Cisco has launched a series of enhancements to its Catalyst range to meet, what the company claimed was, a greater need by network managers to plan for the future.

It will replace some of the Catalyst range over security concerns, to incorporate the growing demand for Gigabit Ethernet and to offer power-over-Ethernet

The company seems to have cottoned on to the fact that many customers are using products for longer than envisaged by vendors. "The majority of our customers have had products for more than eight years," said Dean Smith, the European product marketing manager for the Catalyst range, "some of them are 13-years-old now."

Smith added the evidence was that companies were planning for longer and wanted products that would enable their companies to prepare for future growth. Companies are looking for more network resilience and greater availability, he said.

Additions include the Cisco Catalyst 6500 and 4500 Series supervisor engines which offer a range of extra security features, including the ability to prevent denial of service attacks, mitigation of man-in-the-middle attacks and identity-based networking extensions.

There are also a number of efforts to improve network availability which include Layer 3 Non-Stop Forwarding with Stateful Switch Over (NSF/SSO) on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Layer 2 SSO on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Cisco Catalyst 4500. These features improve the availability of services by allowing a second level of failover - particularly important with IP telephony.

And IP telephpony remains an important area for Cisco. The company also announced what it claimed was the first IP phone with Gigabit Ethernet capability - just in case a company has got the desperate urge to send Gigabit levels of traffic over a phone.