Tag: QoS

Product Review–Western Digital MyNet 8-port Gigabit Ethernet Switch


I am reviewing the Western Digital MyNet 8-port Gigabit Ethernet Switch which is an Ethernet switch that is positioned for use as the “central” switch in a wired-for-Ethernet house. This device, which is part of Western Digital’s entry into network infrastructure hardware also has a port-based quality-of-service setup in order to prioritise traffic serving multimedia or IP-telephony devices.

WD MyNet 8-port Gigabit Switch

Price: AUD$99.99

LAN Connectivity

Ethernet 8 x Gigabit Ethernet
Quality-Of-Service Port-Based
2 High-Priority
4 Medium-Priority
2 Best-Effort


The device itself


Western Digital MyNet Switch front

Front indicator lights – orange for 10/100 Ethernet connection and green for Gigabit Ethernet connection

The WD MyNet Switch has a setup routine that is typical for any unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet switch that is pitched at small network use. This is where you simply plug the Ethernet devices in to the switch, then connect it to the power.

But this switch implements a port-based quality-of-service setup with dark-green ports for high-priority traffic, light-green for medium-priority traffic and orange for best-effort traffic. This is to assure that VoIP and audio/video streaming is passed through without any glitches.

In the product documentation, Western Digital recommends that a NAS full of multimedia files or PVR acting as a DLNA Media Server be plugged in to a light-green port and a network media device is plugged in to the dark-green port. This would be of best effect if you were viewing content held on the server without glitches caused by email checks or Web-surfing.


WD MyNet Switch rear Ethernet connections

Rear Gigabit-Ethernet connections – dark-green for highest priority, green for high priority, orange for best-effort and connection to other LAN segments

Compared to a lot of Ethernet switches, the Western Digital MyNet Switch has the status lights located up front rather than the lights being next to the Ethernet sockets. This may be a benefit if you have the unit on a desk or mount it to the wall using the keyhole slots and you have the sockets located on the opposite side. Here, you can still troubleshoot the network connectivity and link speed without having to swivel the unit around.

A test that I do for Gigabit Ethernet switches is to find out whether they do work properly with UPnP and Bonjour. This test has become important for me with network hardware because I once bought a “Chinese special” Gigabit Ethernet switch at a computer market and found that it didn’t pass through any of the broadcast data that was required for essential UPnP functionality. Then I replaced it with a D-Link Gigabit Ethernet switch and found that this one worked properly with these devices.

Here, I connected it between a UPnP-enabled printer and my computer then power-cycle the printer to see whether the printer presents itself as a UPnP device to Windows 7. The printer had presented itself properly to Windows 7 as a UPnP device. Subsequently I had plugged my WD MyBook World Edition network-attached storage device in to this switch and kept an eye on the availability of its DLNA server from behind the switch and it was still available.

There is inherent support for quality-of-service prioritising but this is a port-based affair. Here certain ports are coloured in distinct colours for applications where high QoS is desired with some marked as “Low” preferred for LAN, off-ramp and router uplinks. You may have to do things like plug the smart TV or network media player in to the green ports while you plug the regular computer that does a lot of Web traffic in to the orange ports.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

There is no quality-of-service pass-through or trunking available with this switch for use with LAN connections. This can be an annoyance if you are trying to prioritise multimedia data across the whole network and is due to the industry not implementing standards for assuring quality-of-service across a logical network.


I would recommend the Western Digital MyNet Gigabit Ethernet Switch as a “central” switch for a small Ethernet network where quality of service for multimedia applications is considered very important such as most home networks. It would also keep the home network “futureproof” for IP-based telephony if the telephony equipment is connected to a “green” socket.

Next generation HTTP afoot


Engineers rebuild HTTP as a faster Web foundation | Deep Tech – CNET News

My Comments

HTTP has been the standard transport protocol since the dawn of the World Wide Web and effectively became the backbone for most file transfer and streaming activities of the modern Internet.

But there is a desire in the Internet industry to bring this standard to 2.0 and bring some major improvements to this standard to cater for today’s Internet reality.

Data multiplexing between client and server

One key capability is to implement the SPDY protocol which supports multiplexing of data between the Web server and the Web browser. This is to provide for faster and efficient data throughput by shifting the data using one “channel”; as well as providing support for managing quality-of-service.

This may involve the deployment of audio and video material under a high quality-of-service while text data and software downloads can pass through on an “as-needed” basis.

Inherent end-to-end encryption support

The SPDY protocol that is to underpin HTTP 2.0 also provides support for end-to-end transport-layer encryption. But Microsoft wanted this feature to be optional so it is implemented according to the needs, such as a blog not needing encryption whereas an Internet banking or device management Web page would need this level of encryption.

