With two negative posts in a row out of my system, let’s have some good news — which is to foreshadow: I like the switch.
With my SRW2008 dying an ignominious death, I started out researching new switches with the hope that I could replace it without spending too much money. I quickly eliminated the Cisco, HP and DLink switches in my price range from consideration as I required both managed capability to set VLANs and jumbo frames. See the above linked article for that whole discussion.
There were a few switches that fit these requirements in my price range… made by Tp-Link, Netgear and one other that only NewEgg sold. As far as the buying decision goes, I have no information to differentiate the Tp-Link from the Netgear — it came down to stock and availability. I have been happy with the Tp-Link devices that have come across my desk (mostly access points and DSL routers), but the Netgear GS716Tv2 was “in stock.”
There is an 8 port version of “almost” this switch that NCIX.com lists at $97. This 16 port version (which I bought) they list at $188 and the 24 port version (which shares the same firmware) lists at $281. For the features of the switch, these prices are well under half what the others are charging for their “gimped” switches and who-knows-how-much of a discount off the switches with similar function.
I was impressed while unboxing the switch that it took a standard power cord rather than a “wall wart.” Most of the switches for sale now are advertising how “green” they are by using very little power. Many of them can use even less power when devices they connect to are also turned off. With this in mind, it’s nice to see that they’ve given some thought to the power supply, too. According to the specifications, the 16 port switch consumes 16.5W at maximum draw and the 24 port switch consumes 21.5W. At roughly 1W per port, I’m impressed.
Also while unboxing, a brochure informed me that Netgear was prepared to provide me with all manner of ethernet switches … from these that we’re talking about up to 1/2 rack sized monsters with blades full of 10GE ports. It strikes me that while Netgear is effectively starting to eat the bottom of the market from the big guys, it might also be attempting to make inroads into the large market. It’s worth noting that these switches come with rack-mount ears.
After powering up the switch, I proceeded to attempt to use their included “magic” management software. It failed to figure out which of the many ethernet interfaces on my workstation to use — and I was unable to instruct it which to used. Ostensibly, it would auto detected the switch’s IP address and allowed a number of aggregate management functions among many switches on the LAN, were I to have such a configuration. It was simple enough for me to look for new MAC addresses on my router — and once found, I was able to immediately use the interface. The password was “password.” … which took me a few guesses. Someone else might be challenged by that, but they might also have a simpler workstation configuration. I probably could have used my laptop (which has a simple configuration), so I’m willing to overlook this minor problem.
The web interface itself is straight forward, if a bit slow. It takes several seconds to complete each operation. What impressed me most, however, was the laundry list of available features and configuration. Not only does this switch support my requirements of VLANs (part of 802.1q) and jumbo packets, but also a laundry list of 802.1 variants that include QOS (including some QOS auto config for voice), radius authentication on a per-port basis, bit-rate control in 64kbit increments on each port, port mirroring and not just spanning tree, but multiple spanning tree (which is important when you have systems and MAC addresses that appear on multiple vlans in different configurations).
It only supports 128 VLAN’s, but at 16 or 24 ports, this is reasonable and likely limited by the hardware (ie: not just a marketing limitation).
I’m leaving out many things I find less remarkable, so you can visit the Netgear site to look up your favorite bits. As I stated in the first paragraph, I’m giving this switch a hearty recommendation. I sincerely hope that it forces Cisco to think about what it’s cutting out of its product line.