If we took a poll of STH readers that at some point have had a Netgear unmanaged switch, it surely would be a high number. The Netgear GS110MX is a truly simple device that may well be your next unmanaged Netgear switch. It has 8x 1GbE ports, along with two 10Gbase-T ports. Those 10Gbase-T ports are Nbase-T devices which means they also can handle 2.5GbE and 5GbE speeds. In our Netgear GS110MX review, we are going to take a look at what the switch has to offer.
Netgear GS110MX Overview
This is a very small unit overall. It measures 236x102x27mm or 9.29×4.02×1.06 inches which is very compact. The front of the switch is the most exciting part. It starts off as a simple 8x 1GbE port switch which is not too exciting in the 2020’s.
Ports 9 and 10 are the entire value proposition of this switch. They each support both 100Mbps Ethernet as well as 1GbE speeds. These days, that, again is not a reason to buy this switch. Instead, the two ports go beyond just 1GbE and also support 10GbE, 5GbE, and 2.5GbE speeds with RJ-45 Nbase-T ports. This lets one attach fast NAS units, workstations, servers, or even fast Wi-Fi APs to the switch at higher speeds.
The rear of the switch has a DC input, a Kennsington lock port, and a grounding point.
The underside of the unit shows important facets of this multi-gig enabled switch. As you can see, the switch has a number of mounting options. For the photos thus far, we have had rubber feet supplied with the unit. The GS110MX also comes with a wall mounting kit that anchors to the underside as well.
Adding to the flexibility of this switch it comes with what we are calling “Dumbo” sized rack ears. Netgear has to make up 5 inches or so on either side of the unit to make it fit a rack. Furthermore, it has to make up vertical space as well since the switch is so small. It is actually small enough that it can be rack-mounted with the rubber feet still installed. One negative of this design is that it allows air to flow freely above and below the switch. If you are thinking of using this switch in a location with proper hot and cold aisles, this is something that will need to be addressed.
Inside the switch, we find two big heatsinks. A smaller heatsink is located next to the 1GbE ports while the larger heatsink is found next to the 10Gbase-T ports. The switch itself has no moving parts and is passively cooled. That makes the switch silent as well as increasing reliability and lowering power consumption.
You can see that there is also a heat transfer cover with pads that will hit the heatsink.
We took a picture of this area because Netgear also makes the GS110EMX switch. That switch is a managed unit and the controller is placed on this side of the PCB. That review is forthcoming.
Netgear GS110MX Performance and Management
Our standard test suite did not run on this switch because it is the first unmanaged switch we have run. That is something we need to fix in the future. Practically speaking, this switch does not have a management interface. Instead, we loaded ports and passed traffic through the switch trying to hit maximum speeds using a 10Gbase-T NAS as a target.
Overall, this is an acceptable result. There is some overhead on the ports. The switch supports up to 10240b Jumbo Frames, but it is not a selectable setting. Also features such as port-based VLANs, QoS, link aggregation (LAG), and blocking unknown multicast traffic is not possible on this switch. Instead, the Netgear GS110MX is really designed to plug the power adapter in, then plug devices in and call that your network.
While simplistic, that is fine in the sub-$200 segments. There are many users and deployments that do not know what to do with switch management and would probably break something if they did try using it.
Netgear GS110MX Power Consumption and Noise
We tested power consumption on 120V power since that is common at the edge where these will be deployed in North America. In terms of actual power consumption we saw:
- Idle Power: 4.9W
- Max Observed Power: 11.8W
- Max Power from Spec Sheet: 13.2W
This switch absolutely sips power. Even at the maximum power consumption on the datasheet, it is still only 1.32W/ port or 4.24Gbps per Watt under maximum load.
Getting Specs on Netgear’s Website
Something strange happened when editing this review. We went to the website on 2020-01-11 to look at specs of the switch. We saw something off and double-checked the URL.
The product page showed images of and had a summary of, completely different products. For example, the Netgear GS110MX does not have a SFP+ port. We clicked on tech specs and saw the correct unit and its specs below the above:
This is a bit disheartening to see. Having your product page reflecting your actual product is just about the first step in showing your product is of high quality. Netgear completely dropped the ball on this one.
The Netgear GS110MX does exactly what it says it will do. If you just need to stand up a small network that will have a few clients and handle all other features on the router/ firewall, then this works perfectly well. Performance is acceptable. Since the switch is both fanless and low power while having three different mounting options, it is extremely versatile in how it can be deployed.
One of the big features with Netgear is the company’s lifetime 24/7 technical support and hardware warranty. We did not have an issue with this switch, however, one should expect tech support to align with a sub-$200 device that also includes a lifetime support and warranty.
If your goal is complete simplicity, then the Netgear GS110MX makes sense, especially if you want up to 8x 1GbE ports and 2x 10GbE or multi-gigabit ports. For many small offices that have a workstation or server, a NAS, and several clients this type of device makes sense. What would have, of course, made this a stronger recommendation is if the eight ports supported 2.5GbE. Together, they would match the speeds of the uplink ports. We are also seeing more client devices and even low-end NAS units support 2.5GbE so it would make the switch more future proof.
For those who are wondering, we also have the Netgear GS110EMX which is the managed version of this switch and the review is almost done. If we are being frank, unless you absolutely cannot handle the extra sub-2W of power consumption or you absolutely do not want management features, then that is the better buy.