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1960 Stacking Guide

By Greg_Weaver posted 09-06-2023 10:58 AM


Created by: Aruba Instant On Community Team

Aruba Instant On 1960 switches are great scalable solutions for businesses with higher bandwidth needs. When your business needs to connect more devices, you can expand your network by “stacking” multiple 1960 switches.


Stacking switches together allows you to easily add network capacity to support more wireless access points, printers, surveillance cameras, servers, and desktops. Stacking also makes your network more reliable so you don’t have to worry about applications slowing down or network outages disrupting your business.


Why stack switches?


  1. It’s simpler: With stacking, multiple physical switches are connected together and behave like a single, larger switch. As many as four 1960 switches can be combined into a stack, but you can still manage them as if they were one single switch. You can manage the stack locally using a web GUI or remotely using the Aruba Instant On mobile app or cloud portal.


  1. It's more reliable: If one switch in the stack fails, the other switches automatically pick up the work. The network might slow down a bit, but your business will keep running until the switch can be replaced.


  1. It’s more flexible: Buy what you need now, and as your business grows, easily add more switches to support more applications and devices.



You have two convenient ways to configure, manage and monitor a 1960 switch stack: the traditional method of local stacking or the newer method – cloud-managed stacking.


Local stacking – You can build, manage, and monitor your stack using a web management GUI. To do so, your PC or workstation must be connected to the 1960 switch or the network to manage the stack.


To build a local stack, connect one switch to your PC and configure the stacking ports and unit ID numbers (if desired). Then repeat that process with the other switches in the stack.


Once the stacking ports are configured on all of the switches, you connect the cables and reboot the switches. They will come up as a single logical device with one management IP address.


Behind the scenes, the stack will be formed with the conductor and stack members. The conductor and backup are selected from unit IDs 1 and 2. We recommend specifying the unit IDs so that the stack uses the same ID during a reboot. If you do not specify the unit ID, it will be assigned automatically.




Cloud-managed stacking – Cloud-managed stacking allows you to remotely configure, manage, and monitor the stack from anywhere you have an internet connection. You do that using the Instant On cloud-based web portal or the Instant On mobile app.


To build a stack, connect the switch members in a ring or chain topology. Connect any switch to the internet and wait until you see the cloud LEDs alternate green and amber to indicate the switches are reachable from the Instant On cloud portal.


If you connect the switches in a ring topology and onboard to cloud portal, the stack is automatically discovered. If you connect the switches in a chain topology, then you must create the stack manually. An easier way is to pull out the orange luggage tag from the front panel of the switch and scan the QR code with the Instant On mobile app, which will onboard the entire stack.


From there, the cloud portal will assign and configure the conductor, backup and stack members. The conductor will be determined based on the switch used for the internet uplink, which you can later change if needed.


Whether you use the local GUI or the cloud portal, you can add more switches to the stack (up to four) without disrupting the network.


Monitoring your stack


It’s easy to monitor the switch stack to make sure the network is running smoothly.


Aruba Instant On 1960 switches have a stack LED (labelled “Stk”) so you can see at a glance if the operation is normal or if there’s a fault condition. When you are troubleshooting, you can easily locate a switch or stack and understand their role they play in the stack from the web GUI or mobile app.


Note that if you use cloud-managed stacking, the switches will work normally even without an internet connection. The internet connection is only necessary to configure, change or monitor the stack, not for the operation of the stack itself.


Replacing a switch


If a switch in the stack fails, the other switches will take over without disruption to your users. If the conductor switch fails, the backup switch will take its place.


To replace a switch, simply unplug it and remove it. Then you configure the replacement switch and connect it into the stack, and the switch will become part of the stack operations. Note that if the conductor switch fails, then the new switch typically takes on the role of the backup switch. In case of cloud-managed stacking, just follow “replace” workflow, which will make life easy.





Upgrading a switch


One big convenience of cloud-managed stacking is that your switch software is always up-to-date. When new switch software is available, the switch will sync with the Aruba Instant On portal. The software can be updated automatically or you can choose your preferred time for the update.


Blazing fast and wicked smart


Aruba Instant On makes networking incredibly simple so you can focus on your customers and growing your business, not managing technology. We hope we answered your questions about setting up and managing an Instant On stack, and we encourage you share your insights and expertise with your peers on our community.  


Want to learn how to manage and stack 1960 switches in greater detail? Read the 1960 switch configuration guide. 

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