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How Cisco’s Multigigabit Technology can increase network speeds

May 16, 20183 mins
Cisco SystemsComputers and PeripheralsNetworking

Cisco's Catalyst Multigigabit switches with NBASE-T will help users get more than 1 gig of speed from their existing infrastructure -- without having to rip everything up and replace it.

Network Networking Ethernet
Credit: Martyn Williams/IDGNS

If you remember, in a previous Switch IT Up blog post I referenced Wireless AC and Wave 2 — some of the things that we could expect and some of the problems we could run up against. Things like having enough bandwidth to our APs to support a 6.8 gig connection.

So, what can be done about that?

Well, in 2015, Cisco introduced its Catalyst Multigigabit Technology, along with a new group of products, that address that issue and allow users to get more than just that 1 gig speed that most people have in their closets or in their infrastructure. How can users leverage that and still use their preexisting infrastructure rather than having to rip everything out and replace it?

Cisco’s Catalyst Multigigabit Technology is positioned to capitalize on something called NBASE-T. NBASE-T is a technology that signal boosts copper Ethernet. It will enable users to use stretches of hundred-meter cable of CAT5e and go beyond that 1 gig threshold into 2.5 gig, 5 gig, and so on. There are new speeds that we are going to be able to achieve. So, users can start at 100 megs but can go to 1 gig, 2.5 gig, 5 gig, and 10 gig. Most of those speeds are achievable over CAT5e. You still need your CAT6a for your 10 gig or better.

Cisco products that make use of NBASE-T

It is likely that Cisco has more products in mind, or in development, to take advantage of NBASE-T, but for now here is a look at some of the products currently available.

  • The Cisco Catalyst 9400 series includes modular access switches that are built for security, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud. They support up to 8 Tbps and form one of the building blocks for SD-Access.
  • The Cisco Catalyst 9300 series, which we discussed in an earlier Switch IT Up blog post.
  • The Catalyst 4500E now has a blade. There will be a 48-port blade, and of those 48 ports, 12 of them will be Mulitgigabit. So, it’s not a full blade offering at this point, but there will be ports on there that will allow this. And it is an autosensing technology, as well. So, whatever you have plugged into that port, it will jump to the speed that’s applicable.
  • There are now two new Catalyst 3850 series switches. A 48-port and a 24-port, which have 12 and 24 ports available for Multigigabit. Then there is a 3560c, a compact switch.
  • The Cisco 3650 series offers high-density, fixed-access, stackable enterprise network switches for converged wire and wireless networks for mobile devices.

An FAQ that has more information can be found here.


Frank Kobuszewski is vice president of the technology solutions group at CXtec. Being in the remarketing industry since 1988 and with the company since 1994has led him to serve on several technical committees including as a representative on the Anti-Counterfeit Committee for the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers (AscdiNatd).

Frank has participated on podcasts and has been quoted in several industry trade publications and papers, the most recent being Gartner’s August 2017 network transceivers research paper, entitled “How to Avoid the Biggest Rip-Off in Networking.”

Frank is an experienced speaker and has presented at technology conferences across North America on strategies for maximizing IT budgets and asset recovery best practices, including at CAUCUS (Association of Technology Acquisition Professionals) and the annual NY Tech Summit. Most recently, he spoke at the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit.

Frank received the “40 Under Forty” award from the Central New York Business Journal in 2000 for his business accomplishments and community involvement.

Follow Frank on Twitter and look for his posts on LinkedIn.