ZyXEL has a track record of making affordable networking equipment for both home users and service providers. Post-CES, the company has made a couple of product line announcements that warrant perusal from those keeping track ofdevelopments in the wired networking space.

Affordable 10G Switches

The first product line targets enterprise users thinking about shifting to 10G. With platform advancements bringing down the price and power consumption for 10GBASE-T switches, we have seen a host of affordable switches enter the market from various manufacturers. Netgear took the lead a couple of years back with a number of ProSafe 10GBASE-T switches starting at $1400 for the 8-port model. A couple of years down the road, the prices have come down considerably (slightly more than $800 for the 8-port model).

ZyXEL is now entering the affordable 10GBASE-T market with two switches, the Web Smart XS1920-12 and the L2 Managed XS3700-24. The two models are compared in the table below

ZyXEL XS1920-12 vs. XS3700-24 Comparison
Aspect XS1920-12 XS3700-24
Switch Class Smart Managed Layer 2 Plus (Layer 3 Lite)
Port Distribution 10x 10GBASE-T
2x 10G (SFP/RJ-45)
8x 10GBASE-T
12x 10G SFP+
4x10G (SFP/RJ-45)
MSRP (USD) $1865 $3860
Switching Capacity (Gbps) 240 480
Forwarding Capacity (Mpps) 178.6 357.14
Packet Buffer (Byte) 2M 4M
MAC Address Table 16K 16K
IP Address Table - 512
Routing Entries - 64
Routing Domains - 128
Management IPv6 Management
IPv6 Management
Out-of-bound Management Port
Static IP Routing - Yes
VRRP - Yes
Spanning Tree (STP/MSTP/RSTP) Yes Yes
QoS Features 802.1p QoS
8 priority queues
Data prioritization (SPQ/WRR/WFQ)
v1 IGMP snooping
12K jumbo frames
802.1p QoS
8 priority queues
Data prioritization (SPQ/WRR/WFQ)
v1, v2, v3 IGMP snooping
12K jumbo frames
Security Features MAC freeze
802.1X authentication
L2/L3/L4 ACL security filter
MAC freeze and intrusion lock
802.1X authentication
L2/L3/L4 ACL security filter
Power Supply and Features 100 - 240V AC, 50 / 60 Hz
Max. Power Consumption - 95.6 W
100 - 240V AC, 50 / 60 Hz
Redundant Removable Power Supply Modules
Max. Power Consumption - 143.1 W (Single PSU), 161 W (Dual PSU)
Physical Aspects 17.32 x 12.99 x 1.75 in.
9.27 lbs
326 BTU/hr Heat Dissipation
17.32 x 17.24 x 1.73 in.
16.3 lbs
488 (single PSU) / 549 (dual PSU) BTU/hr Heat Dissipation
Removable fan module

ZyXEL is also touting their ZON management platform which enables IT administrators to have a unified view and streamlined control of various devices in the network. The new 10G switches are obviously compatible with the ZON platform.

UTM for Home Consumers

Towards the middle of last year, ZyXEL updated their UTM (Unified Threat Management) solutions for SMBs. In what we believe is a first from any home networking equipment vendor, ZyXEL is marketing the 4-port solution in the home consumer market too. Security is becoming an important aspect of home networks (with the rise in popularity of home automation devices and other online activities making home consumers vulnerable to cyberattacks) and ZyXEL is hoping to latch on to this opportunity with the USG40HE.

The USG40HE has a WAN port and 3 LAN/DMZ ports. There is an additional port that can be configured as a secondary WAN or another LAN port. Claimed firewall and VPN throughputs are 400 Mbps and 100 Mbps respectively.

This UTM device / home network security product provides firewall capabilities, content filtering, traffic prioritization depending on application recognition, intrusion detection and prevention and optional anti-virus / anti-spam capabilities. Similar to the tradition in the SMB market, ZyXEL is bundling a 1-yr license for the UTM services. Street price seems to be around $250, while the business edition is closer to $300. The latter comes with anti-virus and anti-spam licenses for 1 year, while the home edition makes them optional.

As home networks become more and more powerful, we believe the trend in the market (at least for power users) will be to move from an advanced Wi-Fi router to a gateway / wired router + Wi-Fi access point. The USG40-HE does fit into that scenario. That said, the 1-yr licensing for UTM capabilities works well in
business use-cases, but it might create a negative mindset for home consumers who are not used to such business models. It will be interesting to see how this product fares in the market.

Source: ZyXEL

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  • chlamchowder - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Seems like gigabit home networking is still far away. An $800 10 GbE switch is infinitely more expensive than a $20-30 gigabit switch (8 ports for both).

    I wonder how much a cheap FDR infiniband setup (> 50 Gb/sec) would cost. Hopefully not much more.
  • Romulous - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    I looked into infiniband a while ago, and it was comparable to the cost of 10gbe although the cables are expensive.
  • returnzer0 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    It boggles my mind how you can set your boundaries and call it infinite in the same sentence.
  • chlamchowder - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    Haha, well, I guess I have to watch my language. How does "> 20x more expensive" or "an order of magnitude more expensive" sound?

    In any case, I hope you get the point - there's a massive price difference between gigabit and 10 GbE.
  • gsvelto - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    Last time I checked FDR InfiniBand was comparable in price to high-end 10GbE gear per port; QDR can usually be had for quite a bit less and second hand DDR gear is really cheap and widely available.
  • programcsharp - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    That's pretty much how Gigabit was, back in the day. When it finally started becoming affordable, switches were $800 and PCs needed dedicated cards for Gigabit. By the next year, prices were down to $400 for the switch, and then continued dropping from there until they were mainstream 2-3 years later.

    We'll see if the demand is here for 10GbE to drive down the price in a similar fashion.
  • geneiusxie - Thursday, February 26, 2015 - link

    It's mostly for professional users to share a lot of data
    If you consider that these switches are managed pretty well and have 12 or 24 ports, a comparable gigabit switch is going to be in the $100-400 range. So 10-20x more expensive. Still, them advertising this for home users for gaming, wifi, and security is absurd since none of those will benefit from going beyond one gigabit.
  • geneiusxie - Thursday, February 26, 2015 - link

    none of them will benefit from going beyond one gigabit in the near future, at least.
  • Railgun - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    Granted things don't scale like this, but it's still 10x more switch than an 8-port GigE variant. As mentioned, a fraction of home users may actually take advantage of this, and even then, rarely.

    The best option at the moment for someone that needs more than 1Gb throughput is find an inexpensive switch and channel them.
  • Railgun - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    That is, an inexpensive switch that can do port aggregation, with the appropriate client of course.

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