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You are here: LAN & WAN LAN & WAN Reviews 8 Port Gigabit Switch Roundup

8 Port Gigabit Switch Roundup

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Introduction

Six 8 port gigabit switches

As long-time readers of our reviews know, we don't generally review or test Ethernet adapters and unmanaged switches. The reason for this is that I'm a firm believer that these are commodity products, to be purchased based on price, brand preference and perhaps warranty.

The technology at the heart of these products is well-established and has long-ago been encapsulated into single-chip solutions which offer "wire-speed" performance, i.e. equal to that of a naked cable, both for adapters and switches.

But I have to confess that I had never done any testing to back up my assertion that all switches and NICs (network interface cards) are created equal. That, plus a comment from one reader that he was unable to find a gigabit switch that had performance equal to a straight cable, brings us to this roundup.

We asked the "big three" consumer networking companies—Linksys, Netgear and D-Link—for eight port gigabit Ethernet switches that supported jumbo frames up to 9K. We started with these companies because their products are widely available and chose 8 ports because of the price point and, well, because having those extra ports is cheap insurance for probable network expansion. After perusing the Pricegrabber listings, we decided to also ask Belkin and Trendnet to submit their products to add a bit of variety. In all, we ended up with six switches, because Netgear decided to submit two products.

Since these are all "dumb" or unmanaged switches, there are no functional features to review. So I'll dispense with the usual walk through of each product and distill the few differences among the products into Table 1.

Product Price Ports Switch Chip
Belkin
F5D5141-8
[Website]
$72.42 - $222.59
Check price
Rear Vitesse VSC7388
D-Link
DGS-2208
[Website]
$48.48 - $82.63
Check price
Rear Vitesse VSC7388
Linksys
SD2008
[Website]
$60.08 - $119.99
Check price
Rear Broadcom BCM5398
Netgear
GS108
[Website]
$60.20 - $134.48
Check price
Front Broadcom BCM5398
Netgear
GS608
[Website]
$54.99 - $125.88
Check price
Rear Broadcom BCM5398
Trendnet
TEG-S8
[Website]
$35.99 - $53.00
Check price
Rear Broadcom BCM5398
Table 1: Switch Feature Summary

I tried to get switches with a variety of chipsets, but it seems like Broadcom is the chip of choice for two of the "big three". D-Link also uses a Vitesse 5 port gigabit switch (VSC7385) in its DIR-655 draft 11n wireless router [reviewed here]. I was surprised to find no products using Marvell switches.

You can get a closer look at the products at each of their websites (linked in Table 1) if the opening group shot (or its larger version) doesn't meet your needs. Internal board shots can be found in this slideshow, along with board design commentary.

Check out the slideshow See the slide show for the inside details on each switch.




Related Items:

Slideshow: Six 8 port Gigabit Switches
QuickView: NETGEAR GS108 ProSafe 8 Port Gigabit Desktop Switch
How To Add Ports To A Router
NETGEAR GS105E Briefly Reviewed
When Flow Control is not a Good Thing

User reviews

Average user rating from: 3 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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Netgear reliability

Overall rating: 
 
2.3
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3.0
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3.0
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1.0
Reviewed by John Russell
March 23, 2013
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Based on this review I bought two Netgear GS605 v2s and a GS608 about two years ago.

Two of these units are now running slow and won't connect at gigabit speeds. One of them can only manage 10Mbps. This is a known problem with the Netgear units - the capacitors fail - and the cure is to replace the components - or throw the unit away.

The Netgears have plastic cases and passive cooling - they run hot inside. Perhaps this contributes to the component failure. Comments on Netgear's user forum suggests that the failing caps are poor quality pieces.

The GS108 by the way has a better reputation.

Whilst they weren't expensive, I would have paid more for a reliable unit, saving time and effort trouble-shooting the problem.

I'm back looking for advice on replacement kit and it would be helpful to have some information on reliability, and which manufacturers produce longer-lasting equipment.

 

@Well... I found my switch

Overall rating: 
 
5.0
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Wilkenism
March 13, 2012
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Agree mostly... however, how do work out that the plastic case on the GS608 is any less cheap than the plastic case on the others (apart from the GS108 of course with its much more satisfactory metal case)?

Would still buy one of the Netgears though, have used Netgear net gear (ho ho) ever since I started networking and for the price you can't get much better (apart from some of their very consumer oriented stuff).

Nice real world review by the way, jumbo frames are the way to go!!

 

Well... I found my switch

Overall rating: 
 
5.0
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Slipdipidis
March 12, 2010
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Nice test. In all honesty, Using SmartBits wouldn't have produced any better results (more technical details, but the speed calculation algorithms are most likely the same).

The Netgear GS608 thankfully appears to lack certain cons (cheap plastic molded casing, undersized heat sink, etc) while holding some definite pro's (fastest transmit and receive throughput, reputable and recognizeable branding, lowest "claim to actual switching margin" percentage (claim = 1024Mbits (1Gbit) per second Actual = 742.7Mbits per second (due to standard protocol and transport layer overhead)) The Netgear GS608 comes in at only 27.5% below it's tested receive speed and only 32.4% below advertised transmit speed when using a 4k Jumbo frame.

Depending on how visible this page becomes on Google... I think you've just persuaded a few people to consider the GS608 over all others. At least until the next gen comes along. Thanks.