If you’re a gamer or a streamer getting the best possible connection to the internet makes a huge difference. If you’ve any sort of a choice in the matter than means that you want a wired ethernet connection. Wifi has it’s uses but just by being what it is it’s subject to interference, adds lag and has speed drop offs. There have been gaming wifi routers like the Nighthawk X10 available for a while  and the S8000 isn’t one of them – it’s a switch.  At the simplest level a switch lets you plug many ethernet connected devices together usually with  a single connector to wider network or the  the internet.

So what extras does the S8000 have over a normal switch? The full list is below but without getting too technical it breaks down into two areas – prioritisation and diagnostics.

Prioritisation is often known as Quality of Service or QoS. It lets you give particular ports and therefore particular machines priority for different types of packets. For example you could give your gaming PC’s media packets the highest priority and put the Mac upstairs checking email at the bottom of the list. You want the best possible performance from the PC and a fraction of a second delay won’t matter with email. The S8000 lets you filter by port or by packet type and set rate limits on upload and/or download for everything wired into it.

The switch ships with two premade setups for a gaming system on port 1 and a media streamer on port 2 and will let you save your own presets and switch between them either automatically or manually depending on your situation. It also supports various types of multicasting optimisation and configurable port aggregation. The diagnostics let you test the cables plugged in and if there’s a problem gives you an estimate of the distance from the switch that the cable is broken or frayed.

The styling of the S8000 won’t be out of place in most gamer’s setups and it’s all metal body feels solid and weighty. It’s heavy enough to not flip backwards if you plug all the cables in over the edge of a shelf or table and can stand being covered up. The single LED is switchable off in settings and it’s fanless and dead silent.

The Ergohacks Verdict

If you’re a professional gamer or streamer then you’re either convinced that you need the S8000 or you have something like it already but what about the rest of us? We want decent internet connection speeds and probably have a rats nest of cables going from the modem our ISP provided to everything that doesn’t work on wifi.  There are a few very good reasons to get it. The inclusion of 8 ports is probably enough for every PC and TV in the house to get a wired connection and if you’re a gamer it will make a small but noticeable difference. Perhaps the biggest reason to get it is if you’ve invested in a 4K TV. Streaming 4K is possible but it’s an awful lot of data and if other people on the network start asking for priority it doesn’t work out so well.

In short if your home network is growing beyond what your ISP provided and you want decent performance that’s future proofed it’s a great choice. Recommended.

Ergohacks Essential

Buy it from Amazon  

Price: ±  £86.31

About Netgear

Netgear is a very well known American network technology manufacturer. You probably know them best for their home hubs and wifi routers, but they’re a major supplier to industry as well and make a range of network connected devices like NAS (Network Hard Disks), firewalls and security cameras. They were set up in 1996 and have just over a thousand employees spread around the world. We’ve recently positively reviewed their Arlo Q and Pro cameras  and their Orbi router.

Design

Once you’ve got the S8000 plugged in and on your network setup is simple. In Windows it appears as a part of the Network Neighbourhood in Network Infrastructure or you can go directly to it in a browser if you know it’s ip address. The unit ships with a decent default setup assuming that a gaming device is on port 1 and a media streamer is on port 2 but it’s easy to setup an alternative if you need to.

Features

  • Port optimisation – QoS available individually or globally for every port with saveable presets and patterns.
  • Multicast prioritisation – if you’re casting media to the net this cuts down significantly on internal network traffic and the problems that creates.
  • Link port aggregation – lets you tie together multiple physical connections to a single virtual connection. This lets you create faster links to devices that support it – for example a Network Storage device so that you can get faster links. The S8000 supports two of these with up to 4 physical ports per virtual port.
  • Eco mode that reduces power usage if you have shorter cable lengths and are not interested in PoE systems.

Specification

Product dimensions: 19.5 x 14.9 x 4 cm
Item Weight:  741 grams
Colour: Black with white lettering and
Release date: January 2017
Materials: Aluminum body

Requirements

The S8000 will let you make considerable improvements in your local network and prioritise traffic out to the internet but if you don’t have a decent internet connection a lot of what it can do will be wasted effort. Consider the modem you connect with’s abilities and the quality of the connection your ISP provides as well as the S8000 is only one link in a chain.

ecologicalergonomicinclusivedesignBuild quality

 We based our Ergohacks Verdict on three weeks of tinkering, testing and using the Netgear S8000 kindly loaned by Netgear during June 2017.  This article was first published on 29 June 2017.