Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Reviewed

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The future of networking is here with the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series! As businesses continue to grow and evolve, so do their network needs. That’s where the Catalyst 9500 comes in – designed for speed, security, and scalability like never before. Say goodbye to slow connections and hello to lightning-fast communications that keep your business running at peak performance. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the features that make the Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series stand out from other enterprise switches on the market today. So let’s dive in!

What to look for when buying a networking switch?

When shopping for a networking switch, there are several factors to consider. Speed and port density are important for many users, but others may prioritize energy efficiency or security features. The best switch for your needs depends on how you intend to use it.

Switches come in a variety of speeds, from 10Mbps to 40Gbps. If you need a high-speed connection for your data center or other applications, make sure the switch you select can support it. Port density is also an important consideration, especially if you have a lot of devices that need to be connected. Some switches have as few as four ports, while others have 48 or more.

Energy efficiency is another key factor, especially if you’re running a large network. Some switches are designed to use less power, which can save money on your electric bill. Security is another important consideration, as some switches include features like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) that can help protect your network from attacks.

Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series: An Overview

The Catalyst 9500 Series, including the new Catalyst 9500X models, continues to shape the future with continued innovation that helps you reimagine connections, reinforce security, and redefine the experience for your hybrid workforce big and small.

Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series switches based on Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) are Cisco’s lead fixed enterprise core and aggregation switching platform and as part of the Catalyst 9000 family, are built to transform your network to handle a hybrid world where the workplace is anywhere, endpoints could be anything, and applications are hosted all over the place.

Cisco Catalyst 9500X switch based on Cisco Silicon One Q200 ASIC is purpose-built for the next generation core with a programmable pipeline (P4) and is the first network silicon to offer to switch capacity of up to 12.8 Tbps full duplex in the enterprise. The Q200 ASIC offers high performance along with full routing and switching capabilities without external memories. This is enabled by internal architecture that includes an on-chip High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). The Catalyst 9500X switch leverages a high-performance multiple core x86 CPU and is Cisco’s leading purpose-built fixed core and edge services enterprise switching platform, built for security, IoT, and cloud.

Cisco Catalyst 9500X switch is the industry’s first purpose-built fixed 10, 25, 50, 40, 100, 200, and 400 Gigabit Ethernet switch targeted for the enterprise campus. The Catalyst 9500X switch delivers unmatched forwarding scale (MAC addresses, IP unicast and multicast routes, MPLS labels) and deep buffering for enterprise applications. The Catalyst 9500X models include non-blocking 50 Gigabit Ethernet Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP-56) and non-blocking 400 Gigabit Ethernet Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable Double Density (QSFP-DD) ports.

Catalyst 9500 Series switches support advanced routing and infrastructure services (such as Multiprotocol Label Switching [MPLS] Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs, Multicast VPN [MVPN], and Network Address Translation [NAT]); Cisco Software-Defined Access capabilities (such as a host tracking database, cross-domain connectivity, and VPN Routing and Forwarding [VRF]-aware Locator/ID Separation Protocol [LISP]); and network system virtualization with Cisco StackWise Virtual technology that are critical for their placement in the campus core. The Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series also supports foundational high-availability capabilities such as patching, Cisco Nonstop Forwarding with Stateful Switchover (NSF/SSO), redundant platinum-rated power supplies, and fans, while supporting a wide array of optics. Catalyst 9500 Series switches provide an operational choice of Cisco DNA Center, or Meraki cloud monitoring.

Cisco Catalyst 9500: Features and Benefits

●      The Cisco Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) is ready for next-generation technologies with its programmable pipeline, micro engine capabilities, and template-based, configurable allocation of Layer 2 and Layer 3 forwarding, Access Control Lists (ACLs), and Quality-of-Service (QoS) entries

●      Up to 6.4 Tbps switching capacity with up to 2 Bpps of forwarding performance

●      Up to 36 MB of unified buffer per ASIC

●      Intel 2.4-GHz x86 CPU with up to 120 GB of USB 3.0 or up to 960 GB of SATA SSD storage for container-based application hosting

●      Up to 32 nonblocking 100 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP28 ports

●      Up to 32 nonblocking 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP+ ports

●      Up to 48 nonblocking 25 Gigabit Ethernet SFP28 ports

●      Up to 48 nonblocking 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ ports

●      Scalable Layer 3 routing (IPv4, IPv6, and multicast) tables and Layer 2 switching tables

●      Hardware support for Application Hosting (e.g. with Cisco ThousandEyes Enterprise Agent).

●      IEEE 802.1ba AV Bridging (AVB) built in to provide a better AV experience through improved time synchronization and QoS

●      Precision Time Protocol (PTP; IEEE 1588v2) provides accurate clock synchronization with sub-microsecond accuracy, making it suitable for the distribution and synchronization of time and frequency over the network

●      Support for both static and dynamic NAT and Port Address Translation (PAT)

●      Cisco StackWise Virtual technology, a network system virtualization technology that increases operational efficiency and boosts nonstop communications and scaled system bandwidth. Multichassis EtherChannel can be configured across StackWise-Virtual members for high resiliency

●      Platinum-rated (Greater than 90% efficient) AC and/or DC power supplies

●      Field-replaceable fan-tray units

●      Meraki Cloud monitoring option

Cisco Catalyst 9500X: Features and Benefits

●      The Cisco Silicon One Q200 Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) is purpose-built for the next-generation network core + edge switch. It is the first enterprise ASIC to offer speeds up to 12.8 Tbps full duplex with 8 Bpps of forwarding performance while supporting high-performance and full routing and switching capabilities without external memories.

●      The Cisco Silicon One Q200 ASIC is built on 7nm fabrication technology, capable of high performance while maintaining a low power footprint.

●      Up to 12.0 Tbps switching capacity with 8 Bpps forwarding rate

●      80MB of dedicated low-latency buffer, with up to 8GB of HBM buffer for deep packet buffers

●      Up to 28 native nonblocking 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP28 ports

●      Up to 60 native nonblocking 10/25/50 Gigabit Ethernet SFP56 ports

●      Up to 8 native nonblocking 40/100/200/400 Gigabit Ethernet QSFPDD ports

●      Intel 2.43-GHz x86 CPU with 8 cores and 32-GB of DDR4 memory

●      Up to 960 GB of SSD local storage for container-based application hosting (2x 10G KR ports)

●      Flexible routing (IPv4, IPv6, and multicast) tables, Layer 2 tables, ACL tables, and QoS tables.

●      ASIC tables for switching scale up to 256K MAC addresses and routing scale up to 2M routes.

●      Dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 and dynamic hardware forwarding table allocations, for ease of IPv4-to-IPv6 migration

●      Hardware support for Application Hosting

●      Hardware support for Precision Time Protocol (PTP, IEEE 1588v2)with accurate clock synchronization and sub-microsecond accuracy, suitable for distribution and synchronization of time and frequency.

●      Hardware support for line-rate 256-bit 802.1ae MACsec and WAN-MACsec data encryption.

●      Hardware support for line-rate 256-bit IKEv2 ESP IPsec data encryption (C9500X-60L4D only)


The Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series offers a wide range of powerful, reliable, and secure networking solutions to meet the needs of any organization. With their enhanced performance capabilities, innovative design features, and extensive scalability options, these switches provide an ideal platform for businesses that need advanced network switching capabilities. Investing in one or more of the models from this series can help improve your business’s overall efficiency and productivity while also providing a high level of security for all connected devices.