Welcome to the Cisco Networking Professionals Ask the Expert conversation. This is an opportunity to discuss with Cisco experts Mei Huang and Luna Lum about the Catalyst Express 500 Series which are designed from the ground up for customers with up to 250 employees.
Remember to use the rating system to let Mei and Luna know if you have received an adequate response.
Mei and Luna might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Our moderators will post many of the unanswered questions in other discussion forums shortly after the event. This event lasts through November 4, 2005. Visit this forum often to view responses to your questions and the questions of other community members.
How do the Catalyst 500 series equate to the 2950/3550/3750 series switches in capabilities, backplane speed and thruput?
The Catalyst Express 500 is tailored for growing organizations with up to 250 employees. Management and configuration is done solely through GUI. This is a key differentiation to the Catalyst 2950/3550/3750 Series switches, which are ideal for entry-level enterprise to enterprise branch offices.
The Catalyst Express 500 is wire-speed. For more details on its performance numbers, please refer to the following link: http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2005/eKits/cisco_catalyst_express_500_series_switches.pdf
I want to know if i can configure Span Ports in the 500 series switches and if i can use the CLI to configure those switches.
You can configure SPAN on the Catalyst Express 500 through Cisco Network Assistant 3.0 using the Diagnostics Smartports Port Role. From the Smartports window, simply select the Port Role and the ports for SPAN. Download Cisco Network Assistant 3.0 for free at http://www.cisco.com/go/cna.
On the Catalyst 500 Express data sheet it says: "The switch is initialized through the GUI device manager-no console cable or terminal emulation application is needed".
Does this mean there is no console port or CLI capability, and all management will take place in the webbased GUI?
Correct. There is no console port available on the Catalyst Express 500 (hence no CLI nor telnet capabilities). The switch can only be managed and configured via GUI with either Device Manager (embedded in the switch) or through Cisco Network Assistant 3.0 application (available free at http://www.cisco.com/go/cna)
The forwarding rates (backplane speeds) are indicated in the datasheet below.
You can troubleshoot CE500 via Troubleshooting Advisor in Device Manager or Cisco Network Assistant. Both will run a test and tell you what problems you have on the network and how to fix the problems
With no access to the GUI will it be possible to automate configuration backups?
A lot of my clients use Kiwi Cattools to backup the configuration of their equipment, this tool uses telnet/ssh to login to the equipment and capture the configuration.
You can save the configuration via Cisco Network Assistant only. The Catalyst Express 500 does not support telnet or SSH.
I am like a lot of other people here, Although the Catalyst express 500 are designed for small customers, the pricing is such that it fits in with our enterprise. We are currently deploying IP security cameras and require standards based PoE switches, so I see the CE500s as the ideal solution. My question are how do I backup the config? do the switches support SNMP and syslog? can NTP or SNTP be configured?
The configuration can be saved on your PC with Cisco Network Assistant, downloadable at no cost from Cisco website. The Catalyst Express 500 supports SNMP for monitoring primarily--please refer to the datasheet for the list of MIBs supported.
If there is no console what are the procedures for password recovery or failed software updates? With all Cisco IOS & CatOS products it has been possible to easily recover things should it all go wrong during an upgrade or a badly entered password.
I was curious about this as well, the procedure appears to be basically shold down the mode button (although its not the mode button, its named differently), restart the switch and it will erase all configured usernames/passwords. Then you just have to re-add them.
The CE500 docs are currently on cisco.com/univercd which is where I found the above.
What about failed software upgrades?
I know it is rare but in the market these switches are aimed at the chances are you won't be installing them in a rack covered with a UPS. Its likely its a cabinet in the corner of an office where the only thing covered by a UPS is the HP ML330......
Has sections on password recovery, failed upgrades, etc.
The Cisco Catalyst Express 500 Series comes with Limited Lifetime Hardware Warranty. More details are available at http://www.cisco.com/go/warranty
Can someone tell me what is the difference between Device Manager and Cisco Network Assistant?
Device Manager is an embedded GUI tool that allows you to configure one switch at a time. This tool is embedded in the switch itself. Simply pull up a browser and type in the IP address of the device to access the Device Manager
Cisco Network Assistant on the other hand is a downloadable application that allows you to configure not only Cisco switches, but also routers, access points, PIX firewalls, and IP phones. This is available for free at www.cisco.com/go/cna
what is the initial IP address of a CE500 switch?
Reading the user guide I cannot see any reference, it says about changing the IP address from device manager, but you cannot connect to it in the first place if it does not have one!
Please refer to the setup procedure in the Getting Started Guide, you will notice that there is no need to type an IP address into the switch.
After connecting to the switch as indicated in the Getting Started Guide, simply pull up your browser and type in any website URL such as cisco.com (make sure wireless is disabled) and you will be redirected to the Express Setup page to type in the switches IP address, subnet mask, gateway, etc.
There are three levels of network security settings of Low, Medium, or High that can be applied to all the Catalyst Express 500 devices in the Cisco Network Assistant community.
At the Low level, Network Assistant uses broadcast storm control and port security features
The Medium level adds a security feature called MAC authentication.
The High level configures 802.1x on Catalyst Express 500 switches.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any further details and I'd be happy to help out.
I noticed that the CE500 only supports 32 VLANs. Does it also support VLAN trunking? If so, will I be able to use the trunking to integrate with my existing VLAN infrastructure (VLANs 2-999)? Thank you.
VLAN trunking is supported. Configuration of the Catalyst Express 500 devices is applied via Smartports port roles. VLAN trunking is specifically available on switch or router roles. The CE500 support VLAN IDs 2-1k, so it should be fine with your existing infrastructure