Archive for January, 2013

Cisco releases new switch – Catalyst 3850

January 30, 2013 8 comments

Cisco is releasing a new Catalyst switch and it will be called 3850. Some of
you might already have heard about it. I’ve seen some presentations about it
but now it’s offical. Lets look at some of the highlights of this new switch.
If you want the full info check out BRKCRS-2887 from Cisco Live in London.

  • Integrated wireless controller
  • Clean Air
  • Radio Resource Management (RRM)
  • 802.11ac ready
  • Stacking, Stackpower
  • Flexible Netflow
  • Granular QoS
  • Energywise

It terminates CAPWAP and DTLS in hardware. One switch/stack can support up to
50 APs and 2000 clients. Wireless capacity is 40G/switch. Supports IPv4 and
IPv6 client mobility. IP base license level is required to use wireless capabilities.

The stack supports 480Gbps and the fans and power supplies are field replacable.
It also has support for stackpower and linerate on all ports. The switch supports
SFP and SFP+ modules. Different network modules can be inserted with different
capabilities. WS-C3850-NM4-1G has 4x 1G ports (SFP). WS-C3850-NM-2-10G has 2x 10G
OR 4x 1G OR 2x 1G AND 1x 10G. WS-C3850-NM-4-10G is autosensing and supports all
combinations up to 4x 10G, only supported on WS-C3850-48.

Power modules are available at 350W, 715W and 1100W and are called PWR-C1-350WAC,
PWR-C1-715WAC, PWR-C1-1100WAC.

Here is a comparison to the 3750-X.


As you can see it’s a pretty good improvement compared to the 3750.

Some more features:

  • Cavium 6230 800 MHz 4-core CPU
  • IOS XE
  • 2GB flash, 4GB DRAM
  • 84Mpps per ASIC
  • Line rate for 64-byte packets
  • 8 queues per port (wired), 4 queues per port (AP ports)
  • Flexible Netflow


So one major thing here is that it is actually running IOS XE and it has an
IOS daemon supporting IOS. This enables support for the multicore CPU. It
allows for hosted applications like Wireshark. Here is a look under the hood
of the switch.


Finally the Catalyst 3850 uses MQC and not MLS QoS which is nice to see. This
means the QoS features will be more comparable to those of a router. A nice
features is that you can apply different QoS settings depending on the SSID.

All in all this looks like a very intesting switch for the enterprise that has
both wired and wireless needs.

Staying updated as a network engineer

January 17, 2013 1 comment

When you work in IT, you need to stay updated. It’s not one of those jobs where you get
an education and then you are fully learned and can stop reading. To stay updated you
need to keep an eye on what’s going on in the industry and read about new technologies.

Here are some of the things I do to stay updated:

Subscribe to mailing lists:

  • Subscribe to Cisco-NSP – It’s the best list for anything Cisco related
  • Subscribe to Juniper-NSP – I’m not on this but if you work with Juniper you should be
  • Subscribe to NANOG – It’s a list for North America but it’s still interesting even if you are in Europe. You will know about major issues in NA and other interesting things.

NANOG also has meetings where they do presentations. You can find a lot of interesting
things in many different areas like DNS, BGP and development of 100GE.

Cisco has several conferences every year called Cisco Live. You can access all the
presentations at no cost.
Although it is focused on Cisco products you can find out a lot what is going on in
the industry.

RIPE also has meetings where you can find information on BGP, IPv6, updates from different Internet exchanges and a lot more. It’s a really nice resource.

If you want to really get technical or get involved in developing existing or new protocols then
you should check out the IETF working groups. There are working groups for OSPF, ISIS, BFD, LISP etc. Generally you subscribe to a mailing list. You can just listen in if you want to hear what is coming or you can try to be active yourself.

Another resource that should not be neglected is Twitter. It is very noisy but you can find a lot of great people here.
You can find a lot of great network engineers and old timers like Scott Morris, Ivan Pepelnjak,
Brian Dennis etc. Being able to communicate with guys like this is great.

Besides this I also check some forums and blogs of course. I hope you found some new good
resources to stay updated as a network engineer.

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