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Time: September 30th, 2023
This article focuses on stack meaning , its applications, and how it impacts a network. 
Consider yourself a network administrator who needs to set up a LAN in an office complex with multiple floors. There will be a lot of access layer switches, and you will need to configure nearly identical configurations on each switch individually. Switches are located in a wiring closet in the real world. The wiring nearest places them close to one another. The stack master is one of the switches and is in charge of all stack-related actions. Members of the stack include the stack master and the other switches. It presents the entire switch stack to the network as a single device. Setting up every switch could be difficult and time-consuming. Therefore, a switch feature called stacking was introduced to address these situations. This article explains stack meaning in detail, its basics, and other related concepts. 
What is Stacking in Networking?
The term "switch stacking" refers to a method of connecting networking switches. The word "stack" (or stackable) in networking describes a collection of physical switches that have been connected to form a single logical switch. Switches positioned in a wiring closet are combined using this feature to handle these situations. Network engineers can create a stack of switches using this capability and a single wiring closure. Stacking features have changed over time from being a premium (and expensive) feature to becoming a core functionality of practically all enterprise-grade switches (as well as in numerous SMB models).
The many units of stacked switches are connected such that they function as if they were a single unit. With this configuration, you may quickly increase your network's capacity without having to handle each switch separately. It is simple to stack switches that are made for stacking, which saves time and effort when planning and carrying out network administration.
In stacking switches, the stack is often constructed using cables that link each switch in a certain architecture. Those wires are attached to particular switches' posts based on the stacking method. One method is backplane stacking in which particular stacking modules are utilized with particular cables and are often located on the back of switches. Another one is front-plane stacking in which the stack is often built using normal Ethernet ports and cables.
With stacking, users can increase their network capacity using stacking without having to deal with the complexity of managing numerous devices. A stack's overall performance is unaffected by the addition or removal of stackable switches as needed. 
How Stacking Works?
So now we know stack meaning , let's dive into its working. A typical network stack is made up of various "layers". Each of these layers serves a particular purpose but together, these layers make it possible for data to be sent between devices effectively. In the network stack, each layer depends on the layer below it to carry out its tasks and serves the layer above it. These layers of the network stack are used to transmit data, and as it moves through each layer, it gains new information. This method is termed as encapsulation. The extra information is removed from the data once it reaches its destination, a procedure known as decapsulation. This procedure enables the data to be transmitted over several networks and to be read by various devices.
Applications of Stacking:
The most significant one is that devices can connect more effectively and dependably thanks to network stacks, which offer a standardized method for network communication. Network stacks aid in ensuring accurate and effective data transmission by segmenting communication into several tiers of switches making the entire network more stable and efficient. Moreover, developers can create network applications by utilizing the well-defined collection of protocols and services provided by network stacks. By eliminating the need to create their communication protocols, developers can concentrate on creating apps that use the network stack as a result of this standardization.
This article explained stack meaning in networking, its related concepts, and applications in network environments. This tech offers a less expensive alternative to the typical solution of modular switches and offers comparable scalability and more flexibility as well. Depending on the implementation, resilience, and performance may differ.

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