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I ran some simple TCP throughput tests with three different PCs and Jperf. My three machines all have PCI gigabit NICs, so can't come close to achieving gigabit "wirespeed" performance. Any testing gigabit switches with anything less than a Spirent SmartBits or similar multi-port tester is pretty meaningless anyway. But since Tim asked me to run the tests, I ran 'em.

Since I couldn't perform a meaningful test of maximum throughput, I instead tried to measure the difference between throughput using a straight CAT5e cable (you don't need a crossover cable for gigabit NICS) to connect the two test machines and plugging them into two switch ports.

The short story is that I measured between around 1 - 3% lower throughput when connected to the GS724TR than when connected via the cable. It's possible that the switch store-and-forward latency of 5 uS is a factor here. But the test is probably reflecting measurement error more than anything else.

Closing Thoughts

Each switch vendor has their own naming convention for makes and models which makes direct comparisons between manufacturers difficult.  A relatively similar switch to the Netgear GS724TR is the Linksys SGE2000, which is also a 24 port Gigabit switch with extensive VLAN support and inter-VLAN routing capability, plus stacking functionality.

Pricegrabber shows the Linksys SGE2000 can be found on line for $643.00, while the Netgear GS724TR is available for $552.37.  Both are feature-rich switches and their prices are reflective of it.

The interesting thing about switches in general, even an advanced switch like the GS724TR, is you can take it out of the box, power it up, plug in the PCs, and the switch will pass traffic without ever applying a configuration.  If you want that kind of plug and play simplicity, though, the GS724TR is overkill.  This is a switch for a high traffic network requiring extensive network management. 

At the end of the day, it comes down to doing thorough needs analysis on your network and itemizing the features you need in a high throughput edge switch.  If inter-VLAN routing capability is one of those needs, then I think the GS724TR, backed by Netgear's lifetime warranty, is a pretty safe bet.

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