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Best methods to extend Cisco Catalyst 2960S Access Ports


I have been helping off and on a remote office with their network environment and a couple years ago I put in a Cisco Catalyst 2960S 48 port switch using one data vlan and one voice creating a basic LAN design.

It turns out over the past few months they hired a lot of new people/all ports are used up and just told me they ordered a new Cisco Catalyst 2960X switch which just arrived and I am kind of scrambling to figure out the best way to extend the available ports.

According to this link cisco-2960 the 2960S and 2960X should be stackable however I am a little bit worried I do not have the required LAN Base image.

My questions are:

  1.  Is it pretty easy to configure stacking?  "I have never done so before"

  2.  Are there any ideal and quick alternatives... especially if I have to wait for additional components to arrive?

Thanks in advance,


8 Replies 8

Reza Sharifi
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In general stacking multiple switches is not hard.  In your scenario, it may take a little more time to put them together if you don't have the correct license and since you are mixing 2960s with 2960x.

In the meantime, it maybe it is simpler and faster if you just connect the new switch to the old switch using one cable and than just add the same vlans to the link between the switches as well as to the user port on the new switch. Basically, you extend the same vlan from the 2960s to the new 2960x.


Both switches come with multiple fiber uplink ports.  You can use one of them and connect the switches together. If the switches are in close proximity, and if you don't have the fiber cable and the optics, you can use a copper port until you purchase the fibber cable and the optics.


Hey Reza,

I am thinking what I would try first in the short-term is giving the new switch access ports for the same vlans and then just connecting via a copper cable access port to access port on the 2 switches.  I assume that should work?  I do not think I need to setup any trunks or anything like that?



Hi Joe,

If the current 2960s has only one vlan than you don't need a trunk port.  You just configure the connection between the 2 switches as access port and add whatever vlan you currently have to it. If you have multiple vlans currently than you need to trunk the port and add all the vlans.


If, as noted in OP, you have both data and VoIP VLANs, you could trunk as Reza notes, or I believe you can configure both switches as access ports, but also configured with a voice VLAN, that should work too.

If you assign just an access port, on each switch, one each to the data and voice VLANs, you can interconnect them too.  The latter, though, requires one port for each VLAN.  The data/voice approach, is a "special" two VLAN trunk.  A full trunk supports whatever VLANs you want to share.

BTW, on the 2960s series, I don't recall the uplink ports having any additional advantages over the other copper ports (beyond supporting SPFs).

The stacking module on the 2960s, besides allowing you to manage multiple switches as one (it also functions as one), I recall uses 10g, so it increases the bandwidth between switches.  Depending how much traffic you have between the two switches, you might not see much advantage to this.  Additionally, if with the second switch, you have "extra" copper ports, you can build an Etherchannel between the switches to increase aggregate bandwidth.

Thanks Reza and Joseph,

Just for clarification on the first switch all ports are configured as access ports.  On each access port is access vlan 30 (data) and voice vlan 20 (Voice) as shown below.

interface GigabitEthernet1/0/46
  switchport access vlan 30
  switchport mode access
  switchport voice vlan 20
  spanning-tree portfast

On the second switch if I configure all ports as access ports having access vlan 30 (data) and voice vlan 20 (voice) (Identical to first switch) and connect one port from this switch to the first switch everything should work because they are "special" or because I have 2 vlans, one being a voice vlan and one being access vlan I have to setup trunks?

Thanks again for your help,



That is correct. Just make the link between the switches a trunk port and add vlan 20 and 30 to it.


If all your ports are configured, on both switches, as shown, I believe you can just interconnect a port on each switch with another on the other switch and both VLANs should continue to work.

The prior assumes you don't want to make any additional configuration changes, however, it's better practice to interconnect the switches with a trunk, as Reza has suggested.  It makes it bit clearer what the port is being used for, and allows you to add additional VLANs.  A trunk also allows you to use VTP.

BTW, if you do go with trunk port, you can manually configure a port on both switches to be a trunk, or you can default the ports and I believe DTP will automatically trunk them.

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