department Leader: Project Leadership Production Compact at a retailer with 10,001+ employees

The security of the solution could be improved, it is really important to us.

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Network Engineer at a security firm with 11-50 employees

The GUI should be addressed. I am not certain if they have this. 

The solution is kind of expensive when compared with other products. 

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ST
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The price can definitely be lower. I also think that a Combi Port should be added to the next release.

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AV
CEO at a consumer goods company with 1,001-5,000 employees

This product could be improved with cheaper pricing. 

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PT
IT PM at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees

They should be cheaper.

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Network Engineer at Saudi Customs

The price could be improved.

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IC
IT & Software Manager at a energy/utilities company with 51-200 employees

In the future, I would like to see better security for this product.

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SA
Head of Production Information Systems/MES at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Catalyst Switches could be more secure.

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Networking Engineer at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees

Prices could always be lower.

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IT Engineer at Continental

An area for improvement would be the documentation and training on configuring this product.

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WW
DevOps System Engineer at Monash University

The solution could improve security.

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CR
Director at REDCO

An area for improvement would be the high price.

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Learn what your peers think about Cisco Catalyst Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.