Cisco Catalyst 2960-S

Jim explains some of the features and elements you need to know about the Cisco Catalyst 2960-S.

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For more information, please refer to the following links:
  1. LAN Base Data Sheet
  2. LAN Lite Data Sheet


Hi folks. I'm Jim. I'm one of the product engineers here at CXtec, and I'm here today to talk to you about Cisco 2960-S switch family. It's a little newer and different than the older 2960s and 2960Gs. Just want to give you a heads up as to what the differences are.

You can see over on the right hand side of the screen, you have a front shot and a back shot. The front, they pretty much look like any other switch. There is 24- and 48-port versions of them. On the back, you'll see something a little bit different. They actually have some stacking capability. Now in general, the 2960-S's are related to just like their older brothers, the 2960Gs and 2960s. They have the same software feature set choices. You have a choice of LAN BASE. That's the most common one. That has the full feature set.

When you look at the part numbers of those switches, they end in -L or there is also the dumb-down LAN LITE version that ends in a -S. They take away some performance features and some capabilities that the LAN BASE has. Both of the switches like I said have 24 or 48 ports. One of the upgrades in the S series compared to the older switches, now the copper ports are all gigabit. Previously, they were either gigabit or 10/100.

Also, you'll notice if you look at a list of all the part numbers of the varieties of the 2960-S, you have a choice of uplinks. You have a choice of gigabit SFP, and if you look at the part number, there will be an S in the part number to indicate that or there is also, it's new for this series, 10 gigabit SFP+ are a choice, and there you can tell by the part number. It'll have a D in it.

Also, note that the 10 gig SFP+ ports are backwards-compatible to 1 gig. If you don't know which you're going to need, maybe spend a little bit more money and go with the 10 gig one, so that you can handle either and you got a path for growth.

Okay, now on to the next slide. One of the things that the 2960 has been famous for over the years is that it can also do Power over Ethernet, we call that Power over E for short. As time has gone on, there has been more need from customers to do Power over Ethernet and in higher quantity, so Cisco has kind of attacked that with the S series giving it two different levels of PoE. In the 24 ports, there is only one choice, it's 370 watts. By the way, you can tell on the part number whether it's a PoE switch or not by having a P and the part number.

The 370 watt variant is available on the 24 port and it's the only amount that it can do and that's enough to give you 24 ports of class 3, 802.3af PoE, so all ports simultaneously going along at that level. Also, note that these series switches support the newer 802.3at standard which has a maximum of 30 watts per port. You just can't do that on all ports simultaneously, so that's something to keep in your mind.

The 48 ports, you'll see a little differentiation in the part numbers and that there are actually two different PoE levels. The standard 370 watts, which I mentioned before for the 24-port models, but because there is twice as many ports, they've also come out with a 740 watt variant. That will allow you to do 48 ports simultaneously, again of class 3, 802.3af, and the 48-port model is also 802.3at compatible. Again, just not all ports at the same time.

One of the other newer features for the S series switch and that's probably where the S in the part number comes from is that they are now stackable. It's the first 2960 series switch that has that kind of capability, sort of like its bigger brother the 3750 series switch, but because this is a lower level switch, some of the stacking capabilities aren't quite as fancy.

One number, the stackable capability is actually optional. If you just buy a 2960-S series switch, it will not come with that stacking feature. There is a separate module, which you have to buy that plugs in the back. You can look at the lower right-hand picture of the back of the switches; on the left hand side, you can see the modules and the stacking cables all plugged in.

Another thing to bear in mind is if you decide to try to use the more economical model with the LAN LITE software feature set, you will not be able to use stacking capability. That is one of the features that has been taken away. In short, if you need to stack, you have to buy the LAN BASE feature set that ends in -L. The plug-in module, like I said, itself is a separate option. You can see the part number, C2960S-STACK on the screen here.

When you buy the stacking module, it comes with a stacking cable and unlike its brother the 3750 that can stack 9 tall, the 2960-S can always stack 4 tall, but that is definitely an advantage over the older versions that couldn't stack at all. I hope that you appreciate this.

Thank you very much for your time and have a good day.