Your business is growing, and that means more customers, more opportunities, and more attention on your company. The only problem: Your network was built for a smaller operation. As you add more devices, applications, and users, your IT environment will become increasingly difficult and expensive to manage. Even worse, as the network becomes more complex and overloaded, your users are likely to see sluggish performance and even outages.
With customers and employees depending on your business more than ever before, a slow or unreliable network is not an option. You need an IT backbone that provides excellent performance, nonstop availability, and advanced security. The ideal network will be easy to manage, support advanced features that will grow with your company, and be at a price that’s affordable.
Cisco 550X Series Stackable Managed Switches
The Cisco® 550X Series (Figure 1) are the next-generation stackable managed Ethernet switches that provide the advanced capabilities and superior performance you need to support a more demanding network environment at an affordable price. These switches incorporate fan and power hardware redundancy, increasing overall network availability. The SG550X and SF550X models provide 24 or 48 ports of Gigabit Ethernet and Fast Ethernet connectivity with 10 Gigabit uplinks. The SG550XG models provide 16, 24, or 48 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet with both copper and fiber connection options, providing a solid foundation for your current business applications, as well as those you are planning for the future. At the same time, these switches are easy to deploy and manage, without a large IT staff.
Figure 1. Cisco 550X Series Stackable Managed Switches
Cisco 550X Series switches are designed to protect your technology investment as your business grows. Unlike switches that claim to be stackable but have elements that are administered and troubleshot separately, the Cisco 550X Series provides true stacking capability, allowing you to configure, manage, and troubleshoot multiple physical switches as a single device and more easily expand your network.
A true stack delivers a unified data and control plane, in addition to a management plane, providing flexibility, scalability, and ease of use because the stack of units operate as a single entity constituting all the ports of the stack members. The switches also protect your technology investment with an enhanced warranty, dedicated technical support, and the ability to upgrade equipment in the future and receive credit for your Cisco 550X Series switch. Overall, the Cisco 550X Series provides the ideal technology foundation for a growing business.
Features and Benefits
Cisco 550X Series switches provide the advanced feature set that growing businesses require and that high-bandwidth applications and technologies demand. These switches can improve the availability of your critical applications, protect your business information, and optimize your network bandwidth to more effectively deliver information and support applications. The switches provide the following benefits.
High-Performance 10 Gigabit Ethernet
Cisco 550X Series switches break the barrier of 10 Gigabit Ethernet adoption by providing affordable and flexible configurations customized for the demanding network requirements of small and medium businesses.
With 10G copper ports on SG550XG switches, you can easily and cost-effectively enable 10G connections to servers and network storage devices with standard RJ45 Ethernet cable. You can also connect your SG550X access switches to the SG550XG aggregation with 10G SFP+ fiber, building a high-performance backbone to speed up the overall operation of your network.
High Reliability and Resiliency
In a growing business in which availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is critical, you need to assure that employees and customers can always access the data and resources whenever they need. In these environments, stackable switches can play an important role in eliminating downtime and improving network resiliency. For example, if a switch within a Cisco 550X Series stack fails, another switch immediately takes over, keeping your network up and running. You can also replace individual devices in the stack without taking your network offline or affecting employee productivity.
The Cisco 550X Series is designed to deliver hardware redundancy at the lowest incremental cost. Power redundancy is delivered with the Cisco RPS2300 external RPS system. If power to the switch is lost (through loss of AC power or power supply failure), the switch will automatically, and instantaneously, obtain its power from the RPS. This switchover occurs so quickly that there is no loss in traffic or reboot of the device. A Cisco RPS2300 system can be connected to up to six 550X Series switches to provide redundancy. Cooling fan redundancy is delivered through preinstalled N+1 configuration. A switch can fully support all its capabilities for the life of the product with only N fans. If one of the fans fails, the spare fan automatically takes over, without causing any downtime.
The Cisco 550X Series provides an additional layer of resiliency with support for the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP). VRRP lets you extend the same resiliency that stacking provides for individual switches to complete network domains. By running VRRP between two stacks, you can instantly cut over from one stack to another in the event of a problem and continue operating even after a failure.
The Cisco 550X Series also supports dual images, allowing you to perform software upgrades without having to take the network offline or worry about the network going down during the upgrade.
Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) and 60W PoE
Cisco 550X Series switches support the Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) standard (IEEE 802.3at), providing up to 30 watts per port. The switches also support 60W PoE on selected ports to power compact switches, high-power wireless access points, or connected lighting. The power is managed in a smart fashion such that only the amount of power the endpoint needs is delivered to it and not wasted. As a result, the switches can support devices that require more power, such as 802.11ac wireless access points, video-based IP phones, surveillance cameras, and more.
