Netgear's GS308 sits in the middle of the company's SOHO (small office/home office) family of eight-port GbE switches. Interestingly, it's the only model from the family housed in a metal chassis.
The GS308's features include a 192KB memory buffer, an 8000-entry MAC table, an MTBF of 365,500 hours and status LEDs for system power and link connection/activity. In addition, the GS308 is compliant with 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet, and supports the 802.3ab 1000BASE-T, 802.3u 100BASE-TX, 802.3 10BASE-T and 802.3x flow control standards. The GS308's memory buffer is the largest of our three contenders. This can be an important feature, as it allows the switch to store more information before it is passed to the proper destination, potentially allowing larger workloads to be processed through the switch at once.
Due to the GS308's dimensions (6.22in wide, 4.02in deep, 1.02in tall), installation should not be an issue, even in a tight space. The switch comes with four sticky rubber feet that attach to the unit's underside. They provide a reasonable amount of grip and also help elevate the switch a bit, aiding heat dissipation. The GS308 is able to operate with temperatures ranging from 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 40 degrees Celsius).
The other installation option is mounting the switch to a wall using two notches on the base of the metal housing. Those notches are meant to accommodate screw heads for vertical positioning. Netgear could have made this easier, though, if it bundled a paper template to more accurately show where the anchors need to be screwed in.
Once installed, a wall wart supplies 12V/1A power, while consuming a maximum of 3.8W.
Plugging in and removing patch cables is easy and does not require a substantial amount of force. The interior build quality is passable; pieces fit the way they should, and the soldering appears to be good. In the pictures below, we see that Broadcom provides the switch's SoC. And even though there is no heat sink, the switch never demonstrated thermal issues during testing.
In The Box
The switch and accessories are packaged securely, with every item required for installation bundled inside. There are anchors and screws for wall mounting, and round rubber foot pads that can be attached to the bottom of the switch. Also included is a basic installation guide that shows how the switch may be connected. The guide provides basic physical information, including the switch's operating temperature range, power consumption and dimensions. Of course, the box also contains the external power supply.
Warranty And Pricing
As of this writing, the Netgear GS308 is available through retailers like Amazon and Newegg. The average price seems to be between $30 and $35, depending on whether it's on sale and/or where you find it. The switch also comes with a limited two-year warranty in the U.S. and Canada, with basic technical support provided for 90 days from the date of purchase.