Faulty board Catalyst for recall
By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Sm@rt Reseller
Cisco Systems Inc.'s Catalyst 5000 small to midsize campus-network switches are extremely popular. Some of them have Cisco's WS-X5012 -- 48-port 10Base-T -- boards running in them. As Cisco is acknowledging via a quiet recall campaign, a few of these boards are breaking down badly.
Specifically, an unknown number of these multiport 10Base-T modules have a manufacturing defect. It's not just any old flaw; the affected boards can short out without any warning.
What's worse is that not only will that knock out the 5000 family switch, but also, as Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) itself is saying in a recall note, the defect "will cause the power supplies to go into over-current shutdown, cutting off power to the system. The short may also cause smoke to be generated, but will not produce fire or sparks."
These failures also can wreck the switch backplane, turning a network's core into the computer room's most expensive work of art.
Dealing with defects
Fortunately, only WS-X5012 products within the following serial number ranges may have the defect:
9880340 to 9883950
10120340 to 10125399
10172043 to 10175339
10290340 to 10295339
10510340 to 10515339
In particular, the WS-X5012A is not affected by this problem.
To deal with these defective boards, Cisco is offering support and a free replacement through a product recall. For more on handling this problem, head over to Cisco Connection Online's (CCO) LAN Switches Field Notice section and look at "Field Notice: Specific WS-X5012 line cards have the potential to short." To access CCO, you must be a Cisco employee, reseller, contractor, direct customer or Cisco Certified Internetworking Engineer.
While Cisco has not publicly announced the problem, discovered in mid-December, it is recommending that all resellers contact customers using these boards as soon as possible and arrange for immediate replacements.