Since Hurricane Katrina hit over four years ago, offices at my workplace have been a neverending series of relocations. Departments move, buildings are torn down to be rebuilt, temporary locations are set up, and more. I work in an IT department where we get to make sure people in every location have phone and networking services. Sometimes, after all is said and done, more people are added to a location after we've run all the cabling. In order to save time and money, our department invested in a bunch of these Netgear ProSafe FS105 5-Port Ethernet Switches.
Recommend this product?
In case you didn't know, a switch is a network communication device that lets you take one Ethernet connection and share it with multiple users. This particular model is a 5-port switch, meaning you can take one input and share between four users. In other words, four different devices can work off one incoming connection, like from a DSL modem or fiber box. They are great for networking a home or office, and there are no drivers to install.
I am very pleased with the performance of this device. It supports up to a 1 gigabit connection, which is what we have in most locations. Even with an Ethernet cable run of a couple hundred feet, the connection is picked up almost instantaneously. My IT department has had no problems whatsoever with these devices, and we've been using them for months in places where there's no AC or in indoor environments. I've seen one get wet and still work.
This is considered an unmanaged device, meaning that you can't do any special configuration with it like you could some more expensive switches. It does not have a serial port, and is made for quick and easy network connection expansion. If simplicity is what you need, then this device will give it to you. If you have special needs for connectivity configuration, then you will need something more customizable.
Not only do these switches work very well, but they are incredibly small and make no noise. Netgear houses the switch inside a metal blue box, so it can be placed under a desk without worry of being stomped on like a cheap plastic switch. I really dig the metal design of it because most small switches are plastic. Because of its small size, there are no internal fans or anything to make noise, so it's a great addition to a quiet office. It also has slots for wall mounting, if need be.
In case you were wondering about size, it's about as big as a Kit Kat bar, but twice as thick. It's really a tiny little thing, so it can be hidden easily. Just remember that it does require an AC power source, so you need somewhere to plug it in. Other than that, this device is literally plug and play. If you are looking to expand your home or office network, I highly recommend the Netgear FS105 5-Port Ethernet Switch.
Note: Netgear also makes a variety of Ethernet switches based off this same design, including an 8-port switch that looks just like an expanded version of this model, and it's called an FS108.