But I would also like to support in this feature the ability not just to encrypt data but to authenticate the same data using a digital signature. Here, it could permit users to be sure that the Web site they are visiting or the file they are downloading is authentic and would be especially of importance with field-updated BIOS and firmware deployments, as I raised in my commentary about a lawsuit involving HP concerning this practice and its security ramifications.

Caching support at network level

Another feature that is being proposed is to provide for network-level caching of HTTP data. This is intended to provide for environments like mobile networks where it could be desirable to cache data in the service network rather than on the user’s mobile device; rather than introducing proxy servers to provide this kind of caching.

It will also allow mobile and embedded devices to avoid the requirement to have Web caches for quick loading of Web pages. Of course this will not be needed for those Web pages that have regularly-updated data such as Web dashboards, Web mail or similar applications.

Other issues

It also is worth investigating whether the HTTP 2.0 standard could support applications like client-server email delivery or advanced document authoring such as version control.

Of course this development will take a long time to achieve and will require some form of HTTP 1.x backward compatibility so there isn’t the loss of continuity through an upgrade cycle.

IEEE P1905–A standard to make the heterogenous small network easy to manage


HomePlug® Powerline Alliance Announces Support for IEEE P1905 Convergent Digital Home Network Standard – HomePlug Powerline Alliance

IEEE P1905 Standard page

My Comments


More home networks implementing two or more media backbones

As the typical home network evolves, there will be a time when another interface type will be implemented in that network.

There are two examples of this common situation. One is where a person who has run an Ethernet network from the network-Internet edge to their computer decides to “go wireless” with their laptop computers and upgrades to a wireless router yet maintains the Ethernet connection for desktop computers. Another example that is increasingly common in Europe and will become so with the prevalence of IP-delivered TV would be a household that has a Wi-Fi network for the laptop but implements a HomePlug powerline network to serve the set-top box or IP-enabled TV in the lounge.

Infact I have advocated these kinds of network setups in this site in order to encourage a flexible home or small-business network that suits all situations that are thrown at it. This includes handling radio-difficult environments like double-brick walls or foil-lined insulation that can exist in many houses.

Network endpoint devices with multiple network interfaces

An increasing number of network-endpoint devices like computers, printers and Internet media devices are being required to support multiple types of network interfaces. This may be provided out of the box; or the user may have to install a hardware network adaptor for a particular network interface in to the device even though the device has an integrated network adaptor for another interface.

A very common example that I have seen for myself is laptop users switching between a wired Ethernet connection and a Wi-Fi wireless connection. Typically the laptop user who is getting used to the “New Computing Environment” and what it offers will plug their computer into the router’s Ethernet socket while they work at their desk; then disconnect from the Ethernet socket and “go wireless” when they want to use the laptop in other parts of the house. This typically can cause problems due to network storms or switchover problems; and often requires the user to disable or enable Wi-Fi on the laptop as they change connections.

Similarly, most of the network-enabled multifunction printers that I have reviewed at HomeNetworking01.info are equipped with an Ethernet socket as well as an integrated WPA2-secured Wi-Fi interface. This is becoming very common with most network-enabled media players, especially “smart TVs” and BD-Live Blu-Ray players.

Setup and management difficulties with these networks

These networks can yield their fair share of difficulties as users have to set up each network segment or device for secure reliable operation. This can include initial provisioning needs that a media type has like SSID and WPA-PSK security keys for Wi-Fi segments to management of segment-specific problems like Wi-Fi reception issues.

It will become more difficult as advanced networking requirements such as quality-of-service, synchronous media streaming, multiple logical networks and robust security are required out of these small heterogenous networks.

In the case of the devices, it will include making sure that the device works with the best network interface available even if both interfaces are physically connected. The most common example of this is making sure that the Wi-Fi-enabled laptop or printer works on a wired link if connected to the network via that link and works with the Wi-Fi link in other cases without the need for a manual switchover procedure.

What is this new standard intending to provide

You may think that there are standards out there to help with managing a computer network but most of these standards work to a particular network media type. As well, a lot of them require management by an IT team, something which few households or small businesses can have on hand all the time.

One major benefit is simplified media-level control across different media types on the same network. This isn’t achieved through the use of higher-level configuration routines managed by IP or application-level protocols like SNMP or UPnP, but these protocols can be adapted for this standard.

There will also be a focus on end-to-end performance such as allowing a device to choose the network interface that provides best throughput and quality-of-service. It can also allow “end-to-end” quality-of-service to be achieved from the network-Internet “edge” to the end device for IP telephony, multimedia streaming or Internet gaming.

Similarly, there is the ability to manage the media-level network security and energy-management needs that are required for the network in an easier form. This includes coordinating device wakeup across different media types so that a device can exist in an energy-saving quiescent mode yet “come to” when someone else on the network need it no matter how it is connected.

This standard recognises the reality that no one network type suits all needs, different horses for different courses.

