Managed switch NETGEAR GS108T v2 - the best option for connecting NAS in the office

Almost all modern file servers for home and small businesses are made on Intel processors, ranging from Atom to Xeon. The power of any of them is enough to cover the speed of a Gigabit network port, and manufacturers are happy to write speeds of 160-200 or more megabytes per second, mentioning link aggregation, but forgetting to tell the details. In a nutshell, port trunking allows you to combine multiple network ports into one, improving server performance.

In most cases, when the buyer chooses network equipment for small or home offices, ordinary home Gigabit switches or routers are used, and in small companies for a dozen or two jobs, more is not necessary. But if you have server hardware installed, or at least a NAS running multiple clients, it's better to choose a smart business-class switch, and even then not every one. The link aggregation function is typically used in multiport switches to connect network segments. NETGEAR was the first company to introduce the GS108T V2 managed Gigabit switch for small businesses with support for many functions, including aggregation. This is an 8-port model, quite cheap (only about $ 150), quite compact (the size of a regular home router), with the ability to power over POE and various functions of professional network configuration and monitoring. In General, judging by the stated characteristics, it is difficult to come up with a better way to connect a NAS or server to a small network, so we will check it out.

NetGear GS-108T

NETGEAR GS108T v2 - managed switch with backup power

NETGEAR GS108T v2 (aka-GS108T-200, aka GS108Tv2, aka in some price lists just GS108T) is a new version of the GS108T 8-port switch. Like the previous model, this is a level 2 switch for small businesses, including for use where there are high requirements for network connection reliability. Unlike the previous version, the GS108T v2 has a more compact body and some new "chips", one of which is the ability to power over the network port using Power Over Ethernet( POE): is the voltage in the socket gone? You can get power from another switch with POE ports or directly from the POE injector.

NetGear GS-108T managed switch

In general, power from POE is meant as the main power supply, and from the adapter-as an additional power supply, so the adapter socket is located on the opposite side of the network ports. In General, the decision is unsuccessful: with the size of the case only 158x105x27 mm, it is not convenient to place GS108T v2 in a rack, on a table, or on a shelf, with cables coming from both sides. Oh, well. it's not that much of a problem.

NetGear GS-108T switch

Main board NetGear GS-108T

The NETGEAR GS108T v2 switch is made in a thick steel case, as befits industrial equipment. Part of the heat from the Board is transferred to the lower wall of the case, and part is removed through the ventilation holes. There is no forced ventilation in 8-port managed switches. The Central processor is covered by a massive radiator, so it is impossible to read its markings. The device has a cache memory of 64 MB, which is more than enough for an 8-port model.

NetGear GS-108T

All 8 ports are equivalent, NETGEAR GS108T v2 does not have dedicated Uplink ports, stack ports, USB or RJ 11. And in fact, with the declared POE support, the switch can only be powered by POE when connected via the 1st port, but it does not have a built-in POE injector.

Management

The NETGEAR GS108T v2 switch can be controlled via a web interface or using special software. Of course, it is more convenient to manage via the Web, especially since the switch has a visual interface where you can view the status of each port and change the settings for each of them. In addition to ports, you can also manage aggregations and virtual networks (VLANs).

NetGear GS-108T menu

For security, it supports features such as ACL (Access Control List) that works by MAC or IP addresses, 802.1 x authentication, bandwidth restriction, and advanced QoS configuration by port and device. Protection against Ddos attacks with basic settings is supported.

NETGEAR GS108T v2 has the function of automatic network configuration for VOIP - it assigns the appropriate class to VOIP traffic in order to use priorities for data transmission in the future.

NetGear GS-108T

To configure priorities more precisely, use QoS (configuration by services and traffic classes) and CoS (configuration by interfaces, including aggregations and virtual networks). And of course, you can configure almost all network parameters individually for each port. Also, for each of them, advanced statistics for each of the ports are available, as well as STP support and other parameters. In the spirit of modernity, the switch is oversaturated with energy-saving features. Supports short-cable transmission mode, the ability to sleep the port when the cable is disconnected, and power saving of the device itself. NETGEAR emphasizes that the POWER consumption of the GS108T v2 switch does not exceed 6 watts. The real one may be smaller.

Of course, we are more interested in link aggregation, since it is important for us to connect the server over a high-speed channel in order to go beyond the Gigabit port. We need to determine which ports the server will be connected to, and which ports will be used to connect to clients or outputs to other networks. NETGEAR GS108T v2 supports up to 4 trunks, each of which has up to 4 network ports combined by static or LACP type.

To enable aggregation (here it is called LAG), go to the appropriate tab and in the LAG Membership item simply select the aggregation number, and then click on the checkbox in the window that opens, select the ports that we will merge. In practice, the configuration process on the switch side can be considered complete.

 NetGear GS-108T

Today, there are several methods for combining channels that provide excessive reliability (when one channel falls, data is transmitted over another) or load balancing. The method is determined by the connected device, and for example, Synology NAS's only support two methods: channel redundancy and using the 802.3 ad standard. At the same time, QNAP will offer you as many as 7 methods, but the meaning is the same. The 802.3 ad standard uses various algorithms for routing packets through combined network ports, which provides both improved performance and fault tolerance. It allows you to combine up to 8 ports, achieving a bandwidth of 8 Gbit / s in one direction. Except in rare cases, this standard looks more attractive, and to use it in the switch settings, you just need to leave LACP support enabled by default on each aggregation.

Now we can move on to configuring the server. What is important to know is that you should start setting up aggregation from the switch. Even if it is enabled on the switch and not on the device connected to the LAG, this device will continue to work. Connect via the web interface to the NAS and go to the network settings. As a rule, it is enough for NAS-s to enable the "link aggregation" checkbox and select the method of aggregation.

NetGear GS-108T stats

You should also pay attention to the possibility of creating virtual networks (VLANs) that can be used to differentiate traffic. For example, for file networks, VOIP, or some other classification. Modern NAS-s support virtual networks, and NETGEAR GS108T v2 helps them in this: configuration is easy and convenient - you can apply virtual networks to different network ports, which makes it easier to understand the differentiation at the physical level.

We can say that NETGEAR GS108T v2, as a professional switch, allows you to do more than a regular home-level Wi-Fi router, which is often used in small offices for a dozen connections. Various options for limiting traffic, creating aggregations and virtual networks allow you to fine-tune the network based on the applications used (Skype, VOIP, FTP), without which it is impossible to imagine the work of any company today.

Price

The average retail price of the NetGear GS108T v2 switch is$150. Similar devices with support for link aggregation and backup power from POE are not available on the market, so there is nothing to compare with. If you keep in mind the functionality of the device, the price is quite reasonable - it will be difficult to find a router with such configuration capabilities.

Conclusions

NETGEAR GS108T v2 is the optimal managed switch for a small company that uses a file server, or where you need to connect two or more servers using link aggregation. Compact form factor that allows you to not think about where to place the device, fanless design, support for backup power over POE, a good visual web interface and a fast processor.

Few people today produce this kind of switches for 8 ports. NETGEAR is designed for small businesses and offers the GS108T v2 at a very attractive price. It has no analogues and we can only be happy for the American company that released such an interesting product on the market. Among the disadvantages, we can note resetting the time settings when the switch power is turned off, but even so, we recommend it to small companies whose network infrastructure is crucial for business.

Michael Degtjarev (aka LIKE OFF)
01/11.2011


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