Zyxel GS-108b 8-Port Gigabit Switch - Speed Up Your Home Network

12/14/2012 9:23:22 AM

Speed up your home network, with this fully featured switch

Gigabit Ethernet home networks were once the stuff of legend. Reserved for industry and those who could afford such things, the gigabit network was as far from the home as any piece of technology could possibly be.

These days, however, things have changed. The cost of a home five- or eight-port gigabit switch has dropped dramatically over the years to the point where for a mere $51, we can now enjoy a theoretical speed increase of ten times the standard 100Mbps. Be aware though, as not all switches are created equally.

Zyxel GS-108b 8-Port Gigabit Switch

Zyxel GS-108b 8-Port Gigabit Switch

This, the Zyxel GS-108B 8-Port Gigabit Switch stands out from the crowd somewhat. It's an unmanaged switch, with auto MDI/MDIX on all ports, half and full duplex, Quality of Service priority and a 16Gbps non-blocking switched fabric, but with some top-notch features included.

The first of these features is a Store and Forward architecture, whereby the switch will temporarily store the data packet until the entire frame is received into the buffer. The advantage of this is an improvement of the data integrity across all the ports, with fewer errors and better connectivity with poor connectivity. However, the disadvantage of this method in the past was a slight delay in the transmission, but with the transmission technology we have these days, you wouldn't notice any drop in data. Video streaming and LAN gaming are two such scenarios that would greatly benefit from this, and along with the improved QoS the GS-108B offers, there's an ideal incentive for using this switch between the media PC and the network attached storage medium.

Another impressive feature included with this switch is the ability for it to auto-detect the length of cable attached to any of the ports, and alter the amount of power it uses accordingly. Basically, the shorter the cable, the less power it requires to make a connection and transmit data. The switch will sense the length and adjust the power consumption for that port. That's not all, though. As well as detecting cable length, the switch will also reduce the power to any port when it detects the shutdown or inactivity of the device on the other end, so you'll only be paying for the power used on active connections. Clever that.

There are two vents either side, which could do with being free, but in our tests the switch didn't get very hot during its operation.

There are two vents either side, which could do with being free, but in our tests the switch didn't get very hot during its operation.

Green features and transmission technologies aside, the GS-108B is a small, sturdy, brushed-aluminium-effect, metal switch that wouldn't look too out of place next to the home broadband router. The rear ports are easily accessible, and don't have the nasty habit of snagging the end of the Ethernet cable, or removing valued fingernails on sharp metal edges when trying to prise them out. There are two vents either side, which could do with being free, but in our tests the switch didn't get very hot during its operation. It's still a good idea, though, to provide plenty of access for fresh air.

In our tests we connected a number of devices: two PCs, a laptop, a PS3, Xbox 360, router, network printer and NAS unit. We copied some large files across the PCs totaling around 10GB, updated the PS3 and Xbox via the internet, and streamed a HD film to the laptop via the NAS unit. The switch performed admirably, transferring the 10GB at around 65MB/s, with a drop to 58MB/s when the PS3 and Xbox kicked in. The streaming HD movie played perfectly fine from the NAS unit, without any loss of quality or stuttering.

In conclusion, an excellent gigabit switch with some great features that you would normally see on a more expensive model. A steal for $51. mm David Hayward

“An affordable gigabit switch with expensive features. An absolute bargain”


·         Easily connect multiple media devices to home networks at fast gigabit speed simultaneously.

·         Newly designed QoS ports of GS-108S allow smooth video streaming and online gaming.

·         Stylish modern look and streamlined design.

·         Designed for reliable high-performance media networks.


·         Price: $51

·         Manufacturer: Zyxel

·         Required spec: Devices with a 10/100/1000 network port.


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