Here, a typical setup may use Cat5 Ethernet as a high-speed backbone between floors or across the house, a HomePlug AV segment as a high-reliability wired “no-new-wires” setup for temporary applications and a Wi-Fi wireless segment that is primarily for portable devices.

The main focus that will be achieved is that bridge or switch devices that work across the multiple media types can perform these jobs more efficiently without needing to use higher-level protocols to achieve this goal; and be assured that the requirements for the network data are met as the data travels these devices.

Unanswered questions

Support for and management of VLAN networks

An unanswered question about this standard is whether it can support a VLAN network. This is a network that hosts multiple logical networks across the same physical infrastructure. It would be relevant in the small network space for “guest / hotspot networks” and IPTV setups where end-to-end content protection is required.

Features that may be considered of importance in this regard include replicating VLAN setups across the network as infrastructure devices are added to the network. An example of this could b to use an extension access point to “build out” a Wi-Fi network yet maintain the “guest network” and the “private network” as separate entities with separate SSIDs.

It also includes multi-tenancy-building environments where there is common “LAN” network infrastructure like cable runs that exist to interlink units (apartments, shops, offices, etc) or multi-SSID access points installed to service common areas (common gardens, swimming pools, food courts, etc). Here, it would be required to establish a VLAN interlink between two or more premises under the control of the same entity or establish a link to a common multi-SSID access point with the same SSID and security parameters as your main access point.

Wi-Fi devices and their operating mode

Another questiom that may affect the management of Wi-Fi devices is what kind of operating mode the device should be in. This is whether it is a client device or an access point; or to implement “direct link” or WDS or newer-standard network repeater functionality.

This would cater for an increasing number of “multi-function” access points which was a trend brought about by newer firmware versions for the Linksys WAP54G wireless access point. Here, the access point could be set up to be on the end of a direct wireless link, or be a client bridge for an existing Wi-Fi segment, a Wi-Fi repeater as well as being an access point.

This standard could provide support for a wireless endpoint such as a "multi-function” access point or the Wi-Fi functionality in a printer or other device to work as a client device or as an access point. It could then allow for these devices to quickly serve as infill access points when they are connected to a wired backbone after working on the Wi-Fi network.


At least the IEEE P1905 standard will make some effort towards making the establishment, management and development of the typical heterogenous small network become an easier talsk that is less painful.

Another of NETGEAR’s cost-effective but highly-functional switches appears in their latest Gigabit PoE Smart Switch

News article

NETGEAR Adds Gigabit PoE Smart Switch – SmallNetBuilder

From the horse’s mouth

NETGEAR GS110TP Gigabit PoE switch product page

NETGEAR GS-110TP Gigabit PoE-supply Smart Switch

NETGEAR GS-110TP Gigabit PoE 8 Port Smart Switch

My comments

The concept of VLANs and quality-of-service functionality is now become increasingly relevant to the home and small-business network now that the “single-pipe triple-play” and “next-generation” broadband Internet services are either here in your market or are coming around the corner to your market.

What are VLANs

The VLAN is a separate logical network path within a physical network medium, such as multiple SSIDs from one Wi-Fi access point serving different networks or a HomePlug setup with multiple Network Passwords for different networks. Most business-grade Ethernet switches offer this functionality in order to have particular Ethernet sockets associated with particular logical networks. It is used in many network applications such as interlinking a business with multiple premises through one multi-tenant building or providing Internet-only “guest access” service to business networks.

Now the VLAN is becoming common in small networks as part of either providing “guest access” or “hotspot service” to the Internet without encroaching on the security of the resident network; or providing dedicated “fast-lanes” for quality of service when it comes to A/V streaming or VoIP service.

NETGEAR’s role in this equation

Now NETGEAR have provided the GS110TP Gigabit Power-Over-Ethernet Smart Switch which is an 8-port switch which offers this functionality and Power-Over-Ethernet to all the ports for US$260. This is similar to how this company offered 5-port and 8-port 10/100Mbps Cat5 Ethernet hubs and switches at prices affordable for most people when the idea of home networking and broadband Internet came on the horizon in the early 2000s. Then a few years later, they offered 8-port 10/100Mbps switches with that had 802.3af standards-based Power-Over-Ethernet supply functionality on four of the ports, again at a price that most users can afford.

It may be easy to think of this unit being a candidate “central” switch when you wire your premises for Ethernet and want to make it future-proof for these new requirements. There have been some concessions to allow it to work properly with “triple-play” by the use of a default VLAN matrix with one VLAN for regular traffic, one for VoIP and one for video traffic. There is some “automatic-transmission” logic that shifts data to the different VLANs based on whether the data was primarily multicast in the case of video or one of a few VoIP protocols in the case of VoIP.

