Aiming to Modernize Industrial Critical Infrastructure, Cisco Expands Switching Portfolio

February 08, 2022 by Alessandro Mascellino

Cisco IE9300 model addresses the durability, security, and automation needs of a modern industrial environment.

Cisco expanded its Cisco Catalyst 9000 portfolio with the IE9300 model. According to Cisco, the device represents the company’s most feature-rich industrial switch available up to date.


The Rugged Catalyst IE9300 Switch. Images used courtesy of Cisco


The IE9300 is purpose-built for both informational (IT) and operational technology (OT) environments, and designed to automate network operations and bring Zero Trust security to operational spaces. Zero Trust policies assume every network interaction is a potential security risk, requiring constant access verification and limited data exposure to minimize the chance and impact of security breaches in a modern cyber-heavy landscape.


The Catalysts 9000 Series

The Cisco Catalyst 9000 Wireless and Switching family includes numerous access and core switches focusing on delivering “always-on, always secure” connectivity. 

Devices in the 9000 series come with unified wired and wireless infrastructure to provide reliable and optimized connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 and Cisco Multigigabit Technology. They also offer automated anomaly detection and analytics capabilities powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The Catalysts 9000 Series includes the 9100 Access Points, several wired switches, the Catalyst 9800 Series Wireless Controllers, and the Cisco DNA Center, a network management controller.


The Cisco Catalysts 9000 family. Images used courtesy of Cisco


All switches in this series are based on the Unified Access Data Plane (UADP) ASIC silicon, which aims to bring more enterprise-grade switching capabilities to the industrial edge for harsh environment applications, particularly in utilities, oil, and gas, roadways, and rail.


The Rugged Catalyst IE9300 Switch

According to Cisco, the Catalyst IE9300 delivers the highest density feature switch on the market. The device provides enterprise-grade switching in a ruggedized form factor with advanced visibility, security, and edge computing

The IE9300 is also on the Cisco IOS-XE operating system and is compatible with both Cisco DNA Center and the Cisco Identity Services Engine. The new switch expands the 9000 series’ network scalability and reliability by introducing the ability to stack up to eight switches and manage them as one, zero packet loss failure recovery, and high precision time synchronization. 

The IE9300 can also identify connected endpoints for asset inventory, automatically enforce QoS policies via application traffic recognition, and detect and resolve issues with network health monitoring.

In addition, Cisco’s latest switches are compatible with Schneider Electric’s APC uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

“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,” commented Schneider Electric CTO Jim Simonelli.


Modernizing Critical Infrastructure

Generally speaking, network connectivity in industrial spaces is growing like most other spaces. The need to improve safety and minimize risks for remote operations conflicts with the need to improve efficiencies and respond quickly to constant changes. The evolution of industrial OT requires heightened IT expertise to enhance security as well as grow and scale operations.

The new Cisco Catalyst Industrial Ethernet 9300 switch is built to satisfy modern security and durability requirements, integrating enterprise capabilities with industrial protocols in a form factor built for rugged, industrial spaces.