In our Network Switch 101 article, we defined unmanaged switches and discussed the features they provide, hopefully giving you a general understanding of switching technology.
For this initial review, we rounded up three unmanaged switches to test: Netgear's GS308, Amped Wireless' G8SW and ZyXEL's GS-108B. Each contender comes armed with eight 1 Gb/s ports.
Naturally, there are features shared across all three models, including a memory buffer, a MAC table and jumbo frame support.
The memory buffer stores incoming packets until the switch can determine where they're going and the interface to send them out over. The MAC table is a repository for physical addresses. When a device sends out information, the switch records its address and corresponding port. The switch looks to the MAC table as a reference to see if it already knows what port to send information out of. This greatly reduces traffic, so the switch is not flooded entirely once physical addresses are known. Jumbo frames are Ethernet frames that contain more than 1500 bytes, with 9000 bytes tending to be used as a conventional MTU size. Jumbo frame support can be useful for lowering resource utilization, as the switch's CPU only has to process one large frame instead of multiple smaller ones, and increasing throughput.