by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Netgear ProSAFE XS712T 10-Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch Review

The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T is a 10GBase-T Smart Switch purposely designed for SMB environments. Featuring 12 10-GBase-T copper ports and 2 shared SPF+ ports for 10G fiber links, Netgear ProSAFE XS712T is designed for businesses to cost-effectively grow 10GbE support in their rack for a reasonable price. Now small businesses can expand their networks with to include faster 10GBase-T devices that drive lower latency and lower power consumption without breaking the bank while tying into existing infrastructure components.

The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T features advanced quality of service with L2-L4 awareness. Like other 10GBase-T technologies, the XS712T uses standard RJ45 Ethernet jacks making it backward compatible with existing 100/1000Mb devices. Also included are 2 SFP+ 10G ports for use as uplinks to other core switches in the same environment. With its traditional RJ45 ports it can also auto-negotiate between higher and lower speeds so it won't force all devices connected through it to be operating at 10GbE speeds. The switch has an easy-to-use web-based management interface for its extensive set of L2 network features. In addition to advance VLAN support for traffic segmentation, QoS for traffic prioritization, advanced security and IGMP snooping, the switch also provides advanced features such as Link Aggregation support, dynamic VLAN assignment, double VLAN tagging, ACL binding, static routing, and MLP snooping.

The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T is available for a street price of $1650.00. Also included is a lifetime warranty and a one-year 24x7 tech support. 

Netgear ProSAFE XS712T Specifications

  • Ports
    • 12 RJ-45 auto- negotiating 100/1000/10GBase-T ports
    • 2 shared SFP+ ports
  • Packet Buffer Memory: 2 Mb - Dynamically shared across only used ports
  • Latency (64-byte frames, 10 Gbps, Copper 10GBase-T): <6.606 μs
  • Latency (64-byte frames, 10 Gbps, Fiber SFP+): 2.979 μs
  • Management Features
    • Password management
    • Configurable Management VLAN
    • Admin access control via Radius and TACACS+
    • Web-based graphical user interface (GUI)
    • Smart Control Center (SCC) for multiswitch management
    • IPv6 management
    • Dual Software (firmware) image
    • Dual Configuration file
    • SNTP client over UDP port 123
    • SNMP v1/v2
    • SNMP v3 with multiple IP addresses
    • RMON 1,2,3,9
    • Port Mirroring
    • Many to One Port Mirroring
    • Cable Test utility
    • SSL/HTTPS and TLS v1.0 for web-based access
    • File transfers (uploads, downloads) TFTP / HTTP
    • HTTP Upload and Download (firmware)
    • Syslog (RFC 3164)
  • Switching fabric: 240 Gbps
  • Operating temperature: 32° to 122°F (0° to 50°C)
  • Power consumption: 98.2W max – all ports used
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 1.7 inches x 17.3 x 10.1
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs.
  • NETGEAR Lifetime Warranty with a year of tech support

Design and Build

The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T ships with a rackmount kit. It fits in a 1U rack slot, which is par for the course on switches of this nature. Measuring just over 10" deep, the XS712T can also share a U with another switch or firewall, further improving density in a small datacenter. In our NAS testing environment, the XS712T sits back to back with a Netgear UTM50 to save space.

The front of the Netgear ProSAFE XS712T features 12 copper 100/1000/10GBase-T and 2 (shared) combo SFP+ ports on the right side. Each port has 3 LED lights to indicate speed, link and activity. On the left side, there are LED indicator lights for power and fan and pinhole buttons for reset and factory default. The top of the device has Netgear branding. The sides are ventilated for passive cooling.

The back of the device contains the power source (fixed) and two fans (fixed). Note that being a Smart-series switch, it lacks serial-console access found on higher enterprise-grade switches as well as hot-swap capable cooling or power supplies. For most SMB environments this isn't a huge loss as many of these features don't come into play until you upgrade to much more expensive models.

Cost Effective Cables

One of the core cost-savings features of the new 10GBase-T is that they use commodity cables. Compared to a 10GbE solution requiring costly Twinax SFP+ connections with short-reach copper or long-reach optical cables, 10GBase-t switching can utilize off-the-shelf CAT6 (up to 30 meters) or CAT7 (up to 100 meters) cabling depending on the length required.

To put the cabling price in perspective per device connected, a 1 meter SPF+ cable has a street price between $60-$100 depending on brand. That high cost adds up quickly, especially when the comparable 1 meter CAT6 cable can be found with a street price under $1. The other distinct advantage is that if you are receiving new equipment and have no spare cables, you can run to your spool of CAT6 bulk wire and crimp your own cable in a matter of minutes. As companies roll our new high-speed infrastructure in their datacenters, the savings per port with 10GBase-T adds up quickly.

Conclusion 

The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T 12-port 10 Gigabit Smart Switch is designed for small and medium businesses that are looking to affordable upgrade to 10GbE speed. Whether businesses are looking to use it as a core switch or use it as a aggregation switch the XS712T provides an affordable method for upgrade. With 10GbE starting to become more prevalent as an option even in small NAS devices, an increasing segment in the SMB can benefit form the latency and IO benefits of 10GbE. Netgear for their part is trying to make that transition affordable with the XS712T.

In our lab environment, we use the XS712T as a remote 10GBase-T switch in our NAS test lab. The XS712T provides local 10GbE access to servers and NAS gear that include 10GbE support, while uplinking into our primary enterprise test lab's core 10/40GbE switch. Whether used as a core switch in a small data room or as an aggregation switch as seen in our environemtn, the XS712T offers a surprsing amount of flexibility at this price point.

Pros

  • Strong featureset while still maintaining low price-per-port
  • Leverages cost-effective CAT6/7 cabling for 10GbE performance
  • Easy to configure and manage

Cons

  • Doesn't offer redundant/hot-swap cooling or power

Bottom Line

The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T brings 10GBase-t switching to small and medium businesses at an affordable price point without skimping on features.

Netgear XS712T at Amazon

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