Cisco targets higher demands of hybrid work with Wi-Fi 6e, Private 5G, and supercharged Catalyst 9000X line

The new Catalyst 9500X and 9600X Series switches also see Cisco Silicon One, which started out in Web scale and service provider environments, come into the Catalyst portfolio for the first time.

Cisco has announced a trio of major related announcements, all of which are designed to make it easier for organizations to support hybrid work models and the higher demands they impose on networking.  They have announced the industry’s first high-end Wi-Fi 6E access points, with the Catalyst 9136 and Meraki MR57. They unveiled Cisco’s private 5G managed service, delivered together with global service provider and integrator partners. The third major item was the new Catalyst 9000X switch models, a more powerful extension of Cisco’s Catalyst 9000 family that will provide the enhanced speed, bandwidth capacity, and scale needed to support 100G/400G network access in hybrid work environments.

“As we rethink the way our sites will work in a hybrid world, we need them to be automated and collaborative,” said Todd Nightingale, Executive Vice President & GM, Enterprise Networking & Cloud at Cisco. “Good enough will not do any more. Hybrid work must connect everyone and everything to drive greater resiliency and stability. That’s why network assurance and analytics are so important. So we are introducing the next generation of networking with Wi-Fi 6e and the availability of our Private 5G service. The expansion of our Catalyst line to 9000X will also include industrial networking switches, to give industry sites the same agility and manageability advantages as any other site.”

“Wi-Fi 6e represents the next big step in wireless, unlocking more capacity with higher performance and reliability,” said Chris Stori, Senior Vice President & GM, Networking Experiences at Cisco. “Today we are announcing the industry’s first high end Wi-Fi 6e access points with the Cisco Catalyst 9136 and the Meraki  MR57.” Both employ a flexible tri-band radio that facilitates any modes, and which will allow optimization as 6e clients become more prevalent.”

Also new is Cisco’s Private 5G managed service, which offers a wireless experience that is simple to start, intuitive to operate, and trusted for digital transitions to hybrid work and IoT.

“This Private 5G solution is delivered through communication providers and select integrator partners, to allow customers to address mobile connectivity cases,” Stori said. “This is delivered as a service and can be white labelled.”

The final new solution offering announced was the new Catalyst 9000X switches, the 9500X and 9600X, which extend the Catalyst 9000 family.  With 100Gbps access and 400Gbps core switching, their enhanced speed, bandwidth capacity, and scale needed to support 100G/400G network access for transitions facilitate hybrid work in the campus and extend the branch with zero trust security and power efficiency.

“The Catalyst 9000X switches build on the success of the Catalyst 9000 switches,” Stori said. “These are premium models with increased scale and capacity to meet new demands that come with hybrid work, which include double the bandwidth and stacking capacity of the Catalyst 9000s.”

These new switches also mark the introduction of Cisco Silicon One, which was originally deployed in web scale and service provider networks, to the Catalyst Switching Portfolio The new Catalyst 9500X and 9600X Series switches are powered by the Cisco Silicon One Q200.

“Each 400Gbps port in the Catalyst 9500X and 9600X Series can run 80,000 high definition video streams, which is more than the entire library of Netflix,” Stori indicated.

“This next generation of networking we are rolling delivers the most powerful platforms to unlock the full value of the Cisco networking portfolio,” Nightingale concluded. “They don’t just drive components, but allow visibility and management of the whole platform as a single unit. By radically simplifying access we can transform the industry, and make networking a tool for change for every organization.”