Whenever we review a 2.5GbE capable device, we get a simple and well-founded question: what about a 2.5GbE switch? A challenge the 2.5GbE industry has is that it is stuck in a cycle where not enough devices support 2.5GbE (as compared to 1GbE) to support a vibrant low-cost switch market. Without switches, the need for 2.5GbE devices can be seen as less important. TRENDnet is trying to change that with two new switches, one of which we are going to review here. The TRENDnet TEG-S380 is an 8-port unmanaged switch designed to offer a relatively low-cost option for adding 2.5GbE networking. In our review, we are going to look at what this switch offers.
Video Companion Piece
As we have been doing with many of our articles this year, this review has a video companion piece where we discuss this 8-port as well as the 5-port options.
We suggest opening this in a new YouTube tab for a better viewing experience. That YouTube video also has an ask for our readers. From the moment we saw these switches announced a few weeks ago, we contacted TRENDnet to get the units so we could take a look at them since they do offer something different in the market.
TRENDnet TEG-S380 Overview
The TEG-S380 is a fairly simple device. Looking at the front of the unit, this is a desktop switch so it does not come with rackmount rails. We are going to discuss power later in this review, but there is also a single DC power input similar to what we would see on lower-cost 1GbE unmanaged switches. That is perhaps the major thrust of this switch, it is aiming to be the 2.5GbE equivalent to the huge numbers of 8-port 1GbE switches on the market.
Perhaps the defining feature on the front of the device involves the array of 8x 2.5GbE switch ports. Something that we wish this switch had, especially at this price point, was LED indicators on each switch port. Instead, the TEG-S380 has these to the side and in two rows of four LEDs. These switches often end up deployed behind desks, mounted in dark closets or other areas. Having two rows of offset LEDs makes it harder to tie a LED to a single row of switch ports. This is a small nuance, but it is also one that we should not have to point out on a switch in this price band.
The switch itself is made using a metal case. Many of the 1GbE unmanaged switches come in plastic cases to save a few dollars on retail prices. Given the margin on these switches, we appreciate that this is at least a metal constuction.
Opening the TEG-S380 up, we can see a fairly simple PCB. Something that is interesting is that practically this switch could be more compact since there is completely open space on the side of the switch behind the logo.
Another interesting note here is that there is a set of pads that is just above the switch chip’s heatsink that we see unpopulated here. On the 5-port model, the TEG-S350, these pads are populated with a chip. It is interesting that the 8-port model does not have a component that the 5-port model has.
On the subject of the 5-port model, we will have a review of the 5-port TRENDnet TEG-S350. The two models are overall very similar down to the boxes that they come in. The 8-port TEG-S380 we are looking at here are is the larger of the two models.
We will have a review of the 5-port model when we get more time in the publishing schedule, however, it is discussed in the video that we have embedded above.
Next, we are going to discuss performance, power consumption, and then get into a market discussion.