Unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet Switch Round-Up

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Aslan7

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Useful info to have, but there's a lot more switches out there than this. 8 port switches are only big enough for the living room.

TV
Blueray player
2 consoles
Streaming media player
Audio amplifier
Home theater PC

8 port barely does it for the living room. We need some reviews of 16 and 24 port gigabit switches for the home, plus I'm sick and tired of gigabit and want 10GBE already, but all of the equipment seems horrifically expensive or has flaky drivers.

What' is good in 10GBE both adapters and switches?
 
Useful info to have, but there's a lot more switches out there than this. 8 port switches are only big enough for the living room.

TV
Blueray player
2 consoles
Streaming media player
Audio amplifier
Home theater PC

8 port barely does it for the living room. We need some reviews of 16 and 24 port gigabit switches for the home, plus I'm sick and tired of gigabit and want 10GBE already, but all of the equipment seems horrifically expensive or has flaky drivers.

What' is good in 10GBE both adapters and switches?
For 16 and 24 port switches you are going to find the same: Netgear is so far beyond the competition, and so much cheaper than anything out there, that is amazes me that anyone else makes cheap unmanaged switches. Unless you need a cheap managed switch, there just are not any other real options on the market.

For 10GbE switches, as far as I can tell there aren't any good cheap consumer items on the market yet. There is a flood of 'cheap' used profesional equipment available... but even then you are looking at $1-200 per adapter, and ~$1K for a switch, and typically not in great condition... and because it is pro equipment you have to do a bit of research to get it working properly.
10GbE 'is coming' but I think we are still a few years out from seeing normal consumer 'plug and play' equipment, and a few more years before it becomes affordable.
 

Rookie_MIB

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Right now you can get 10GbE adapters for your computer for a reasonable price for used equipment ($20-$50), it really is the switches which are ridiculous. Overall though for the most part, it's only some fringe use cases where a home user might need 10GbE ethernet.

First - unless you have some insane connection to the outside world, the most you can really get right now as far as internet speeds is 1Gb anyhow. That becomes your choke point.

Next, overall, video is the most demanding when it comes to traffic, and the average bitrate requirement for 4k streaming comes in somewhere around 15Mbit. Doing the math, that means an average 1Gbit connection could support about 60 concurrent streams. Your average home WON'T be doing that. Honestly, a small apartment complex wouldn't even hit that.

Now, who knows what the future will bring, perhaps some killer app might require that kind of bandwidth, but right now it's not here for the majority of the people. That doesn't mean that we should stop developing and investing in increased bandwidth, but right now 10GbE is a bit over the top for a home network.
 

SirGCal

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I agree. I personally went with a Cisco SG100-16 for only $109 at the time (Amazon), but it hasn't changed much either. Up now, down later, etc. Like everything on the net.

I do have some 10G gear myself but it's easier just to do some port ganging, teaming or aggregation. But that requires a different switch yet again. Wee... But then also you'd burn through ports faster.
 

InvalidError

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How is the lack of heatsink a 'con' when there is no significant heat even without one? If no heatsink is necessary to keep temperatures reasonable, putting a heatsink in is just a waste of material and an unnecessary cost since it won't improve performance or reliability in any way.
 
(1) Good test. Really nice to see data confirming we should just buy whatever switch is on sale.
(2) would have been nice to see a large file transfer done 3 times using one switch to get the variance and then done for all switches just to confirm that the micro benchmarks (which say we won't see a difference) are accurate.
(2) I did not see what was measured for response time. Maybe I missed it. Interesting to note most SSDs can deliver 4K of data in roughly the same time as the measured 'response time'
 

nukemaster

Titan
Moderator
How is the lack of heatsink a 'con' when there is no significant heat even without one? If no heatsink is necessary to keep temperatures reasonable, putting a heatsink in is just a waste of material and an unnecessary cost since it won't improve performance or reliability in any way.
People like heatsinks :)
 

firefoxx04

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Would love to see power consumption. I just purchased a TP-LINK TL-SG108 8-Port and could not be happier. I was very skeptical of the cost but it runs great. I still max out my gigabit cards at 100-120MB/s. Power consumption is VERY low and the switch itself is tiny. Very happy for $25 with prime shipping.
 