PoE capabilities simplify the deployment of advanced technologies by allowing you to connect and power network endpoints over a single Ethernet cable, without having to install separate power supplies. Cisco 550X Series switches are also fully backward compatible with IEEE 802.11af PoE and Cisco legacy PoE protocols.
The Cisco 550X Series integrates a variety of power-saving features across all models, providing the industry’s most extensive energy-efficient switching portfolio. These switches are designed to conserve energy by optimizing power use, which helps protects the environment and reduce your energy costs. They provide an eco-friendly network solution without compromising performance. Cisco 550X Series switches feature:
- Support for the Energy Efficient Ethernet (IEEE 802.3az) standard, which reduces energy consumption by monitoring the amount of traffic on an active link and putting the link into a sleep state during quiet periods
- The latest application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), which use low-power 28- or 40-nanometer technology and low-power, high-performance ARM CPUs
- Automatic power shutoff on ports when a link is down
- LEDs that can be turned off to save power
- Embedded intelligence to adjust signal strength based on the length of the connecting cable
- Smart fans in which fan speed is automatically adjusted according to switch temperature to decrease acoustic noise and save power
Some switches claim to support stacking but in practice support only “clustering,” meaning that each switch must still be managed and configured individually. Cisco 550X Series switches provide true stacking capability, allowing you to configure, manage, and troubleshoot all switches in a stack as a single unit, with a single IP address for up to a maximum of 400 Ethernet ports.
A true stack delivers a unified data and control plane, in addition to management plane, providing flexibility, scalability, and ease of use because the stack of units operates as a single entity constituting all the ports of the stack members. This capability can radically reduce complexity in a growing network environment while improving the resiliency and availability of network applications. True stacking also provides other cost savings and administrative benefits through features such as cross-stack QoS, VLANs, LAGs, and port mirroring, which clustered switches cannot support.
Using standard 10G fiber or copper connections, the Cisco 550X Series supports both local and horizontal stacking deployments and the flexibility of ring or chain topology. The switches also have the capability to use link aggregation port as the stacking port, providing even higher stacking bandwidth for demanding applications.
Easy Deployment and Use
Cisco 550X Series switches are designed to be easy to use and manage by small and medium businesses, commercial customers, or the partners that serve them. Features include:
- Simple and advanced mode graphic user interfaces reduce the time required to deploy, troubleshoot, and manage the network and allow you to support sophisticated capabilities without increasing IT head count.
- Configuration wizards simplify the most common configuration tasks and provide the ultimate tool for anyone to easily set up and manage the network.
- The switches also support Textview, a full command-line interface (CLI) option for customers or partners that prefer it.
- The USB port on the switch enables easy image and configuration transfer for faster deployment or upgrade.
- Using Auto Smart ports intelligence, the switch can detect a network device connected to any port and automatically configure the optimal security, quality of service (QoS), and availability on that port.
- Cisco Discovery Protocol discovers Cisco devices and allows devices to share critical configuration information, simplifying network setup and integration.
- Support for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) allows you to set up and manage your switches and other Cisco devices remotely from a network management station, improving IT workflow and mass configurations.
- The Cisco FindIT utility, which works through a simple toolbar on the user’s web browser, discovers Cisco devices in the network and displays basic information, such as serial numbers and IP addresses, to aid in configuration and deployment.
Simplified IT Operation
Cisco 550X Series switches help optimize your IT operations with built-in features that simplify day-to-day network operation:
- True stacking allows you to configure, manage, and troubleshoot multiple physical switches as a single entity.
- Cisco switches use common chipsets/software across all switching portfolios, so all Cisco switches within a series support the same feature set, making it easier to manage and support all switches across the network.
Cisco 550X Series switches provide the advanced security features you need to protect your business data and keep unauthorized users off the network:
- Embedded Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protects management data traveling to and from the switch.
- Extensive access control lists (ACLs) restrict sensitive portions of the network to keep out unauthorized users and guard against network attacks.
- Guest VLANs let you provide Internet connectivity to nonemployee users while isolating critical business services from guest traffic.
- Support for advanced network security applications such as IEEE 802.1X port security tightly limits access to specific segments of your network. Web-based authentication provides a consistent interface to authenticate all types of host devices and operating systems, without the complexity of deploying IEEE 802.1X clients on each endpoint.
