Cisco Catalyst 2960 and wireless streaming question

Hi all - first post so bear with me.

This forum has endorsed the Cisco Catalyst 2960 as a way of improving music playback (it re-clocks the data or something).

I stream over wireless and already have a dedicated wireless router in the guise of an ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 - connected to the standard (but their more advanced game changing) Talk Talk router.

So the chain of connectivity is thus: Talk Talk --> ASUS RT-AC86U --> Auralic Aries Mini.

Where in that chain do I insert the Cisco 2960 for the most improvement (if any). Would it be between the Talk Talk router and the ASUS wireless router?


I would say put the 2960 between the ASUS and the Auralic Aries. If you are going wired though I am not sure you need the ASUS router in the chain at all, unless it has other functions.

If you’re going to continue streaming wirelessly then I can’t really see the point of adding the Cisco switch.


I assumed the OP was moving to wired connection.

Of course if he wants to stay wireless the Cisco 2960 will be as much use aa a chocolate teapot.

Glowinthedark, I would recommend you get a 2960 that has had a factory reset done and get a couple lengths of CatSnake 6a streaming cable with floating shields (you can order these from Designacable on line) to make the following chain:

Talk Talk router>Cisco 2960>Auralic Aries Mini

If all you want to do is optimise your streaming SQ, you don’t need the second ASUS router and a wired connection with a switch will sound better than WiFi.

If you are using wireless connections then almost certainly (unless your wifi access point is exceedingly straightforward) there is no benefit in adding a switch like a Cisco 2960.
If instead you want to switch over to Ethernet connectivity, then you would connect your streamer to the Cisco 2960 switch.

BTW all switches effectively store and forward the data frame (what you call reclock)… the betterment can come from the quality and stability of the physical layer modulation clock used in the switch. Less noise here means less noise modulated into the physical Ethernet serial lines, which means less noise potentially coupled into the streamer.

Thanks all - I can certainly see this is a very responsive forum.

I’m going to be sticking with wireless connectivity so, as you say, the Cisco will be no good in arranged in the first scenario - but here’s another arrangement idea …

Talk Talk router >> ASUS router >> wireless stream >> Wireless Bridge (not repeater) >> Cisco 2960 >> Auralic Mini (via Ethernet, by way of the bridge).

With the second arrangement - I could disable the Wi-Fi in the Mini which may improves matters anyway - and experience less noise modulated from the physical Ethernet cable into the Mini via the Cisco. Furthermore, if I had a PoE enabled Cisco 2960 - I could power a wireless bridge which supports PoE connectivity.

The reason I like the ASUS router is the better quality Wi-Fi; I only have 5GHz enabled on the ASUS and 2.4GHz enabled on the Talk Talk router for the rest of the family. So I keep dedicated uninterrupted Wi-Fi processing for my Hi-Fi.

I don’t understand the desire to stay wireless, unless there is some physical impediment in your home that prohibits wired connection.

An ethernet wired solution will (should) outperform WiFi connections.

1 Like

Actually looking into this further - I’m optimising (or trying to optimise) my networking environment for streaming - I’m only streaming using Tidal and nothing else.

Tidal uses TCP (in 2017 Roon RAAT moved from UDP to TCP for good sound reasons) - and TCP is a connection oriented protocol that does a checksum calculation to ensure all IP packet are in order for the buffer of the equipment playback device (in my case the Auralic Mini).

Knowing that the music stream arrives perfectly to the Mini (wireless or Ethernet, it matters not) - the only positive influence a better switch can give is reduced electrical noise to the connected music streamer.

Wireless as a medium will not cause issues with the orderly arrival of IP packets because Tidal uses TCP, so the only thing wireless can do to hurt is perhaps spray RFI all over the insides of the Mini. But if I migrate the wireless functionality from inside the Mini’s enclosure to the outside and across to a Wi-Fi bridge (connected to the Cisco) that will allow a wireless connection to work without the detrimental influences of RFI in the box.

If you say so, but the majority of folk on here, I believe, would agree that wired sounds better than WiFi.

1 Like

That’s fine - I’m just trying to work out the logic then implement accordingly.

Nigel is talking a lot of sense. Wired (usually) sounds better than wireless. The suggestion of a wireless bridge connected to a 2960 and then to the Aries is a good one if you can’t go fully wired between your main router and the proposed 2960.

Out of interest, what is the rest of the system ?

Using a wireless access point of some sort, connected to the same switch as your streamer, is a tried and tested way to get reliable performance from the streamer if you can’t wire it all the way back to your router. Some of the early Naim streamers had very poor WiFi performance, and this was a standard workaround. If you have a local music store/server, that can be wired to the same switch so that there is no wireless leg at all. For streaming Tidal etc. at least you can choose WiFi hardware of your choice for best performance if the streamer can’t handle it well.

Aries Mini - Metrum Octave 2 DAC - Croft 25 pre / Croft 7 Power - Role Audio Enterprise SE loudspeakers.

That’s a nice setup. Well worth trying your proposed 2960 and wireless bridge.

This is a Naim forum so I can also admit I have a couple of classic Naim amps too :slight_smile:

1 Like

I was just talking to dCS about their bridge solution - their response indicated that Wi-Fi or not - if you only stream from Tidal - Tidal (like Netflix) is TCP - and packets from TCP arrive perfectly and in order to the buffers of the Streamer.

Poor Wi-Fi performance then is likely to be caused by internal RFI caused by in-the-box Wi-Fi solutions - which therefore mean by using a Wi-Fi bridge which is Wi-Fi outside of the box, you are on equal footing with Ethernet - i.e. data gets to the Streamer perfectly and in order when using TCP based solutions like Tidal.

There is actually a good video from a Spotify engineer and one of the founders of the Internet explaining TCP. If you are interested, I highly recommend it!

I can’t post a link from here yet - but search for youtube The Internet: Packets, Routing & Reliability

Personally, I have already tried something like that, it does not help at all in my case. It has to be wired all the way in the context of my system.

I guess it depends on how good Wi-Fi is in your home - if you get dropouts no Wi-Fi solution is going to work properly. If Wi-Fi is working without any issues then all music data will arrive perfectly to the streamer’s buffer and therefore is a perfect music stream ready to the DAC.

Wi-Fi housekeeping for a streamer would possibly be: keep it out of the music box, don’t use the switch mode psu with the wireless device in case it’s polluting the mains, and architect good Wi-Fi in the home. Then there is nothing to stop Wi-Fi getting in the way of the Hi-Fi.

Remember wireless bridges using ethernet to the streamer and media server on the other side of the bridge is not an optimum setup for a Naim streamer.
The Naim streamer adjusts its network communication parameters based on whether its ethernet or wireless connected - and it will get it wrong if the media transport has the dynamics of a wireless link - but is seen as an ethernet connection.

I don’t doubt that you are technically correct on this, although I think it’s still a valid option for some. It’s a setup that has worked for some forum members - for example, my own first experience of a Naim streamer was a Superuniti, which was entirely incapable of reliable wireless operation via an Airport Extreme just a few metres away. Wiring the streamer to an Airport Express and allowing the Apple gear to handle the wireless bridge sorted the problem to the point that I could reliably stream up to 24/96. Then of course there’s the option to put the server over the bridge too, so that’s one less thing for the WiFi to handle.
(I did, of course, eventually pull my finger out and run wires through the house, and would still recommend anyone to do the same.)