I’ve been needing a switch for some time. As with most people I rely on the ports on the back of my ISP supplied router, but those 4 don’t get very far. For some time it’s been filled by my desktop PC, NAS, Pogoplug and Solwise Homeplug. Now I have a Raspberry Pi I could do with one more. And I’ve also recently upgraded my NAS (also more on that in later review) to a speedier version – the 100 Mbps speed of my router just isn’t cutting it.
The TP-LINK I bought for 2 reasons – it has a Gigabit connection (i.e. 1000 Mbps) and it was cheap (I bought mine for less than £15 from Amazon).
Other features are that it has 5 ports (there is an 8 port version but it’s nearly twice the price), is energy saving (by powering down the ports when there’s no activity and by varying power based on deteced cable size, it claims to save up to 75% of energy). The box is rather lacking – a User Guide leaflet, the switch and a power supply. You don’t even get a single ethernet cable (thankfully I have many spare!). The user guide is, putting it politely, rubbish – it tells you all about the technical functionality and how to connect it up to the mains but if you don’t know what to do with a switch this really won’t help. The box itself is smaller than a router and generally quite compact. There are lights on the front for each port and well as a general power light. There are no buttons at all and no configuration to perform.
So, I powered up the TP-LINK and connected an ethernet cable from my router to a spare port on it. I then transferred my desktop PC, Homeplug, NAS and Pogoplug over to the switch – each of these can now communicate to each other via gigabit, which each have. Sadly I hadn’t checked this before ordering as I hadn’t realised that 4 of my current devices would benefit – if I’d known this I would have ordered their 8 port switch (I hate not having ports free!). As it it all my spare ports are now on my slower router (at least I can plug my Raspberry Pi into that as it’s only 10/100 Kbps).[review]It was cheap, simple to use and has given me a 10x increase in speed accessing certain devices. It only loses a point for its rubbish instructions.[/review]