Cisco is shaking up its network management with the release of two new switches.

Aimed at mid-sized enterprises, the switches acknowledge that there are large numbers of people who are not confident about using CLI commands, and has introduced software called Cisco Network Assistant (CNA) to provide a graphical interface to switches.

The Catalyst 4503 and the Catalyst 4948 Switch will be the first to use the new software.

CNA will enable users to designate switch ports for applications such as IP telephony and will let them divide physical LANs into separate VLANs. Cisco’s Bruno Mattei said "CNA would offer a new single point of management for all Cisco Catalyst switches." In addition, "it will offer the network manager simple access to a network’s routers and wireless access points from his console."

The new products follow the announcement earlier this month of a range of WAN routers with integrated IP telephony and security features for branch offices and small businesses. According to Mattei, the company is aiming to tackle this market more robustly in the coming months. "We’re aiming to release 30 products in the small and mid-sized enterprise space in this financial year," he said.

He acknowledged that there were important differences between the enterprise and the SMB markets. "There are four key features in the new products: scalability, security, reliability and ease of use. For mid-sized customers, the ease of use is probably the most important as these are the sort of organisations that don’t have large IT departments," he said.

The products are available from the beginning of October although pricing for UK products has yet to be revealed.