Is Zyxel XGS1010-12 switch the perfect Ethernet Switch product? In the small world of switches, the arrival of Multi-Gig is disrupting habits and the established order, especially 2.5 Gb/s. Because there are manufacturers lagging behind and those who seize the opportunity. After QNAP, here is the analysis of a Zyxel product.

With the democratization of the 2.5 Gb/s network, some have understood that there was a blow to be played by being among the fastest to offer complete and accessible products. So, while giants like Netgear only offer hybrid switches like the MS510TX at 260 euros, some competitors are aiming for half as much.

Multi-Gig switch at less than 150 euros: The offer is expanding

We have already mentioned the case of QNAP and its QSW-1105-5T. A compact model, sold for 120 euros, which only offers 2.5 Gb/s ports. They are five in number, sufficient for many uses. A perfect companion for a Freebox Pop that we would like to connect to PC / NAS also equipped with 2.5 Gb/s.

It must be said that motherboards with such a network chip can now be found from 120 euros, not to mention adapters in PCIe or USB format which have been available for a few months. Some from 20 euros.

There is another switch manufacturer who has seen the full potential of 2.5 Gb/s, Taiwanese Zyxel. It has recently offered models with such a connection, but also 10 Gb/s (SFP+) with some interesting features such as the XGS1010-12 at 150 euros.

Zyxel XGS1210-12: the new star

This is a 12 port switch, unmanaged. Understand that it does not have a web interface allowing access to advanced management functions. There is however a managed version: the XGS1210-12. However, it is more expensive and less available from retailers. It is found in the 212 euros.

If we have to do without the possibility of creating VLAN or the aggregation of links, this does not mean that QoS is for example absent. Indeed, if we look at the composition of the ports, we note a particularity of the XGS1010-12: it has 4 classic 1 Gb/s ports, but also 2 higher priority 1 Gb/s ports (medium) and 2 ports 1 Gb/s high priority (high). Enough to organize your network without having to mess around with parameters.

This makes a total of 8 1 Gb/s ports to which must be added:

  • 2 2.5 Gb/s ports
  • 2 SFP+ cages (up to 10 Gb/s)

This is it, to our knowledge, the best ratio offered in terms of diversity of speeds, number of ports and price. Especially for a product advertised with a five year warranty. Those who swear by the 10 Gb/s will turn probably easier to CRS305-1G-4S + IN to Microtik 150 euros (4x SFP+), but connects fewer devices and requires much tranceivers than fiber / RJ45 to connect to it.

A powerful product, but reasonable

The packaging is compact, as is the switch: its dimensions are 250 x 104 x 27 mm for 768 grams, checked on the scale. As for the QNAP model, we regret that no rack mounting system is provided. It only comes with four plastic feet and two screws / dowels for wall mounting (from below).

Its power adapter is small, comes with plugs for different continents. This is a 12 V for 1.5 A (18 watts) model. We regret once again that USB or PoE are not systematic for devices requiring so little power. A feature that has an advantage: the device is passive, fanless. It is rather heavy, with a metal cage containing small side openings to let heat escape. Three small Phillips screws (on the back of the device) are sufficient to remove the cover.

Realtek at the controls

Inside, a large metal plate acts as a heat sink, in direct contact with thermal pads placed on the main chips including a Realtek RTL9302B, an RT8218D (1 Gb/s), two RTL8226 (2.5 Gb/s). There is also a 128MB DDR3 Nanya NT5CC64M16GP-DI chip:

At rest without connected ports, it consumes 6.68 watts on average compared to 4.42 watts for the QNAP 5x 2.5 Gb/s model and 0.54 watts for our reference 8x 1 Gb/s switch. We stay in low values, but we would like it to be much lower when the product does absolutely nothing. If we connect all the ports to an active machine (including a copper DAC and an RJ45 transceiver) we go up to 16.3 watts, or 1.3 watts per port on average. It is hardly more when we initiate a transfer at 2.5 or 10 Gb/s.

During our tests, its outside temperature did not exceed 32/33° C, the hot spot being of course at the SoC level, our thermal camera picking up a heat sink at around 48° C in full operation. The LEDs on the front often indicate the speed of the connection. We have verified that the announced transfer rates are well maintained. Its switching capacity is given for 66 Gb/s. Small point to note: no LED comes to warn of the existence of a loop as on the QNAP.

A good Ethernet Ports switch at a low price

Overall, the device therefore does what it was designed to do: allow different types of devices to be interconnected at higher or lower speed levels. The 10 Gb/s can be used as an uplink to a very fast NAS or server, then distributed to the different ports. You can also connect the 2.5 Gb/s to a Wi-Fi router or an access point accepting such speeds. All for a reasonable price.

Those who only want 2.5 or 10 Gb/s ports will look elsewhere, those who want more functionality will no doubt be interested in its managed version or Netgear MS510TX (PP), but this is a good compromise. If we would appreciate that its consumption, especially at rest, is lower, it remains reasonable compared to the number of ports. We also appreciate the compact design of the device.

We regret, however, that it is not intended for installation in a rack as may be the case with other similar products. We think for example of the GS110MX from Netgear which was until then our reference to access 2x 10G at less than 200 euros. He has now found his master.