|At a Glance|
|Product||TP-LINK 8-Port Gigabit Easy Smart Switch [TL-SG108E]|
|Summary||Simple 8 port Gigabit smart switch|
|Pros||• Supports 16 KB jumbo frames
• Energy saving mode
• Very inexpensive
|Cons||• Requires Windows utility to configure
• No port access controls
|At a Glance|
|Product||TP-LINK 8-Port Gigabit Smart Switch [TL-SG2008]|
|Summary||8 port Gigabit smart switch with more advanced L2 features|
|Pros||• Multiple security options
• CoS and DSCP QoS options
• Reporting and statistical displays
|Cons||• Documentation needs configuration examples|
In this review, I'm going to look at two TP-Link switches, the TL-SG108E from TP-Link's Easy Switch product line and the TL-SG2008 from TP-Link's Smart Switch line. Throughout this review, I'm going to cover functionality and differences between those two switches. At the end of this review, I'll compare these TP-Link 8-port switches and three 8-port switches from other manufacturers.
TP-Link's Easy Smart Switch product line includes three models: 8-port, 16-port and 24-port. A good overview of this product line comes from the TP-Link TL-SG108E data sheet that says “The TL-SG108E 8-Port Gigabit Easy Smart switch is an ideal upgrade from an unmanaged switch, designed for small and medium business networks that require simple network management.”
TP-Link's Smart Switch line includes ten models that vary by total number of ports, port speed (10/100 or 10/100/1000), support for PoE, and additional Gigabit Ethernet or SFP combo ports. The TP-Link TL-SG2008 data sheet tells us that “TP-LINK’s 8-Port Gigabit Smart Switch TL-SG2008 is especially designed for the small and medium business networks that require efficient network management.”
The difference in TP-Link's description of these two switches is "simple vs. efficient" network management. So what is the difference between "simple" and "efficient" network management? For these TP-Link switches, it comes down to features, hardware, and configuration options. Let's start by looking at the features, then I'll examine hardware and configuration options.
The below feature listings are taken from TP-Link's data sheet for each product.
At a high level, the key feature differences between these two switches are the TL-SG2008 has more features for VLANs, link aggregation, loop prevention, network security, QoS and device management/monitoring options. The real deal-killer for some, however, may be that the TL-SG108E's "smart" features can be accessed only via a Windows-only utility.
Notice in the previous feature listing that both the SG108E and SG2008 are rated with the same switching capacity (16Gbps), forwarding rate (11.9Mpps), and MAC address table capacity (8K). However, the SG2008 has more buffer memory; 4 MB vs. 2 MB. Larger buffer sizes enable a switch to better handle congestion and offer more QoS capabilities. Interestingly, the SG108E supports larger jumbo frame sizes (16KB) than the SG2008 (9.2KB).
Physically, both switches are small, silent desktop switches with rubber feet and external power supplies. The SG108E measures 6.2"x4.0"x1.0" and the SG2008 measures 8.2"x4.9"x1.0". A difference is the SG108E RJ45 ports are on the front of the device, while the SG2008 RJ45 ports are the rear of the device. Personally, I prefer the RJ45 ports on the front of the front of the device as it makes it easier to plug and unplug devices from my network.
SG108E Front and Rear
Shots of the front and rear of each switch are above and below.
SG2008 Front and Rear
The components in the SG108E and SG2008 are also different. The SG108E is more basic with a Realtek RTL8370N Layer 2 Managed 10/100/1000 Switch Controller and 1 MB Flash memory. All processor and networking functions on the SG108E are handled by the switch chip.
SG108E Main Board
The SG2008 has a Realtek RTL8380M 10-port 10/100/1000M switch controller with an embedded 500 MHz CPU and 64 MB RAM, plus 8 MB Flash. Shots of both main boards are above and below.