Upgrading Your Home Network to Gigabit

Netgear Home LAN Switch

We’ve been running a 10/100 Ethernet switch in the Automated Home since we moved in nearly 10 years ago.  With more devices on the LAN – currently nearing 40 IP address used (see the list below) and with ever larger files moving around our network, the time has come to upgrade to a 10/100/1000 gigabit switch.

Our switch lives in the 19″ rack in Node Zero and so we need another rackmount unit to replace the 10/100.  Having had good service from the previous Netgear FSM726S and hearing good things about its big brother – the Netgear GS724T we decided to give it a try.

The Management – The GS724T has 24 10/100/1000 ports.  It’s a “Managed” switch meaning it has increased functionality compared with a basic un-managed device.  A web-browser interface allows you to monitor switch performance, configure ports, even set up port trunks, VLANs, and traffic prioritization.

The Fast and the Furious – At the end of the day what we really want to know is how much faster it is.  In our semi-scientific test we copied a 4.7 gigabyte test file across our LAN using the old 10/100 switch first (from a Mac mini to an iMac – both use gigabit NICs) and then the test was repeated once the new switch was installed.

As you can see from the graph below,  the real world benefits of the upgrade are remarkable.  The old switch took 7 miniutes and 8 seconds to copy the file, while the upgrade brought that time down to just 1 minutes and 58 seconds – a 72% improvement.

Switch Time

Its also worth mentioning that the cabling for our network was installed in our house over 10 years ago and is standard CAT5 (not CAT5e).  So, all in all a great result and a really worth while upgrade.  Next on the list is to update our JukeBox server to SATA and Gigabit NIC, but that’s one for another day.

Netgear GS724T   :   Other Gigabit Switches

After posting a quick photo of our newly installed switch on Twiiter a few days ago, some of our followers (follow us at Twitter.com/ottomate) asked what IP devices we used.  As promised here’s a list of the items currently on our LAN, (we may have missed some that aren’t active currently)…

  1. Router
  2. CCTV Server PC
  3. Home Automation Server PC
  4. Jukebox Media Server PC
  5. Kitchen Mac
  6. Vista Media Center PC
  7. Netbook
  8. Laptop
  9. Laptop
  10. Apple TV
  11. Games Cosole
  12. Sonos Zone 1
  13. Sonos Zone 2
  14. Sonos Zone 3
  15. Sonos Controller
  16. IP CCTV Camera 1
  17. IP CCTV Camera 2
  18. IP CCTV Camera 3
  19. Bedside Computer
  20. AV Room Comuter
  21. xBox Media Center 1
  22. xBox Media Center 2
  23. xBox Media Center 3
  24. Games Console
  25. Mobile Phone 1
  26. Mobile Phone 2
  27. Mobile Phone 3
  28. Network Switch
  29. Apple TimeCapsule (802.11n network)
  30. Wireless Access Point (802.11a/b/g network)
  31. Printer
  32. Wi-Fi Photo Frame
  33. Keene IR over Ethernet Module 1
  34. Keene IR over Ethernet Module 2
  35. Alarm System
  36. VoIP Phone

Netgear GS724T   :   Other Gigabit Switches

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12 Comments on "Upgrading Your Home Network to Gigabit"

  1. Paul Bendall | April 6, 2009 at 9:43 am |

    Nice review. Have you turned on jumbo frames to further improve performance for gigabit devices? As well as the web interface can you telnet / SSH to it?

    I have a Linksys SLM2024 which is great but consumes ~50W and I can’t telnet to turn it off gracefully

  2. Hi Paul – yes, tried with Jumbo frames turned on and off in the switch and recorded the same time. Not sure if the Apple hardware supports JFs ? Switch’s docs say only to enable if all hardware supports otherwise can cause problems.

    Not sure if it has Telnet access – manual is here –
    http://kb.netgear.com/app/products/model/a_id/2452

    29Watts

  3. interesting ….

    how well, if you do, do you find running the 802.11n & 802.11a/b/g networks side by side works … we’ve a TC & an old Airport base-station which I had assumed were mutually incompatible !

    Chris

  4. They run fine together Chris

  5. In response to the last comment by chris regarding tc and old airport express, I have the same and it works superbly allowing 802.11g/b devices to connect at 54mbps and 802.11n to connect at 134mbps with no issues.

  6. I will second that I have both on my network and they work well it allows 54mbps 802.11g connections and 802.11n 134mbps at the same time and music etc

  7. I only have 12 IPs in my network and have been enjoying a GS108T, a very inexpensive web managed switch. Despite all the rumors, I found that I can have a mix of 100, 1000, jumbo, and non-jumbo without issues! Having the jumbo turned on in the switch with non-jumbo devices prove not to be an issue. turning on jumbo on your nic while the switch does not have jumbo on can be a problem. I changed out my non-managed switch for the gs108t and found I couldn’t turn on jumbo until I turned off the jumbo on my nic. since then it has been great.

    pcs (linux and windows incl 2 pvr) – jumbo gig
    voip TA – 100mbit
    smc music box – 100mbit
    mediamvp, mg350 – 100mbit
    wireless router – 100mbit

  8. besides turning jumbo on in the switch the NICs have to be set that way too! and some NICs don’t really work well with jumbo even though they are advertised. my best results came from using Intel nics, including one built into a mobo.

  9. NIc Barnes | April 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm |

    Have you measured how much power it uses?

    I recently replaced a my 10/100 switch with a Cisco 3650 which has a couple of Gig uplinks which I use to connect to Airport Extremes and it seems to be rather thirsty. It would be good to get an economical rack mounted gig switch for home use.

  10. Not measured personally but 29Watts according manual.

    M.

  11. I got that exact same switch (GS724T). I got it off of ebay for $100 USD. Works OK. My only complaint is that i cannot seem to get link aggregation working as i would like when i team my nics (doesn’t perform at 2GB or appear as it). Any ideas. I have broadcom nics and am using their BACS program to team the NICS. Not like it matters though because i can’t legitimately saturate 1GB yet.

  12. HELP!

    What settings do i have to make to make the GS724T work with my Sonos system? The ZoneBridge first flashes white and after a while white+green.

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