Cisco 2960 and Meraki, Buffalo BS-GS2016?

like so many users here I have an old blue Cisco 2960 next to my streamer and was very astonished how much SQ improved with that switch in there.
Now some time ago the Cisco Meraki was brought up in a blind test by and I wonder how this switch would compare against a 2960 – any experience here?
Another well respected unit is the Buffalo BS-GS2016, has anyone tried or even compared it to 2960?
And what is your experience with modding those units: Better PSU, better clock, better caps? Which unit responds best to that kind of improvements?
Best regads

All three switches look to be quite capable… the 2960s depending on software version are ultimately more configurable, and are Cisco’s Catalyst architecture but probably not of benefit to most on here… but may help on SQ…
I guess it’s worth checking what default capabilities are… but all support IGMP snooping and that is important for keeping unnecessary streamer processing down… but check if it’s on by default like the 2960…

There after try and compare audibly which you prefer if any.

I am not sure the modding you describe will be of benefit … other than noise shaping local environmental local peculiarities… you may find playing around with the layer 2 queue priorities make an improvement from a network perspective for your streamer… the 2960 is very capable here.

The 2960 can also be set up as an IGMP querier, not sure about the others. This functionality is beneficial if your router doesn’t do this, which many consumer devices don’t, and it allows the Naim app, and the Roon app to be more responsive at discovery… BTW the BT SmartHub2 has an IGMP querier in built and active (you can’t turn it off)… one of the reasons BT SmartHub2 works well with Naim.

I have decoupled my transport from my DAC, so now the network makes no difference at all to me from a SQ perspective, so I have ceased experimenting… so focus more on maximum usability performance which is what they switches are designed to do.

@Simon-in-Suffolk - how do you change the setting on the Cisco? I bought both of mine on eBay and simply plugged them in and they worked, so I don’t see how to access any settings.
Also would you know how people change the power supply on these: mine have a 240v kettle cable going in direct so presumably the power supply is internal.


Hi Simon,

I have a question regarding the benefits of IGMP snooping: What is the advantage of IGMP snooping when the Cisco 2960 (or any other capable switch) switch is just in-line in front of the streamer so just one cable attached for reception and another one for transmission of the audio stream?

Wouldn’t it be much more important to have an IGMP capable switch as the central switch in the house which controls all the traffic? And, in order to optimize the audio stream, would it be useful to define a separate VLAN on that central switch including only the audio source (NAS music server) and the endpoint (Cisco 2960/streamer)? Is it worth to apply QoS settings?

Best regards

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Hi Stefan… the aim is to keep unnecessary data away from the streamer. In appropriate data has to be processed to be discarded, this requires a degree of processing and therefore potentially electrical digital noise.

So now onto IGMP… on a LAN there typically exists unicast IP addresses and multicast IP addresses. Multicast IP addresses are addresses that are shared amongst a group of devices… So how do devices join multicast groups, they use a protocol called IGMP. (Internet Group Management Protocol)
This protocol effectively can be used to say I want to join this IP group, let me receive this group’s data.
IGMP snooping is when a switch, wifi access point or similar examines or snoops on the protocol travelling on the line, and establishes if a device on that port should only get group data for the groups it belongs to.
Therefore IGMP snooping drops unwanted group data from reaching a device like a streamer, but let’s wanted group traffic like discovery and Roon reaching it.

So having an IGMP snooping aware device in front of a basic capability switch which connects to a streamer effectively filters the unwanted traffic going to the basic capability switch and onto the streamer. This can be effective if only the streamer is connected to the basic capability switch.

Typically basic capability switches only support basic limited protocols, and don’t support IGMP. Instead they revert to gratuitously broadcasting group data to all whether they belong to a group or not… and let the end device or streamer to process deal with it and decide whether to discard or keep.

Group data can be discovery, broadcastIPTV, management functions, synchronous device functions, home automation etc… the chances are you have several multicast IP groups on your modern home network.

But yes a core switch with many ports offering IGMP snooping can allow your network to work more efficiently.

As far as QoS (DSCP) , in a word there is no real benefit, especially with the newer streamers. If there was congestion, or use of limited capacity switches, use of time and jitter sensitive UDP, then yes DSCP can help, but as nearly all home media servers, and Naim streamers don’t support DSCP then it’s use will be limited. (On first gen Naim streamers, I found they were sensitive to inter frame timing consistency, so on a very busy home network, QoS on a core switch could help, but the newer streamers had a newer architecture and were not sensitive to such things that I could hear)
Our audio applications use regular TCP media transfer, and so no special treatment is required.

Thank you, Simon!

With the core switch in my network now being a “silly” unmanaged switch and the Cisco 2960 just in front of the streamer, the streamer is benefitting from the IGMP abilities of the Cisco.

Would the audio streamer benefit in the same way (in regards to the effects of IGMP snooping) if I had a core switch with IGMP abilities (let’s say a Zyxel GS1200-8 or a Buffalo BS-GS2008) and a switch without IGMP abilities in front of the straamer (let’s say an EE8 or an EtherRegen)?

Best regards


Hi Simon,

would it make any sense to have IGMP snooping active in both core switch and in-front-of-streamer switch? Or would it be even better to have it switched off in the latter in order to reduce processing and resulting electrical digital noise in that switch and leave the IGMP snooping task to the core switch?

Best regards

Ideally you want to have IGMP snooping on any switch port on any switch or bridge on your network.
Clearly if a switch is not acting as a switch, but rather as a repeater, then it can rely on an upstream IGMP snooped port.

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