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Unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet Switch Round-Up

Conclusion

Netgear GS308

Netgear GS308

Reasonable size • Metal construction • Solid build • Integration of link / activity lights on switch ports • Strong benchmarks • Lowest average price
No SoC heat sink (no observable heat issues)

Netgear GS308

Amped Wireless G8SW

Amped Wireless G8SW

Metal body construction • Wall-mounting option • Heat sink on SoC
No integrated link / activity lights • Weak Mesh benchmarks

Amped Wireless G8SW

ZyXEL GS-108B

ZyXEL GS-108B

Great aesthetics with silver-colored body • Metal construction • Wall-mounting option • Strong Point-to-Point benchmarks • SoC mounted with heat sink
Link/Activity lights not integrated into switch port • Edges of metal body could be a bit more rounded • Leftover construction material residing internally • Lesser fit and finish than competition • Weak Mesh benchmarks

ZyXEL GS-108B

Final Thoughts

Given the number of unmanaged switches out there, it's hard to pick the right one. But with some benchmark data to lean on and a lot of feature parity between the models we reviewed, you shouldn't expect many surprises.

With that said, we believe that Netgear's GS308 offers the best performance for your money. Its benchmark results were generally the strongest, its Ethernet ports face the front, facilitating more installation options, and its memory buffer is the largest. Impressively, it's also the most affordable option in our round-up. As a result, the GS308 emerges as our top choice.

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Eric Bliss is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware.

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  • dealcorn
    Gigabyte ethernet switches often run 24/7. Power consumption data should have been measured.
    Reply
  • Aslan7
    Useful info to have, but there's a lot more switches out there than this. 8 port switches are only big enough for the living room.

    TV
    Blueray player
    2 consoles
    Streaming media player
    Audio amplifier
    Home theater PC

    8 port barely does it for the living room. We need some reviews of 16 and 24 port gigabit switches for the home, plus I'm sick and tired of gigabit and want 10GBE already, but all of the equipment seems horrifically expensive or has flaky drivers.

    What' is good in 10GBE both adapters and switches?
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Useful info to have, but there's a lot more switches out there than this. 8 port switches are only big enough for the living room.

    TV
    Blueray player
    2 consoles
    Streaming media player
    Audio amplifier
    Home theater PC

    8 port barely does it for the living room. We need some reviews of 16 and 24 port gigabit switches for the home, plus I'm sick and tired of gigabit and want 10GBE already, but all of the equipment seems horrifically expensive or has flaky drivers.

    What' is good in 10GBE both adapters and switches?
    For 16 and 24 port switches you are going to find the same: Netgear is so far beyond the competition, and so much cheaper than anything out there, that is amazes me that anyone else makes cheap unmanaged switches. Unless you need a cheap managed switch, there just are not any other real options on the market.

    For 10GbE switches, as far as I can tell there aren't any good cheap consumer items on the market yet. There is a flood of 'cheap' used profesional equipment available... but even then you are looking at $1-200 per adapter, and ~$1K for a switch, and typically not in great condition... and because it is pro equipment you have to do a bit of research to get it working properly.
    10GbE 'is coming' but I think we are still a few years out from seeing normal consumer 'plug and play' equipment, and a few more years before it becomes affordable.
    Reply
  • Onus
    This makes me glad I chose a Netgear switch for my motherboard LAN adapter throughput testing. The differences are very small, but might make a difference.
    Reply
  • Rookie_MIB
    Right now you can get 10GbE adapters for your computer for a reasonable price for used equipment ($20-$50), it really is the switches which are ridiculous. Overall though for the most part, it's only some fringe use cases where a home user might need 10GbE ethernet.

    First - unless you have some insane connection to the outside world, the most you can really get right now as far as internet speeds is 1Gb anyhow. That becomes your choke point.

    Next, overall, video is the most demanding when it comes to traffic, and the average bitrate requirement for 4k streaming comes in somewhere around 15Mbit. Doing the math, that means an average 1Gbit connection could support about 60 concurrent streams. Your average home WON'T be doing that. Honestly, a small apartment complex wouldn't even hit that.

    Now, who knows what the future will bring, perhaps some killer app might require that kind of bandwidth, but right now it's not here for the majority of the people. That doesn't mean that we should stop developing and investing in increased bandwidth, but right now 10GbE is a bit over the top for a home network.
    Reply
  • SirGCal
    17330928 said:
    Useful info to have, but there's a lot more switches out there than this. 8 port switches are only big enough for the living room.

    8 port barely does it for the living room. We need some reviews of 16 and 24 port gigabit switches for the home, plus I'm sick and tired of gigabit and want 10GBE already, but all of the equipment seems horrifically expensive or has flaky drivers.

    What' is good in 10GBE both adapters and switches?

    I agree. I personally went with a Cisco SG100-16 for only $109 at the time (Amazon), but it hasn't changed much either. Up now, down later, etc. Like everything on the net.

    I do have some 10G gear myself but it's easier just to do some port ganging, teaming or aggregation. But that requires a different switch yet again. Wee... But then also you'd burn through ports faster.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    How is the lack of heatsink a 'con' when there is no significant heat even without one? If no heatsink is necessary to keep temperatures reasonable, putting a heatsink in is just a waste of material and an unnecessary cost since it won't improve performance or reliability in any way.
    Reply
  • tsnor
    (1) Good test. Really nice to see data confirming we should just buy whatever switch is on sale.
    (2) would have been nice to see a large file transfer done 3 times using one switch to get the variance and then done for all switches just to confirm that the micro benchmarks (which say we won't see a difference) are accurate.
    (2) I did not see what was measured for response time. Maybe I missed it. Interesting to note most SSDs can deliver 4K of data in roughly the same time as the measured 'response time'
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    How is the lack of heatsink a 'con' when there is no significant heat even without one? If no heatsink is necessary to keep temperatures reasonable, putting a heatsink in is just a waste of material and an unnecessary cost since it won't improve performance or reliability in any way.
    People like heatsinks :)
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    Would love to see power consumption. I just purchased a TP-LINK TL-SG108 8-Port and could not be happier. I was very skeptical of the cost but it runs great. I still max out my gigabit cards at 100-120MB/s. Power consumption is VERY low and the switch itself is tiny. Very happy for $25 with prime shipping.
    Reply