Sometimes you just need to put power over an Ethernet cable and that is what the Netgear GS516UP is all about. This is an unmanaged gigabit switch, with a twist: it is both a PoE+ and a PoE++ switch. One item we wanted to point out was what we found in the unit we purchased off of Amazon since there was something strange with our unit. Let us get into it.
Netgear GS516UP Overview
The switch itself is 1U in height but is nowhere near as wide as a standard 1U rack. Dimensions are 330 x 207 x 43 mm or 12.99 in. x 8.15 in. x 1.7 in. This makes the unit versatile enough that it can be rack-mounted but can also be a desk/ shelf top unit.
On the left side of the switch, there are obligatory LED markers. What is a bit different is that there are two DIP switches. Before PoE++ 802.3bt in 2018, there were a number of products that needed higher power output but were built to previous standards like UPOE. Typically these days you would not use the “re-802.3bt mode, but that option is here and is selectable on blocks of ports 1-4 and 5-8. Those are the PoE++ ports.
Since this has the DIP switch, it also has a little PCB and cable behind the faceplate. This is a simple and nice solution.
When it comes to the ports, we have two blocks. Ports 1-8 are the PoE++ ports with up to 60W each of power. Ports 9-16 are PoE+ 30W ports.
The total power budget is 380W. If you take 60 x 8 and 30 x 8 you get 720W of port power. Effectively one cannot use each port simultaneously up to its maximum.
The rear of the unit has a Kensington lock slot. There is a sticker with serial number and MAC address information.
The big feature is probably the power input. Many lower-end and small PoE switches have external power supplies, but at this level, we see an internal power supply. Still, this is not a hot-swappable PSU putting it somewhere between those solutions.
On one side we see a copious vent.
On the other side, we see three sets of circular cutout patterns.
This is a bit strange. As we look at the Netgear product page, we see an interesting spec mentioned. Netgear says this is a unit with silent operation. The product page says “The fanless design means zero added noise wherever its located, making it ideal for your home or business environment.” This is strange because the cutout pattern looks as though it is for multiple fans (and the data sheet says the switch has fans.)
As we transition to the internal view, let us just cut to it, there are three fans in this fanless design. They spin and make some noise.
Many users rely on company product pages and descriptions rather than going all the way to data sheets, especially on lower-end switches like this, so it is disappointing that the web description is clearly incorrect.
There was something else that was quite strange. The switch rattled. Upon opening this switch, we found this that had landed in the space between the power supply and the switching board:
We also found an empty mounting hole at the edge of the switching board.
The screw and washer assembly fits well here. It seems like perhaps we got a “Friday at 4:59PM” production unit that the person assembling did not finish on their way out of the door and that any quality control process missed. It is still a bit scary that this metal assembly absent its hole and rattling in the switch could have passed quality control. Years ago we saw something similar in our Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch ES-16-XG Review: Quality Control Absent (also purchased from Amazon like this unit.)
Moving to the interior of the switch, with that screw replaced, we can see the majority of the switch is actually the power supplies and fans on the right side.
Here we can see the ports and power delivery along with the switch chip below.
On the bottom, we can see the power input along with the three 4-pin fan connections.
The star of the unit is the power supply.
Here is where things get a bit exciting and strange. The power supply is actually well-known in the networking world. These were used in some of the old Cisco switches usually with power supply ratings in excess of 500W.
Finally, just as a quick one there are rackmount ears that are provided with the switch.
Overall, the switch worked well. It powered the various APs and cameras we had. As an unmanaged unit, we do not have a management interface to show.
For an unmanaged switch, we actually found quite a few interesting items. Patrick, our Editor-in-Chief sent a video of the rattling screw to Netgear and they are investigating.
On one end of the spectrum, we found a completely loose screw and washer. That is dangerous enough that it has us questioning quality control on these switches. It is perhaps some strange twist of fate that the unit we purchased from Amazon was one without the final screw installed. We would say we are shocked, but given what we have seen with a Ubiquiti switch in the past, it does not seem completely out of place in this segment.
Circling to the positive, we found a Delta power supply that is found in higher-end Cisco PoE switches. PoE+ and PoE++ switches carry enormous price premiums over their non-PoE counterparts for adding larger power supplies and distributing that power. It was refreshing to see Netgear source a higher-end unit here rather than go with a barely capable unit from a lower-quality vendor than Delta.
Both of these extremes make the 16-port unmanaged Netgear GS516UP more interesting than the specs would indicate.