Review: NETGEAR Smart Managed Pro Switch Delivers Advanced Connectivity
Advanced classrooms require more than a few sticks of chalk and a blackboard to demonstrate innovative concepts. There are infrastructure devices like wireless hubs to support, teleconferencing gear for distance learning and tools for specific subjects such as robotics or engineering. Even IP-enabled security cameras require a little space.
Most devices need two things to function properly: power and connectivity. The NETGEAR 24p Gigabit PoE+ Smart Managed Pro switch combines both into a single Ethernet cable for devices that have Power over Ethernet capabilities. Given that PoE comes standard with most modern devices, the Smart Managed Pro could consolidate a lot of classroom cables.
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Device Management Gives Users Flexibility
Curtailing classroom device sprawl requires more than simple physical consolidation, however. The switch also has advanced management features, all of which can be accessed via a web browser interface that is optimized to work with mobile devices.
Advanced device management lets users configure virtual LANs, access-control lists and other security features. Users can also schedule when different ports should supply power to connected devices. Managing the power supply to PoE devices provides fine control over operating times. For example, an administrator could set IP-enabled security cameras to turn on only at night. Other functions, such as prioritizing the connectivity of certain devices over others, would allow for the deployment of a reliable Voice over IP phone station.
The Smart Managed Pro has a single power cord running out the back, yet it can support up to 24 connected devices with a total power budget of 190 watts. Given that most PoE devices only take up a few watts when operating, that’s more than enough power to support full connectivity for most configurations.
Smart classrooms require intelligent management of the many devices that support higher learning. The NETGEAR 24p Gigabit PoE+ Smart Managed Pro switch can provide those advanced features for higher education at elementary school pricing.
The Quiet Switch Is Perfect for the Classroom
Network switches have been around for a long time, although in the past they have been mostly confined to wiring closets, server rooms and other locations where it is perfectly acceptable for equipment to sound like a jet airplane gearing up for takeoff. The NETGEAR switch is designed to support a classroom environment — from inside the classroom, if necessary — and that means noise is an important consideration.
NETGEAR designed the cooling fans to spin as quietly as possible. Vents open on the side of the unit, with just enough space to push warm air out and keep internal components operating efficiently. With only a few devices connected, the fans are nearly silent. Because the switch is supplying power over the Ethernet cables of attached devices, it will always run hotter than a switch that is serving only as a communication device. Whenever there is power flowing through a device, heat levels will increase.
How much heat the switch must expel before it begins to negatively affect performance depends on how many devices are connected and using Power over Ethernet to charge up. With 24 ports and a 190-watt power well, heat can build up quickly. NETGEAR compensates for this by connecting fan speed to device usage and temperature control. As more devices are connected, the fans speed up. As the device cools down, the fans slow.
Starting from almost complete quiet, we began adding more devices, drawing on PoE and processing a lot of data. It took a while to heat up the Smart Managed Pro, but eventually the fans did get a bit louder to compensate.
With 17 devices attached, the unit’s temperature climbed to 75 degrees. At that point, the fans were running close to maximum speed, and we recorded 29 decibels of noise coming from the switch. By comparison, a human whisper is rated at about 30 decibels, and conversational speech is generally at 60 decibels.
That makes it extremely unlikely that the switch will interrupt a lecture even if it’s mounted directly to a student’s desk. Set off to the side, on a shelf or in a drop ceiling, it’s practically unnoticeable when other sounds are present in the environment. This switch is designed to declutter a classroom while supporting devices with both power and connectivity, and it achieves this without creating a distraction. Exceptional design makes this a solid fit for any classroom or lecture hall.
NETGEAR 24p Gigabit PoE+ Smart Managed Pro
Gigabit Ports: 24
Uplinks: Two dedicated Gigabit SFP fiber ports
VLANs: Up to 256
PoE Budget: 190W
Dimensions: 17.32x8.03x1.7 inches
Weight: 3.72 pounds