Cisco says that freeing data switches from the confines of the enterprise data center/wiring closet is a billion-dollar opportunity. Targeted at a host of new endpoints in customer checkouts, kiosks, warehouses, conference rooms, classrooms, hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, gaming floors, labs, doctors' offices and call centers, Cisco C-Series Switches are described as the first switches to provide enterprise-class features, including security, Power over Ethernet+ (PoE+) pass-through capability, PCI compliance and zero-touch setup.
The switches, compact versions of the Catalyst 3560/3750-X Series and 2960-S Series (with the same functionality, OS and management capabilities), can be deployed up to 100 meters away from the wiring closet. They eliminate the need for power outlets, and substantially reduce cabling complexities and overall infrastructure requirements, according to Cisco.
There are five models in the new family: 2960-C PD/PSE with eight 10/100 ports, two with PoE and two GE PoE+ input ports; 2960-C PD with eight 10/100 ports and two GE PoE+ input ports; 2960-C GE with eight 10/100/1000 ports and two GE uplink ports; 3560-C GE PoE with eight 10/100/1000 ports, two w/PoE+ and two GE uplink ports; and 3560-C GE with eight 10/100/1000 ports and two GE uplink ports.
In addition to the form factor and fan-less aspects, Cisco's new switches deliver three important features: security, flexibility and simplicity, says analyst Andre Kindness of Forrester Research.
"Cisco is continuing to roll out their trustsec and Macsec solution, which is a clear differentiation in the industry and offers clients the same type of security that they have on the Wi-Fi side. By having the switches being powered by PoE or from a plug in the wall, they clearly understand that their customers' hands might be tied by electrical codes and provide customers options to work around those constraints."