Explanation of The Model of Cisco Switches Models

Recently, when I surf on some forums about this industry, I found some people are confused on the meaning of Cisco switch models as some of the Cisco switches models have a similar model. For example, the part number “Cisco 2960 WS-C2960-24PC-L” is only one letter difference from the “Cisco 2960 Switch WS-C2960-24PC-S”, but they have different functions. -L for the former means LAN Base Image while -S for the latter means Standard Image (Here refers to the types of Software Mirroring).

Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking systems for organizations of every size, its switches are widely used in network system of many enterprises, campus or data centers. Due to its great quantities of models, whether you are a newbie or skilled man in this industry, you may get confused on it sometimes. Today, this paper will teach you to identify the models of Cisco switches.

There are two brand of Cisco switches models – “Catalyst” and “Nexus”. Nexus is the new generation of products of Cisco switches models in order to better fit the cloud computing, virtualization, and consolidation of new generation data center. Each brand has several series according to different requirements. Overall, they can be divided into two types – Fixed-configuration switches & Modular switches. Excepted the limited upgrade of software, the fixed-configuration type of Cisco switches models can’t extend any more. Compared to the fixed-configuration switches, the Modular switches are much convenient to some certain extent. Users can select different numbers and sizes of interface panels, power supply module and the corresponding software according to their network requirements. When selecting the device, the long and complex models of the Cisco switches models always makes many people confused. Actually, there is a regularity of Cisco switches models that we will explain in detail in the following.

Explanation in Detail
In general, Cisco switches models are started with WS-. WS-C means the switch products and the products with WS-X begining refer to the engines or modules of switches. In addition, there is WS-G which means the Gigabit fiber optic transceiver modules of switches. Now, I explain the detailed meaning of each letter in the model through a few of examples.
eg. WS-C3560G-24TS-S

  • W — stands for IPSEC 40bit encryption;
  • S — means switchboard;
  • C — means the fixed-configuration switch;
  • 3650 — refers to the seires;
  • G — means all the interfaces are supported Gigabit or more. If there is no letter “G” here, it shows that the mainly port of this switch is 10/100M or 100M;
  • 24 — here means there are 24 ports of this switch;
  • T — stands for port of BaseT port; sometimes, there is letter “P” here which means BaseT port which supports PoE at the same time;
  • S — the S behind T means the extended interface is SFP type interface and uplink;

Note: There are also “D” or “C” or “W”repalcing “T” or “S” here, which respectively means 10Gigabit Ethernet XENPAK port and uplink, T/SPF and uplink, Integrated wireless LAN controller(50 support for up to 50 access points). Some combination meaning as following:
TT — common port and uplink port are both BaseT;
LC — common port is BaseT and partially support PoE(4 ports) uplink port are BaseT/SFP;
PC — common port is BaseT and all support PoE(24 ports) uplink port are BaseT/SFP;
TC –common port is BaseT and uplink port are all BaseT/SFP;
TS — common port is BaseT and uplink port are all SFP;
PS — common port is BaseT and all support the PoE, uplink port are all SFP;
FS — common port is 100BaseFX and uplink port are all SFP;
when there is only T, it means there is no uplink port in the switch.

  • S — the last letter of this model stands for Standard Image. When here is L, it stands for LAN Base Image and there is E that means Enhanced Image. Sometimes, we may see -S1U, -SF or -EF here, F stands for full power. 1U means the body height is the standard height ( about 4.4cm ).

If you have any suggestions or additions with this article, please catch in touch with us.

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