Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

LAN & WAN Reviews

Introduction

Introduction

At a Glance
Summary Stackable, nicely-priced, Web-administered 10/100 managed switch
Pros • Four gigabit ports
• No fans (quiet)
• Can accept two fiber modules
• Good managed feature set
Cons • Web GUI is IE only with no HTTPS support
• Unhelpful documentation for users not familiar with managed switches
• Documentation errors

Switches are a product category that I've historically declined to review, primarily because they long ago reached commodity status - they differ mainly in terms of warranty details, pricing and physical port arrangement. I also can't do performance benchmarking on switches, since meaningful testing requires equipment that is beyond the meager budget of the SmallNetBuilder labs.

That said, the recent slew of more affordable "smart" switches has made me rethink this stance (though I still won't be doing any performance testing.) The main reason is that these products aren't yet commodities, and have varying feature sets that you, the consumer, need to know about to make an informed buying decision.

The other reason why I felt it was worth looking at these units is that the marketeers are up to their usual tricks, starting with the creation of the term "smart switch". This phrase is an attempt to once again confuse consumers into thinking that a product is different, when it really isn't. The goal is primarily to protect manufacturers' margins on their existing catalog (and inventory) of higher-priced products. The more expensive products in this case are "managed switches", which have been used for many years to build large business-class networks.

The easy way to keep clear of vendor hype is to understand that there are two main types of switches. The first is the unmanaged switch, which has no user interface, and therefore provides no way for the user to change its functions. The second is the managed, smart or intelligent switch, which has a user interface and features that can be modified. "Smart" switches are usually managed switches with more limited feature sets; they are "dumbed down", as it were (though that wouldn't be a very attractive moniker, would it?) Still, even with fewer bells and whistles, these products can still be mighty useful, even for modestly-sized networks.

This review will take a look at Netgear's FS728TS ProSafe 24 Port 10/100 Stackable Smart Switch + 4 Gigabit Ports, which is representative of what's available in low-end managed switches today.

More LAN & WAN

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out the new Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Featured Sponsors



Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

I need to move over 100k files from each of several directories. Select-all + drag-and-drop sometimes fails. I'd prefer to set a task, but for some re...
Hello all, I recently picked up 2x TP-LINK EAP225_V3 access points, and 1x EAP225_Outdoor. Current idea is to disable wireless on my trusty old N66U r...
Tim joined this forum on May 18th 2008. I assume that means that the forums were setup ten years ago (unless he was on a different platform before tha...
I have a new (less than 1 week old) AC86U and am running 384.5 on it.Fairly plain vanilla config with the exception of adding several static IPs to DH...
I have a pfSense box and need an 8-16 port managed switch to configure VLANS on both a wired network and a wireless AP. I would strongly prefer a POE ...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3