Cisco's fixed configuration Catalyst Switch series includes the C2940 (small office), C2950, C2960, C2970, C3550, C3560, and C3750, along with earlier 2900/3500 series switches that retain some usefulness. Most, but not all, small Catalyst switches have 2 to 4 higher speed uplink ports that may use the same or different media. Commonly, the uplink ports are 1GIG or 10GIG, using varying media, although frequently SFPs. Size-wise, these switches are mostly 1U, with a few 1.5 and 2U models, and varying from about 6 to 80 ports. Most commonly, these switches are either 24 or 48 port, with 2-4 either shared or separate uplink ports. In general, higher model number switches will have more features, higher manageability, faster CPUs, and higher speed ethernet ports.
Models are designed to indicate the features of each switch, but Cisco tends to change these across model generations, so it's important to keep track of the naming conventions for each generation of switches. For example, in the C2950/C3550, as well as earlier 2900/3500 series switches, a "G" in the title meant the switch had gigabit uplink ports. But in all other models, a "G" indicates that ALL the ports are gigabit. So a WS-C3560G switch's ports are ALL gigabit, in comparison to a WS-C3560, on which only the uplink ports are gigabit. Continue reading »