Cisco 2960CX: A big thumb up

Been toying with the idea of changing my current network setup.

Current system is 282/300/NDX2/Supercap/Core/Focal Scala EVOIII.

The system was connected via Linksys WiFi Mesh router through network cable from Linksys to NDX2.

After doing some reading on this forum, i came out with a conclusion that the Cisco 2960 is a highly regarded and capable switch with audiophile sonic improvement. Therefore, took the plunge and ordered online a Cisco 2960CX switch, it is not possible to buy them used in my neck of the woods (Dubai), so ended up paying just over USD400.

My initial reaction connecting them straight out of the box was a big jaw dropping “Blimey”.

It made a huge impact on my system, might be due to the LInksys WiFi mesh network switching capabilities.

I have encountered however a bit of puzzling situation. When installing the Cisco switch, i wired it directly from the network wall socket and then connected the Linksys to 2960. And then just out of curiosity, well, it did kill the cat, wondered if connected it differently would alter SQ. So i wired the Linksys directly from the network wall socket and then connected the 2960 to Linksys, and to my surprise, the SQ dropped. Is there a technical reason for this?

I have a standard ISP provided fiber network modem.

I think that is one for @Simon-in-Suffolk to perhaps try and understand, i am sure he will pop up some time today.

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Thanks @Gazza, @Hani, there could 101 reasons for this I am afraid… and some of the influence of the Linksys might be going via the mains from the Linksys powersupply…

As you have suggested here, there is no advantage to cascading the switches… so at least you know what sounds good :grinning:

Thanks @Simon-in-Suffolk, strange how fiddling around pays off somehow.

I am going to test removing completely the Linksys Wifi mesh and replace it with a previous TP-LINK AD7200 gaming router and see if this will have any effect on SQ. It will be rather surprising if it does.


if i am not mistaken the link is supposed to be :

laptop (running upnp) -> router -> cisco switch (with the nas) -> streamer

so will the upnp running on the laptop read the data from the nas through the switch/router and send the data back to the streamer through the router/switch?

if so, seems like a roundabout way of doing things?

Also even if the switch is a gigabit one, then unless the ports on the laptop/router are gigabit ones as well, then will that not be a bottleneck?

UPnP servers do not need to run on the same hardware as the storage device. Most people do so for convenience on a NAS, but the server will scan the network for available music folders. The HDX and Unitiserve, for example, had variants with no internal storage, and some people claimed that they sounded better than the models with built in storage. Lots of people run the Roon server on a separate device from their storage too.
As for 100MB Ethernet, it’s not a bottleneck, as it’s easily enough to cope with music streams, including hires. All Naim streamers have 100MB ports.

i was looking at a 2960-CG. I do not have a NAS but only an external hard drive.

I thought I could connect the external hard drive to the usb port in the switch.

But apparently according to the cisco manual the maximum capacity for the typa A usb drive is 1 GB!!!

BTW do NAS connect to 2960 using ethernet?

You can connect a NAS to the switch, or to a switch port on your router You can not connect a USB drive to the switch.

A USB port on a switch, will be either for configuring/controlling the switch configuration (like serial ports since times past…); and at most for any firmware/log/… handling - if the switch could do something “for the user” with the port, it would advertise as a NAS-with-switch / switch-with-NAS or something.

NAS is simply networked attache’d storage… that is a file structure of files like on a disk file system, but accessed via the network.
The UPnP media server groups media files from various locations, and processes the files so they can can be sent as a media format suitable for network streamers.
You can put the media servers on NAS for simple setups, but if you had multiple NAS you might want to centralise your UPnP media servers on a mini server.

There is no bottle neck using 100 Mbps ports. 192/24/2 WAV streams are approx 10 Mbps… about 10% of the 100 Mbps of the link bandwidth available… or approx just over 20% if reading a 192/24/2 based media file from elsewhere, and converting that into a media stream.

Yes you connect your NAS to your LAN using Ethernet … which could be your 2960 if physically convenient.

By moving from router (it was Linksys when i started the thread, now is it ASUS) to NDX2 and Core, now it is ASUS router to Cisco switch and then Cisco switch to both NDX2 and Core. This has brought considerable sound quality improvement.

can anybody confirm the below pls ?

laptop with upnp and external hardrive -> switch -> streamer

there is no router in this link.

can the streamer see the files on the hardrive.

Appreciate it if somebody could confirm this. Thanks.

BTW does the switch need to be configured in a setup as above with only the laptop on one end and the streamer on the other?

You need to ensure you have a UPnP media server running somewhere; on a PC or NAS for example.
The UPnP media server mounts the music files and indexes and sorts them… and converts the files into streamable media. It’s the UPnP media server that the streamer looks for and uses.
Naim UPnP media servers include the Uniti Core.
Other third party servers include Asset and MinimServer.

BTW basic switches need no setup, they simply allow two or more devices to communicate with each other as an Ethernet network… nothing more, nothing less.

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