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Stacking vs Trunking


When building a Just Add Power audio/video network with more than one switch, these requirements must be met:

  • Audio/video signals must be in a separate VLAN from the data network
  • VLAN management must be maintained between switches
  • Bandwidth between switches must be 500Mbps per Transmitter in the system
    • 10Gbps (minimum) recommended

There are two ways to join switches together that meet these requirements:

  1. Stacking
  2. Trunking

Switches tend to support one option or the other; it is rare to see a switch that supports both options.

Historically, Just Add Power has supported stacking topology. With the retirement of stacking switches, we are expanding our support for trunked switch topologies; trunked switch topologies will be ready in January 2022.

For now, see our full list of supported stacked switches here.


How It Works

Stacking connects multiple switches together and treats them as one large switch:

  • One IP address
  • One configuration file
  • One management interface

One switch - the Primary or Master - holds the switch configuration for all switches. Each switch in the stack is assigned a Stack ID (SID).

Switch Connections

Switches can be connected in a Line or Ring topology. The extra connection to turn a Line into a Ring is for redundancy only; it does NOT provide additional bandwidth. Maximum 10Gb connectivity between switches.

The ports connecting the switches together do not need any configuration; any data input to one switch is available to all switches in the stack.

Port Identification

Ports on the switches are identified by stack/port notation - for example, 2/12 refers to SID2, Port 12.


All switches in the stack MUST be the same model.

If a switch is faulty, the replacement switch only needs to be assigned the SID of the switch it is replacing. It will function exactly as the original.

If the Primary switch fails, one of the Secondary switches becomes the Primary until the Primary can be replaced.


How It Works

Trunking connects any number of switches while allowing the switches to remain separate entities:

  • Each switch has its own IP address
  • Each switch has its own configuration file
  • Each switch has its own management interface

Switch Connections

Switches can be connected in Line, Ring, Star, or any hybrid of these topologies.

Multiple connections between the same two switches can be joined together into a Link Aggregation Group (LAG) to increase the bandwidth between those switches. For example, connecting two 10Gb ports between switches provides 20Gb of connectivity.

Each connection between switches is independently configurable. All traffic can be allowed everywhere, or some traffic can be prevented from moving to one switch while being allowed to go to another switch.

Port Identification

Because each switch has its own management interface, ports are referenced the same way as they are on any single switch.


Switches in a trunk network can be any model, size, or manufacturer.

If a switch is faulty, the config file for the faulty switch needs to be uploaded to the replacement switch.

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  • 20-Sep-2022