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Catalyst 9300X – Redefining Next Generation Access Networks

Raj Kumar Goli
Cisco Employee

Network requirements have drastically changed over the years. Multigigabit speeds have become a norm at the access layer to power Wifi-6/Wifi-6E deployments. Applications are transitioning to the cloud at a rapid pace and are no longer hosted at a central location. Secure multi-cloud connectivity is top of mind for many customers. Customers are looking for smarter, more sustainable buildings to ensure employee Health & Safety, increase Productivity, and obtain Building Analytics. With Hybrid work here to stay, high quality Audio/Video have become a key requirement to enterprises. A lot of these requirements are driving next generation architectures/designs and it is key that customers invest in a platform that meets these current demands at scale.

 RajKumarGoli_0-1646423049704.pngThe new Catalyst 9300X models, part of the Catalyst 9300 Series switches, have been purpose built to solve these challenges and help customers reimagine connections, reinforce security and redefine the IT experience. Catalyst 9300X switches are powered by Cisco’s Unified Access Data Plane 2.0sec (UADP 2.0sec) ASIC and run Modular IOS-XE software.  Catalyst 9300X models are an extension of the existing Catalyst 9300 switches with increased scale, bandwidth, and with new hardware capabilities. Catalyst 9300X models are available in both Fiber and Copper variants with flexible Uplink options of up to 100G speeds (using 9300X-only uplinks) and provide the industry’s densest MultiGigabit & UPOE+ ports.

Catalyst 9300X switches provide the Industry’s highest stack bandwidth at 1 Terabit. 9300X models use the same stack cables as existing 9300 models. Up to eight 9300X switches can be stacked together, and are backward compatible with, existing 9300 models (except 9300B and 9300L). These platforms enable flexible design options allowing for a mix of 10/25G Fiber and Copper models in the same stack.

RajKumarGoli_1-1646423049720.pngWith the IEEE 802.3BT (for up to 90W - Type 4) standard ratified, the PoE end point eco-system continues to grow rapidly. Vendors are leveraging higher power from a single switch port to daisy chain multiple end points. 9300X Multigigabit Copper models support Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE+) across all ports. With standalone 9300X, customers can now scale up to concurrent 36 UPOE+ or 48 UPOE ports. When stacked, 9300X copper models can scale up to 288 UPOE+ or 384 UPOE ports providing the Industry’s densest 90W and 60W options for customers. StackPower+ on 9300X models provides zero-footprint Redundant Power System (RPS) functionality by pooling power from all power supplies of up to four switches in a stack connected via Stack power cables.

Catalyst 9300X switches are equipped with an inbuilt crypto engine as part of the UADP 2.0sec ASIC that delivers up to 100G IPsec  encryption to securely connect from branch to Internet Edge. The IPsec implementation is based on open IKEv2 standards and supports all the major features to successfully interoperate with any major cloud provider


With this capability, Customers can not only connect their Lean Branches securely to multi-cloud environments but also offload different security features to Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) providers like Cisco Umbrella, Zscaler or any other 3rd party IKEv2 based providers. Secure tunnels can also be provisioned from 9300X to cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or Microsoft Azure to access Native Applications or workloads securely. 100G IPsec encryption with low latency assists in terminating high speed secure tunnels from a remote branch to another branch or a Campus or a Colo Location.

Catalyst 9300 switches provide Edge computing resources to host applications in docker containers. Applications like Thousand Eyes Enterprise Agents and Cisco DNA Spaces IoT Gateways hosted on Catalyst 9300X are redefining IT experience by providing end to end Application visibility and IoT end point visibility respectively. With 9300X, we have enhanced the application hosting infra by doubling the CPU and memory resources to accommodate applications that need larger CPU and memory footprint. 9300X models have 2 x 10G App Gigabit Ethernet connections to CPU compared to 1 x 1G connection on existing 9300 models. With enhanced App hosting framework, customers have the capability to run multiple applications on a single Catalyst 9300X switch. UADP 2.0sec is also equipped with a QAT engine (QuickAssist Technology) to assist applications that use open SSL with crypto acceleration.

The new Catalyst 9300X models are built to take you through the next generation requirements and future-proofing your networks with best-in-class speeds, Enhanced scale, Unique Compute Resources, densest UPOE+ connectivity, strongest security, and built-in resiliency features.