Zyxel last week released a PoE+ switch and Gigabit Ethernet switch aimed at helping small businesses improve their network infrastructure. Specifically, the ES1100-8HP-240W (ES1100) and GS1100-8HP-240W (GS1100) are network switches that come with Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) for powering network devices such as Wi-Fi access points (AP), IP cameras or VoIP phones.
Both the ES1100 and GS1100 each incorporate eight Ethernet ports; those on the ES1100 are Fast Ethernet ports, while the GS1100 has Gigabit Ethernet ports. All ports deliver 30 watts of power to support the latest PoE+ devices, giving it an important competitive differentiator at a time when most competing PoE+ switches only support PoE+ for half their ports.
With these Zyxel switches, businesses that require PoE+ on all ports need not purchase inline PoE+ injectors or additional switches, which results in additional expenses and time to set them up. Moreover, having to deploy additional switches also reduces the number of network ports available for end devices.
In a prepared statement, Steven Joe, executive vice president for channel business for Americas at Zyxel, said:
By offering PoE+ capability on all of the switch’s ports we’re making it easy and affordable for businesses to create Wi-Fi networks, set up security cameras and use VoIP technology.
According to the company, both switches also feature standard capabilities such as auto learning of network configurations, an 8k MAC learning table, and support for auto MDI-X to work with both straight-through and crossed cables. The ES1100 and GS1100 are available from all major e-commerce sites as well as Zyxel and are priced at $309.99 and $319.99, respectively.
I have always been an advocate of leveraging Power over Ethernet as a means for smaller businesses to more easily enable technologies such as Wi-Fi networking and setting up a security infrastructure. Though many of these devices only require 802.3af instead of the higher-powered 802.3at (PoE+) standard, the latter offers headroom for future upgrades.
Despite their lack of web-management, the new network switches from Zyxel come at a compelling price for small office or branch office deployment. Given the tiny price difference between the two products, I would advise SMBs considering either of the two Zyxel switches to skip the ES1100 and just get the GS1100. This will allow them to future-proof their organizations, especially with faster Wi-Fi APs based on “gigabit” wireless technology just round the corner.
For now, SMBs looking into deploying or upgrading their Wi-Fi networks may want to check out earlier posts such as “Overcoming Wi-Fi Interference in Your SMB” and “Managing Multiple Wi-Fi Access Points.”