The main problem with this is that this switch wouldn’t work in a “plug-and-play” manner with “edge” devices that use certain VLAN setups or QoS methods to assure video and VoIP quality-of-service. For example, most of the “n-boxes” (Livebox, Neufbox, Freebox, Bbox, etc) used by French “triple-play” service providers as network-Internet edges have one Ethernet port for video traffic and three Ethernet ports for regular traffic. These units would expect you to connect the IPTV box to the “video” Ethernet port and you may end up with QoS or installation difficulties if you used this switch with them.

Limitations with this class of switch

For these switches to become easier to implement in a home or small-business network, there would have to be standards that allow an “edge” device to communicate its QoS and VLAN needs to these switches. This may be important if the “edge” device is managed by the service provider or is part of the provisioning chain that a service provider uses.

This may also include the flexible installation and “at-will” relocation of devices like VoIP handsets or IPTV devices as well as the support for multiple devices of this type across an Ethernet backbone. It also includes the support of multiple cascaded switches such as “regional” switches in other parts of the building or other buildings.

Other benefits to take note of

One bonus that I like about this switch is that it has offered 802.3af-compliant Power-Over-Ethernet across all Ethernet ports which allows the Ethernet cable to be a power cable as well as a data cable.This technology, which I will cover in a separate article on this site, has been pitched at business networks as being suitable for powering Wi-Fi access points, VoIP telephone handsets and IP-based surveillance cameras with one cable and from one point. Infact, NETGEAR have released an 8-port “regional” smart switch that has similar QoS and VLAN functionality but can be powered from this switch or other standards-based Power-Over-Ethernet networks.

Another feature that also appealed to me about this switch is that a unit of this price was equipped with optical-fibre LAN connectivity which can reduce the cost of using optical-fibre as a high-reliability long-distance link between buildings, especially on large properties. 


This is another example of NETGEAR offering technology that is deemed “large business” at prices that home users and small business can afford.

Ethernet AV – What could it mean for the home media network?

 Will home networks bank on Ethernet?

One of the next points of research that will be appearing for the home network is “Ethernet AV” or “AV-optimised networking”. The main goal with this research is to deliver time-sensitive content like music or video over an Ethernet-based network so it appears at each endpoint at the same time with the bare minimum of jitter or latency.

This research is being pitched at any application where a data network may be used to transport AV information. In the home, this could include multi-room installations where the same programme may be available in different rooms or multi-channel setups where a Cat5 Ethernet, Wi-Fi or HomePlug network link may be used to distribute sound to the rear-channel speakers. In a vehicle or boat, the Cat5 Ethernet cable could be used as an alternative to analogue preamp-level or speaker-level cable runs to distribute audio signals to the back of the vehicle or through the craft. The same method of moving AV signals can appeal to live-audio setups as the digital equivalent of the “snake” – a large multi-core cable used to run audio signals between the stage and the mixing desk that is located at the back of the audience. It can also appeal to the use of IP networks as the backbone for broadcast applications, whether to deliver the signal to an endpoint installed in a home network like an Internet radio or IPTV set-top box; or to work as a backbone between the broadcast studios and multiple outputs like terrestrial radio/TV transmitters and/or cable/satellite services.

The main object of the research is to establish a “master clock” for each logical AV broadcast streams within the home network that represents a piece of programme material. This then allows the endpoints (displays, speakers) to receive the same signal packets at the same time no matter how many bridges or switches the packets travel between the source and themselves.

Once this goal is achieved at the Ethernet level of the OSI stack, it could permit one to implement software in a router to provide Internet broadcast synchronisation for endpoints in a logical network pointing to the same stream. This means that if, in the case of Internet radio, there are two or more Internet-radio devices pointing to one Internet broadcast stream, they appear to receive the stream in sync even if one of the devices is on the wireless segment and another is on the Cat5 Ethernet segment.

This issue will need to be resolved in conjunction with the quality-of-service issue so that time-sensitive VoIP and audio/video applications can have priority over “best-effort” bulk data applications like e-mail and file transfer. Similarly, the UPnP AV / DLNA standards need to implement a quality-of-service differentiation mechanism for bulk transfer compared to media playback because there is the idea of implementing these standards to permit media-file transfer applications like multi-location media-library synchronisation and portable-device-to-master-library media transfer. Here, bulk transfer can simply be based on simple “best-effort” file practices while the time-critical media synchronisation can take place using higher QoS setups.

The other issue that may need to be resolved over the years is the issue of assuring quality-of-service and AV synchronisation over “last-mile” networks like DOCSIS cable, ADSL and FTTH so that IP broadcasting can be in a similar manner to classic RF-based broadcasting technologies. This also includes using the cost-effective “last-mile” technologies for studio-transmitter backbone applications, especially if the idea is to serve “infill” transmitters that cover dead spots in a broadcaster’s coverage area or to feed small cable-TV networks.

Once these issues are sorted out, then the reality of using an IP network for transmitting media files can be achieved.