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!
Table of Contents
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 Name||Zyxel MG-108 8-Port 2.5GbE Unmanaged Switch|
(W x D x H)
|9.45 x 4.13 x 1.02 in|
(240 x 106 x 26 mm)
|Weight||1.41 lbs (640 g)|
|Gigabit Ports||Part of Multi-Gig ports|
|Multi-Gig Ports||8x RJ-45 100/1000/2500|
|Jumbo Frame Support||Yes (Up to 12KB)|
|Features||Fanless and quiet|
Desktop and Wall mount
Auto-MDI/MDIX in all ports
|Supported Standards||IEEE 802.3u 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet|
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 Environment||Temperature: 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)|
Humidity: 10% to 90% (Non-condensing)
|Power Supply||AC-to-DC external power adapter|
Input: 100 – 240V AC, 50/60 Hz
Output: 12V DC/1.5A
|Certification||CE, EAC, FCC, BSMI Class B|
|Power Consumption||12.24-watt max.|
|LED Indicator||PWR: Power|
Each port: Link/Activity
(Amber: 100/1000 Mbps, Green: 2.5 Gbps)
|U.S Cost (at review)||$170|
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
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.
Specifically, via a 2.5Gbps connection, I got 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.
Zyxel MG-108 8-Port 2.5G Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch's Rating
Fast entry-level Multi-Gig performance
Eight 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports
Compact, fanless, sturdy design
No 10Gbps or SFP+ port
Runs a bit warm
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.
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12 thoughts on “Zyxel MG-108 Review: An Entry-level Multi-Gig Switch that Delivers!”
Do you have some recommendations for a Managed Multi-Gig Switch these are hard to find especially at good price, not sure if these are a thing or not. I like having the options to manage a switch vs having a unmanaged switch.
These are all the switches I’ve reviewed, Cody.
I recently got a Comcast gateway xb7 with one 2.5 gig port. I have the 2.5 cable running down to a gigabit switch with 4 runs coming out of that to an Oled Tv, A Dish network receiver,etc. The point is while I rabidly want that 2.5 to do anything good for my network I realize that the 1000 switch would need to be traded out for a 2.5 switch. Okay, if that was done there would still be no gain for my network devices because they are not 2.5 or even 1000. So the best I can do is forget about all of this 2.5 business because it won’t make any difference on my ethernet or wifi speeds right?
Having a 2.5 Gb input will allow multiple 1Gb ports to obtain higher throughput. As an example my server has a 10 Gb connection to my Zyxel XGS 1210-12 Switch which I acquired for about $160 (managed) a little over a year ago.
I have two computers connected at 2.5Gb and a MOCA at 1Gb feeding my remote Home Theater Devices and connecting the to Comcast Gateway. My home theater line running at 1Gb and another computer directly connected at 1 Gb.
So I can in theory upload to my server at up to 10 Gb, my two computers connected @ 2.5 Gb can upload at 2.5 Gb and the others at 1Gb. So I can actually get up to 7 Gb down or up to my server (since that is the max I have connected that can upload.). If I only had a 1 Gb connection to my servicer (or ISP) then that 1 Gb is shared among all of the devices.
While I have a lot of HD and UHD video files that never leave or come in through my ISP, they do get moved around my intranet, I can get the max speed to move them to view or edit and am not limited to 1Gb.
So if you have a multi-gig ISP connection feeding your switch you could get multiple devices to download at 1Gb and the ISP up to 2.5 Gb (if your ISP subscription is a 2.5 Gb.)
Hi Dong, i have an apartment that has 8 LAN ports around the house linked to a central point which is running 1Gb internet fibre via modem to a crappy Linksys 4 port router provided by the ISP. Which is a better option in your opinion, to get an expensive router like the RT-AX89X to get almost all wired directly to the router, or to get a cheaper multi gig router (which do you recommend in this case?) linked to this multi gig Zyxel switch, so in future if my internet goes multi gig, this system can scale up?
There’s no “cheap” Multi-Gig switch yet, Ed. So the RT-AX89X is the best for your case. It’ll work for now and Multi-Gig scale up in the future.
Many thanks for the reply! I can hear something burning in my wallet haha.
Sure, Ed. Have fun! 🙂
Thanks again, Dong for a great article. Do you have any recommendations for a 24-port unmanaged switch? Thank you.
Sure, Brad. Do you mean a 24-port Multi-Gig one? No unmanaged options yet and others are VERY expensive, like this Netgear, and I’d recommend waiting for now. But if you’re looking for Gigabit, just get any from Netgear, TP-Link, Trendnet, or Zyxel. They are pretty much the same.
Sure, Brad. 🙂