Introduction: ZYXEL MG-105 Switch Review and 2.5GbE Networking
Modern networking predominantly means being connected to a network but its mostly WIFI. With services now up in the cloud, even WIFI speeds are usually enough to get things done and personal entertainment like streaming utilizes the best of what compression and codec optimization has to offer. WIFI is perfect for all that and modern devices can now utilize far more than 1GbE allowing for more bandwidth but that also goes the same for wired devices. Modern routers are now introducing multi-gig connectivity from 2.5GbE all the way to 10GbE.
My personal network is completely 10GbE but there was a time I needed 2.5GbE switches when I was still climbing my way to 10GbE. It was an expensive route in the early days of 2.5GbE but today 2.5GbE LAN is now commonplace in most desktop motherboards and NAS are also joining this trend. This makes its doubly crucial for collaborative use-cases to take advantage of this increase in maximum bandwidth.
A 2.5GbE network allows over double the bandwidth of regular 1GbE essentially bumping up sequential transfer speed to more than 250MB/s end-to-end. This allows cases like large file transfers from your PC to a NAS or sharing large projects faster around the network. I remember working for an SME in the mid 2000s where we only had Windows File Sharing as the only way to distirbute files amongst co-workers via a shared space on one of the user PCs, restricted only to each department. A modern take on that can be a centra PC on the network sharing files between co-workers. A 2.5GbE network helps accelerate transfers reducing the potential of a sudden power outage corrupting the file (it happens sadly so backup backup backup).
Features & Specification
- 100M, 1G and 2.5G ports for multi speed
- Fanless and quiet
- Plug and Play, Easy use and Quick Install
- Desktop and Wall mount
- Auto-MDI/MDIX in all ports
- MG-105:Five RJ-45 100/1000/2500 Mbps Ethernet ports with auto MDI/MDIX support
- MG-108:Eight RJ-45 100/1000/2500 Mbps Ethernet ports with auto MDI/MDIX support
- PWR: Power
- Per port: Link/Activity
- Amber: 100/1000 Mbps
- Green: 2.5 Gbps
- Power Supply
- AC-to-DC external power adapter
- Input: 100-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz
- Power Consumption
- MG-105 (max./min.): 9.34 watt / 3.83 watt
- MG-108 (max./min.): 12.24 watt / 4.48 watt
Closer Look – ZYXEL MG-105 2.5GbE Network Switch
If this is your first network switch, majority of the industry ships them in plain brown cardboard packaging. Some will more wording on the package or in the case of the ZYXEL MG-105, just a couple of details.
The switch itself is protected inside during shipping with cardboard partitions ont eh side while the switch itself is cover in plastic to avoid scratches during shipping.
Inside the box is the ZYXEL MG-105 2.5GbE network switch, a DC power adapter, various plugs and a sticker sheet for the rubber feet.
The included power adapter is a 12v AC-to-DC power brick with replaceable AC plug types.
Inspecting the MG-105 switch, we have a compact form factor with a simple design. The housing is made of thin aluminum, the top part beart a stamped ZYXEL logo while the bottom has notches for screws for those planning to hang this on a wall.
The front of the device is where most of the action is with the model name in front along with the LED indicators. The rest is taken up by the 5x 2.5GbE ports and the power jack.
ZYXEL includes a sheet of pads users can connect on the MG-105 if they want to place it flat on a surface. They mount on the circular marks on the bottom of the case.
As this is an unmanaged switch, no setup is needed. Just plug-in the LAN cables and power adapter and hook up the LAN cables and you’re all set. While it may be possible to get 2.5GbE or higher on CAT5E cables, for those unfamiliar with these standards, you may be able to pick-up CAT6 cables from your local PC shop or ecommerce site like Shopee or Lazada to guarantee full 2.5GbE speeds or higher.
It is important to note that all your devices have to be at least 2.5GbE-capable to be able to use the maximum potential of the ZYXEL MG-105. That said our test setup is below. We have 2 test units: the Back2Gaming 2023 main test bench wihich is a ROG Z690 Extreme board running a 13900K along with a Lenovo Yoga 7i laptop with a 2.5GbE USB adapter.
Performance Testing – ZYXEL MG-105 2.5GbE Network Switch
For this test, we’ll pit the ZYXEL MG-105 with the other budget 2.5GbE swich in the market, the QNAP QSW-1105-5T. Both switches 5-port 2.5GbE-capable and are being afford at closely the same price with most listings putting the ZYXEL at a cheaper position. The QNAP is not officially being sold in the Philipines though so its a no-brainer.
To conduct this, we run the LST Server on a 12900K system with a 10GbE port running 2.5GbE hooked up to one port of our test switch. Two ports are connected to our two test systems with an initial single-client test of 1GB packet sizes running thru the switches. Another test is done with 2 clients hitting the server via the same switch with a final test for random packets to a single client also shown.
Here’s some thermal images of the ZYXEL router under load. The thin metal housing serves no cooling purposes and is mostly for protection of the internal component. The PCB component directly dissipates heat inside and is does it purely passively with no active fans.
The heat is manageable enough though as the bottom part closest to the switch components only shows 50*C.
User Experience & Conclusion
If you’re looking at this switch, chances are you’re not into the market for a managed switch and you only need a way to hook-up your 2.5GbE devices. The ZYXEL MG105 and the larger MG108 8-port switch is an easy plug-and-play solution especially if you want to maximize the network. Its also backwards compatible with 100Mbps and 1Gbps devices so you can hook up devices quickly and then scale from there.
Of course, the benefits here assume that you only plan to go up to 2.5GbE, this mean you theoretically get >280MB/s which is great for increased throughput for file-sharing, and streaming on the network of large files. Use-cases include photo studios and start-up video production houses sharing on smaller HDD-based NAS primarily for secondary storage.
While switches are growing more niche as WIFI technology progresses, the simplicity of wired networks make it the idea business solution especially for fixed deployment. That said, ZYXEL has made an affordable solution with the MG-105 and its 8-port brother, the MG-108. Both require no setup knowledge and you can quickly take advantage of modern 2.5GbE speeds by just utilizing the right cables and you’re all set.
Exciting News for Networking Enthusiasts in the Philippines!
Introducing ZYXEL MG-105 and MG-108 Unmanaged Switches at unbeatable prices – PhP 6,739 and PhP 9,999. Get yours from ZYXEL online official store via Lazada and Shopee.
Exclusive Offer Alert! Until December 15, 2023, enjoy an extra PhP 200 discount on Lazada and Shopee using Exclusive Back2Gaming vouchers
Plus, here’s your chance to win! Leave a review and photo on ZXYEL’s Lazada and Shopee stores for a shot to win a PHP500 GCash reward. Upgrade your network today!