You need more Ethernet ports. End of story

May 29, 2024
2 mins read


Zyxel XMG1915 Switches


PAT PILCHER has one heck of a lot of gadgets which means he needs a lot of Ethernet ports. If you do too, check out this this review.

If you have a lot of Ethernet cable-connected network gear, you’re probably looking at the paltry four Ethernet ports located on the back of your broadband router, pulling your hair out and seriously considering your connectivity options.

While most home routers max out at four Ethernet ports, a surprisingly easy solution is available for adding more Ethernet ports to your network: a network switch. Just as a multi-box power board gives you extra mains power sockets from a single wall socket, a network switch can turn one Ethernet port into multiple ports.

As handy as network switches sound, they’re not all created equal. Zyxel has launched the jauntily named XMG1915 network switch range, which covers all the bases you’re ever likely to need (and then a few more) for a network switch.

From a design perspective, the XMG1915’s rectangular, slim design means it could sit at the back of my computer desk, consuming a relatively tiny amount of scarce computer desk real estate. Its fanless design and heat dissipation management meant it ran silently, consuming less electricity (your mileage will vary depending on the number of connected widgets you have hooked up). Handy LED indicators also gave me an at-a-glance overview of how everything I’d connected was running.

One of the big bugbears with network switches is how much network bandwidth they can handle. The XMG1915 has 8 or 16 (depending on which version you buy) 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, roughly double the network bandwidth that most consumer-grade routers can deliver. Additionally, the XMG1915 comes with super quick 10 Gigabit uplinks. These give you a superfast means of chaining additional network switches should you need even more Ethernet connectivity. Crucially, the 10 Gigabit uplinks should also ensure that your network switches are not a network bottleneck.

It isn’t all about bandwidth though. Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows the XMG1915 to deliver juice over your Ethernet cables, freeing PoE-compatible network gizmos from having to use a power adaptor, which means less cable clutter and more flexibility as the connected widget no longer needs to be located next to a mains power socket. The sheer usefulness of PoE really comes into play when installing Ethernet-connected outdoor security cameras, effectively reducing their cabling down to a single Ethernet connection. The XMG1915 supports 60W PoE across all of its Ethernet ports, supporting power-hungry PoE devices.

The most compelling feature, however, is that, as a Zyxel gadget, the XMG1915 is Cloud-manageable via Zyxel Networks’ Nebula platform. In non-geek speak, this means that users can use a web browser to easily see and manage connected gear, getting a real-time view of their network at a glance.

If a connected device isn’t playing nicely, users can use the Nebula app to remotely access it. All in all, the Nebula app proved to be intuitive and hassle-free. It even auto-detected (and solved) a network configuration issue that would have otherwise involved a lot of time and cussing. This alone makes the XMG1915 a brilliant option for anyone with a lot of Ethernet-connected smart home gear.

While the XMG1915 switch review unit I received had 8 ports, 16 and 18-port versions are also available. The 2.5 Gigabit ports gave my NAS and other Ethernet-connected gear a new lease of  life. Copying files to my NAS became far less time-consuming, and 4K video/HD 5.1 audio streamed effortlessly.

Suppose you need more Ethernet connections but want something simple and easily manageable (not to mention fast), discreet, and quiet. In that case, Zyxel’s XM1915 switch might just be what the (witch)doctor ordered.


Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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