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Updated:March 27, 2019
Configure Stack Settings on an SG350X Switch
The Cisco Small Business switches can either function on their own or in Standalone mode. They can also be connected into a stack of up to four devices. By default, a switch is always stackable, but has no port configured as a stack port. All the ports in the devices are configured as network ports by default. A device without any stack port can be thought of as the master device in a stack of only itself or as a standalone device. To stack two or more switches, you can reconfigure the desired network ports as stack ports in the switches and connect them with the resulting stack ports in a ring or chain topology.
The units or switches in a stack are connected through stack ports. Stacked switches are then collectively managed as a single logical device. In some cases, stack ports can become members in a stack of Link Aggregation Groups (LAGs) increasing the bandwidth of the stack interfaces.
A stack provides the following benefits:
Network capacity can be expanded or reduced dynamically. By adding a unit, the administrator can dynamically increase the number of ports in the stack while maintaining a single point of management. Similarly, units can be removed to decrease network capacity.
The stacked system supports redundancy in the following ways:
The backup unit becomes the master of the stack if the original master fails.
The stack system supports two types of topologies: Chain and Ring. Ring topology is more reliable than a chain topology. The failure of one link in a ring does not affect the function of the stack, whereas the failure of one link in a chain connection might cause the stack to be split.
This article provides instructions on how to configure stack settings on your switch.
Configure Stack Settings on a Switch
Connect the Switches
Step 1. Determine the stack that you would like to configure. The options are:
Chain — Each unit is connected to the neighboring unit, but there is no cable connection between the first and last unit. The image below shows a chain topology of a four-unit stack:
Ring — Each unit is connected to the neighboring unit. The last unit is connected to the first unit. The image below shows a ring topology of a four-unit stack:
Step 2. Connect one end of a Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) into the SFP+, XG3, or XG4 port of your switch.
Note: In this example, the cable is connected to XG3 port of the switch. It is also possible to stack switches using conventional Ethernet cables on the XG1 and XG2 ports. Performance offered is similar at short ranges, however for cable runs longer than 100 meters, SFP provides less latency and greater reliability.
Step 3. Connect the other end of the SFP+ cable into the SFP+, XG3 or XG4 port of your switch.
Note: In this example, the cable is connected to XG3 port of the switch.
Step 4. Repeat Steps 2 to 3 to the remaining switches.
You should now have connected your switches according to your desired topology.
Configure Stack Settings on the Master Switch
Master Selection Process
The master unit is selected from the master-enabled units (1 or 2). The factors in selecting the master unit are taken into account in the following priority:
System Up Time — The master-enabled units exchange up-time, which is measured in segments of 10 minutes. The unit with the higher number of segments is selected. If both units have the same number of time segments, and the unit ID of one of the units was set manually while the unit ID of the other was set automatically, the unit with the manually-defined unit ID is selected; otherwise the unit with the lowest unit ID is selected. If both units IDs are the same, the unit with the lowest MAC address is chosen.
Note: The up time of the backup unit is retained when it is selected as master in the switch failover process.
Unit ID — If both units have the same number of time segments, the unit with the lowest unit ID is selected.
MAC Address — If both units IDs are the same, the unit with the lowest MAC address is chosen.
Note: For a stack to operate, it must have a master unit. A master unit is defined as the active unit that assumes the master role. The stack must contain a Unit 1 and/or Unit 2 after the master selection process. Otherwise, the stack and all its units are partially shut down, not as a complete power-off, but with traffic-passing capabilities halted.
Follow these steps to configure stack settings on the Master switch:
Step 1. Log in to the web-based utility of your switch then choose Administration > Stack Management.
Note: Alternatively, you can click the Manage Stack option under Initial Setup in the Getting Started page.
Step 2. Click an option for the Stack Mode. The options are:
Native Stacking — The switch is part of a stack in which all of the units are of the same type.
Hybrid Stacking — The switch is part of a stack that can consist of either mixed types of Sx350 devices or mixed types of Sx550 devices, but not a mix of Sx350 and Sx550 devices.
Note: In this example, Hybrid Stacking is chosen.
The Stack Topology displays whether the topology of the stack is chain or ring. In this example, the topology is Chain.
The Stack Master displays the unit ID of the master unit of the stack. In this example, the switch being configured (Unit 1) is the master of the stack.
Step 3. Click at least two ports to configure as stacking ports. Include the port that is connected to the other switch.
Note: In this example, XG3 and XG4 are chosen.
Step 4. Choose a unit ID from the drop-down list or choose Auto to have the unit ID be assigned by the system.
Note: In this example, 1 is chosen.
The Unit x Stack Connection Speed displays the speed of the stack connection.
Step 5. Click Apply and Reboot.
Step 6. Once prompted by the popup message, click OK. The settings are copied to the running configuration file and the stack is rebooted.
Step 7. Log in to the web-based utility of your switch.
Note: You will be required to configure new password for better protection of your network.
Step 8. Enter the user password of the switch in the Old Password field.
Step 9. Enter the new password in the New Password and Confirm Password fields.
Step 10. (Optional) Check the Disable Password Complexity Enforcement check box to bypass the password strength requirements.
Note: To learn how to configure the Password Strength security feature of the switch, click here for instructions.