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LAN & WAN Reviews

ZyXEL GS1900-8HP

At a Glance
Product ZyXEL GS1900-8HP 8-port GbE Smart Managed PoE Switch [Website]
Summary 8-port GbE Smart Switch with PoE
Pros • 70 W total PoE power
• Silent
• Relatively inexpensive
Cons • Auto Voice VLAN assignment didn't work
• Limited QoS marking options for DSCP and IP Precedence

Introduction

ZyXEL's GS1900 series of 10/100/1000 Ethernet switches are 8-48 port Layer 2 managed switches designed for small business connectivity. Some of the models have two Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) Ethernet port and some also support 802.2at Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus. Table 1 summarizes the key differentiating features of the eight models in the GS1900 series.

Model Ethernet Ports PoE SFP
GS1900-8 8 N N
GS1900-8HP 8 Y N
GS1900-16 16 N N
GS1900-24E 24 N N
GS1900-24 24 N Y
GS1900-24HP 24 Y Y
GS1900-48 48 N Y
GS1900-48HP 48 Y Y
Table 1: ZyXEL GS1900 series switch models

Although ZyXEL lists the GS1900s as small business switches, I think the GS1900-8HP, which is the focus of this review, is a good switch for a home network, especially if you need PoE ports.

Features

ZyXEL lists the features for the GS1900 on its product page, on a separate features page and in model-specific details when you click specifications and select a model number. Below is a listing of the GS1900-8HP's features compiled from these sources.

  • (8) 10/100/1000 Mbps GbE ports
  • Browser-based switch management
  • Set up wizards
  • Fanless
  • Network error prevention dual images, SSL
  • Green Ethernet IEEE 802.3az support and intelligent ZyXEL green features
  • PoE - (70 watts total, max 30 watts per port), IEEE 802.3at
  • 16Gbps switching capacity
  • 11.9Mpps forwarding rate
  • 525K packet buffer
  • 8K MAC table
  • VLANs – port-based, 802.1q, Guest VLAN, Voice VLAN
  • LACP Link Aggregation
  • STP, RSTP, MSTP, BPDU guard
  • LLDP neighbor detection
  • Security
    • 802.1x authentication
    • TACACS+, RADIUS
    • DoS prevention
    • Port security, MAC filtering
  • QoS
    • 8 Priority queues
    • Queuing methods = SPQ, WRR, WFQ
    • 802.1p, CoS, ToS
    • 802.3x flow control, storm control, per port rate limiting
  • IPv6
    • Dual stack
    • ICMPv6
    • Neighbor discovery
    • Auto configuration
    • Duplicate address detection
  • SNMP v1-3
  • IGMP Snooping v1-3

Under the Covers

The GS1900-8HP is a desktop switch, measuring 9.84" x 4.10" x 1.06". It comes with adhesive rubber feet. The power supply is external and is a pretty hefty-sized "brick." An impressive thing about this desktop switch is its PoE capabilities, yet it has no cooling fans so runs silently. Many PoE switches require noisy cooling fans due to the increased power demands of PoE.

I powered a VoIP device and two Wi-Fi access points via the GS1900-8HP and it remained cool to the touch. The GS1900-8, GS1900-8HP, GS1900-16, GS1900-24 and GS1900-24E are all fanless.

Below is a shot of the main board on the GS1900-8HP.  The GS1900-8HP runs on 64 MB of DDRII RAM with 16 MB of Flash memory.  ZyXEL hasn't identified the switch device yet, but I will update when they do.

Main Board

Main Board

The front panel of the GS1900 has eight Gigabit Ethernet ports and LEDs, shown below.

Front

Front

The rear of the GS1900 is simply the power connection, also shown below.

Rear

Rear

Menu/Configuration

Taking a look at the configuration options in Table 2 provides a good listing of a device's configurable features. The GS1900 has 14 main menus, each with several sub-menus and many of the sub-menus have multiple configuration tabs. I counted over 70 different configuration tabs!

The STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) menu, for example, has no sub-menus, but there are tabs for configuring Global STP on/off, STP port, STP priority and timers, STP port priority, MST (Multiple Spanning Tree) instances, and assigning ports to an MST instance.

Menus Sub-Menu
System IP Time Info
Port Port EEE PoE Band Mgt Storm Control
VLAN VLAN Guest VLAN Voice VLAN
MAC Table
LAG
Loop Guard
Mirror
Multicast IGMP
STP
LLDP
QoS General Trust Mode
Security Port Security Protected Port 802.1X DoS
AAA Auth Method RADIUS TACACS+
Management Syslog SNMP Error Disable HTTP /HTTPS Users Remote Access Control
Table 2: ZyXEL GS1900 menu tree

The volume of configuration screens shouldn't be intimidating. Even though this is a managed switch, it acts like any other switch out of the box. Even PoE works right out of the box with no need to configure anything.

I found the menus intuitive and rarely needed the 227 page manual as I tested various features. A nice convenience, which exists in other ZyXEL devices I've tested, is the manual is available by clicking "?Help" in the top right of the GUI. It would be nice, however, if ZyXEL provided configuration examples for various features.

The first page of the GUI when you log in provides a graphical view of the switch, access to four configuration wizards (Startup, VLAN, QoS, and LAG), and a table of information about the switch, including its name, model, serial, MAC, firmware, up time, current time, CPU and memory usage. Below is a screen shot of the graphical view of the switch. I find a graphical view of a device that displays actual LED status useful for remote management.

Front_GUI

Front_GUI

I learned while configuring the GS1900 to remember to click "save." Configurations are active when you apply them, but are lost during a reboot if they weren't saved.

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