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

Dec 17, 20183 mins
Cisco SystemsNetwork SwitchesNetworking

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

cisco logo sign
Credit: Reuters / Sergio Perez

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.


Frank Kobuszewski is vice president of the technology solutions group at CXtec. Being in the remarketing industry since 1988 and with the company since 1994has led him to serve on several technical committees including as a representative on the Anti-Counterfeit Committee for the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers (AscdiNatd).

Frank has participated on podcasts and has been quoted in several industry trade publications and papers, the most recent being Gartner’s August 2017 network transceivers research paper, entitled “How to Avoid the Biggest Rip-Off in Networking.”

Frank is an experienced speaker and has presented at technology conferences across North America on strategies for maximizing IT budgets and asset recovery best practices, including at CAUCUS (Association of Technology Acquisition Professionals) and the annual NY Tech Summit. Most recently, he spoke at the Gartner IT Financial, Procurement and Asset Management Summit.

Frank received the “40 Under Forty” award from the Central New York Business Journal in 2000 for his business accomplishments and community involvement.

Follow Frank on Twitter and look for his posts on LinkedIn.