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Zyxel MG-108 Review: An Entry-level Multi-Gig Switch that Delivers!

When it comes to a Multi-Gig wiring upgrade, I’d always recommend the top-tier 10Gbps.

But 10Gbps-capable devices are still rare, and the lowest grade of Multi-Gig, 2.5Gbps, makes more economic sense in many cases. And that’s where the Zyxel MG-108 8-Port 2.5G Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch comes into play.

This new unmanaged switch has eight 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports and proved in my testing to be worth the current affordable price of around $170. (There’s also a 5-port version, the MG-105, that goes for $50 less.)

If you have Gigabit or Gig+ broadband and want to make sure you can deliver that to a wired device, including a Multi-Gig access point, the Zyxel MG-108 is an excellent buy. Get one!

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Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig Switch
The Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig switch comes with eight 2.5Gbps ports.

Zyxel MG-108 8-Port 2.5G Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch's Rating

8.4 out of 10
Zyxel MG 108 Multi Gig Switch 12
Design
9/10
Performance
8/10
Features
7.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast entry-level Multi-Gig performance

Eight 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports

Compact, fanless, sturdy design

Wall-mount-ready

Cons

No 10Gbps or SFP+ port

Runs a bit warm

Zyxel MG-108: A simple Multi-Gig switch that works

The 8-port Zyxel MG-108 shares the same shape as the 12-port XGS1250-12 — it’s a compact rectangle box with all the ports on one side, including the power connecter. And it shares the same power adapter as its older cousin, too.

However, it has no fans, which is a good thing, for the most part — more below. And the new switch has only eight 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports and no other port grade.

In other words, the MG-108 is a quiet complete low-end Multi-Gig switch, while the XGS1250-12 is a mixed bag of the standard Gigabit and top-notch 10Gbps Multi-Gig within a similar design. The two look almost the same.

Zyxel MG-108: Hardware specifications

The Zyxel MG-108 is an unmanaged switch. As such, it works right away the moment you plug it into an existing router (or another switch) to add seven additional ports to the network.

Full NameZyxel MG-108 8-Port 2.5GbE Unmanaged Switch
Model MG-108
Dimensions
(W x D x H)
9.45 x 4.13 x 1.02 in
(240 x 106 x 26 mm)
Weight1.41 lbs  (640 g)
Gigabit PortsPart of Multi-Gig ports
Multi-Gig Ports8x RJ-45 100/1000/2500
Switching Capacity40Gbps
Jumbo Frame SupportYes (Up to 12KB)
Packet Buffer12Mb
FeaturesFanless and quiet
Desktop and Wall mount
Auto-MDI/MDIX in all ports
Supported StandardsIEEE 802.3u 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet
IEEE802.3ab 1000BASE-T
IEEE 802.3bz 2.5GBASE-T
IEEE 802.3x full-duplex operation and flow control
IEEE 802.1p QoS
IEEE 802.3 Nway auto-negotiation
Operating EnvironmentTemperature: 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)
Humidity: 10% to 90% (Non-condensing)
Power SupplyAC-to-DC external power adapter
Input: 100 – 240V AC, 50/60 Hz
Output: 12V DC/1.5A
CertificationCE, EAC, FCC, BSMI Class B
Power Consumption12.24-watt max.
LED IndicatorPWR: Power
Each port: Link/Activity
(Amber: 100/1000 Mbps, Green: 2.5 Gbps)
Warranty5-Year
U.S Cost (at review)$170
Hardware specifications: Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig switch

As a 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig switch, you can also use the MG-108’s ports in the Fast Ethernet (100Mbps) or Gigabit mode, depending on the plugged-in device.

Zyxel MG-108: Detail photos

Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig Switch
The Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig switch comes with wall plugs for different parts of the world.

Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig Switch
The MG-108 is a compact and light switch. (Either that or my hand is large, but you get the idea.)

Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig Switch
All of the Zyxel MG-108’s ports, including the power port, are on one side.

Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig Switch
The Zyxel MG-108 has ventilation grills but no internal fan.

Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gig Switch
Here’s the underside of the Zyxel MG-108. Note how it’s wall-mount ready.

Totally plug and play

Setting up the Zyxel MG-108 is a no-brainer.

Like all unmanaged switches, all you need to do is plug it into power and connect one of its ports to the existing network, either the router or another switch, preferably via a 2.5Gbps connection.

And that’s it. There’s no web interface or app to fiddle with, no extra configuration, either. Plug it in, and you can hook up to 7 wired devices to the network with up to 2.5Gpbs connection speed.

Zyxel MG-108: Excellent performance, runs a bit warm

The Zyxel MG-108 worked well in my trial. It passed my three-day stress test with no issue at all. As a standard practice, I’ll continue to use it after this review and update in case of any significant unexpected change.

And the switch did well in terms of speeds, too. I tested it with both Multi-Gig and Gigabit clients, and the results were within my expectations.

Xyxel MG 108 Multi Gig Switch Performance

Specifically, via a 2.5Gbps connection, I got the sustained real-world copy speeds of more than 2200Mbps or 2.2Gbps. That’s about as fast as can be for the standard after overheads.

Note, though, that the MG-108 was the only non-10Gbps switch on the chart, which explained why it had the slowest Multi-Gig performance compared to the handful of other Multi-Gig switches I’ve tested.

However, when hosting Gigabit devices, you can expect it to deliver sustained speeds as fast as the next guy, within the margin of error.

A quiet operator

Having no fan, the Zyxel MG-108 was silent. And that was a pleasant surprise in my experience, considering the last switch I tested, the TP-Link SX1008, was so noisy.

In return, though, the MG-108 ran a bit warm. It wasn’t burning but sure was hotter than the XGS1250-12. That said, make sure you use it in an open space. Per the hardware specifications, you shouldn’t use the MG-108 where the ambient temperature is higher than 104°F (40°C) anyway.

Conclusion

The Zyxel MG-108 8-Port 2.5G Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch is an excellent buy for those with Gigabit or Gig+ broadband and want to deliver Internet in full to wired devices.

While 10Gbps is the way to go, 2.5Gbps is the sweet spot since that’s the speed of most high-end Multi-Gig routers, on the WAN or LAN side or both. And most Gig+ broadband connections cap at lower than 2.5Gbps.

The point is, in most cases, getting a faster-than-2.5Gbps Multi-Gig might not return any extra for your investment.

Needless to say, you need devices that also support Multi-Gig at the other end to enjoy the speed. On top of that, make sure you have a suitable router with a 2.5Gbps (or faster) LAN port, and most importantly, getting your home wired (with CAT5e or higher grade cables) is a must.

See also  Best Multi-Gig Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Get Ahead of the Speed Curve Today!
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