TRENDnet Gigabit Switch Mini-Review

Multiple audio and video streams, Skype video, and big file transfers eat up bandwidth, and the older Airport Extreme we use here at the Secret Space Agency is limited to Fast Ethernet speeds. This just wasn’t cutting it for the production of the upcoming shows we’re working on, which involve a lot of data transfer.

So rather than replacing the existing base station — which works just fine otherwise and would still offer three network ports (we need more) — I picked up this TRENDnet 8-port Gigabit Switch ($45 at Amazon and $38 at Newegg, with a $10 rebate in both places) for faster networking speeds between the machines and devices I’m using on our internal network for audio and video production. Sure, my Internet uplink is far slower than Gigabit ethernet, but internally we’re moving a lot of data around, and that’s where the speed bump will make the biggest difference.

Usually I stick with brands I’ve used before, but the reviews of the TRENDnet both on Amazon and Newegg were really positive, so I took the chance.

I’m glad I did — the switch is awesome. It’s made out of metal and built like a little tank. Unlike it’s featherweight peers, it’s heavy enough that it won’t slide off your desk or shelf when you have it fully loaded with cables. It’s silent (some brands have power supplies that hum or ports that squeak). Best of all, it’s “green” so it mitigates power to unused ports.

What are you guys using for small-office networking these days? Let me know in the comments or via Twitter.

Update: Be sure you’re using CAT-5e or Cat-6 cables. Your father’s old Cat-5 cables probably won’t do Gigabit speeds reliably, if at all.

More articles in the Archive →