- Advanced defense mechanisms, including dynamic Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) inspection, IP Source Guard, and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) snooping, detect and block deliberate network attacks. Combinations of these protocols are also referred to as IP-MAC port binding (IPMB).
- IPv6 First Hop Security extends the advanced threat protection to IPv6. This comprehensive security suite includes ND inspection, RA guard, DHCPv6 guard, and neighbor binding integrity check, providing unparalleled protection against a vast range of address spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks on IPv6 networks.
- Time-based ACLs and port operation restrict access to the network during predesignated times, such as business hours.
- Uniform MAC address-based security can be applied automatically to mobile users as they roam between wireless access points.
- Secure Core Technology (SCT) helps ensure that the switch is able to process management traffic in the face of a denial-of-service (DoS) attack.
- Private VLAN provides Layer 2 isolation between devices on the same VLAN.
- Storm control can be applied to broadcast, multicast, and unknown unicast traffic.
- Protection of management sessions is possible using RADIUS, TACACS+, and local database authentication as well as secure management sessions over SSL, SSH, and SNMPv3.
- DoS attack prevention maximizes network uptime in the presence of an attack.
Advanced Layer 3 Traffic Management
The Cisco 550X Series enables a more advanced set of traffic management capabilities to help growing businesses organize their networks more effectively and efficiently. For example, the switches provide static Layer 3 routing, allowing you to segment your network into workgroups and communicate across VLANs without degrading application performance.
With these capabilities, you can boost the efficiency of your network by offloading internal traffic-handling tasks from your router and allowing it to manage primarily external traffic and security.
Additionally, Cisco 550X series provide dynamic Layer 3 routing features. With these capabilities, you can minimize the need to manually configure routing devices and simplify the ongoing operation of the network.
As the IP address scheme evolves to accommodate a growing number of network devices, the Cisco 550X Series can support the transition to the next generation of networking and operating systems. These switches continue to support previous-generation IPv4, allowing you to evolve to the new IPv6 standard at your own pace and helping ensure that your current network will continue to support your business applications in the future. Cisco 550X Series switches have successfully completed rigorous IPv6 testing and have received the USGv6 and IPv6 Gold certification.
Networkwide Automatic Voice Deployment
Using a combination of Cisco Discovery Protocol, LLDP-MED, Auto Smart ports, and Voice Services Discovery Protocol (VSDP, a unique Cisco protocol), customers can deploy an end-to-end voice network dynamically. The switches in the network automatically converge around a single voice VLAN and QoS parameters and then propagate them out to the phones on the ports where they are discovered. For example, automated voice VLAN capabilities let you plug any IP phone (including third-party phones) into your IP telephony network and receive an immediate dial tone. The switch automatically configures the device with the right VLAN and QoS parameters to prioritize voice traffic.
Peace of Mind and Investment Protection
Cisco 550X Series switches offer the reliable performance and peace of mind you expect from a Cisco switch. When you invest in the Cisco 550X Series, you gain the benefits of:
- Limited lifetime warranty with next-business-day (NBD) advance replacement (where available; otherwise same-day ship)
- A solution that has been rigorously tested to help ensure optimal network uptime to keep employees connected to primary resources and productive
- A solution designed and tested to easily and fully integrate with other Cisco voice, unified communications, security, and networking products as part of a comprehensive technology platform for your business
Cisco Limited Lifetime Hardware Warranty
Cisco 550X Series switches offer a limited lifetime hardware warranty with NBD advance replacement (where available; otherwise same-day ship) and a limited lifetime warranty for fans and power supplies.
In addition, Cisco offers telephone technical support at no charge for the first 12 months following the date of purchase and software application updates for bug fixes for the warranty term.
World-Class Service and Support
Your time is valuable, especially when you have a problem affecting your business. Cisco 550X Series switches are backed by Cisco Small Business Support Service and Cisco Smart Net Total Care, which provide affordable peace-of-mind coverage. These subscription-based services help you protect your investment and derive maximum value from Cisco SMB products. Delivered by Cisco and backed by your trusted partner, Cisco Small Business Support Service includes software updates and access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center, and it extends technical service to three years. Cisco Smart Net Total Care offers a consistent service platform for customers with networks that combine traditional Cisco products with Cisco Small Business products. It also provides global coverage and flexibility of contract terms as well as multiple advance hardware replacement options.
Cisco SMB products are supported by professionals in the Cisco Support Center, a dedicated resource for small business customers and networks, with locations worldwide that are specifically trained to understand your needs. You also have access to extensive technical and product information through the Cisco Support Community, an online forum that enables you to collaborate with your peers and reach Cisco technical experts for support information.