Netgear GS105PE Review

A handy little problem solving “wall-jack” switch from HPE called the NJ5000 has been discontinued. So I had a look around for alternatives and found few. Netgear make something that appears to fit the bill, so I got one. Here’s what I think of it.

There’s very little to say about a five port gigabit ethernet switch from Netgear. Cheap, not all that cheerful and as disappointing as cheap Netgear products are… why am I bothering to write anything at all?

This particular switch has a neat trick up its sleeve. It’s powered by POE (on port 5) and can also provide power on ports 1 & 2. If you feed the GS105PE with 802.3at power (POE+) after powering itself there’s enough electricity left for two class 2 POE devices or one class 3.

Here’s a common scenario I encounter. An office has a single data connection and a single phone connection. The phone gets upgraded to a voip device and the desktop computer connected to the back of the phone. All fine so far. Then it’s decided the office is big enough to share and now there’s two desktop PCs, two phones and still only one data connection.

The best thing to do is run more cabling, but sometimes that just isn’t viable. Time constraints, asbestos containing building materials, limited budget, there can be lots of reasons why it’s useful to stick a small switch in an office rather than cable it properly. I’m not saying they’re all good reasons, but we often have to make do.

On paper this switch looks like a great fit for my expanding office scenario and in many ways it is. It would work for starters and avoid the need for the PCs to be connected to the back of phones, or allow for additional devices such as a printer to fit in the mix. Being POE powered it can be remotely restarted by dropping the power on the upstream switch port. Being managed it’s possible to have alarms on the network monitoring if it goes down.

And as the most basic of basic switches this is fine. However…. There are several things wrong with the GS105PE. In a nutshell:

  • No secure management – it’s http only
  • No SNMPv3 support
  • No SNMP support at all in fact
  • It only has a single password to access that insecure web front end

Honestly it’s terrible. This is not a grown up switch with dumbed down defaults, it just can’t do the security basics. I’d accept the lack of SNMP at this price point, but there’s no excuse for not securing the web front end.

If I have to say something nice about this thing it’s that it does work, provides power almost immediately and boots its pathetic firmware very quickly.

There’s frustratingly little on the market that has the same functionality. D-link make the eerily similar DGS-1100-05PD which does at least support SNMP but not SNMPv3 and has the same lack of security.

As a problem solver this might find a space on your network and I wish I could recommend it, but no.

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