Business networks are an amazing industry. It is full of exciting challenges and huge opportunities. Every type of business in the world needs to be able to handle network traffic, sometimes to a surprising degree, and it is up to network engineers and IT minds to address those needs. When it comes to designing scalable solutions for these networks, stackable switches are an invaluable resource. They allow you to spend and expand network capacity on-demand, and a single stack can typically handle large numbers of users and large amounts of data. Two stackable switches that have been popping up in business networks for many years are the Cisco Switch Catalyst 3650 and 3750X switches. Each has its pros and cons, and they serve different niches, but you need to know how they stack up to optimize your network.
How are the 3650 and 3750X switches alike?
Both are enterprise-grade switches manufactured by Cisco. They are designed to handle large amounts of traffic in dense network environments. This is why both switches are stackable and use proprietary control software to make management as easy or meticulous as needed. The 3650 and 3750X are equipped with multiple Gigabit and 10 Gigabit ports, and that makes them well suited for a variety of network applications.
Seeing as the 3650 is a newer switch, you can reasonably think that it has been built on the back of the design elements that were included in the 3750X. The 3650 is the newest, largest, and most expensive switch. There are many applications that can be served by one or both switches. We’ll get into that more in a minute.
Where they different
The 3650 was designed several years after the 3750X, and it shows in many specs. Before delving into the specs, the biggest separation between the switches is that the 3650X is designed to handle wired and wireless traffic through a single switch. The 3750X does not have a wireless client. As such, 3650 automatically selects the networks that benefit from this feature.
Delving into the 3650’s wireless specs, it’s built for heavy-duty use. It can manage 25 access points and 1,000 clients from a single unit. It can also handle 40 Gbps per unit. When stacked, the 3650’s maximum bandwidth reaches 160 Gbps. This is lead through Cisco’s UADP and ASIC support.
As for the 3750X, it supports a lot of cable traffic. Each unit has 2 10GE ports. When stacked to capacity, this enables 64 Gbps throughput. It’s worth noting that the 3650X can be configured with 4 10GE ports, giving you double the wired capacity per drive.
Where to use them
Clearly, these switches shine in different applications. The wireless distinction will completely eliminate the 3750X’s viability from many networks. Other than that, the 3650 shines in large-scale wireless networks. The ability to quarterback so many access points and clients make it amazing for campus-level wireless networks. Hospitals and networks of a similar scale are ideal places to use the 3650.
The 3750X serves a different niche. Data-intensive networks that still use large amounts of copper networks and have segregated or non-emphasized wireless networks are the best places to use the 3750X. While it has a lower overall capacity than the 3650, the 3750X comes at a lower price. As long as you can get away with the lower specs, it’s an easy way to maintain top-level performance while saving space on the budget.
It is important to note that the two switches work well together. A single 3650 stack can handle more wireless than wired devices, so supplementing that difference with the money-saving 3750X is an obvious choice. Being built on similar systems, they work well together and require minimal supervision to integrate on the same network.
That covers the main differences between these two switches. Together, they can serve many applications with room to spare. That being said, there are plenty of other switches, even in the 3000 series, each offering a different set of pros and cons. It’s always worth staying informed, so be sure to explore 3850 switches as well before deciding on your next major networking investment.