Modular Options for Cisco Catalyst 9000 Switches

Many switches, including Cisco’s line of Catalyst switches, offer options for fixed or modular configurations.

Fixed switches come with pre-selected uplink ports, and you can’t swap them out if you need to upgrade your bandwidth capabilities. 

modular options Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches For example, a Cisco Catalyst C9200L-24T-4G is a fixed switch (denoted by the “L” in the SKU) with 24 ports and four 1 gigabit uplinks. 

Modular switches allow you to configure the switch with the uplink ports you believe are the best fit for your IT environment. If you outgrow the amount of bandwidth you initially configured the switch with, you can purchase new or additional uplink ports. 

Each series (9200, 9300, 9400, 9500, and 9600) has modular options specific to that switch’s capacity. This is where the ability to customize your switch really kicks in. 

However, if you’re like many of The KR Group’s customers, you probably feel overwhelmed trying to understand all of the modularity options, what they mean, and what’s right for your IT environment. 

To help simplify all of this information, we’re going to break down your options into the following categories: 

  1. The four modules for Catalyst 9200 switches
  2. The eight modules for Catalyst 9300 switches
  3. Line cards for Catalyst 9400 switches 
  4. The eight modules for Catalyst 9500 switches
  5. Line cards for Catalyst 9600 line cards

This article overviews the different module options for each of the above lines of switches. However, it does not cover every capability and specification of the solutions. 

For that information, you’ll want to check out Cisco’s Catalyst 9000 datasheets

Modules for Catalyst 9200 Switches

modular options Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches The Catalyst 9200 switch series is designed for simple branches and mid-market deployments. 

It’s the entry point into the Catalyst family and offers simplicity, security, and availability for IT environments that need something smaller than the other Catalyst 9000 switches. 

If this switch sounds like it may be right for your organization and you decide to explore its modular options, these are your choices:

  • Two 25 gigabit uplink ports
  • Two 40 gigabit uplink ports
  • Four 1 gigabit uplink ports
  • Four uplink ports capable of 1 gigabit or 10 gigabits

Modules for Catalyst 9300 Switches

The Catalyst 9300 switches are Cisco’s most sought-after solution in the series.

They’re a good option if you’re looking for something with more capacity than a Catalyst 9200 switch, and you’ll get an extra degree of security, resilience, and programmability. 

There are also more module options for the Catalyst 9300 switches, which include: 

  • Four 1 gigabit uplink ports
  • Four multigigabit uplink ports
  • Eight 10 gigabit uplink ports
  • Two 40-gigabit uplink ports
  • Two 25-gigabit uplink ports
  • Eight 10-gigabit uplink ports
  • Eight uplink ports capable of 1 gigabit, 10 gigabits, or 25 gigabits of throughput
  • Two uplink ports capable of 40 gigabits or 100 gigabits of throughput

Line Cards for Catalyst 9400 Switches

modular options Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches Unlike the Catalyst 9200 and 9300 switches, the Catalyst 9400 series is a chassis. 

If you’re not familiar with the term, it is housing for mounting the circuit components of switches (and other network devices). It provides power and a high-speed backplane while protecting the internal equipment from dust and moisture. 

With a chassis switch, you’ll get the supervisor engine but need to purchase line cards (printed circuit boards that provide a transmitting/receiving port for a LAN or WAN). Without at least one line card, the switch doesn’t do anything. 

So what are your line card options within the Catalyst 9400 switch series?

  • The Catalyst 9400-LC-48HN line card has 48 ports capable of 5 Gbps multigigabit connections
  • The C9400-LC-48H, C9400-LC-48U, C9400-LC-48T, C9400-LC-48P line cards have 48 ports capable of 10, 100, or 1000 gigabit connections.
  • The C94000-LC-48UX line card has 48 ports. Twenty-four of those ports are capable of multigigabit 100/1000 Mbps or 1.5/5 Gbps connections, and the other 24 ports are for 10/100/1000 connections.
  • The C9400-LC-24XS line card has 24 ports of 10 GE or 1 GE.
  • The C9400-LC-24S line card has 24 ports of 1 GE.
  • The C9400-LC-48S line card has 48 ports of 1 GE.

Port Density for Catalyst 9500 Switches

modular options Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches The Catalyst 9500 switches are designed differently from the other devices in the family of switches. 

You’ll want to implement a Catalyst 9500 switch if you need 100 gigabits all across your network. This is often the case for business-critical branch and campus deployments. 

Instead of purchasing accompanying modules, you’ll determine your ideal switch based on the bandwidth density your network needs. 

There are eight different options in this series, but only two solutions (Catalyst C9500-40X and C9500-16X) have modular options. The available network modules for both of the 9500 series are: 

  • Eight ports with 1 gigabit or 10 gigabits of throughput
  • Two ports with 50 gigabits of throughput

Additionally, you can customize any Catalyst 9500 switch further by adding breakout cables that split one port into 10. For example, if you put a breakout cable on each of the eight ports with 10 gigabits of throughput, you can configure the switch to have 80 1-gigabit ports. 

Line Cards for 9600 Switches

Like the Catalyst 9400 switches, the devices in the 9600 series are chassis with line cards. Cisco markets them as purpose-built machines for resiliency at scale with the industry’s most comprehensive security, which allows your business to grow at the lowest total operational cost.

Here are the options of line cards available for Catalyst 9600 switches:

  • Catalyst 9600 Series 24-Port 40GE/12-Port 100GE Line Card (C9600-LC-24C) is capable of 2.4 Tbps per slot.
  • Catalyst 9600 Series 48-Port 25GE/10GE/1GE line card (C9600-LC-48YL) is capable of 2.4 Tbps per slot.
  • Catalyst 9600 Series 48-Port 1GE Line Card (C9600-LC-48S) is capable of 96 Gbps per slot.
  • Catalyst 9600 48-port RJ45 Copper – 10GE/5GE/2.5GE/1GE/100Mbps/10Mbps Line Card (C9600-LC-48TX) is capable of 960 Gbps per slot.

Finding The Right Switch and Module

modular options Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches Even in a condensed form, you just read through a large portion of specifications and general information, so we’ll try to narrow it down even more. 

First, you’ll need to determine what series from the Catalyst 9000 switch family is right for your IT environment. 

The Catalyst 9200 series is ideal for small or midmarket organizations looking for a simple switch deployment without sacrificing security. And, the Catalyst 9300 series is well-suited for slightly larger organizations. 

The Catalyst 9400 and 9600 series of switches are chassis, and you’ll want to use them in enterprise-level switch deployments. Specifically, the Catalyst 9400 switches are meant for campus access and distribution, and the Catalyst 9600 switches are built for campus core deployments. 

Finally, the Catalyst 9500 series of switches provide 100-gigabit connections across the network and is a good option for business-critical branch and campus deployment. 

From there, you can look at the available modules or line cards for your chosen switch and find which one gives you enough bandwidth plus some room for growth. 

However, you don’t have to figure this out on your own. Cisco partners, such as The KR Group, are experts in the different options and what they do. 

To ensure you get the appropriate switch and module(s), let us know what you’re looking for, and we can pinpoint the solution right for you. To get started, sign up for a 30-minute call with one of our technology experts.  

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