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LAN & WAN Reviews

QoS

The SG108E and SG2008 support port and 802.1p based QoS and have four priority settings. The SG2008 also supports DSCP based QoS, and allows you to select from four queuing modes: equal; strict priority; weighted round robin; and strict priority+weighted round robin.

For bandwidth control, both the SG108E and SG2008 let you specify ingress and egress bandwidth limits per port. For storm control, the SG108E lets you specify a single limit and then apply it to one or more ports to control potential storm traffic rates (Broadcast, Multicast, and/or UL-Frame traffic). The SG2008 lets you specify different limits for each of the three types of potential storm traffic rates and apply it to one or more ports.

Security

The SG108E's only security option is a single user name and password to limit configuration access. The SG2008 has far more security options. Neither the SG108E nor the SG2008 support 802.1x authentication.

The SG2008 supports port based MAC control. Permitted MAC addresses can be added to the switch or dynamically learned to control devices that are allowed to pass traffic. DHCP filtering can also be enabled, allowing you define ports that will permit a DHCP server. If you're going to use this feature, you'll probably enable the port connected to your DHCP server, often a router, as trusted and the other ports as untrusted.

The SG2008 also supports packet filtering based on source/destination MAC and IP address, IP protocol and source/destination TCP/UDP port numbers. This is another area where it would be useful for TP-Link to provide a configuration example in the manual or in their support website. Configuring and applying a filter involves creating a Access Control List (ACL), creating a named Policy, applying the ACL to the Policy, then binding the Policy to one or more ports or to one or more VLANs.

I created a simple ACL to block pings (ICMP) on my network and applied it to a port on the SG2008, see below screenshot. It worked as expected. A PC connected to the port where I bound the ACL Policy could not successfully ping other devices. With the ACL removed, pings completed successfully.

SG2008 ACL

SG2008 ACL

LAG

Both the SG108E and SG2008 support static Link Aggregation Groups (LAGs). The SG2008 also supports dynamic LAGs using Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). Personally, I find static LAGs sufficient for a small network. I tested LAGs between both switches and a Cisco SG200-26.

The SG108E data sheet states the device supports "up to 8 aggregation groups, containing 4 ports per group". However, the SG108E configuration menu only allows for creating 2 aggregation groups. Link Aggregation Group 1 (LAG) can be configured on ports 1-4 and LAG 2 can be configured on ports 5-8. In the below screenshot, ports 7 and 8 are successfully bound together in a LAG to the Cisco switch.

SG108E LAG

SG108E LAG

The SG2008 data sheet states the device supports "up to 6 aggregation groups, containing 4 ports per group." In the below screenshot, ports 4 and 5 are successfully bound together in a LAG to the Cisco switch.

SG2008 LAG

SG2008 LAG

Other

The SG2008 doesn't trump the SG108E for all features. The SG108E supports an automatic power saving capability where it will power down idle ports to reduce energy consumption, as well as reduce power levels on ports with shorter cables.

Both switches support Port Mirroring, which is an excellent tool for troubleshooting a network by copying and capturing packets from one port to another. The SG108E can only mirror one port at a time, while the SG2008 can mirror multiple ports at once. Neither switch supports IPv6 addressing, however.

Device management and monitoring capability is noted by TP-Link as a key difference between the SG108E and the SG2008. The SG108E provides a simple screen displaying Tx and Rx packet counts by interface, which is useful to see that traffic is actively passing over an interface and relative traffic volumes.

The SG2008 provides a traffic summary page displaying Tx and Rx packets by interface, as well as a page displaying volumes of different packet types, such as Multicast, Broadcast, Unicast, and different packet sizes. It also has a page for graphing CPU (shown below) and memory utilization, but you have stay on that page to view the output. If you go to another part of the menu, it stops graphing the output and you have to restart it when you return to that page. It would be more useful if you could enable the graph and return to the page after it collected more data.

SG2008 CPU Monitor

SG2008 CPU Monitor

The SG2008 also provides a page displaying Multicast packet statistics. Further, the SG2008 supports sys logging, where log messages can be stored locally, sent to a syslog server, as well as backed up to a PC. Finally, the SG2008 also supports SNMP and RMON for more detailed network monitoring and alarming.

Closing Thoughts

I compared the TP-Link switches to several other 8-port switches in the table below. The rated throughput and MAC address capacity of all these switches is about the same, with the exception being the NETGEAR's MAC address table is only 4K compared to 8K for the rest of the switches.

The differentiator here is price. The price of the SG108E clearly stands out as the bargain of the group, at about half the cost of most of the other switches. But remember, the tradeoff is that you can only manage it via Windows. For fully web-managed switches, the SG2008 is a relative bargain, coming in less than all but the ZyXEL. (All prices from Amazon, as of review posting date.)

Switch VLANs Switching (Gbps) Forwarding (Mpps) MAC Queues Price
TP-Link TL-SG108E 32 16.9 11.9 8K 4 $40
TP-Link TL-SG2008 512 16.9 11.9 8K 4 $80
NETGEAR GS108Tv2 64 16 11.9 4K 4 $79
Cisco SG200-8 16 13.6 11.9 8K 4 $90
Zyxel GS1900-8 1024 16.9 11.9 8K 8 $62

I thought both switches performed well.  The SG2008 certainly has more features and options than the SG108E. But I struggled to configure some of those features. With some updates to either the manual or website, the SG2008 could be a lot more user friendly.

If I were to choose between these two switches, I'd go with the easier-to-configure and less expensive SG108E. It's a good deal if you're looking to add ports and configurable Layer 2 switching capability to an expanding small network.

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