Why you might need multi-gigabit connectivity across the home
With more people now streaming HD video, playing graphics-intensive games and manipulating files with rich content, there is a growing need for home networks to support multi-gigabit performance – Zyxel is meeting their requirements, as Luke Harley, Market Development Manager EMEA for Consumer and LTE at Zyxel, explains.
The need for digital bandwidth in the home and smaller offices is greater than ever. We are all creating and consuming more and richer content. Whether you are watching HD TV, playing interactive games or working, you will need higher performance connectivity to transfer, store and load high quality video, files and images.
We are also connecting more devices now – smart speakers, IP phones and surveillance cameras, smart lighting and thermostats, in addition to multiple smartphones, tablets and laptops. As a result, the demands on smaller networks are growing almost exponentially.
While everyday WiFi might have been perfectly adequate to support most of these networks up to now, it has never been fast enough for everyone. If you needed the very best performance, you’d have installed Cat5e cable to provide fixed connection points to all areas of a home or small business premises.
This would have also meant using a switch to provide multiple connections into the router – and perhaps to extend WiFi support by adding a separate access point to the network. However, up to now, smaller switches have only supported speeds of up to 1Gbps. This would have – and has been – sufficient for most situations, most of the time.
But that’s changing. Port speeds of 1Gbps won’t be enough to support 4K HD streaming or intensive use of graphics or video editing software, for example, where there is a need to move large files across the network – to and from a shared NAS device or the cloud, all the time.
Nor can these switches keep up with the speeds now being provided by wireless networking. WiFi 5 (802.11ac), which is what most people will have installed today, can run at speeds of up to 1.5Gbps. This will be even more of an issue with the new WiFi 6 standard (802.11ax), which is up to four times faster and will support many more connections.
Taking the strain
This is why Zyxel introduces two new switches, first the unmanaged XGS1010-12 and later on the web smart XGS1210-12, which both support speeds of up to 2.5Gbps. There are eight 1Gbps ports and two 2.5Gbs ports on this switch. We envisage the former being used for less demanding devices, such as desktop PCs, wireless access points, or TVs; the latter where higher speed connections are needed, such as for the latest gaming consoles or workstations, a WiFi 6 access point – or to provide a faster connection to the broadband router.
There are also twin 10Gbps SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable) fibre ports, for fast links to network-attached storage devices or other peripherals. With this additional performance capacity, the Zyxel XGS1010-12 and XGS1210-12 switches can accommodate the much greater demands now being placed on small networks. It will smooth out the bottlenecks and, as it can simply be plugged into the existing set-up, there will be no need to install new cabling. It will also be all ready to go with WiFi 6 when you are ready to upgrade. With advanced energy-efficiency and fanless – and therefore noiseless – operation, these new XGS switches offers additional benefits that will make it hugely attractive to home users or smaller firms that want to make sure everyone can get the network throughput they need.