This is a follow-up to the series that Rohit has been working on over the past few weeks. Specifically, he has been looking at the various Netgear GS305P options. As a result, we are asking for reader feedback. Specifically around how we should treat what Netgear has done in the space.
Netgear Making Simple PoE Switches too Complex
For this one, we have a video that you can see here as well. In the first few minutes, some keen readers may get a glimpse into STH behind the scenes.
As always we suggest opening that in a new YouTube tab, window, or app for the best viewing experience.
The crux of the challenge is what we found over the past month or so around the Netgear GS305P. In our first review, the Netgear GS305P 55W 5-port PoE Switch Review, we found a unit that was a PoE switch and that had a 55W power budget for the simple unmanaged switch.
As I was doing my quick read of Rohit’s piece, I saw that the specs on Amazon.com had changed since we had purchased the unit two weeks earlier. The GS305P now says POE+ and 63W total PoE power budget while being $5 less expensive.
At first, we saw the specs that looked similar to the Netgear GS305EP we reviewed. While the PoE figures and a lot of the look were similar to the new specs on Amazon, the “E” in the model name noted that this switch has Layer 2 management features certainly making it a managed switch instead of an unmanaged switch.
Our second GS305P arrived and one could quickly be confused for mistaking it for the one we reviewed two weeks earlier. It still said GS305P. The only way to know this was something different was to look at the Yellow text that says “PoE+ 30watts/ port max” telling us those two specs. Also, the input voltage was adjusted slightly.
We asked Netgear and were told that the new version is the “v2” of the product. Armed with that information, we found that on the bottom of the box there was a sticker that said “GS305P-200NAS.” The rest of the markings on the box simply said “GS305P” so this was the location to know it was a different unit.
Doing some looking at the unit itself, we did not see the “GS305P-200NAS” on the bottom of the unit. Instead, we saw the GS305Pv2 as the model. The only model naming that was shared between the box and the switch itself was “GS305P”.
We also confirmed that the switches were using the same Realtek switch chip. It seems as though the v2 was mostly an update to add PoE+ and the higher-power 68W power adapter, both features we saw on the GS305EP.
Just for some sense of how confusing this all is, here is the Netgear image supplied to Amazon about the new model. We can see PoE+ and 63W power budget listed. The challenge is that the image of the switch shows that it only has a “15.4 watts/port max” and 48V input. It seems as though Netgear marketing even is getting V1 and V2 confused.
In light of our WD Red SMR vs CMR and ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro component swap pieces that Will did, we wanted to get a sense from our readers how to treat this swap. It is a clear upgrade of the power specs with the same switch chip.
Still, users searching casually for the GS305P will see different information for the V1 and V2 because Netgear simply did not mark the new unit V2 everywhere. We can imagine there are those out there that will get the wrong information about capabilities due to this omission.
Personally, I find this one to be less sensitive than it would have been if we had a major decrease in specs. These are relatively low-end devices mostly purchased based on price and a minimum set of features. Since the PoE+ upgrade using the same switch chip is a net upgrade, I am inclined to give this a pass.
At the same time, I do feel that simply labeling the new switch “v2” everywhere would have had a positive impact on the market. There is a very valid argument that changing specs without changing the model name (conspicuously) can be very confusing.
Still, I would like your feedback on this one. How do you think we should handle cases like this going forward?