NETGEAR GS110T Conclusion
Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are times that unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes occur after publication, that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusions, as they represent our product rating for the sample received which may also differ from retail versions.
The performance of the NETGEAR ProSafe GS110T SmartSwitch was every bit as good as it needed to be, to meet industry standards. Sorry, no amount of overclocking, overvolting or anything else is going to make it exceed 1000 Mbps. In fact, it didn’t quite make 1000; it only pulled 868 Mbps in the TCP/IP testing. The two routers I tested got a little better performance out of the two test systems, both averaging about 940 Mbps. As I’ve experienced in NAS testing, GbE can be a real performance restraint when you’ve got more than 4 HDDs in RAID, which are each capable of 125MB/s transfer rates. Until costs for 10GbE network gear come down though, we’re stuck with single GbE. UDP performance was worse for all of the devices I tested, The two switches both fared worse than the two routers, and the GS110T had its performance cut in half. I’m inclined to chalk that up to a configuration setting that I didn’t get right, as the unmanaged switch did much better.
The appearance of the NETGEAR GS110T is clearly aimed at the business consumer. This is not a product that you’re going to see on the shelves of your local big box store. The plain cardboard box it comes in, also underscores that aspect of its market positioning. Just because the outsides aren’t trendy or flashy doesn’t mean that it doesn’t look good, though. I happen to like understated design themes, so I warmed up to the GS110T right away. The appearance is still modern, even if it isn’t a white, rounded rectangle.
The construction of the GS110T SmartSwitch was top notch. The enclosure was quite sturdy and well fitted together. All the mating parts lined up perfectly and when it was time to reassemble the unit after the teardown, and it went back together very easily. There were no sharp edges to worry about and the surface finish on all the parts was impeccable. The PCB was manufactured to a very high standard, one of the best I’ve seen in a while. These switches are designed to last a long time and operate in tough environments, and high build quality is a prerequisite for reliability.
Functionality is where the GS110T really shines. Smart switches in general have more features than their unmanaged siblings, but there is no hard and fast rule for what functionality must be included in order to qualify as a smart switch. The Smart Control Center software that handles all the management functions for the ProSafe series of switches is very comprehensive and relatively easy to use. The security features alone make it worth the price of admission, to me. Don’t take my word for it, go back and read the middle sections of this review and see for yourself.
The NETGEAR ProSafe GS110T SmartSwitch is available for $119.99 from both NewEgg and Amazon. Considering all the features you get, compared to an unmanaged switch, and the better build quality for the ProSafe product line, I think these smart switches offer reasonable value for money. For those who only need the 3-4 ports on the back of a typical home router, the price probably seems high, but those who can use the special functions that are only available on a smart switch will see it as a good value and a necessary purchase.
The new class of Smart Switches aren’t for everyone, but for those that have a need for their expanded feature set, they’re a real game changer. Their cost is way below business class switches, and they have just the right amount of tools and controls to make the difference between a secure network and one that’s vulnerable from within. There are several models in the ProSafe product line that are similar to the GS110T, and have either fewer or more ports. They are close enough in design that a large portion of this review is applicable to them, as well. The models that have Power-Over-Ethernet (POE) are different enough on the hardware side that I can’t really speak about them at this time. The software features I described should all be there, along with some additional tools for the power distribution functions.
+ Excellent build quality
+ Comprehensive software controls
+ Flexible security features
+ Good throughput on TCP/IP traffic
+ Very little heat output
+ Expected long-term reliability
+ Software ease-of-use
+ Fiber optic ports, if you need them
+ Easy setup with appropriate defaults
+ Excellent documentation
+ Large product line with many choices
+ Strong user community support
- UDP performance lags way behind TCP/IP
– Price may be an issue for home users
– Didn’t beat my unmanaged switch on performance
- Performance: 8.75
- Appearance: 9.00
- Construction: 9.50
- Functionality: 9.50
- Value: 9.00
Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: What feature do you like most on the NETGEAR ProSafe GS110T?