TP-Link TL-SG1008D vs TP-Link TL-SG108

TP-Link has two inexpensive 8-port switches aimed at the consumer market: the TP-Link TL-SG1008D and TP-Link TL-SG108. If you’re wondering about TP-Link TL-SG1008D vs TP-Link TL-SG108, I can sum it up pretty easily.

Who you’re asking for makes a big difference. If you’re asking for yourself, you probably want the TL-SG108. If you’re asking for a friend, the TL-SG1008D may be worth considering. Read on to see why.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically, the current version of the TL-SG1008D has a bit of an edge. The plugs are in the back. The front gives a smooth and uncluttered visual, with power and activity LEDs. It’s a basic, black plastic case. But that design blends in well with other consumer electronics. TP-Link isn’t the best known brand yet, but I’m at least as comfortable buying their gear as I am D-Link or Linksys.

The TL-SG108 looks like a traditional metal switch. It looks like it belongs on a computer workbench. That’s an advantage on a computer workbench. That’s not necessarily an advantage in the living room.

Cost

The TL-SG108 costs more than the TL-SG1008D. The TL-SG1008D retails for $25 and you can often get it for $20 or even less. The TL-SG108 retails for $30, but it’s harder to find it on sale.

If the difference in price is $5, the TL-SG108 is the one you want. When I was in the market, the price difference was $10.

Then again, the TL-SG1008D, or its younger brother the TL-SG1005D, are cheap enough that if you need more than one network port in a single room, you can just one run one wire and plug a switch in. The switch probably costs less than the extra cables and connectors for an additional port would.

Speed

The TL-SG1008D has smaller buffers and less capacity than the TL-SG108, but consider the audience. If you’re using the gigabit Ethernet that’s built in to most motherboards, you won’t overwhelm this switch. If you’re the type who puts Intel E1000s in all of your systems, you’ll notice the difference in the two. For that matter, even the TL-SG108 may not be enough if you’re going to plug high-end gigabit NICs in every port.

So here’s my rule to make it easy: If you use the built-in network card on your motherboard, the TL-SG1008D is probably enough. If you buy separate network cards and you can name more than one manufacturer of network chipsets, the TL-SG108 is probably the better fit for you.

Indicator lights

The TP-Link TL-SG108 has lights to indicate link speed. One light indicates gigabit; the other indicates 10/100 megabit. The TL-SG1008 only indicates whether it has a link; there’s no speed indicator. With it, you’ll have to check via the computer.

Here’s how to check your network speed on Windows. On Debian-based Linux distributions, use the command mii-tool eth0 to check the speed. On Red Hat derivatives, use the command ethtool eth0. If your active interface isn’t eth0, use the command ifconfig on either type of system to determine the active network interface. I learned the hard way it’s not always eth0.

Other advantages of the TL-SG108

The TL-SG108 has no built in configuration but you can use a Windows-based app to configure it. TP-Link bills it as an unmanaged switch but it has some limited management capabilities. The TL-SG1008D is a true unmanaged switch.

Additionally, the TL-SG108 has a sturdy metal case. And it also has better power management than the TL-SG1008D.

So which one did I buy? The TL-SG1008D. It’s a secondary switch for me, and a higher-end switch will be carrying more of the load, so it made sense for me to save my 10 bucks. If I’d been buying a switch to plug straight into my router, I probably would have gone for the TL-SG108.

And that’s what you need to know about the TP-Link TL-SG1008D vs TP-Link TL-SG108 to make an informed purchase.

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