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Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch Review: A Solid Gateway to 10Gbps

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.

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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.

So, presently, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 doesn’t apply to everyone, but it’s a great deal to those it does, such as an owner of the Armor G5 or any Multi-Gig routers. Get it!

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.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switch is quite compact
The Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gig Switch is quite compact. Sure, that might be a large hand you’re looking at (it is!) but you get the scale.

Zyxel XGS1250-12 12-Port Web-Managed Multi-Gigabit Switch's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switch 8
Design
8/10
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Fast performance at reasonable pricing

Four 10Gbps ports

Compact, sturdy design

Good feature set, responsive web interface

Five-year warranty

Wall-mountable

Cons

Only one SPF+ port

Only three Base-T 10Gbps ports

Internal fan

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 NameZyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch
ModelXGS1250-12
Dimensions
(W x D x H)
9.84 x 4.10 x 1.06 in
(250 x 104 x 27 mm)
Weight1.73 lbs (783 g)
Gigabit Ports8x RJ-45 10/100/1000Mbps
Multi-Gig Ports3x RJ-45 100M/1G/2.5G/5G/10G
1x SFP+
Switching Capacity96Gbps
Jumbo Frame SupportYes (Up to 12KB)
Packet Buffer1.5MB
FeaturesWeb-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)
Supported StandardsIEEE 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 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~50-60Hz
Output: 12V DC/2A
Warranty5-Year
U.S MSRP$220
Hardware specifications: Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gig switch

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

Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gig Switch 1
Out of the box, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 comes with multiple types of wall power plugs for different regions of the world.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switchs Ports
As a 12-port switch, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 is quite compact and light.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switch 10gbps Ports
Allof the Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gig Switch’s ports are placed on one of its side.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switchs Fan and Power Port
On the opposite side, you’ll find the fan and the power port.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switch 8
The Zyxel XGS1250-12’s top.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switchs Underside
And its underside. Note how it’s wall-mount-ready.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switch 10Gbps Closeup
The Zyxel XGS1250-12’s four 10Gbps ports includes three Base-T and one SPF+.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switch Ports
Each of the Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gig Switch’s ports has a clear color-changing indicator light.

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.

Zyxel XGS1250 12 Multi Gig Switchs Web Interface
The Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi Gig Switch’s Web Interface.

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.)

TP Link 10Gbps Network Adapter
One of the 10Gbps network adapter cards used for the testing.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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6 thoughts on “Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch Review: A Solid Gateway to 10Gbps”

  1. Thanks for the review on this Dong. It seems to offer good value versus other comparable ‘prosumer’ level 10Gbe switches from TP-Link, NetGear etc. But yeah, having just one SFP+ port is disappointing. I’m looking to upgrade more of my home network to fibre from copper cabling, given the higher temperatures generated by 10Gbe RJ45 ports on switches, routers (e.g. RT-AX89X) and adapters, so having at least two SFP+ ports is a must…another option I saw was the Mikrotik CRS305-1G-4S+IN cheaper (with older specs) at $140 on Amazon. However, after including the price of the additional fibre transceivers needed, it costs more than the Zyxel XGS1250-12…which is already out of stock on Amazon. Wonder how long the current global chip shortage is going to last…

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