Anyone that has set up a home or business network knows how annoying it can be to have your network cables untidy and cluttered because your network switch is being pushed around by tangled cables. The Netgear ProSAFE Click includes a first-of-its-kind mounting system that means you can actually properly hide it out of the way in your home study's desk or small business office.
What Is It?
- Wi-Fi: No
- Link Speed: 1000MBps
- USB Ports: 2 (charging only)
- Ethernet Ports: 8 LAN
- Warranty: 3 Years
The $139 Netgear ProSAFE Click is actually a series of two network switches from Netgear -- the inventively named 8-port GSS108E and $219 16-port GSS116E. Each has its requisite number of gigabit LAN ports, but also has a unique feature. The 8-port has two powered, data-disconnected USB ports for charging mobile devices (or anything else, really), while the 16-port can be configured with up to eight link aggregation ports (that's 2000MBps).
At 306x65x35mm and 440g, the 8-port Click is small but not tiny -- definitely not as small as the bargain-basement 8-port LAN switches the size of a pack of cards we all used to run backyard LANs from back in the day. It's fanless, which is great both for anyone looking to install one in a quiet room for an A/V installation and for anyone concerned with the device's longevity; devices with fans, when they fail, usually cook themselves pretty quickly.
What's It Good At?
The Click mounting system that forms the entire basis of the Netgear ProSAFE GSS108E's reason for being is a really smart idea. The mount is made up of two parts -- the mounting plate, which attaches to whatever surface you might like with either two counter-sunk wood screws, or Velcro ties, or any amount of double-sided tape (not included), and the GSS108E itself, which has corresponding mounting points.
To use it, all you have to do is push the switch into the mounting plate -- top first, to hook the GSS108E into its mounting point, and then the bottom until it clicks. The mounting points are on the switch's side and base, and mean you can mount the ProSAFE Click Switch either horizontally or vertically, and facing either away or alongside the mounting plate. It's really simple, it works, and as long as your network cabling suits, it really opens up a bunch of opportunity.
Because the ProSAFE Click's power supply is internal, all it needs is a regular figure-eight two prong power cable, of which Netgear bundles two in the box (Australian and US power plugs). Those cables perfectly suit the Click's 45-degree chamfered end, and let you aim the power cable either directly downwards from the Click's chassis or outwards; both positions lend a bit of versatility if you're using the mounting plate.
This is a switch rather than a more complex router, but the ProSAFE Click still has a configuration utility. In fact, it's those limits that make it good -- the switch works perfectly straight out of the box, with no fiddling around required. Unless you want to connect it to a larger network, of course, in which case you'll have to log in quickly and turn off the Click's built-in DHCP server.
What's It Not Good At?
The ProSAFE Click GSS108E is skinnier but a fair bit longer than the regular ProSAFE GS108P that it supersedes, and that means that a fair bit of its proportions are wasted -- there's a large space on its fascia that just goes unused, since that's where the internal power supply hides. That's not really a big deal, unless you were thinking of upgrading and don't have the extra width to spare.
There are some pretty complicated QoS and VLAN settings in the GSS108E's configuration utility, but I advise you don't check in there unless you know precisely what you're doing. It's a very barebones interface, and although there's a help screen it's easier to just steer clear and trust in the fact that it knows what it's doing.
If you don't need the GSS108E's Click mounting system, then there are much cheaper options even from Netgear's own range -- like the similarly good GS108E and the Power over Ethernet-capable GS108P. The hardware inside is essentially the same, too -- it's all about how you might need want to use it.
Should You Buy It?
Do you need a switch in the first place? Probably not, in this age of ubiquitous and usually long-range and high-speed Wi-Fi. But if you do, then the $139 ProSAFE Click GSS108E has ports enough for any busy family home or bustling small business, and the advantage of double USB charging ports for the network admin or home-bound tech geek sitting nearby.
The Click's design, too, is a little bit of data center innovation in your home or small business setup. The switch itself is super skinny, and that means you can hide it away under a desk or at the corner of a networking cabinet that might not otherwise fit the older GS108E or some of Netgear's competitors. And having that click-in mounting plate means you'll be able to install it where you never thought you might want network cables running. (Of course, you'll have to deal with cable routing yourself.)
Beyond that, there's not really much that the GSS108E does wrong, because it's so simple in its stated mission. It consumes a small amount of power, thankfully has an internal power brick, and does a perfectly adequate job of routing traffic around its eight gigabit LAN ports (or out to a wider WAN). It doesn't have a fan to fail, it doesn't have a complicated Web interface to slow down and mess up things. It just works.