Cisco Catalyst Micro Switch Series Launched

Cisco Catalyst Micro Switch Series
Cisco Catalyst Micro Switch Series

This week, we have the announcement of a series of switches one may not initially expect of Cisco. The new Cisco Catalyst Micro Switches are designed to be very compact and run with fiber uplinks. Included with these switches is Cisco LAN Lite software which is designed for L2 deployments.

Cisco Catalyst Micro Switch Series Launched

There are three new Catalyst Micro Switches that are out. Each has 4x 1GbE PoE ports.

Cisco Model

Access ports and uplinks


Power source

Default software


4x 1G, 2x 1G SFP

4x PoE+


LAN Lite


4 x 1G, 1x 1G copper,
1x 1G SFP

4x PoE+


LAN Lite


4x 1G, 1x 1G copper,
1x combo

4x PoE+,
2x USB-C

Cisco UPOE+, PoE+

LAN Lite

The basic idea is that each of the switches can power a local set of devices with only a single fiber run to the location. This is not going to meet the needs of every location, but it makes sense. If you have a long run and need to run PoE to multiple devices, using a small switch locally for PoE and then running a fiber link back to the main location can be less expensive than running multiple new copper runs. A good example of this is in a hospital or other office type setting where a room has transformed from analog to digital and the number of devices that need PoE/ wired connectivity (even if that is for a local WiFi AP) is expanding.

Here are the key specs:




Forwarding bandwidth

6 Gbps

Switching bandwidth (full-duplex capacity)

12 Gbps

Flash memory

256 MB

Memory DRAM

512 MB





Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU)

Up to 1500 bytes

MAC entries


Port channels



4 egress queues per port




180 MAC, IPv4 and IPv6

Bootup time

30 seconds

Forwarding rate, 64-byte packet Cisco Catalyst Micro Switches


8.928 mpps


8.928 mpps


8.928 mpps

These are not Cisco’s fanciest switches by any means but are filling a gap left that is in a similar place to where Linksys played for the company years ago. We see this as a volume play for Cisco’s connected edge play.

Final Words

My initial reaction to these switches is that Cisco is going after the Netgear market, at what is likely a higher cost point. These are low port count 1GbE switches meant for the very edge of the network. I think that with features such as the Cisco CMICR-4PT with two USB Type-C charging ports there is a big differentiator there. Clearly, this is an interesting design in the space based on customer feedback.

I am slightly disappointed in the fact these are 1GbE devices. If they had a 10GbE SFP+ uplink and 4x 2.5GbE ports, they would avoid oversubscribing the uplink. In 2021, we are going to see more edge devices support 2.5GbE especially as servers, workstations, NAS devices, and even WiFi AP’s start to exchange 1GbE ports for 2.5GbE ports. Cisco offering a 1x 10GbE + 4x 2.5GbE option would be a clear differentiator. It would also provide a great solution for powering edge WiFi 6E APs using PoE and the 2.5GbE uplink ports. The fact these are launched as 1GbE devices puts them more into competition with lower-cost competitors and it was a missed opportunity for Cisco’s 2021 portfolio.

We will see if we can find one of these to review.


  1. Hello Rohit,

    Thank You for the information on the upcoming Cisco Micro Switches, great intro. I completely agree on a 1x 10GbE + 4x 2.5GbE option is a major missed opportunity for Cisco. Hopefully someone jumps into that segment soon!

    Best Regards,
    ABQ (Steve:)

  2. +1 for the USB-C Charging, and for the type of settings for a 4 port 1GB (factory booth with 1 pc, a printer and a phone or embedded in a production machine panel ) may be fine.
    If you need 10GB usually need more port, maybe with the exception of a STH user home 8-))).
    But in this case the Cisco price tag it’s usually a no go for this kind of gear. 8-)))

  3. I’ve heard ballpark prices in the 400-500 range, but nothing official yet.

    These are for a specific use case, and likely will not replace the usual small Cisco switches for most users. These are not actually that low-specced, as they do include full DNAC manageability. The latter of which ruled out FTTO for us until now. FTTO itself is a very interesting concept in many ways, and it’s more than just running fiber to an office. It’s a whole system.. which may or may not benefit your use case.

  4. It’s cheaper to run ethernet cables direct to the desk then buying these. Very disssapointed waste. Needs to be 10gbe uplink min and 2.5gbe ports.

  5. “Cisco is going after the Netgear market”

    Far from it – these switches are enabled for Policy Node Extension (can’t remember the exact name) which means they can form part of a wider Cisco DNA Center (DNAC) Fabric, and all the benefits that brings an organization using DNAC. They fully integrate with StealthWatch, ISE, DNA, etc.

    These are designed for organizations currently using small switches at remote edge points where additional copper runs are a problem for whom using a small Netgear switch would completely break their ISE or DNA fabric.

    And this is why they don’t have 10GbE capability either. People using it under the above scenarios will be standard office users, and those needing 10GbE will run dedicated fiber or 10GbE copper back to their mGig capable Catalyst 9K switches.

  6. I can’t imagine anyone would want to buy these switches, when just about anything from Mikrotik is a var better value. I continue to be enamored by the feature/price ratio of Mikrotik products, especially the smaller units. Network SoC’s are making amazing things possible now, and Cisco is just too expensive to play in this game.

  7. @IGnatius T Foobar
    Because you have no idea how much Cisco gear actually costs. When you are big company buying lots of Cisco gear you are paying 25% of retail price, and it’s common practice not only for Cisco but also Juniper and other major players.

  8. While the speed lets something to be desired (as it does for many people), what I am more interested in is the Switch with the USB Type C ports. Do the Type C ports also provide a network connection? I couldn’t find anything about that.

    If not, then that’s a missed opportunity (in my opinion), alongside the speed.


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