Cisco's 2960-XR switch line: An affordable, under-utilized option

The Cisco 2960-XR switches deliver enhanced application visibility, network reliability, and network resiliency, which continue to make it a great networking choice.

As we head towards the end of the year and end of our budgets, my engineers are reminding everyone that the Cisco 2960-XR family is an affordable and under-utilized option compared to other switch siblings in the Cisco 2960 family.

The 2960-XR Series switches provide easy device onboarding, configuration, monitoring, and troubleshooting. These fully managed switches can provide advanced Layer 2 and Layer 3 features, as well as optional Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) power. The switches deliver enhanced application visibility, network reliability, and network resiliency that continues to make it a great networking choice.

Since the 2960-XR switches are part of the 2960-X family, users will be familiar with the switches port counts and types, the identical levels of PoE+, and the identical stacking module/capability. But be sure to read on, as I have more to say about stacking.

It’s what’s new with the 2960-XR that my engineers and I find intriguing. A popular update to the 2960-XR is the internal redundant power supplies, hence the “R” in XR, which is a very cool feature in a switch at its price point. The redundant power supplies come in 3 sizes: 250 watts (for non PoE models), 640 watts (370 watts PoE+), and 1025 watts (740 watts of PoE+). These are very similar to the redundant power supplies for the 3850 and 3650 switch families — very quick and easy to insert/remove, no tools required.

IP LITE routing software feature set

The IP LITE software feature set brings extra capability to the 2960XR family with such new protocols to the line such as:

  • OSPF for Routed Access
  • Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM)
  • Policy-Based Routing (PBR)
  • Static routing
  • RIP v1&2 routing protocol
  • EIGRP stub routing
  • Hot standby routing protocol (HSRP)
  • Equal-cost routing

Stacking concerns and considerations

There’s one downside or caveat to stacking the 2960-XR. If you’re going to stack the XR’s, it is true that they use the same stacking modules as the regular 2960-Xs — BUT — you cannot mix X’s with XR’s in the same stack. This is a cardinal stacking rule! When stacking, the software feature sets must match amongst stack members. For example, a LAN BASE and IP LITE cannot be mixed together. 

Overall, the 2960-XR switch line was a great addition to an already great long-lived switch line — check them out! As the end-of-the-year crunch creeps up on us all and you're reviewing your list of possible network equipment purchases, remember you can "Switch IT Up" by putting the Cisco 2960-XR Series switch on your list.

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