We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Wi-Fi and Networking Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Netgear ProSafe Plus XS708E review

£750 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Netgear

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The Netgear XS708E is a network switch priced well below £1000 and should make the first steps into the next generation of 10GbE networks a little easier to climb. read our Netgear ProSafe Plus XS708E review to find out more.

Netgear ProSafe Plus XS708E review

10GbE network switch

The Netgear XS708E is the first of a new breed – a 10GbE network switch that costs the right side of £1000. Until recently the big network hardware brands had managed to keep enterprise-level equipment at enterprise prices. But Netgear is the first company to introduce a cheapish 10Gb ethernet switch, aiming it at smaller businesses with tighter budgets. See: more networking reviews.

It still costs north of £700 though, which is a mighty big swing tag for a network switch with just eight ports to its name. But as business networks are becoming increasingly burdened with more traffic, it behoves the company sysadmin to release some pressure with an order of magnitude more bandwidth than the current standard-issue gigabit network. Take a look at Group test: what's the best wireless router?

Rolling out the 10x speed upgrade is nowhere near as easy as the migration from 10/100 to gigabit. That’s not least because no client devices can latch onto the extra speed.  We’re talking laptops, tablets and the very vast majority of desktop PCs.

Currently, if you want to move data from PC to PC over a network at greater than 20th-century hard disk speeds – that is, faster than around 115 MB/s – you’ll have to find a 10GbE PCI Express card. These cost upwards of £500 each for just a single-port NIC. And the form factor means they’re only suitable for large desktop PCs.

Netgear’s 10GbE offer

The embryonic nature of 10GbE hasn’t stopped Netgear from seizing the opportunity to trickle some ten-gig kit into its business hardware lines. As part of the ProSafe series, the XS708E sits between real industrial switchgear and consumer network tech like the company’s popular wireless routers. Functionaly the XS708E is between a fully managed and an unmanaged switch.

The latter is essentially plug-and-play but with limitations in its scope; the latter is the most versatile but requires a lot more networking savvy to fly, often involving CLI twealing – and its added complexity and usefulness means it will command a higher price.

Netgear’s ProSafe Plus switch product lives in between the category of unmanaged and smart switch. Its configuration options include VLAN, simple QoS, IGMP snooping and port trunking (LAG). This link aggregation is useful to combine two gigabit network ports on a business NAS drive, for example, to give around 2 gigabit throughput.

Netgear’s ProSafe Plus setup software is Windows only and also requires WinPcap (link layer network access) and Adobe AIR to be installed, both supplied on the same software CD-ROM.

Performance is not so easy to evaluate without advanced network measurement equipment. In our limited time using it, we encountered no performance issues, although whether it can approach the advertised 10GbE performance, and how well it sustains that performance when all ports are full loaded, remains unknown.

Construction of the Netgear XS708E is suitably solid, a relatively plain 1U box with just IEC power inlet and Kensington lock slot at the rear, and eight RJ45 ports at the front.

The eighth (right-most) port can also be exchanged with an adjacent fibre-optic connector, for 10 gigabit SFP+ fibre.

One green LED far left shows power on, and another LED labelled Fan should light in the event the fan fails. In use this cooling fan is annoyingly whinny, although this disregard for comfort is typical for network kit that’s unlikely to be used on the desktop.

Power consumption is quite modest by high-power switch standards – in our measurements it never exceed 34W power draw.

Netgear ProSafe Plus XS708E Expert Verdict »

8-port 10GbE network switch
semi-managed L2
1x SFP+ fibre port
1U full-width chassis
rack-mount ears included
330 x 43 x 207 mm
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

It’s still expensive for an 8-port switch, but the Netgear XS708E is priced well below £1000 and should make the first steps into the next generation of 10GbE networks a little easier to climb.

  • QNAP TS-1079 Pro review - business NAS is powerful and well specified

    QNAP TS-1079 Pro - business NAS is powerful and well specified

    A powerful and well specified NAS aimed at business use, here's our QNAP TS-1079 Pro review, with QNAP TS-1079 Pro speed benchmarks and test results.

  • Netgear N600 WNDR3800 review

    Netgear N600 WNDR3800

    Netgear's N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Premium Edition (WNDR3800) wireless router has a comprehensive feature-set and good ease of use. It's a dual-band router that can reach wireless speeds up to 300Mbps, and it offers a long wireless range and good reliability. You also get useful built-in NAS and "cloud" functionality so that you can more easily share and access your data.

  • Netgear R6300 review

    Netgear R6300

    The Netgear R6300 is the second 11ac wireless router to market, and while far from reaching gigabit speeds its wireless offers relatively solid performance.

  • Netgear N900 (WNDR4500) wireless router review

    Netgear N900 (WNDR4500) wireless router

    The Netgear N900 offers wireless networking speeds up to 450Mbps, as well as Gigabit Ethernet.

  • Netgear WNDR3300 review

    Netgear WNDR3300

    The Netgear WNDR3300 is a striking, good-looking router, and its attractive appearance is in part due to absence of external antennae.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model