Most Dell PowerConnect switches today include a stacking feature that allows multiple switches to operate as a single unit. These stacks include up to six Dell PowerConnect 8132/8132F/8164/8164F switches in any combination, use up to four links between stack members and use any port type on the front panel to create these links.

A single switch in the stack (known as the Master switch) manages all the units in the stack and uses a single IP address, which allows the user to manage every port in the stack from this one address. This IP address is copied from the Master to the Standby when the Standby is created. If for any reason the Master fails and the Standby takes over as Master, the IP address of the stack remains the same, allowing continuous management of the stack.

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new Master unit also continues to use the original Master unit’s Media Access Control (MAC) addresses, which help to reduce disruptions to the network. When a failed Master rejoins the stack, it does so as a member (not a Master) unless a new Master has not had time to be elected.

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Dell PowerConnect 8132, 8132F, 8164 and 8164F series switches can be mixed in any combination within a stack.