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LAN & WAN Reviews

Netgear GS716T

The Netgear GS716T ProSafe 16 Port Gigabit Smart Switch is very similar to the D-Link DGS-1216T, but I found that the GS716T had the richest set of features of all of the "smart" switches reviewed. (excluding the Linksys). Like the D-Link switch, the GS716T is a 16 port switch with two shared ports for SFP fiber optic GBICs.

GS716T front

Figure 8: GS716T front

Front Panel

The arrangement of the LED indicators is unique, and the one that I preferred of all switches reviewed. For each port, there are three LEDs. Corresponding to the port layout, the LEDs for the odd numbered ports are the top three rows, and the LEDs for the even numbered ports are on the bottom rows. The individual LEDs are for Link/Activity, Speed, and Duplex.

The GS716T is the only switch in the roundup to have a front panel duplex indicator. I particularly like that the link/activity LEDs backlight the corresponding port number. The Speed LED is two color; green for 100 Mbps and yellow for 1000 Mbps.

GS716T LED panel detail

Figure 9: GS716T LED panel detail

The front panel also includes a soft reset button on the left—equivalent to power cycling the unit, and a factory reset switch on the right. These front panel resets are much more convenient than the rear panel resets found on the D-Link and Trendnet switches.

Configuration

Except for the name and the color scheme, the discovery wizard supplied with the GS716T is identical to those supplied with the D-Link and Trendnet switches. The quick start guide, the discovery wizard and the 23 page instruction manual are supplied on a CD. Note that while the instruction manual is relatively short, it does provide some useful examples on how to set up and use VLANs. This is a definite plus, since VLAN setup can be difficult for the first-timer.

Netgear was the only switch that enabled the DHCP client by default, so I plugged it in and it picked up an address from my network. Network Magic, running on several of my computers, picked up the new IP address allowing me to bypass the discovery wizard. In the absence of a DHCP server, the switch defaults to 192.168.0.239.

The home page of the web management utility gives a complete summary of the GS716T including port status, and the settings for VLAN, QoS, trunking, port mirroring, jumbo frames, SNMP, storm control, trusted MAC and spanning tree. Configuration options are arranged in a vertical menu along the left side of the screen.

The web-browser interface does include built in context sensitive help, but rather than putting the help in a scrollable window on the right side of the screen like the SRW2008, help opens in a separate browser window.

Check out the slideshowCheck out the slideshow for a detailed admin interface tour of the GS716T.

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