Tactical Advice

SMC 8508T 10/100/1000 Gigabit Switch

Here's a great switch upgrade if you're not running a Gigabit switch and Gigabit network interface cards.
This story appears in the June 2007 issue of BizTech Magazine.

Powerful enough for the office, yet cost-effective enough for home, the SMC 8508T Gigabit switch will give your network traffic green lights on any route traveled.

End-User Advantages

The SMC 8508T EZSwitch is an eight-port 10/100/1000-megabit-per-second, auto-sensing switch designed around high performance and ease of use. It is nonmanaged, so right out of the box no configuration is necessary. All ports support automatic MDI/MDI-X (Medium Dependent Interface/Medium Dependent Interface) configuration. You won’t need a crossover cable for connecting to other hubs or switches; a straight-through cable can be used instead.

The switch has a small footprint with four rubber foot pads for desktop or shelf mounting and placement in small areas. Additionally, the switch comes with a rack-mount bracket kit for installation on a standard EIA 19-inch rack.

The most impressive nontechnical feature is the price. This switch is inexpensive enough to deploy in different parts of the network. The price also means users can afford to replace these switches in the event that one fails. It would probably be a good idea to have an extra one on hand for backup.

Finally, the SMC 8508T has a metal case. Typically, less-expensive switches, routers and hubs have plastic cases, which don’t provide the same level of durability.

Why It Works for IT

One of the biggest advantages of the SMC 8508T is its support for jumbo frames. Jumbo frames are Ethernet frames larger than 1,518 bytes. This switch supports up to 9-byte maximum transmission units.

The support of jumbo frames allows for large files, such as ISO or Norton Ghost image files, graphics files and multimedia files, to be moved across your network rapidly. This feature is common for more expensive switches.

Disadvantages

The SMC 8508T doesn’t have a fan, but on the upside, it’s quiet. This model also has low-power consumption, so heat is not a considerable issue.

Another disadvantage with this switch is that it is unmanaged. Most people, however, will probably appreciate this aspect of the switch because it’s an ease-of-use feature that makes it a desirable product.

CDW Price: $105.99

Greg Ashbaugh is an systems administrator and the owner of AshbaughOnline.com, a technology site that includes news, reviews and tutorials.

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