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Reviews

Netgear ProSafe XS728T review

A high port density, plenty of features and top value make this 10GbE switch ideally suited to SMBs

Price
£2,039
  • Fantastic price; Large number of ports;
  • No IRDP router discovery;

Netgear is on a mission to put affordable 10GbE switching solutions into the hands of SMBs, and the latest ProSafe XS728T shows it means business. This slimline 1U chassis puts 28 10GbE ports on the table at a price no other vendor will get close to.

As the flagship of Netgear's ProSafe Smart Managed Switch family, the XS728T has 24 fixed 10GBaseT ports and augments them with four SFP+ fibre ports. There are no dual personalities here, as the SFP+ ports are dedicated and canbe used alongside all 24 copper ports.

It's designed for small or medium- sized businesses that want high- performance core switching duties, or larger businesses looking for an affordable aggregation solution. With many of the latest NAS devices now 10GbE enabled, it's also an ideal solution for linking up a fast storage network.

At its foundation, the XS728T is an L2 switch with basic L3 routing capabilities. Called "Layer 3 Lite", it supports IPv4 and IPv6 static routing, VLAN routing and ARP, but not router discovery using IRDP (only the older 12-port XS712T supports this).

Unlike the entry-level XS708E (pcpro.link/255netgear), this switch can be fully managed via a web browser. Netgear also includes its Smart Control Center discovery software, which provides quick access to the web console, alongwith IP address setup and firmware and configuration download facilities.

Smart Control Center ran fineon our Windows 10 desktop, but we found that the switch's web console doesn't currently support Microsoft's Edge browser. We could log in to the switch, but Edge wouldn't display any details or allow us to access the menu tabs.

We had no problems with Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer, though, in which we found the web consoleto be well designed and easy to use.It opens with an overview of the switch hardware, along with system temperatures and the status of the four surprisingly quiet cooling fans.

We could see the status of system memory and the CPU, view a graph of CPU usage and switch to a device view with coloured port icons showing their connection status and speed. The switch's cable tests tell you whether they're functioning correctly orhave an electrical fault, and it will give an estimate of the cable length for 10GbE links.

The web console furnished us with lists of switch and port statistics for switch monitoring, and it can sendlog data to a syslog server. For SNMP, we used Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor to keep an eye on the switch and port status plus traffic throughput on each port.

Ports can be placed in up to eight static or dynamic link aggregation groups (LAGs) for high-speed and fault-tolerant trunks. Layer 2 features are extensive, with support for port, MAC and protocol-based VLANs. The switch can create VLANs for VoIP traffic and the Auto-VoIP option identifies SIP, H.323 signal and SCCP traffic and automatically prioritises it.

The quality of service (QoS) controls allow you to assign one of eight priorities to each port, with a minimum bandwidth applied to each one. The switch supports 802.1p and can detect these fields and map the packets to the required priority queue.

Security is on the money: Radius and TACACS+ can be used to tighten up admin access. Port authentication using 802.1x is supported and unauthenticated users can be passed to a guest VLAN with limited network access.

The switch is easy on the power supply. We measured it drawing 75W, with the load increasing by around 4W per 10GbE connection. Green Ethernet technology is supported, meaning that the switch will reduce power on ports where short cables are detected and, if the Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) feature is enabled, it will reduce power consumption on ports with low utilisation.

As the first 28-port 10GbE switch on the market, the XS728T sets a high standard for those vendors that dare to follow in its footsteps. SMBs looking for a path into high-speed networking simply won't find better value anywhere else.

Verdict

As the first 28-port 10GbE switch on the market, the XS728T sets a high standard for those vendors that dare to follow in its footsteps. SMBs looking for a path into high-speed networking simply won’t find better value anywhere else.

1U rack chassis

24 x 10GBaseT

4 x dedicated 10GbE SFP+

USB 2

560Gbits/sec backplane capacity

512MBsystem memory

3MB packet buffer

16K MAC addresses

Internal PSU

Netgear Smart Control Center software

Web browser management

Limited lifetime warranty 

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