Tech Corner

Head-To-Head With the Cisco Catalyst 4500 vs. 9400 Chassis Switches

The next generation enterprise switching platform is here! The Cisco Catalyst 9400 Chassis Switch merges high-security features with an efficient, yet powerful performance. But what if you have installed the older Cisco 4500 Chassis Switch and are there any benefits to upgrading?

We find out in this article and put the 4500 and 9400 switches head-to-head as well as highlight some key market trends, which will further solidify your need for an upgrade.

Don't want to read? Check out this quick three-minute video where we share the options we provide when it comes to the 4500 and 9400 series chassis switches. You won't believe how we helped a client.

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Cisco Network Trends

Organizations are constantly under threat by network attacks and data leaks. It is, therefore, important that a network is supported by advanced features, providing resilience to nearly any circumstance. Cisco released five trends that can securely promote workplace safety:

  • Extending security to a remote workforce.
  • Supporting safe return to workspaces.
  • Facilitating multicloud for greater resilience.
  • Recovering fast with automated operations.
  • Smarter insights with network analytics.

Network Trends for Building a Resiliency Strategy

The Cisco Catalyst 9400 Chassis Switch will enable you to follow these trends to secure your workplace from data vulnerabilities. Cisco’s security portfolio anchored by Talos, Trustworthy Systems, and MACsec encryption and segmentation, provides advanced security features that protect the integrity of the hardware, software, and data that flows through the switch.

Moreover, the Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA) in the 9400 series monitors traffic using NetFlow data from the switches and learns to spot anomalies that could signal an incoming threat. It can identify potential threats without decrypting the traffic, following the trend of smart network analytics. However, with all this being said, let’s compare the 9400 series with the 4500 series to get a better understanding of what you are in for when upgrading.

Cisco Catalyst 4500 and 9400 Chassis Switch Overview

Although the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Chassis Switch is an older model, if you have it installed, it is still a world-class, quality product. The switch is Cisco SD-Access-ready, and is the industry’s most widely deployed modular platform for campus access and distribution deployments.

The chassis bandwidth is capable of transferring data at a reasonably fast speed using wired or wireless converged access. If you’re sporting the Cisco Catalyst 4500-X series, it offers a small size, but with the high scalability and security you need.

On the other hand, the Catalyst 9400 Chassis Switch provides superior performance when compared to the 4500 series. The 9400 series is built for security, providing several enhanced features to protect your data on multiple levels – all wrapped up into 256-bit-encrypted channels.

Furthermore, it is cloud-ready to help simplify, secure, and take your cloud environment to the next level. The series provides the latest in Internet of Things (IoT) support by providing automated network provisioning, segmentation, and policy management, to name a few. As a cherry on top, the 9400 series supports enhanced SD-Access programmability, a leading enterprise architecture from Cisco.

The weighed advantages of the 9400 series of switches clearly top the advantages of the 4500 series, but it is all talk until we compare the actual specifications. So, let’s deal with that below.

Visual Comparison 4500 and 9400

4500 Switch vs. 9400 Switch Features

The table below compares the main features of the 4500 and 9400 series of switches in terms of the bandwidth, package throughput, UPOE+ feature, programmability, availability, and security.

Features 4500 Switch 9400 Switch
Chassis Bandwidth 960 Gbps 9.2 Tbps
Package Throughput 250 Mpps 900 Mpps
Cisco UPOE+ (Up to 90 Watts PoE) N/A Yes
Programmability Limited Yes
High Availability (Stackwise Virtual, ISSU, GIR/NSE, and Hot Patching) N/A Yes
Security (Encrypted Traffic Analytics, Trustworthy Solutions, 256-bit Encryption, and TrustSec End-Point Security) N/A Yes


Why Opt for an Upgrade?

It is clear from the table above that the bandwidth of the 9400 switches far outweighs the 4500 switches (greater than a 9-fold difference to be exact). A surprising difference is that the 4500 series do not have the UPOE+ (up to 90 watts PoE) feature the 9400 series possess.

In today’s digital world where quantum computing is a near reality, security should be a high priority on your radar. If you’re running your data through legacy systems, opt for the 9400 series of switches with encrypted traffic analytics, 256-bit encryption, and TrustSec End-Point Security, all adding up to the highest level of protection.

Running a much larger data center and require additional slots? No problem! The Catalyst 9400 comes in a 4, 7, and 10-slot option, providing 96, 240, and 384 slots, respectively. All models support 1G, 2.5G, 5G, and 10G multigigabit and dual-rate 1G/10G SFP+ downlink options and 1G/10G, 25G, and 40G uplink options.

Look to PivIT When Upgrading

It may be time for an upgrade to a more secure, increased performance chassis switch. The improved features of the Cisco Catalyst 9400 Chassis Switch will ensure your data center is resilient against network attacks – the high-performance capabilities and various slot options ensure your data center is scalable when you need it. 

Here at PivIT, we offer a fresh approach to sourcing, maintaining, and servicing your data center infrastructure, specifically the 4500 and 9400 series Catalyst Switches from Cisco. We’ve reimagined the status-quo and offer our customers strategies not found in the traditional IT channels. Our focus is to examine your CAPEX/OPEX limitations and present you with options to free up your budget, achieve your goals and Do IT Better.

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