Gigabit Ethernet for the home office

This content is 17 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Until now, my home office network has been centred around my NetGear ProSafe DS108 10/100Mbps Ethernet hub attached to various computers, a D-Link DWL2000-AP+ wireless access point, a Solwise SAR 110 ADSL router and a downstream Gigabyte 5-port 10/100Mbps switch (because my Mac refused to place nicely with the hub). The DS108 was a nice bit of kit in its time, with 8 auto-sensing 10/100Mbps ports, but recently I’ve been carrying out some large file transfers and these have been crippling the network – effectively the high number of collisions was causing a denial of service for all the other connected devices (indeed the ADSL router was blocking its LAN connection as it thought it was being attacked, necessitating a reboot to get back onto the ‘net).

I knew the answer was to replace the (layer 1) hub with a (layer 2) switch but I needed at least 8 ports and the 24-port 3Com SuperStack 3300 that I use on the basement network has a very noisy fan. After seeking advice from a former colleague who is the best network guy that I know, it seemed that finding a managed switch (ideally, I would like to implement some VLANs) was going to be expensive, so I set about finding a decent unmanaged and fanless switch. Power over Ethernet (PoE) would have been another nice-to-have but is by no means essential.

NetGear GS108After some shopping around, I found the NetGear ProSafe GS108, which is an 8-port auto-sensing 10/100/1000Mbps full-duplex switch with automatic uplink and most importantly is fanless, so completely silent (if a bit on the warm side!). In common with a lot of my hardware purchases, I got mine from RL Supplies but it appears to be the North American model with the power, link, speed and activity LEDs built into each port, rather than in a separate power, activity, collision and duplex display as shown in the UK product documentation. Alternatively (and for a similar price by the time shipping is factored into the cost) the NetGear GS108 is available from Amazon.

I swapped the old hub out for the new switch in just a few seconds – now my LAN-based file transfers are noticeably faster and, because the collision domain is eliminated on a full-duplex switched connection, the other connected devices are still able to communicate whilst the file transfer takes place.

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