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Cisco launches industrial Catalyst switch

The IE9300 uses Cisco's Cyber Vision to improve visibility and security. The latest hardware bolsters Cisco's portfolio of Catalyst hardware for industrial use.

Cisco has introduced the Catalyst IE9300 Ruggedized Series Switch optimized for industrial environments such as electrical substations or oil pipelines.

The latest addition to Cisco's Catalyst line improves the company's existing industrial switching products by incorporating Cisco Cyber Vision to offer heightened network visibility.

The IE9300 has a sensor to send data to the Cyber Vision software for inventorying and tracking connected IoT devices, including those too old to respond to modern device identity standards. Cyber Vision also follows software versions on the devices.

Cyber Vision's security components include monitoring device communication patterns and detecting anomalies and imminent threats.

The new switch offers enterprise-grade security, automation and performance, while also being ruggedized to continue functioning at capacity through temperature fluctuations, electromagnetic noise and dusty conditions, said Vikas Butaney, vice president of Cisco IoT. Unlike previous industrial switches from Cisco, the Catalyst IE9300 is also stackable; up to eight can be stacked and managed as one.

Like the rest of the Catalyst line, the IE9300 has the IOS-XE operating system to make management easier for IT workers familiar with Catalyst switches in branch environments. The IE9300 offers zero-trust security, often found in office environments but less widely available in industrial ones.

The IE9300 can be managed through the Cisco DNA Center console and secured using the company's Identity Services Engine. The hardware features 28 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The Cisco Catalyst IE9300 ruggedized series switch
The Cisco Catalyst IE9300 ruggedized series switch

Although the switch is not available for general order until early February, several electrical companies, including Schneider Electric and World Wide Technology, have been testing the product since summer 2021, Cisco said. The beta testers identified the product's adherence to the stringent IEC 61850 networking standards as a key enabler in their electric substation use cases.

The IE9300 reflects an ongoing trend toward increasingly converged IT and operational technology that IT staff can manage using the same software tools, said IDC analyst Brandon Butler.

"In the past, IT has been the primary buying center for networking equipment, but we're increasingly seeing OT groups looking to purchase networking equipment to satisfy the needs that they have within their business," Butler said. "There are some advantages for organizations to have a switching platform that both IT and OT are comfortable managing."

Cisco did not release pricing for the latest device but said the cost would align with its other rack-mount industrial switches.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covered community news for Boston Globe Media.

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