Introduction to stack management

Stacking feature is available on 3810M switches. Ring, chain, and mesh topologies are supported these switches. For information on stacking topologies, see the ArubaOS-Switch Installation and Getting Started Guide corresponding to your switch.

For more information about the supported power supplies on 3810M switches, see the Power over Ethernet (PoE/PoE+) Planning and Implementation Guide for your switch.

You cannot stack a 3810M with 5400R switch. You can only stack similar switches (For example, a 3810 with another 3810). When you stack a 3810M running 16.xx software release with another 5400R switch running 15.xx software release, the following error messages are displayed:

  • Found switch running an older version of the stacking protocol. 
    Upgrade the switch to the  same version as the commander or greater to 
    join the stack.
  • Received stacking packet with incompatible version.

The above error messages are also displayed when you stack a 3810 running 16.xx software release with another 3810 running 15.xx software release.

When a 3810M switch is upgraded to 16.xx software release and stacked with another 5400R running 16.xx, an error message saying “Found unsupported switch with mac and product type. Connected to switch with mac on stack port” is displayed on both the switches.


This feature is different from the stacking feature that is implemented on some other networking switches. The other feature is implemented via the front-panel networking cables and it does not have the high bandwidth and redundancy features of the 5400 or 3810M stacking.

The stacking feature for the 3810M switches allows you to connect up to 10 switches and have them act as a single high-bandwidth switch for both data and management.

One switch in the stack is designated as “Commander” and one switch is elected to be the “Standby”. The other switches are designated “Member”. The Commander is responsible for the overall management of the stack. The Standby provides redundancy for the stack and takes over stack management operations if the Commander fails, or if a Commander failover is forced by an administrator. The Members are not part of the overall stack management, however, they must manage their local subsystems and ports to operate correctly as part of the stack. The Commander and Standby are also responsible for their own local subsystems and ports.

Switch Stack Management (stacking) enables you to use a single IP address and standard network cabling to manage a group of up to 10 total switches in the same IP subnet (broadcast domain). Using stacking for these switches enables you to:
  • Simplify management of small workgroups or wiring closets while scaling your network to handle increased bandwidth demand.

  • Add switches to your network without having to first perform IP addressing tasks.

  • Reduce the number of IP addresses needed in your network.

  • Reduce downtime with high availability in the event of a failure.


In the default configuration, stacking is enabled on these switches. However, if a 3810M switch is powered on and it does not have a Stacking Module installed, stacking is disabled. If a Stacking Module is subsequently installed in the switch, stacking must be enabled from the switch CLI (in the configuration context) by entering the following command:

switch(config)# stacking enable