Cisco: Cisco Expands Enterprise-Grade Switching Capabilities into Industrial Networks to Modernize and Secure Critical Infrastructure

Today, Cisco announced an expansion of the Cisco Catalyst 9000 portfolio, based on the powerful Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) ASIC silicon, to bring more enterprise-grade switching capabilities to the industrial edge for industries operating in harsh environments and supporting critical infrastructure like utilities, oil and gas, roadways, and rail.

Operational connectivity in industrial spaces is growing exponentially as organizations seek to improve efficiencies, employee safety, business agility, and support hybrid work. As the operational world evolves, IT expertise is required to scale and secure the network as operational technology (OT) systems are brought onto the corporate networks.

Unified solutions level the IT/OT playing field
According to Gartner[1], “Most CIOs have responsibility for OT systems decisions: Eighty-two percent report their CIO responsibility for OT systems has increased in the last three years, and 89% say it will increase in the next three years.”

IT and OT are collaborating more than ever and need common tools to scale and secure the network. Automation, segmentation, and capabilities to proactively identify and resolve issues become paramount for success. These capabilities are widely deployed in the enterprise, though are not as pervasive in industrial networks. Without enterprise-grade network infrastructure features, IT/OT resources are increasingly strained, putting deployments at risk.

A new solution is needed to connect and secure the growing number of industrial devices. To bridge this gap, the new Cisco Catalyst Industrial Ethernet 9300 switch integrates enterprise capabilities with industrial protocols in a form factor built for rugged, industrial spaces – a truly unified solution for IT/OT to ensure business success.

“Our customers are taking on massive challenges like transitioning to cleaner power sources and enhancing electric grid reliability, and the critical nature of these environments demands a network infrastructure with enterprise-grade security, visibility and automation for scale,” said Vikas Butaney, VP/GM of Cisco IoT. “We’re empowering our customers to modernize their large-scale industrial environments and build an agile network, while protecting their assets from cyber threats.”

The Next Generation of Industrial Switching Architecture
Based on our high-performing UADP ASIC silicon, the Catalyst IE9300 delivers the highest density feature switch on the market. It provides enterprise-grade switching in a ruggedized form factor with advanced visibility, security and edge compute. The Catalyst IE9300 is based on the Cisco IOS-XE Operating System and managed by Cisco DNA Center. It provides security through the Cisco Identity Services Engine, enabling customers to leverage their IT knowledge and existing investments to modernize and secure their industrial and outdoor networks.

New features include:

Unrivaled performance at scale: Enhanced network scalability and reliability with features such as the ability to stack up to 8 switches and manage them as one, zero packet loss failure recovery, and high precision time synchronization.
Unprecedented visibility to assets and applications: Improve efficiencies by identifying connected endpoints for asset inventory, automatically enforcing QoS policies via application traffic recognition, and proactively detecting and resolving issues with network health monitoring.
Enterprise-to-edge, industry-leading cyber security: Assess and strengthen the security posture of connected industrial assets and enable zero-trust security with the embedded Cisco Cyber Vision sensor and SD-Access fabric edge capability. Catalyst IE9300 is the first switch to enable zero-trust security in operational environments.
“We’re delighted to see the Cisco Catalyst Industrial Ethernet 9300 switch come to market this year as it brings unprecedented performance and fiber scalability to electric grid networks, together with native cybersecurity features,” said Jim Simonelli, CTO, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric. “In combination with the APC by Schneider Electric Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), these technologies will elevate electric grid reliability to a new level.”

“To truly modernize the power grid, utilities need to ensure their substations are efficient and resilient,” said Adam Nathan, Utility & Energy Industry Practice Manager at WWT. “Developed with the robust needs of the industrial world in mind, including adhering to the stringent IEC 61850 networking standards, the new Cisco Catalyst IE9300 switch empowers utilities to accelerate substation modernization with the agile connectivity needed to power a high-demand future.”

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