Home

 › 

Products

 › 

Reviews

 › 

6 Reasons Why I Would Avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch

Buy NETGEAR 5-port Ethernet switch

6 Reasons Why I Would Avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch

Key Points

  • The NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch has limited use cases and is not suitable for most businesses.
  • The build quality of the switch is not as robust as other budget-oriented switches.
  • It is not necessary for most households to have an unmanaged switch like the NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch.
  • A 5-port switch is not enough for a business network that needs to scale.
  • The ports on the switch only support Gigabit Ethernet.

Why should you avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port ethernet switch? The world of entry-level switches is awash with a variety of cheaply made devices. From a networking perspective, these may fit the bill just fine. However, when you consider their deployment, it doesn’t make much sense. A 5 port ethernet switch isn’t going to have much utility in a larger office complex.

When you also factor in some of the other drawbacks to using one of these devices, it paints a less-than-flattering picture. Now, for someone just getting started in the world of networking, a NETGEAR GS305 might be a perfectly fine piece of hardware. With my history in networking, I don’t think it is a device worth recommending aside from very slim use cases.

What Is the NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch?

The NETGEAR GS305 is a 5-port unmanaged switch intended for small offices and home media deployments. To this end, it does most of the switching and management of your network for you. You don’t need a fancy network degree or hours in a server room to figure out how to use one. However, this lack of control is also one of its larger drawbacks.

Realistically, in a very slim window of deployment, the GS305 is a fine switch. If you’re looking to set a bunch of devices for a home theater on a network segment, it would work wonders. That said, I wouldn’t personally use one in a business setting. Any smaller business network is going to be focused on scaling, which is something we’ll cover throughout this review.

Reasons to Avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch

Here are my six top reasons as to why you should avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port ethernet switch. The GS305 has a very limited use case. It is a low-cost device, but it isn’t truly the best in its class. Let’s explore a little further as to why this device isn’t suitable for most uses.

Poor Build Quality

netgear 5-port ethernet switch
A lack of sturdy ports hinders the usability of the GS305.

The GS305 is fine in most regard when it comes to functionality. The build quality of the unit itself isn’t as robust as some of the budget-oriented Cisco switches that I’ve used in the past. A switch doesn’t have to be bulletproof. However, I would expect the strength of the ports and other areas of use to be more robust as a whole. The metal used for the ports feels thin and fragile.

I’m not impressed by the actual ports themselves. They do conform to most protocols of the IEEE ethernet specification, going by the spec sheet provided by NETGEAR. However, when it gets down to it, this is just a cheap switch. As such, it will feel cheap and a bit unreliable to any technician’s hands.

It’s Too Much for a Household

Most households aren’t going to need an unmanaged switch. This ends up being one of the major reasons to avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port ethernet switch. Where would you deploy this in your home? Not very many households are going to need a 5-port ethernet switch to create a local network. Aside from a select few users, I can’t imagine this being of much use to any home.

You could argue about its use in something like a home theater. In that deployment, I can see its use. However, I’d argue most home theaters could function off of ethernet for a single component. Wireless networks have come a long way, and the round-trip latency has been largely eliminated. As such, I don’t see much of a place for the GS305 in a home.

It’s Not Enough for a Business

Unless you’re running a micro office with a handful of employees, a 5-port ethernet switch isn’t going to cut it. If you’re already getting a network tech to install the hardware and design your networks, they’re going to opt for more ports. Think about it, why would you not have the means to expand a network? You want a network to scale as needed.

A 5-port switch simply isn’t enough. The deployment is fairly slim. You might see one used for a single department in a business. If you’re ordering switches for an enterprise network, you aren’t going for a budget model. A budget unmanaged switch might have its use cases in a business, but after nearly a decade of administering networks, I can’t see where that would be.

The Ports Are Only Gigabit Ethernet

netgear 5-port ethernet switch
If you’re looking to take advantage of a fast internet connection, the G305 isn’t going to help matters.

This may not be the biggest drawback to the NETGEAR 5-Port ethernet switch. However, I would love to see higher throughput on the ethernet ports. Gigabit is fine for most users, sure. However, I’d avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port ethernet switch if you were looking for better network functionality. If you’ve got a speedy fiber connection, you aren’t going to see effective saturation with the device.

Now, this might just be a pipe dream when taking a closer look at things. However, when combined with some of the other hard limitations of this device, it does make a difference.

No Management Functionality

The GS305 is an unmanaged switch. What this means is you plug everything up and never touch it again. So, what happens if you need to handle something on the network segment? You’re not left with many choices. There is a web utility you can access, which is fine and dandy. That is the bare minimum I expect from any piece of network hardware.

You cannot access the switch’s management interface from the cloud. A technician would have to be present. I’m all about minimizing the time needed to call personnel on-site to handle a problem. The lack of management functionality for out-of-band network access is a huge drawback and one of the biggest reasons I would avoid a NETGEAR 5-Port ethernet switch.

