Test Results And Conclusion
Benchmarks were run using IxChariot, and graphs are shown with averages. There were four different types of results gathered during the testing: straight cable, point to point, bidirectional and mesh. Be sure to read our How We Test Ethernet Switches article for more in-depth details on our testing procedures, and if you're interested, take a look at the Unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet Switch Roundup, which compares other competing switches.
The straight cable results were gathered by connecting the server and client to each other with a patch cable, thus excluding a switch. Point-to-point results were generated by connecting the server and client to each switch and passing information from the server to the client. Bi-directional testing involved connecting the server and client to the switch, and passing data between both at the same time. Mesh testing results came from conducting a test with three pairs: endpoint to endpoint, endpoint to server, and server to endpoint.
The straight-cable testing creates a baseline we can compare to our other results once the switch is introduced to the network. As we can see, the endpoints utilize most of the 1 Gb/s connection.
In point-to-point testing, the SE4008 keeps pace with other unmanaged switches. The results are fairly consistent across the field, as all of these contenders easily handle the traffic load of just two endpoints.
The switches are not burdened in the least, and even though they create an obstacle for the data to pass through, that extra device does not affect performance significantly. With only two endpoints on the switch, the SE4008 does not need to reference many entries in its table nor dedicate much processing power to routing information where it needs to go.
Again, the SE4008 posts results similar to those of the other switches. The performance differences can possibly be attributed to the unique hardware platforms inside each switch. Despite any outliers, the averages were similar between the products. So, in a real-world arrangement that mimics the bi-directional test, there shouldn't be a discernible difference.
The mesh testing reveals some interesting results. When the switches are loaded with traffic, they start to stand apart from each other. The products do sport similar features, such as buffer sizes and table entries. However, the Netgear features a larger memory buffer, which might be associated with the GS308's consistently better results. Linksys' SE4008 posts decent numbers, even when it's loaded down with traffic.
These slower numbers (at least compared to the point-to-point and bi-directional tests) could again be attributed to each switch's SoC. Once the devices are hit with data, there are more packets to process and pass along, consuming resources and resulting in longer processing times.
Response time is consistent across all of the products. Really, any difference between them is negligible.
With so many options armed with similar features and performance—such as the Netgear GS308, ZyXEL GS-108B and Amped Wireless G8SW—it's hard to justify Linksys' price premium on the SE4008 WRT, particularly if you are not planning to stack it with a compatible router like the WRT1900ACS. It certainly doesn't earn a recommendation based on value. But if the aesthetic aspect is important enough to you and you're looking for a good unmanaged switch, the SE4008 is still a respectable choice.