Linksys WRT SE4008 8-Port Gigabit Switch review
For those of you reading this that are unsure what the heck an 8-port gigabit Ethernet switch is, just look at it as an extension hub for your wired network. You know when you need more internet ports on your router? This is one way of getting them.
The Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch itself is designed to mimic the WRT1900AC. As I’ve not had the chance to handle the router, looking at the specs, it appears that the switch is actually slightly taller. Needless to say though, the switch is clothed in the same classic blue and black detailing and matching stealth-fighter-crossed-with-muscle-car lines.
The front of the switch houses a series of white LEDs to denote everything from power to network activity whilst, around the back, you get those eight gigabit ports with a power input to the right.
Unlike the Linksys EA6900 I currently use (sat on top of the WRT below), you will notice that there’s no USB, 2.0 or 3.0, in the back of this unit. That seems to be taken care of by the WRT1900 router.
The switch stands on four rubber feet and there’s plenty of clearance for good airflow underneath the device. As this has been designed to have the WRT router sat on top it’s good to see that there appears to have been some forward planning as regards cooling.
The device itself is packaged with a power adapter and info CD but, surprisingly, there’s no Ethernet cable in the box – I expected to see at least one bundled in. So, with that in mind, make sure you’ve a cable ready to connect the switch up to your network.
The WRT supports high speed connections, courtesy of its eight rear Gigabit ports which are rated up to ten times faster than standard 10/100 Ethernet. It’s an ideal device for desktops, AV cabinets and small/home office environments where you need to connect multiple devices to your network at the highest possible speeds. My testing had it sat in the home office and then moved in to the living room where it connected my TalkTalk TV box, Oppo BluRay, the line out to the office and a media server.
Those ports are auto-sensing, which means that they can detect and adjust to the fastest speeds available for the devices that have been connected – switching each port to 10/100 or 1000 Mbps (1 Gigabit) as required. The ports will also power down automatically if a network connection is not in place, reducing the overall power consumption of the device.
On the media front, the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch includes a Quality of Service (QoS) feature which will automatically prioritise network traffic for video and audio applications for better streaming.
Setup, as you’d hopefully expect, is extremely easy. Power up the switch, connect one port to your router, and then plug in your devices and you’re good to go.
Now, the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch is one of those devices that has a very definite target group of users. I mean, you might hear your friends say that they’ve upgraded to a faster/ sleeker Wi-Fi router but, outside of network geeks, when was the last time Ethernet switches held any bragging rights?
As well as that, there are smaller and cheaper switches available on the market today; both from Linksys as well as their competitors.
So why the WRT?
Well, as it’s been specifically designed to be a base extension for the WRT1900AC router (I do wish I had one to test alongside the switch), then if you have that beast or plan on purchasing it, then the WRT switch should be a no-brainer.
From a features and performance point-of-view, there’s only so much you can expect from an unmanaged switch and the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch does everything you’d need from such a thing. But, again, you’ll find similar features on most other switches in this class.
Personally, I like how the WRT switch looks. It has some old school cool but also sits there looking like it means business too. It’s well put together and does do everything you need it to, and performs faultlessly. It also breaks the mould when you look over at all the black network boxes which are available at the moment.
With the likelihood of more WRT devices coming from Linksys in the future, it would be good to have a matching set wouldn’t it?
You can find the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch for £55 from Amazon.co.uk.