Multi Gig Switches

The best multi-gig and PoE switches for SMBs

The XMG1915 Series of small switches deliver fast, multi-gig speeds and come with big PoE budgets, making them ideal for smaller businesses and branch locations, says Luke Harley, EMEA Market Development Manager Switch at Zyxel Networks.

There seems to be no limit to the amount of speed and bandwidth we need on networks. A few years aga, 100Mbps seemed like quite enough. Now it’s quite normal to have 1Gbps all the way to the endpoint on a cabled Ethernet connection. Wireless links are getting faster too. With WiFi 6/6E you could expect to get 2.5-5 Gbps on an access point – and WiFi 7, which is not too far away, is around five times faster.

The massive rise in use of video conferencing and collaboration is one of the major reasons we need increased bandwidth. Often, it’s not just one or two, but 10 or 20 people on a call, many of whom may be on the same network. We expect HD quality video and we also need security appliances or software to be constantly monitoring network traffic for potential threats. We collect and use more data and create richer content now, which means bigger files.

Higher budgets

There’s a further complication as well. We’re now routinely making use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) to connect WiFi access points (APs) and other IP devices – and these devices need higher PoE budgets, mainly because they need to support faster wireless connections.

All this means we need more bandwidth on the network. We also need higher PoE budgets. And this applies as much to SMBs as it does to larger organisations, because small businesses make just as much use of conferencing, cybersecurity and data as bigger ones. They just have proportionately smaller networks.

This is why, on our latest 8-port and 16-port XMG1915 Series switches, we support speeds of up to 2.5Gbps and up to 60W PoE per port (PoE++) on a maximum of 8 ports. While they may have a relatively modest number of ports, these devices have the performance and bandwidth to cope with the higher demands of today’s modern workplace applications. All three models in the XMG1915 series also benefit of 2 fibre 10G SFP+ ports as additional switch ports which can be used as uplink ports.

They also have enough of a PoE budget to allow at least four WiFi 6/6E access points, on the 8-port version, or six APs on the 16-port model, to be run directly off the switch. The power budget on the 8 port is 130W total and on the 16 port it’s 180W total.

Another benefit is that the XMG1915 Series can support devices connected with Cat 5e cabling as far away as 100 metres. This cabling may already be in-situ, but if not, it will be a lower cost option than Cat 6.

Cloud Managed

These switches are the best choice for SMBs or branch offices that need to provide good WiFi 6/6E coverage, or for smaller IP surveillance set-ups. Or a cluster of IP phones or IoT sensors. They have the bandwidth to cope with the high demands being put on smaller networks, but they are also simple and affordable.

In addition, they can be configured and controlled using our Nebula cloud platform. That means managed services partners can monitor the switches remotely for their customers, and that will make life even easier for any business deploying a Zyxel Networks XMG1915 Series switch.

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