There are obvious similarities to a military plane using stealth technology design with the Nighthawk s8000, which looks great and is solid. This has zinc-alloy housing for durability with a soft-touch no-slip base and the switch looks in place in a home / bedroom as compared to many industrial looking units.

Box Contains:

  • 1 x Nighthawk S8000 Gaming and Streaming 8 Port Advanced Gigabit Ethernet Switch (GS808E)
  • AC power adapter (localised to country of sale)
  • Quick Installation guide

Note: The unit does not come with any network cables.

Features:

  • Cool-touch premium zinc-alloy housing for durability and looks and has a soft-touch no-slip base
  • Ideal for multi-user online/VR gaming and 4K HD video/media streaming
  • Low latency for utmost gaming experience
  • Three levels of network traffic prioritisation and QoS management for ultra-high performance
  • IGMP snooping support for multicast operation

Note: Most residential router supplied by your ISP will have 4 port switches while the Nighthawk s8000 is listed an 8-port switch, but you can only have 7 additional ports and one is connected to your router.

Warranty: 3-year warranty

Basic Setup:

The Netgear – Nighthawk s8000 can be plugged into your router and used to connect to your smart TV / PC etc. with no setup required. This would work the same as a dump / unmanaged switch albeit more expensive than the norm. The basic advantage of the Nighthawk S8000 would be to reduce the router load in analysing and forwarding data packets between computer networks therefore increasing the speed.

Advanced Setup:

Once you are logged into the Nighthawk S8000 Managed switch, you have the option to set priority of the ports e.g. port 3 media servers to a high priority with others to a low priority. This may be important if the unit is connected in the home / small office with a business PC / application required priority as the data will be sent first from high priority port, with the others on a lower priority. This is different to your normal unmanaged dumb switch as compared to this managed switch. The setup to achieve this higher priority is easy from the Netgear menu.

There is also an option to rate limit each port, to control how fast they are and how much allowed. You can have higher bandwidth to your preference choice / applications port / PC. If you have fibre broadband of 100Mbs, some ports could be reduced to 8Mbs especially if juniors are in the house. The port can transmit up to 1000 Mbs (giga bit connection) while the general top speeds available for residential customer is 360 Mb for the UK & Ireland.

To access the switch from a computer and discover the IP address of the switch:

The manual is short and while not complicated, getting to the IP Address could confuse some if unfamiliar with internal IP address, or range of IP addresses. It is advised to open Windows Explorer and follow a few steps or Safari browser for a Mac.

Windows Set up

Default Password – Password

Menu

Menu – Prioritisation

Menu – to test cable

Menu -Pre-sets

Terminology here may be confusing to a non-gamer, reference on Link Aggregation

Gaming:

There is an obvious advantage for gamers as connecting your PC via Wi-Fi will result in a higher latency and can cause delays in a game where speed is paramount. Priority can be set to assist for specific ports as required.

LED Lights:

The switch at the rear turns off the blinking LED. These can also be turned off via the network. Unfortunately, the front blue lights which look good in the beginning can be annoying if used in a bedroom and cannot be turned off. If these could be turned off there would be no way to know if the system was operational or not.

Is it worth it compared to a “dumb/ unmanaged” switch?

The difference between a budget switch and the Netgear – Nighthawk s8000 other than the brand and build quality would be the features to control the ports priority & speed.

Often the managed switches are used by large professionally for managed networks for advanced management features and/or reliability. You can link aggregation, 4 times faster, e.g. you can link ports 1 to 4 together to connect to work in parallel, the connecting product must have the same switches to match the ports for increased bandwidth. You can control, the prioritization of the ports. Some expensive router can do this prioritization, generally the main routers as supplied by your ISP would not have the technology. The Nighthawk s8000 managed switch is designed for gaming & streaming, reducing the workload of your router given faster response times. The Nighthawk S8000 brings low latency, traffic and port prioritisation, and Quality of Service (QoS) management in high-demanding online/VR gaming and media streaming. If speed is your thing, gaming or ease of use, then it’s worth it.

Available via http://www.netgear.com/landings/s8000/

Written by brendanlahert

20 years’ experience in the commercial technical industry. Interested in technology. Certified ITIL v3 Service Management, Project Management Prince 2, Six Sigma.

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