Cisco Catalyst 2960-X/2960-XR

This week Cisco Systems Inc, unveiled a new series of switches in its catalyst 2000 line.

Cisco Catalyst 2960X/XR Series Switches

Cisco 2960-X series switches is upgraded version of 2960S series switches are also stackable Gigabit Ethernet switches.  It is equipped with “Flexstack Plus”, a doubled version of Flexstack. Catalyst 2960X supports upto 8 switches in a stack (Only 4 in Flexstack) and 384 ports (48 Ports x 8 switches). Stacking bandwidth is also upgraded to 80 Gbps and Convergence is reduced to 100 milli seconds.

Improved Performance

Apart from Stacking improvements, Catalyst 2960X  has better performance improvements. CPU has been upgraded to APM86392 600MHz dual core and DRAM is quadrupled to 512 MB. Forwarding Bandwidth has been increased to 108 Gbps from 88 Gbps and switching bandwidth is increased from 176 to 216 Gbps.  Maximum active VLANs are increased to 1023 from 255 and of course Max VLAN IDs cannot be increased more than 4096 since IEEE VLAN identifier bit size is 12. There is a significant increase in forwarding rate also.

Energy efficient

It comes with IEEE 802.3az EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet) that enables ports to dynamically sense idle periods & switch off downlink port or switch to consume low power. Cisco claims that this power consumption could shut Hoover dam for more than three years.

IOS images

Cisco Catalyst 2960X comes with three IOS images.

  1. LAN Lite – L2 image with less functionality and scalablity for small deployements.
  2. LAN Base – L2 image with limited L3 functionality. Static routes are possible with LAN Base image.
  3. IP Lite – Advanced L3 image with RIP, RIPng, OSPF(stub), EIGRP (stub) are supported. Apart from that PBR, PIM, VRRP and HSRP also supported.

The IP Lite image switches are SKUed as Catalyst 2960XR. 2960XR is a RPS enabled switch. External PS connectors are available in 2960X LAN Base and LAN Lite, where as modular RPS with inbuilt fan is available in 2960XR (IP Lite) models. There is a separate Fanless model is available with 2xSFP and 2x1000Base-T uplinks and does not support stacking.

For Application visibility to understand traffic and identify anomalies, LAN Base and IP Lite images are enabled with Netflow Lite. This is less CPU intensive with limited features when compared to Full featured Netflow.

Stacking considerations

Stacking module in 2960X LAN Base is backward-compatible with 2960 LAN Base. But 2960XR is not compatible with 2960X or 2960S. Of course Logically IOS images wont match. Otherwise mix-and-match stacking is possible within series. When 2960X and 2960S is stacked together stacking bandwidth will be reduced to 40Gbps and only 4 units per stack allowed.


Cisco 2960X/XR is not programmable by Cisco onePK, and SDN Toolkit by Cisco, but onePK-ready for future. Cisco didn’t include UADP(Unified Access Data Plane) L2/L3 ASIC that was introduced in Catalyst 3850X series in this series switches. Cisco announced UADP will be rolled out to future 4500 and 6500 series.  UADP was well known for its SDN capability and converged access. It supports onePK readily.

Links :

Data sheet :

Models :

Flexstack+ best practices :


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