Zyxel GS1920-24HP Smart Managed Switch
Who cares about switches on the network? Nobody, until you run into a network configuration need you can’t handle without the flexibility and throughput provided by a good switch. The Zyxel GS1920-24HP (pictured, below) adds the extra value of Power over Ethernet (PoE) for the growing list of cameras, sensors, and other PoE-enabled Internet of Things devices being added to networks every day.
You can buy switches for less, but finding units this versatile with 30 watts of PoE power per port will prove tough. Even better, the fans blow only when needed, in case your closet or cabinet is not soundproofed.
Every port can handle client adapters from 10 to 100 to 1,000 Mbps. The unit as a whole can handle up to 56 Gbps of switched traffic, a pretty big load and far more than the equipment in our test lab can possibly generate. And while there’s no Easy Mode for this device, the interface is intuitive and equipped with context-sensitive help screens.
Traffic on each port can be massaged in a variety of ways, but you can also just plug stuff in, turn it on, and worry about the configuration later. We did that, and the switch simply grabbed an IP address from the USG40 upstream and went to work.
All the 802.x standards we can remember and some we can’t are covered, like flow control, LLDP/LLDP-MED, three versions of Spanning Tree Protocol, Layer 2 MAC filtering, Layer 3 IP filtering, and Layer 4 TCP/UDP socket filtering.
Every port supports PoE but only about a dozen can run at one time if they’re all pulling 30 watts, because the total power budget for the switch is 375 watts. Happily, many PoE devices these days need far less than 30 watts.
Even more than the USG40, the GS1920-24HP becomes out-of-sight, out-of-mind reliable when the network closet door closes. And when you need VLANs, cluster support, and more in one switch, the GS1920 can handle it.
Opening image: Zyxel USG40 Unified Security Gateway