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Cisco compresses Catalyst switches to compact size

Fanless fun for the whole family (if the supply chain functions)

Cisco has shrunk its Catalyst 9200 switches into three compact models.

Switchzilla reckons they exercise the newfound freedom to undertake remote work by letting organizations squeeze a proper enterprise switch into a wider variety of smaller and more exotic places.

The smallest of the models measures 4.4cm x 26.9cm x 16.5cm, and the other two add a little depth to emerge at 4.4cm x 26.9cm x 24.4cm. All are fanless, leading Cisco to suggest you bolt them under desks, nail them to walls, or even slide one into a home office.

As the table below shows, the devices have sufficient grunt to handle those scenarios.

Model Downlinks Uplinks Power supply
C9200CX-12T-2X2G 12 ports data 2x 1G copper, 1x 1G CU PD 802.3bt Class 8, 2x 10G SFP+ fixed uplinks 80W External Power Adapter
C9200CX-12P-2X2G 12 ports full PoE+ 2x 1G copper, 2x 10G SFP+ fixed uplinks 310W internal
C9200CX-8P-2X2G 8 ports PoE+ 2x 1G copper, 2x 10G SFP+ fixed uplinks 310W internal

Cisco's schtick for the small switches is that work from home is great, but better when conducted on a platform that's consistent with the rest of an enterprise network and can be centrally managed. The new devices are therefore a call for those who already run Catalysts in the network core to buy more.

Whether it's possible to do so in a timely fashion is another matter.

A June 10 letter [PDF] from Cisco to its customers and partners warned that the company is still struggling to find some supplies thanks to "Material shortages across the semiconductor industry as well as logistics challenges."

The document warns of "extended lead times across most product families" adding that "lead-times are normally 2–4 weeks, but now have been extended as long as 18–40 weeks."

Cisco's trying its best to sort it out but admits "Fluctuations in material supply as well as supply visibility can cause estimated ship dates to be recommitted." The letter also states that Cisco is doing three things to speed up shipments:

  • Extending order coverage with suppliers for 52 weeks and increasing inventory investments;
  • Qualifying alternate components where technically possible and where there is alternative supply;
  • Partnering with suppliers for priority on materials and capacity, including in some cases paying expedite fees and accelerated freight costs.

Cisco is doubtless also passing on the cost of those fees and freight charges to customers. The Register hopes your Cisco bill leaves you enough cash to buy some new compact switches. If it doesn't, software to improve security of existing work from home hardware should be downloaded without delay. ®

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