Fast, Easy, Cheap: Pick One

Just some other blog about computers and programming

Don't Buy a Netgear GS105!!!

I’m talking about the Netgear ProSafe Gigabit Switch. The thing is an utter piece of garbage and has caused me no end of grief.

I bought one with the intent of using it to connect my workstation to my new OpenSolaris file server I’ve built. It certainly looked like an attractive package. Tiny footprint, low power, just enough ports for my small office, and Gigabit connectivity. Great, right?

That is, until I tried to use the damn thing. I’ve spent the last week trying numerous network adapters, OS’s, drivers, on my desktop. I’ve tried several different Intel gigabit network adapters, and the onboard Realtek adapter on my desktop. The Realtek connects at 100 mbps, while the Intel adapters can only muster a measly 10 mbps. It’s like being back in the early 90’s. What the heck? My OpenSolaris machine, which has another Realtek adapter, is able to connect at a full 1000 mbps, but only after negotiating away for a while with the switch. If I connect my machines directly together, they negotiate a 1000 mbps connection in under a second. Connecting them to the switch leads to 30 or 40 seconds of trying to figure some crap out.

And before someone suggests it, yes I’ve checked the cabling. I’ve tried something like 5 or 6 different ethernet cables, all CAT 5E, all of them tested with other equipment at the office. No dice.

Apparently I’m not alone.

Funny thing is, I borrowed a Netgear GS608, a similar product but in a shinier looking case, and it had the same fricking problem!

My recommendation is to avoid these products at all costs if you value your sanity.