Cisco 2960L setup


Just bought a second-hand Cisco 2960L switch on eBay. I asked the seller to do a full reset, but after hooking it up to my Mac via, I get a password prompt for "Level 15 access." (Sounds a bit sinister if you ask me.)

I've tried several mode button resets as per Cisco's instructions, but the problem persists. Any tips? Alas, I don't have any Windows or IoS devices.

Thanks in advance. 



Original Post

That's not unusual - try it, see if it works as Chrissu says. Most likely it'll be fine.

If it doesn't you'll need a console cable and to enter a few commands to set the Level_15 access. I've got 2x 2960 (original and gigabit replacement) and one was fine, the other needed the Level_15 access setting before I could fiddle.

Thanks for the input. Yes, I did try plug 'n' play out of the box, but failed to connect to anything. My 2960 hails from Japan which is local-ish (I'm in Thailand) and cost a fair bit more than £20! Hopefully still a bargain though.

I'll fiddle with it again tomorrow; worst case I'll find a local shop to a console / command reset.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

 yes all the 8 port variants are fanless and silent and it is these I have recommended before.

It is ◾Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L◾,.. which is tested and rewritten here on the forum for over two years.

"Simon in Suffolk" and others,have written thousands of posts and advice on this switch.
◾It is rewritten in improving the soundquality.

Why go some then and buy a Cisco with fan for £20:-,or a Netgear for £15:- instead,..I honestly do not understand that...and this is not the first time it happens.
Especially when considering what your music-systems cost.
Well then it will be a bit ridiculous.
Surely it cannot be so crazy that you are miserly,..with such an important component in your music-system.

Personally,I bought from a firm with a guarantee,and a 26 step Control-program for each Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L.
It cost a bit more,..£50:- more for each Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L.
 But,..I know it's a product in mint condition I install in my expensive music-system.

I get a little pensive,..What are you doing.?

/Peder 🤔


thanks for that input Peder...I was not sure on the merits of a separate switch when the BT hub is fine, so did not want to spend a whole load and the 2960 seemed a good deal. I only really need to expand the port numbers  and the cisco is going back for a refund. If i find the netgear is detrimental then again i can move that on also.  Not sure why you think i'm being miserly, its my money and if a separate switch brings no benefits over the homehub then I've not lost.

I think the point is that if you want to benefit from the possible sound improvement of a 2960, a silent, fanless 8 port one is still pretty cheap on the used market at around £50, given that a new one will set you back several hundred. You may get the same benefit from the larger one if you can locate it out of earshot,  as long as the streamer is connected directly to it, not via a different switch. 

With the older streamers, there is definite benefit to having the very stable physical layer clock and lower electrical interference potential of a better quality switch such as a Cisco 'Catalyst series' switch (including the 29xx series).  The benefit with the new streamers is, at the moment, less well categorised as is seems they maybe somewhat better isolated from the quality of the network connection

The switch is just one element in optimising the network to minimise the electrical interference in the streamer.
The better optimised other components are [e.g. mains supply, Ethernet cables (N.B. cost is no indicator at all of how well any particular cable will help with this in any particular individual installation), source file quality (MP3, FLAC, WAVE, HiRes WAVE), environmental factors etc.] the more obvious the differences that can be heard when optimising any one less optimal component.

Ran the 2960 through another reset and this time it was happy to connect without any ominous messages about Level 15.

It's now switching away nicely and also doubling as a room heater (not that I need one). Maybe a fan-equipped 2960 would have made more sense?

Does it sound better than the basic D-Link switch it replaced? Tentatively I'll say yes. Think I picked up extra vocal detail on a couple of tracks. More listening required.

Hoping to pick up a new 250 DR this weekend (replacing my ancient 110). Expect this acquisition to have a more dramatic effect on SQ : )



I recently bought a Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L and didn't ecxpect too much after I tried a different much recommended switch before. But actually I found the Cisco Switch is really nicely cleaning up the sound and I'm sure my system never sounded as good before! I'm very happy with it and I want to say thank you to everyone who contributed to the numerous threads and especially to Simon-in-Suffolk who started this all.

I have one question (forgive me if it was answered before): For now I have the 2960 sitting next to my audio system, so the cable between switch and streamer can be quite short. The main central switch which makes the heart of my network in the house and which distributes all the cables into the different rooms is situated two floors lower in the cellar. It's a cheap TP-Link TL-SG108 switch and just beneath it there is a NAS which holds all the music. So data stream goes from NAS to TP-Link and then through a long run of cable to the living room with Cisco 2960. Would I get the same results if I would replace the TP-Link with the Cisco Switch and use it as the central switch exclusively? That would remove one more component (the Cisco) from the living room (that would be welcome) – on the other hand, there would be a number of meters of network cable more between Cisco switch and streamer than before. Has anyone the experience to say if long runs of network cable degrades soundquality? Is it essential to have the Cisco 2960 as close to the audio system as possible?

Best regards


The way I read it, Stefan is suggesting replacing his other switch with the Cisco, but still running a direct cable from it to his streamer, so I guess he will still be OK - as long as the longer cable run is still OK, which I imagine it would be. To my mind, it's always nice to eliminate any superfluous hardware, especially if it might have a noisy PSU, so probably worth a try.

ChrisSU posted:

To my mind, it's always nice to eliminate any superfluous hardware, especially if it might have a noisy PSU, so probably worth a try.

That's what I've done. Initially I had the NAS and N272 wired to the Cisco switch via short (0.75m) leads. Relocating the NAS upstream (other end of the room next to my router) seems to have marginally improved streaming SQ. 

Removing the Synology's nasty-looking PSU from the same outlet that feeds the Naim boxes seems a likely explanation. Fewer cables and (non-Naim) boxes are also welcome, esp. with my gear placed between the speakers.

At some point I'll drill through a wall so both the Cisco switch and NAS can be located in another room.



Yes, ideally when one is considering electrical noise and extraneous RF noise there are slight advantages in having longer slightly lossy Ethernet cables... ie Cat5e can sound better than say Cat7 in some cases, especially when directly connected between switch and streamer... obviously there are huge variations in cables.. and not all 5e cables at all ‘sound’ the same, and some are STP or UTP.. however it’s cable diameters that are key here.. and 5e and 6 cable diameters are smaller than 6A and 7 and therefore more lossy. Lossy is better for shorter distances for coupled noise.

With regard to the Cisco Catalyst switch.. the main benefit sonically, assuming you hear a benefit, is when it directly connected to your streamer.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Yes, Chrissu got it right – the idea was to swap the other switch with the Cisco. For several reasons, I did not do it:

1) With the Cisco in the cellar (where the TP Link switch is now) , there would be a number of cables, plugs and inlets between switch and streamer compared to only one cable with the two corresponding interfaces in the present setup, where the Cisco switch is as close as can be to the streamer.

2) As central switch in the house the Cisco would have to handle all the other traffic that is going around in our house too. Now it exclusively manages the audio stream and nothing else, so in a way it is isolated from the rest. Probably setting priorities for audio stream via QoS settings might address this when acting as central switch for everything, but I'm not capable enough to do this. Also I would fear that the much heavier traffic load might also stress the PSU resulting in noise and more work for the PHY chip.

3) I guess a general purpose switch should have all Gigabit ports so I would have to go for the much more expensive recent Ciscos.

4) I asked two dealers that sell the "audiophile" Aqvox Switch how they would implement their switch in my configuration – substituting the existing central switch or adding it as close as possible to the streamer. Both independenlty from each other clearly suggested the latter.

So I'm going to leave it as is...

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