Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switch: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

When one dives into the vast world of network infrastructure, the name Cisco frequently rises above the rest. The company, known for its impeccable reputation in network solutions, has consistently provided enterprises with tools that not only address their current needs but also anticipate future demands. One of the star players in Cisco’s lineup is the Catalyst 3850 Series Switch. For businesses, institutions, and IT professionals considering a network upgrade or expansion, this guide offers a deep dive into the world of Cisco’s flagship switches.

A Brief Overview of the Catalyst 3850 Series

The Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series is a masterstroke in the networking realm, skillfully merging the best of wired and wireless networks into a single platform. At the heart of this series is its capability to support the convergence of wired and wireless networks, ensuring that users get a seamless, high-quality experience regardless of their connection type. This series is not just about convergence; it’s about delivering an optimal user experience while ensuring the highest level of security and efficiency.

Features that Set the 3850 Series Apart

Unified Access: 

One of the primary reasons businesses lean towards the 3850 Series is its integrated wireless controller. This feature ensures that users have a consistent experience, whether they’re connecting through Ethernet cables or via a wireless network.


In today’s digital age, the ability to scale is paramount. The 3850 Series excels here, boasting up to 40 Gbps of wireless throughput. This capability ensures businesses are future-proofed against the ever-growing demands of wireless technologies.

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Advanced Security Protocols: 

In an age of increased cyber threats, network security is non-negotiable. The Catalyst 3850 Series is armed with TrustSec, MACsec, and threat defense capabilities, fortifying the network against potential intrusions and threats.

Smart Operations for Efficiency: 

With features like Smart Install and Auto SmartPorts, the 3850 Series ensures that the deployment, configuration, and management of the switch are hassle-free and efficient.

Key Models of the 3850 Series

For businesses considering the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series, understanding the specific models is crucial. Here’s an in-depth look at three standout part numbers:


With 24 SFP ports, this WS-C3850-24S-E offers a balance between performance and value. The Layer 3 services ensure network tasks are efficiently managed. Whether you’re a growing business or a mid-sized enterprise, this model provides the robustness and versatility required for modern networking demands.


For organizations needing the next level in performance, this model, with its 24 10G SFP+ ports, is the answer. Suited for businesses with high-speed data transfer needs, this WS-C3850-24XS-S switch ensures that data flows seamlessly and swiftly. Its Layer 3 routing capabilities further guarantee optimal data routing, making it indispensable for data-centric businesses.


It is designed for large enterprises and campuses, its 48 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports cater to extensive connectivity needs. More than just a switch, its Layer 3 capabilities transform it into an efficient router, directing data through the most efficient pathways and ensuring high-speed, reliable connectivity.

Why Opt for the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series?

Unified Network Architecture: 

One of the standout features of the 3850 Series is its ability to provide a converged wired and wireless network architecture. This unification allows for a streamlined network management process, reducing complexities and ensuring a consistent user experience across the board.

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Energy-Efficient Design: 

In today’s environmentally-conscious world, businesses seek solutions that are both efficient and sustainable. The 3850 Series delivers with EnergyWise technology, optimizing power usage and reducing energy costs without compromising performance.

StackWise-480 Technology: 

The Catalyst 3850 Series incorporates Cisco’s StackWise-480 technology, enabling users to stack up to nine switches for scalability and providing up to 480 Gbps of stack throughput. This ensures that businesses can scale their network infrastructure seamlessly as they grow.

Multigigabit Ethernet Support: 

With the growing number of high-bandwidth devices and applications, networks need to support faster data rates. The 3850 Series offers multigigabit Ethernet support, ensuring that your network can handle the demands of modern applications without bottlenecks.

Advanced QoS Capabilities: 

Quality of Service (QoS) is essential for networks handling a mix of data, voice, and video traffic. The 3850 Series offers granular QoS settings, ensuring that critical data gets priority and that all network traffic is optimized for the best performance.

Integrated Security Features: 

Beyond the standard security protocols, the 3850 Series offers advanced features like Flexible NetFlow and advanced malware protection. These integrated security tools provide a holistic view of the network, helping administrators detect and mitigate threats in real time.

Ease of Deployment: 

With features like zero-touch provisioning and WebUI, the 3850 Series simplifies the deployment process. Businesses can get their network up and running quickly, with minimal manual intervention.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing the perfect switch is more than just comparing technical specifications. It requires a holistic understanding of your organization’s current needs, future growth plans, and the challenges you aim to overcome. For instance, businesses anticipating rapid growth might benefit from the extensive connectivity options of the WS-C3850-48T-S. Furthermore, always consider the total cost of ownership. While the initial investment is a significant factor, the long-term benefits of reduced operational costs, enhanced security, and efficient scalability often outweigh the initial outlay.

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The Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switch is not just a piece of hardware; it’s a statement of intent. It signifies a commitment to providing users with the best possible experience, whether they’re connecting from a wired workstation or a mobile device in a conference room. The abovementioned models offer a glimpse into the range and capabilities of the series. But it’s essential to remember that every organization is unique. What works best for one might not be ideal for another. Therefore, it’s crucial to assess your specific needs, consult with IT professionals, and make an informed decision.

With the Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series, you’re not just investing in a product. You’re investing in a vision – a vision of seamless connectivity, unparalleled security, and a future where your network is ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.


Karamat Ali is the Editor in Chief and a writer at activeblog.org. He has been writing for the blog since its inception in 2015. Karamat has a passion for writing about technology, business, and personal development. He is also helps people achieve their goals. Email: [email protected]

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