No Power Over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet refers to a few different specifications. Now, I’m not going to bore you with what they all entail. However, the GS305 doesn’t adhere to any of the standards. This is especially galling when taking a look at other budget-minded devices that address most of these shortcomings. I know it’s a bit silly to expect the moon with a device like this.

With that in mind, there are switches in the same price bracket that come with better overall functionality. I’m hesitant about the use of an unmanaged switch that doesn’t come with much to it. Sure, it’s easy to install but if I can’t create network segments with the option of PoE for some devices it isn’t worth my time. At that point, I am wondering why I spent any amount of money on a limited network device.

Alternatives to a NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch

Here are three of my favorite alternatives to the NETGEAR 5-port ethernet switch.

Cisco CB250-8T-D

Secure and Robust
Cisco Business CBS250-8T-D Smart Switch
$134.53
  • 8-port GE switch
  • Switch can be powered by PoE on port 1
  • On-box UI
  • Access control list, 802.1X, RADIUS, and SSH/SSL security
  • Mobile app and Cisco Business Dashboard simplify network operations
  • Desktop mounted
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2024 02:44 pm GMT

Sure, this is around six times the price of the GS305. However, if I was looking for a small business switch this would be my first step. It does lack PoE functionality, but the switch can be powered by PoE on port one. It makes up for the deficiency in just about every other area. Cisco has been an industry standard for networking for decades now. I’ve personally used the CB250-8T-D’s predecessor and 12-port variants, which functioned wonderfully.

If you’re looking for a documented and robust managed switch, this is the one to get. This is built with enterprise deployment in mind and comes with great security functionality. You don’t need to be a cybersecurity expert to have a secure network segment.

I’ll readily admit I don’t have much experience with TP-Link in enterprise deployments. However, there is plenty to like about the TL-SG108E when looking at a small business switch. You’ve got a variety of network configurations you can do for your VLAN, which are integrated natively into the web interface.

One of the bigger selling points for this device is the support on offer. TP-Link has 24/7 phone support if you have experienced hardware failure of some sort. This sort of confidence in a product is always a good sign. I couldn’t get a Cisco vendor to pick up the phone for free at previous IT positions.

NETGEAR ProSAFE GS105E

User-Friendly with Good Features
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch
$39.99
  • Configure, secure, and monitor your network with user-friendly software
  • Basic VLAN and QoS, IGMP Storm Control, and auto DoS
  • Energy-efficient design compliant with IEEE802.3az
  • Desktop or wall mount
  • Lifetime limited hardware warranty and 24/7 chat with NETGEAR support
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2024 03:29 pm GMT

Even at nearly double the price of the GS305, the GS105E is worth a purchase. While it doesn’t correct the PoE issue, you’ve got more robust construction, shielded ports, and a whole lot of other basic features that are worth noticing. Now, ideally, I would be using the Cisco switch mentioned for any business deployment, but this is also a solid option.

Like the TP-Link offering, NETGEAR is standing by its product with zeal and gusto. You’ve got a limited lifetime hardware warranty and 24/7 chat support in the event of hardware failure. I’ve lost track of the lost man-hours spent scratching my head wondering why something failed. The chat support doesn’t even have to be great, just having the option when the clock is ticking is a great thing to have.

Closing Thoughts

The NETGEAR GS305 is a basic switch. That isn’t a bad thing at all. However, when looking at the current market and what you’ll need for a business network, I have a hard time suggesting it. It doesn’t fit the needs of someone creating a home lab. You aren’t learning the trade as it were. Instead, it’s just a basic piece of hardware with limited use in most businesses.

Best Alternatives to a NETGEAR 5-Port Ethernet Switch

1. Cisco CB250-8T-D
2. TP-Link TL-SG108E
3. NETGEAR ProSAFE GS105E
  1. Cisco Business CBS250-8T-D Smart Switch
    $134.53
    • 8-port GE switch
    • Switch can be powered by PoE on port 1
    • On-box UI
    • Access control list, 802.1X, RADIUS, and SSH/SSL security
    • Mobile app and Cisco Business Dashboard simplify network operations
    • Desktop mounted
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/03/2024 02:44 pm GMT
  2. NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch
    $39.99
    • Configure, secure, and monitor your network with user-friendly software
    • Basic VLAN and QoS, IGMP Storm Control, and auto DoS
    • Energy-efficient design compliant with IEEE802.3az
    • Desktop or wall mount
    • Lifetime limited hardware warranty and 24/7 chat with NETGEAR support
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/03/2024 03:29 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all switches need to be managed?

No, an unmanaged switch does have its place in modern networking.

What is the minimum number of ports for a switch?

I’d say the sweet spot is around 8 to 12 ports for a smaller switch.

Can switches be wireless?

Switches are hard-wired devices.

Is the switch the same as a router?

Not at all, traffic management is handled in fundamentally different ways when comparing them. They are complementary and should be used together.

Does my home need a switch?

Honestly, probably not. You are likely going to be just fine with the use of a wireless router like most households.

To top