Cisco 2960 PoE setup

After parting company with my EtherRegen switch, I’m back to playing with Ciscos. Occurred to me there are two distinct methods for setting up switches in PoE mode:

a) Router connects to switch 1, which then supplies power and signal via a single ethernet cable to switch 2. Streamer, server, etc. connect to switch 2.

b) Router and other network devices connect to switch 2, with switch 1 supplying power only via ethernet to switch 2.

Thus far I prefer b), but could be my imagination. Seems to allow more subtle details in the music.

Option b) is effectively a single switch setup with the other switch acting as power supply only.

Option a) offers the assumed benefits of cascading two switches, but with the possible downside of power & signal running along the same network cable.

There’s likely an option c), where switch 1 supplies switch 2 with power and signal via separate cables. I think that would need access to the switches’ config menus, which is sadly beyond my current pay grade.

Interested in any thoughts.

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There are very few Cisco switches that can be powered up via another POE switch, IIRC they were mostly used in the hospitality industry.

@Simon-in-Suffolk is the best here to answer the OP question.

Port setup on Cisco is actually very easy via command line interface, but you need a special cable to connect first to assign IP address.

After your switch is on the network it’s quite easy to manage - you get Cisco cheat sheet PDFs with all required commands.

I have a .txt file somewhere with all steps including keygen for SSH etc. this was to setup a 2960 with POE off, one port enabled and a heap of filters to stop traffic hitting 272.

All redundant now we’ve moved to NDX2 with separate DAC where switch seemed to make zero difference.

Is it really the case? Have you tried and verified yourself?

Yes, of course.

Couldn’t hear any difference with 2960 in chain or out.

Different from 272 where there was an audible difference.

We now have ISP hub to NDX2 via good quality cable. Simples.


My findings were much the same. Moving from NDX to NDX2 caused changes to networked equipment (including servers, switches and cables) to have greatly reduced effects on sound quality. Using a separate DAC entirely eliminated any such effects.
Sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief when I read about people here spending thousands on networking gear. I find it quite liberating to feel that I just don’t need to go there.


The money earmarked for a switch is going towards DIN/XLR pair for 300 :+1:

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Yeah, it feels much better to spend money on HiFi than it does on networking stuff.


With PoE there is no issue with Ethernet with PoE or no PoE present… choose which ever one suits your setup… and your tastes if you are that way inclines.
I power one of my small switches via PoE because it’s simpler and less cables.

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Which switch model are you using at both ends?

I have various setups… including a Cisco Catalyst WS-C2960C-12PC-L powering a small Ubuiquiti Flex Switch mini.

My ND5XS2 connects to a Ubiquiti USW-FLEX-MINI, the USW is powered by PoE via a Ubiquiti US-8-60W thats located in the loft. I needed an extra network point for the tellys Nvidia Sheild (near the ND5XS2) and the USW seemed the logical choice.

Sounds good

There are many posts that talk about how critical power supplies are to SQ, so I would be surprised if POE delivers clean power to switches used for hifi?

Why would you be surprised… PoE produces regulated DC voltage over the twisted pairs. If it was noisy or unstable it wouldn’t work, and you couldn’t power switches, wifi access points, office audio equipment, video equipment etc which are some of the typical use for PoE.
I recommend it, as it reduces the prevalence of potentially noisy nearby mains power supplies whether they be linear or switch mode which is more of a concern for Hi-Fi etc. and as I have said elsewhere, all Ethernet equipment like switches are best placed a distance away from consumer Hi-Fi equipment anyway.

I would be wary of some of what you read about home networks and powersupplies for Hi-Fi. There is a lot of mis guided commentary. Several years ago I spent quite a lot of time trying to point out why certain assertions could not be the case… to be honest it all got a bit tiresome as I concluded some were not interested in engineering and the technology, but instead would want to believe what they wanted to believe with what they heard… a classic case perhaps of causality vs correlation.


Simon - very interesting. So do you not use any “aftermarket” power supplies then, on any of your gear ?

What are you thinking of? Like so called audiophile switches?
If so yes I trialled an EtherREGEN. I put it in circuit - between my Naim streamer and commercial grade switch which I use in my home and home-office network, and heard no difference at all. Now I do use an external DAC for my streamer.

On my first ten streamer from Naim I did hear subtle differences - even with separate DAC - and I later discovered that Naim redesigned the separation and isolation in their later streamers between the network circuitry and the sensitive digital audio circuity - through the use of EMC separation and the use of LVDS to mitigate noise coupling from the ethernet circuitry.

I still do have my EtherREGEN because I was lazy and didn’t send it back for a refund.

With regard to power supplies - for sensitive equipment I only use the vendor’s power supply which has been designed for that device or where the equipment is specifically designed for any power supply - I use a suitably designed and performant external power supply that provides the regulation performance, load and voltage. Again there is mis guided info one can read here… if the PSU is not designed for the connected device - and the connected device is not designed for general PSUs - you can actually make a non conformant set up with regard to EMC specs by inadvertently bypassing high frequency decoupling…

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Thought a timely thanks for your technical contributions to the forum may be appreciated.
Totally understand it must get tiresome answering the same sort of questions over and again so just wanted you to know your effort over the years has been most helpful and I’m sure not just to me!

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you are welcome - and thank you.
In the early days there was no or little web discussion on this - so it felt worthwhile - but now the web is awash with claims and counter claims with often, I suspect, commercial consumer oriented motivations which kind of nullifies the value of much of the consumer oriented web content - and at the end of the day many people will believe what they want to believe form their favourite ‘influencer’ irrespective of causation.
I think if one is really genuinely interested - there is much engineering literature (rather than high-level simplifications) on the subject - which is objective and factual - perhaps if one is interested one should really study that - because at the end of the day there are usually no simple answers or quick fixes - and there are many causes to observed audio perturbations or differences - from physical to psychological.
The AES can be a good starting point too if one is genuinely interested… and they have a constantly growing library of papers from industry and academic institutions around the world addressing the physical as well as psychological on various areas around recorded music, replay and reproduction and audio generally.