Right now you can get 10GbE adapters for your computer for a reasonable price for used equipment ($20-$50), it really is the switches which are ridiculous. Overall though for the most part, it's only some fringe use cases where a home user might need 10GbE ethernet.

First - unless you have some insane connection to the outside world, the most you can really get right now as far as internet speeds is 1Gb anyhow. That becomes your choke point.

Next, overall, video is the most demanding when it comes to traffic, and the average bitrate requirement for 4k streaming comes in somewhere around 15Mbit. Doing the math, that means an average 1Gbit connection could support about 60 concurrent streams. Your average home WON'T be doing that. Honestly, a small apartment complex wouldn't even hit that.

Now, who knows what the future will bring, perhaps some killer app might require that kind of bandwidth, but right now it's not here for the majority of the people. That doesn't mean that we should stop developing and investing in increased bandwidth, but right now 10GbE is a bit over the top for a home network.
You would be hard-pressed to saturate a Gb internet connection, but it would help to at least have more network bandwidth than you have internet bandwidth just in case. Downloads can easily use several times more bandwidth than a 4K stream, you might have multiple downloads running at once while streaming, and so on.

Of course, GbE port ganging would solve that easily enough, but 10GbE would still have much higher performance while using fewer cables. It can help to keep ahead of the network's needs when affordable. 10GbE isn't quite there yet for most home networking, but it is getting close.
 

alextheblue

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Thanks for the article. I wouldn't mind seeing one of the entry-level D-Link's thrown in there too next go around. Still, good to have some performance numbers to look at for some of the most common models.
 

IInuyasha74

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I would also like to see power consumption tests if you can add it in.

I actually have one of those Netgear switches connected to another switch in a less than ideal network configuration. I've been rather pleased with its performance and lack of problems.
 

Flying-Q

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You would be hard-pressed to saturate a Gb internet connection, but it would help to at least have more network bandwidth than you have internet bandwidth just in case. Downloads can easily use several times more bandwidth than a 4K stream, you might have multiple downloads running at once while streaming, and so on
I hope you mean 'downloads' inside your own network such as streaming a movie from your NAS to your HTPC. If you are suggesting a Gb switch would aid in downloading multiple items from the net whilst streaming from the net then that would not be the case. What might help in that situation would be a router with QoS capabilities where a rule could be created prioritising 'netflix' for example.
 

bit_user

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When I looked into ganging, I found that it cannot be used to speed up transfers of single files, which is my primary use case. It's mainly useful for fileservers supporting many clients. Reading about setup and the mechanics of it, it struck me as the kind of thing one would rather not do if it can be avoided.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
Your numbers are significantly out-of-date, but you're right that it's still not mainstream.

Be aware that you need a compatible SFP+ cable for your adapter. You can't just use any brand. And if you go RJ-45, the power requirements are significantly greater (like 2x), because they support much longer ranges. I think the numbers are like 15W per port, for RJ-45 adapters. All this power dissipation makes the switches hot and loud, too.

Due to the availability of inexpensive, used components and the lower power requirements, I went with SFP+ for my desk-area-network. I'm not using a switch, though. I just have 2 PCs connected to a server with a dual-port adapter and 3 SSDs in a RAID-5.

Anyone who's interested in faster file transfers should look into it and price out the equipment on ebay. Adding a SFP+ connection between two of your machines is probably affordable & easy enough for most folks here.
 

palladin9479

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When I looked into ganging, I found that it cannot be used to speed up transfers of single files, which is my primary use case. It's mainly useful for fileservers supporting many clients. Reading about setup and the mechanics of it, it struck me as the kind of thing one would rather not do if it can be avoided.
Really depends on the mode used when you do a LACP 802.3ad configuration. First you will need a managed switch to do it properly, and then some knowledge on how your traffic will be shaped. In Round-Robin mode both the network switch and the host server alternate which interface they send packets down, other modes use hash's based on various header information. RR mode will let you use both ports for a single connection, which is what you probably desire but isn't very useful in an enterprise environment.
 

AndrewJacksonZA

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Hi Eric

There's a typo on page 3:
"operating range of 32 and 105 degrees F (0 to 10.5 degrees C)"

Thank you for a rather surprising article. The cheapest unit was the fastest! I would like to see power numbers on a 220V power source for idle, point-to-point, bi-directional and mesh though please. (Or if you only have a 110V power source, is there a formula for converting 110V power consumption to 220V please?)

