If you truly want to enjoy Gigabit Internet (or faster broadband), upgrading your local wired network to Multi-Gig is a must — there’s no way out of it. And in that context, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch is right up to your alley. For two reasons.
First, it delivers up to 10Gbps. This is the current top Multi-Gig ceiling speed — there’s no point in lingering with incremental upgrades via 2.5Gbps or 5Gbps options.
And secondly, also the most important, this compact switch is not crazy expensive like its peers. Indeed, at slightly more than $200, it’s one of the most affordable 10Gbps-capable switches you can find.
Sure, it’s still much more expensive than Gigabit switches of the same amount of ports, which go for as low as one-tenth of the cost. But that’s the price you pay to get ahead of the curve right now. Or you can wait another decade or so, and this type of switch will be a dime in a dozen.
Dong’s note: This is my first review of a 10Gbps switch. Currently, computer equipment with this network capability is still scarce. That said, I might update this review later if I feel the need to re-evaluate it against others.
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Zyxel XGS1250-12: A straight forward managed Multi-Gig switch
The Zyxel XGS1250-12 is a 12-port switch and looks like a typical switch, though you’ll be surprised how compact it is.
It’s a rectangle box that measures 9.84 x 4.10 x 1.06 in (250 x 104 x 27 mm) with all the ports on one side. You’ll find the power port on the opposite side — the switch has a separate power adapter — and the fan.
This fan doesn’t run all the time, by the way, and during my week-long testing, the switch never got hot enough to trigger it — it did get a little warm.
Still, fans are never good since they will break at some points. Most Multi-Gig switches of 10 or more ports have a fan, however. And this is where Zyxel’s included 5-year warranty for the Zyxel XGS1250-12 really counts.
Zyxel XGS1250-12: Hardware specifications
By the way, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 is a managed switch. It comes with a web interface where you can manage its features. However, right out of the box, it’s pre-programmed to work as an unmanaged. Just plug it in, and it’ll work as it’s supposed to.
The Zyxel XGS1250-12 comes with eight Gigabit ports and four 10Gbps ports. Of the latter, three are Base-T ports that work with standard RJ45 cables and support all Base-T speeds grades, including Fast Ethernet (100Mbps), Gigabit (1Gbps), and Multi-Gig (2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, and 10Gbps).
The last 10Gbps is an SPF+. This port will work at either 1Gbps or 10Gbps.
|Full Name||Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch|
(W x D x H)
|9.84 x 4.10 x 1.06 in|
(250 x 104 x 27 mm)
|Weight||1.73 lbs (783 g)|
|Gigabit Ports||8x RJ-45 10/100/1000Mbps|
|Multi-Gig Ports||3x RJ-45 100M/1G/2.5G/5G/10G|
|Jumbo Frame Support||Yes (Up to 12KB)|
Auto-MDI/MDIX in all ports
VLAN (Port supported)
Broadcast storm control
Static Link Aggregation
Weighted Round Robin (WRR) priority QoS
IGMP snooping v1/v2/and v3 compatible
Supported multicast groups: 128
Support Zyxel One Network (ZON Utility)
|Supported Standards||IEEE 802.3 10BASE-T Ethernet|
IEEE 802.3u 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet
IEEE 802.3ab 1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet
IEEE 802.3an 10GBASE-T
IEEE 802.3ae 10 Gbit/s Ethernet over fiber
IEEE 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet
IEEE 802.3x full-duplex operation and flow control
IEEE 802.1p QoS
|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|
Output: 12V DC/2A
On the Zyxel XGS1250-12, like the case of most switches, each network port comes with a color-changing indicator light to show its link status and speed grade. Specifically:
- Port 1 to 8 (Gigabit): Link/Activity
- Green: 1000 Mbps
- Amber: 10/100 Mbps
- Port 9 to 11 (Multi-Gig): Link/Activity
- Blue: 10Gbps
- Purple: 5Gbps
- Sky Blue: 2.5Gbps
- Green: 1Gbps
- Amber: 100Mbps
- Port 12 (SPF+) : Link/Activity
- Blue: 10Gbps
- Green: 1Gbps
These lights come in handy in case you want to check on the network quickly.
Zyxel XGS1250-12: Detail photos
Responsive web interface with a good set of features
The Zyxel XGS1250-12 comes with a web interface accessible via the switch’s IP address. You’ll have to figure out this IP address via the existing router, just like that of any connected device. The default password to log in is 1234.
Once logged in, you’ll get a responsive web interface with a generous set of features, as listed in the datasheet above.
For most home networks, you won’t need to use any of these features. However, those who want to customize their network to the max will find them useful, especially the QoS, Virtual LAN, and Link Aggregation.
Keep in mind that some of the features might create conflicts with your router, so unless you know what you’re doing, it’s a good idea to use the Zyxel XGS1250-12 the way it’s pre-programmed and skip the web interface at all. In other words, use it as an unmanaged switch.
Zyxel XGS1250-12: Excellent performance
I tested the Zyxel XGS1250-12 for almost two weeks after spending a few days upgrading hardware. Specifically, I used three Windows 10 desktops, each run on a Samsung 970 PRO NVMe SSD.
Since no motherboard comes with a 10Gbps port, I upgraded each machine with a 10Gbps Base-T adapter card. I used two TP-Link TX401 cads, one ASUS XG-C100C, and one Gigabyte GC-AQC107, which I’ve been using for general router testing.
(I picked multiple different cards to make sure neither was the bottleneck. As it turned out, all of these 10Gbps delivered the same performance.)
Again, since this is my first 10Gbps switch review, there’s no comparison chart in this part. All I can say is overall I was happy with its performance.
I tested it both with CAT5e and CAT6A. In the former case, the sustained speed was slightly slower with slightly more fluctuations than the latter. Here are the switch’s sustained real-world speeds:
- 10Gbps connection (via a CAT6a cable): 1051MB/s or 8408Mbps
- 10Gbps connection (via a CAT5e cable): 920.39MB/s or 7363.12Mbps
- 1Gbps connection (via a CAT5e cable): 99.88MB/s or 799.04Mbps
So the Zyxel XGS1250-12 didn’t deliver full 10Gbps or full 1Gbps of sustained speeds in any case, but its performance was well within the acceptable rates after overheads. I also used it for days on end, and it exhibited no issue at all.
Zyxel XGS1250-12 12-Port Web-Managed Multi-Gigabit Switch's Rating
Fast performance at reasonable pricing
Four 10Gbps ports
Compact, sturdy design
Good feature set, responsive web interface
Only one SPF+ port
Only three Base-T 10Gbps ports
The Zyxel XGS1250-12 is an excellent choice for those wanting to enter the realm of 10Gbps wired networking right now.
For the price, my only complaint about this switch is that it doesn’t have more Multi-Gig ports.
Also, the fact it has just one SPF+ port means you won’t be able to take advantage of an SPF+ connection other than an uplink. It should have a pair or none at all — I can live with just four Base-T.
All things considered, though, again, for the price, this is an excellent buy. Just make sure you already have a Multi-Gig router to couple with it, though it’ll work with any router.