Cisco is releasing a new Catalyst switch and it will be called 3850. Some of
you might already have heard about it. I’ve seen some presentations about it
but now it’s offical. Lets look at some of the highlights of this new switch.
If you want the full info check out BRKCRS-2887 from Cisco Live in London.

  • Integrated wireless controller
  • Clean Air
  • Radio Resource Management (RRM)
  • 802.11ac ready
  • Stacking, Stackpower
  • Flexible Netflow
  • Granular QoS
  • Energywise

It terminates CAPWAP and DTLS in hardware. One switch/stack can support up to
50 APs and 2000 clients. Wireless capacity is 40G/switch. Supports IPv4 and
IPv6 client mobility. IP base license level is required to use wireless capabilities.

The stack supports 480Gbps and the fans and power supplies are field replacable.
It also has support for stackpower and linerate on all ports. The switch supports
SFP and SFP+ modules. Different network modules can be inserted with different
capabilities. WS-C3850-NM4-1G has 4x 1G ports (SFP). WS-C3850-NM-2-10G has 2x 10G
OR 4x 1G OR 2x 1G AND 1x 10G. WS-C3850-NM-4-10G is autosensing and supports all
combinations up to 4x 10G, only supported on WS-C3850-48.

Power modules are available at 350W, 715W and 1100W and are called PWR-C1-350WAC,
PWR-C1-715WAC, PWR-C1-1100WAC.

Here is a comparison to the 3750-X.


As you can see it’s a pretty good improvement compared to the 3750.

Some more features:

  • Cavium 6230 800 MHz 4-core CPU
  • IOS XE
  • 2GB flash, 4GB DRAM
  • 84Mpps per ASIC
  • Line rate for 64-byte packets
  • 8 queues per port (wired), 4 queues per port (AP ports)
  • Flexible Netflow


So one major thing here is that it is actually running IOS XE and it has an
IOS daemon supporting IOS. This enables support for the multicore CPU. It
allows for hosted applications like Wireshark. Here is a look under the hood
of the switch.


Finally the Catalyst 3850 uses MQC and not MLS QoS which is nice to see. This
means the QoS features will be more comparable to those of a router. A nice
features is that you can apply different QoS settings depending on the SSID.

All in all this looks like a very intesting switch for the enterprise that has
both wired and wireless needs.

Cisco releases new switch – Catalyst 3850
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8 thoughts on “Cisco releases new switch – Catalyst 3850

  • January 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Wow nice! Thanks for the share.

    Provide us with some other nice info from Cisco Live :). Btw do they have a CCIE lounge ?:D

    • January 31, 2013 at 12:44 am

      I’m not there in person 🙂 Just following it from home. The sessions are available to everyone. I’ll try to post some more stuff I find interesting like development in routing protocols.

    • January 31, 2013 at 12:45 am

      Ain’t that the truth. Sad thing about MLS QoS is that it’s trying to resemble MQC in a sad, kind of inverted way 🙂 Hopefully we won’t see it in new products.

  • Pingback:Internets of Interest for 5th February 2013 — EtherealMind

  • March 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I like your way with words, good information,
    thanks for setting up : D.

  • May 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    You might mention that there is not currently a 3850 model to replace the previous fiber aggregation switches. This is quite frustrating as its apparent Cisco is nearing abandoning the 3750 line. There is a large number of people who utilize the 3750 platform as a collapsed core at small offices.

    Cisco has the opportunity to provide a single switch for large companies to standardize on for small branch offices. The 3850 could be used as the closet access switch as well as the Layer3 Distribution switch with LAN, IPBASE, AND IPSERVICES being available software options on the switch.

    If this could be done, we can now scale a facility from a single Router and Switch all the way to full Block Level Design without having to rerack hardware and hence recable at the facilities MDF. I can do the entire upgrade remotely and just have a field analyst rack and cable the new switches as the site expands.

    Previously Cisco has always had a Fiber Aggregation Switch:

    3508G XL

    I read in a posting on the CCO Forums that at this point in time they have no incentive to do this as the customer hasn’t requested it. We need to inform the customer as much as possible so we can all tell our Reps and get a Feature request put in.

    Unfortunately, we’re probably going to move away from the stackable platform all together and just use the 4500 series as the Business Unit behind the 3750/3850 has obviously missed the boat here by being so insistent on not even considering this as an option until next year. In my opinion, the 4506 bundle with the two 48 Port PoE+ cards is still a better deal for even access switches when you are putting in more than 2 switches. We just prefer the stackables due to the ability to scale to 438 ports as opposed to the 4510R’s 384 port limit.

    Well.. touché Cisco… Touché.

  • April 22, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    When uplinking L2 2960 switches, is it recommended to split the uplink ports between ASICs or can they all be on one ASIC without affecting performance? Looks like the 3850 48 port switches have 2 ASICs.


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