Thank you
 

cynic77

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That's an interesting solution. That said, the article is about switches and it's really said that in 2016, there are no 10 Gig "consumer" switches available. In response to others:


    1. "Teaming/ganging/aggregation" - It's obviously NOT the same. It's often a pain to configure, only helps in certain cases, and only gets you a fraction of the way to 10 GbE.
    2. "Availability of inexpensive used components?" - A couple of people have posted this. Most of the gear I've seen on eBay is beat and carries no warranty. No thanks.
    3. "Internet speeds are your choke point" - That's missing the point entirely. I want 10 GbE for my LAN, not my WAN! For those of us that copy large files (VMs, ISOs, etc.) on a regular basis, it would be a godsend. I can't believe enthusiasts here on Tom's are actually arguing against 10 GbE. :p


I've heard that manufacturers have been making such a killing off the 10 GbE gear for telecoms/ISPs, there's been no incentive to bring 10 GbE to the masses. I don't know, but I'm just sick of 1 GbE already. We've had it since the early 2000's. It's time for something new.
 

bit_user

Splendid
Herald
It's cheap enough to take the risk, IMO. I bought mine from a Dell reseller who obviously pulled the cards from decommissioned servers. Just run some tests and check the adapter stats for CRC errors & retransmits. As long as it works, who cares if it's used? And it's cheap enough that you can buy another, if it's broken. Plus, the seller I used had a short warranty (forget exactly how long, but not more than 30 days).

I've been waiting for 10 GbE prices to fall for ages. One year ago, I decided I was sick of waiting and took the plunge. I'm glad I did it.

10 GbE hardware has been around for so long that the adapters I bought were second gen. Manufacturers are already on 3rd gen, and moving on up to 100 GbE.
 


Look into Link Aggrigation instead of ganging. Ganging is sort of a way to have one IP address across multiple MACs so that several clients on a network can reach a host, and the host can respond to each client with their own dedicated ports for better bandwidth... probably not something you would see in a home environment, but something you see all the time in a school or corporate setting.

Link aggregation on the other hand (like LACP) allows you to use multiple connections as a single big fat dumb pipe that allows you to have greater point-to-point connectivity. So if you had LACP across 4 Gigabit NICs on both a host and client then you would be able to get 4Gbps of throughput between the 2 devices. The trick here is finding a switch that will do this (typically a managed switch option), and a client that will do this. Windows Server will allow this kind of configuration, but Windows for desktop PCs does not... but there are single NIC solutions that will do all of the work on their own allowing you to have LACP on a Windows desktop, but then again 10Gb/s Ethernet starts looking like a reasonable price again compared to doing all of that.


In other news, Anandtech just did a post about ASUS putting out 10gig equipment: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9963/asus-booth-tour-at-ces-2016-10g-switches-external-gpu-dock-usb-c
Looks like they will have a 10 port switch with 2 10gig ports and 8 1gig ports for ~$300 unmanaged, and 10gig cards for ~$100 each. Not ideal for most setups, but this work work great for my house where I just need a fast connection between my PC and my NAS, and everyone else in the house is quite happy with Gigabit. That brings the cost down considerably.
Still a long way off though if you need more than 2 Gigabit connections though.
 

mapesdhs

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Thanks for the article. I wouldn't mind seeing one of the entry-level D-Link's thrown in there too next go around. ...
I bought a 16-port Dlink switch a while ago, it sucked, just wouldn't work properly. Sent it back, bought a 16-port Netgear which worked great. Originally bought the DLink because it was cheaper, but what's the point if it doesn't work. Had no problems with the Netgear. My old switch was a 48-port Netgear (bought used for 95 ages ago), really only wanted to get something smaller to ease power consumption, and then sell off the 48port.
 

mctylr

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In theory, a 1Gb/s connection should be able to move 1 Gb/s.
That's a dangerously naive statement. A 1 Gb/s Ethernet 802.3ab connection is only capable of transmitting up to 1 Gb/s including protocol overhead.

I'm not familiar with IxChariot, but it is possible that like many network benchmarking applications it reports (primarily) the effective data transfer, not including the protocol overhead for Ethernet, IP(v4), and TCP. At default Ethernet frame size, there is approximately 6% overhead, which matches the point-to-point test results nicely.
 
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