We would like to thank Netgear for supplying the review sample.
Companies in need of 10 GbE networking speeds usually prefer fiber optic cables. However, an increasing number of 10 GbE switches compatible with plain copper cables have surfaced within the last few years. With such switches in place, companies with a copper infrastructure could forgo putting forth the rather large sum it takes to change to a fiber-optic infrastructure as they could now use copper cables that are compatible with 10 GbE speeds (Cat6 for 30-50m and Cat6a or Cat7 for up to 100m) instead. We should note here that while copper-cable standards are starting to meet the speeds fiber optic standards deliver, their latencies are significantly higher. So if you need to keep latencies as low as possible, you'll have no other choice but to work with fiber optic cables. Large companies usually use a combination of a fiber and copper infrastructure, especially since fiber optic cables can be much longer than copper ones at 10 GbE speeds. Compared to SPF+ compatible networking cards, the cost of 10GBase-T networking cards has lately also increased.
Netgear's ProSAFE line includes two members, the XS712T and XS728T. Today, we will evaluate the XS728T, Netgear's flagship model with a price tag of around 8.000 US dollars right as it was released. The smaller model includes twelve 10-Gigabit copper ports and two combo SFP+ ports, while the XS728T has twice as many copper and SFP+ ports. Netgear states these switches to be budget solutions for a company or those enthusiasts looking to upgrade networking transfer speeds. One of these can, more specifically, be used as the centerpiece of a home network or as an aggregation switch in a business environment to extend the 10 GbE connection to the very edge of the network itself.
The XS728T and smaller XS712T offer L2+ and L3 Lite features, and their comprehensive list of features includes advanced VLAN capabilities, QoS with L2/L3/L4 awareness, support for private VLAN, dynamic VLAN assignment, IGMP and MLD snooping, enhanced security options, IPv6 management, etc. Both switches obviously feature a web-based management interface (GUI), but the smaller model's GUI is only accessible through a Windows compatible application. Both products are also covered by a lifetime hardware warranty and come with free deployment assistance within the first 90 days.
The XS728T uses a CPU clocked at 800 MHz and 512 MB of RAM, while the smaller model of the line, the XS712T, uses a 600 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM. The XS728T also has 24 10GBase-T ports and four dedicated SFP+ ports that support up to 10G speeds. There is even a USB port should you want to load or save configuration files or update or restore the firmware.
Take a good look at this product's enormous specifications list and you will easily figure why it costs as much. This is a professional-grade switch for business environments where reliability and speed come first and cost is a secondary factor. Netgear provides a lifetime warranty because the switch is incredibly reliable, and there is its very high MTBF of 59 years to consider. Given 59 years is very a long time, the network administrator will probably fail before the switch does.
The following table provides a brief list of its software features: