Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch Review – Semi-affordable 3-Port 10Gbps

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Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch Review Rating

Summary

The Zyxel XGS1250-12 is a superb switch, it performs as expected and is the best value for money 10GbE switch on the market currently.

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Pros

  • The cheapest managed 10GbE switch on the market
  • 3x RJ-45 + 1 x SFP+ should be enough to cover most homelab enthusiasts
  • Silent in most scenarios

Cons

  • single SFP+ port

In the past few years, we have slowly started to see an improvement in the number of multi-gig switches. It started off with some affordable unmanaged 2.5GbE switches, but we are now starting to see quite a few 10GbE options.

Most home users will have little need for such speeds. In the UK we are only just seeing full gigabit fibre becoming mainstream. However, anyone that has faster than gigabit Internet or transfers files around a home network will appreciate the benefits these switches offer.

I work from home and have an Ubuntu server with 10GbE, Blue Iris CCTV server with 2.5GbE, and two TerraMaster NAS devices, one of which is the TerraMaster F4-422 with a 10GbE port.

Most hard disk drives can comfortably read and write at over 200MB/s, and an SSD cache disk can easily do 500MB/s. It is therefore frustrating when you are limited to gigabit Ethernet, which will cap out at a theoretical max 128MB/s.

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ZyXEL 12-Port Web-Managed Multi-Gigabit Switch includes... ZyXEL 12-Port Web-Managed Multi-Gigabit Switch includes... No ratings yet £225.00

Specification

  • Ports:
    • 8 x RJ-45 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet port with metal shielding
    • 3 x RJ-45 100M/1G/2.5G/5G/10G Ethernet port with metal shielding
    • 1 x SFP+ 10Gbps
  • Switch Performance:
    • Switching capacity: 96 Gbps
    • Switching forwarding rate: 71.42 Mpps
    • MAC address table: 16 K
    • Packet buffer: 1.5 MB
    • Jumbo frame support up to 12 KB
  • Features:
    • Web-based management
    • Auto-MDI/MDIX in all ports
    • System password
    • VLAN (Port supported)
    • Port-based QoS
    • 802.1p QoS
    • Broadcast storm control
    • Loop detection/prevention
    • DHCP client
    • Static Link aggregation
    • Port mirroring
    • Weighted Round Robin (WRR) priority QoS
    • IGMP snooping v1/v2/and v3 compatible
    • Supported multicast groups: 128
    • Support Zyxel One Network (ZON Utility)

Management Features

This managed switch with a local web interface rather than cloud-managed like Nebula devices. With only two users on my network, I don’t have much need for many of these features, but it is nice to have.

The main things of interest are VLAN, link aggregation and QOS.

If you are adventurous, then the Zyxel switch appears to be compatible with Openwrt, but at the moment, this is a very early release of the firmware.

Small serial port for flashing different firmware

Performance / Review

This switch is not fanless like some of the affordable multi-gig options I have reviewed. I have put my ear up against the switch on several occasions, and there has never been any noticeable fan noise. I suspect it only kicks in under very heavy load.

One minor issue I have with this switch is the single SFP+ port. I'd prefer two, which would allow me to days chain devices, seeing as I have multiple other switches with dual SFP+ ports.

I have the switch and servers set up as:

With iPerf running as a server on both the Ubuntu server and TerraMaster UnRaid NAS, I achieved:

  • Ubuntu: 9.47 Gbits/sec
  • UnRaid: 5.53 Gbits/sec

Real-world file transfer appears to be limited by the server hardware rather than the network:

  • Ubuntu: 680 Mb/s
  • UnRaid: 300 Mb/s

Having my servers being the bottleneck for performance is a refreshing change from the frustrating speeds experienced on a gigabit network.

It is also worth noting that cable quality makes a big difference. Cat 5e is capable of doing 10 Gigabit at a distance up to 45m whereas Cat 6a can do 100m. However, the issue I experienced was that the cheap cables you buy from Amazon don’t appear to perform as expected.

At first, I was using a generic Cat5e cable on my server, and I achieved 600 Mb/s file transfers, switching to a 10m Duronic shielded Cat 6a cable, and the speed dropped to under 600 Mb/s. Then switching to another generic Cat6 cable (likely from a router) the speed increased to 680 Mb/s.

Price and Alternative Options

The Zyxel XGS1250-12 is available on Amazon for £225.

The older XGS1210-12 with 2x 2.5GbE and dual 10G SFP+ is available for £174, or the unmanaged XGS1010-12 variant is £143.96.

The TRENDnet TEG-S750 is an unmanaged switch with 5 x 10G RJ-45 Ports. It is still not on Amazon UK, but you can import it from Amazon US for roughly $400. There is also the TRENDnet TEG-S762 with 2x 10GbE ports and 4x 2.5GbE ports for around $280.

The QNAP QSW-M408-4C is likely the best alternative option. It costs a lot more at £349, but you have 4x combo 10GbE SFP+/RJ45 ports with an additional 8x gigabit.

Or, if you are willing to stretch your budget further, the Zyxel Nebula XS1930-10 has 8x10GbE plus 2xSFP+, and it's cloud-managed for £435. However, this will be quite a bit larger and noisier than the other switches.

Netgear has the unmanaged GS110MX with 8 x 1G and 2 x 1G/2.5G/5G/10G Multi-Gig Ethernet ports for £171.95.

Overall

For home users, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 may seem expensive at £225, but there is really nothing on the market that comes close to it.

While the TRENDnet switches arguably have a better port selection, they cost more and are unmanaged. The QNAP QSW-M408-4C looks like a great alternative, but it is 55% more expensive.

Overall, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 is a superb switch, it performs as expected and is the best value for money 10GbE switch on the market currently.

Last update on 2022-07-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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