I am incredibly frustrated, and I’m hoping this post will save countless others from yelling out loud, after finding out you wasted money and hours of troubleshooting for no reason.
First off, a bit of history. Back in my historical posts, I mentioned my thoughts on the 3750-metro series switches. At first, I wasn’t all that impressed with the metro-series. I mean, it seems to be more for the service provider than for the customer. But, if Cisco recommends it for a customer, I should listen, right?
Well, Cisco sales reps are more interested in selling products, than in giving the best answers, and this is a perfect example. So, make sure to listen up, and pay attention.
In building our metro network, we have a fiber line, provided by AT&T. On the customer side, AT&T installed a Cisco switch to terminate the fiber, and hand-off copper. I then, take the copper into my network. But, after connecting my 3750-metro interface (The ES port, for “Enhanced Services”), I never saw a link. Hmmm… did AT&T enable their interface? I asked…. yep. Do I need a cross-over, or did they build the cross-over in their patchpanel? Nope. Straight-through. So, I must provide the cross-over
(And for those that will ask… no I do not trust the auto-sensing MDIX).
Still no luck.
Then, I asked AT&T the interface characteristics: (100Mbit – Full Duplex). Hmmmm…. shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll set my interface to that. What?? I can’t. It only accepts 1000? Let’s look at the docs:
Now, I consider myself a respectful and considerate human being (at times). However, I must say, when I realized that, I was glad I was in an isolated room with no one around. Because I yelled and cussed as I used to when I was a sailor in the Navy. At this point, I realized I have spent between $6k to $8k more than I needed to (I bought 2 metro switches, one for each side of the link), and I just wasted 3 to 4 hours of troubleshooting. I should have gone with my initial feelings about the 3750-metro.
So, what is the difference between the 3750 and the 3750-metro? From Cisco’s website:
Q. What is the difference between the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Metro Series and the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series?
A. The Cisco Catalyst 3750 Metro Series is built for Metro Ethernet access in a customer location, enabling the delivery of more differentiated Metro Ethernet services. These switches feature bidirectional hierarchical QoS and Traffic Shaping, intelligent 802.1Q tunneling with class-of-service (CoS)
mutation, VLAN translation, MPLS, EoMPLS, and Hierarchical Virtual Private LAN Service (H-VPLS) support, and redundant AC or DC power. They are ideal for service providers seeking to deliver profitable business services, such as Layer 2, Layer 3, and MPLS VPNs, in a variety of bandwidths and with different SLAs. With flexible software options, the Cisco Catalyst 3750 Metro Series offers a cost-effective path for meeting current and future service requirements from service providers.
And what is this “ES Port” thing. What does it do for me?
Q. What are the Enhanced Services (ES) ports?
A. The Cisco Catalyst 3750 Metro Series includes two SFP-based ES ports. The ES ports support Metro Ethernet features that are vital for delivering profitable business services, such as Layers 2 and 3 and MPLS VPNs, in several bandwidths and with different SLAs. Supported features on the ES ports
include EoMPLS, MPLS, MPLS VPNs, bidirectional hierarchical QoS, intelligent 802.1Q tunneling (Q-in-Q) with CoS mutation, and VLAN ID translation.
So, to summarize, pretty much every enhancement the metro-line offers, is in the ES ports. Other than the redundant power-supplies, this is a wash. The regular Cisco 3750 still has a powerful QoS engine, and the same IOS commands. Now, I’m sure there is more in the metro software image than the standard 3750, but without the ES Ports, what’s the point??? The provider will provide the Q-in-Q tunneling, the heirarchical QoS, etc. What good does it do??
I’m still a little bitter, but by the time you post your comments, maybe I’ll feel better, and listen more. So feel free to let me know what you think. Right now, I’m disappointed, and frankly, quite pi$$ed, because I feel like I was taken advantage of.
My only advice is…. if you get the Cisco 3750-metro, please make sure the provider will hand off a 1000 Gigabit connection. Otherwise, you are sitting on an expensive 3750.
The only thing I can think of, is to place a media-converter in the middle, so I can use the 100Mbit ES interface. But, that just adds another point-of-failure, and this metro network was supposed to alleviate the failures… not add to them…..