Netgear S8000 is an excellent (and expensive) Ethernet switch for gamers

Netgear S8000
Netgear S8000

Netgear S8000

That's what the Netgear S8000 is, an Ethernet switch that makes up part of the company's high-performance Nighthawk line. An Ethernet switch is a pretty boring product. It's basically there to split your wired network connection between multiple devices.

So why, then, did Netgear make one that looks like something from a science fiction movie, that lights up, is pretty darn heavy, and retails for $100? Well, if you listen to the marketing, it's for gamers. And while the price tag is high and the design perhaps unnecessary, it's the smarts inside it that make the difference.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The NETGEAR Nighthawk(R) S8000 Gaming & Streaming 8-Port Advanced Gigabit Ethernet Switch is a versatile, ultra-performance, easily configurable network switch designed for expert gaming, 4K UHD media streaming, and basic home network connectivity. Its sleek and modern design make it the perfect for any modern home or small office. The Nighthawk S8000 brings low latency, traffic and port prioritization, and Quality of Service (QoS) management at the click of a button for ultra-high performance in high-demanding online/VR gaming and media streaming.

S8000 design and hardware

Do even gamers need to spend $100 on one of these?

It looks fantastic. That's all perhaps unnecessarily, but if you are a gamer there's a good chance you've put some effort into your setup and want something that'll fit in. On the outside, it's the outrageous design that differentiates it from any other Ethernet switch. Well, that and the blue lighting strip.

From Netgear:

Industry-first "cool-touch" premium zinc-alloy housing for durability and looks, with a soft-touch no-slip base.

The S8000 is an eight-port Gigabit switch, though one of these ports, labeled Uplink, is the internet connection from your router. So you've got seven other ports to plug in all of your things. The only other thing of note on the outside is a button to turn off the LED lighting. The power button is just beneath the lighting strip, too.

The company throws around terms like "low-latency," "4K gaming" and "VR" but in truth, the software that goes with the S8000 is where the beauty of this product comes to light.

The user interface for the S8000 settings is designed to be easy to use on both a PC and mobile, albeit in a browser rather than an app. You don't really want mountains of settings for something with such a relatively simple function, and Netgear has addressed it well.

The S8000 makes sure that your gaming device is the top priority right out of the box.

Netgear recommends you use port No. 1 for your main gaming device and port No. 2 for your main streaming device. Both of these have presets already applied in the software, so it's easy enough to run with it. Essentially there's a quality of service management within the switch, with your gaming device being the highest priority.

You can change this, of course, and you're able to easily adjust rates on the fly across any devices you have connected to the S8000. The idea though is that your online gaming never suffers, and the S8000 will make sure it gets the bandwidth it needs over anything else. I don't have VR to test with it, but the same principle applies. Bandwidth-heavy stuff gets priority.

Netgear S8000

Closing thoughts

Does it work? Absolutely. The dynamic quality of service has less of a visible impact maybe since you're not talking about a wireless connection, but it does work. And if you've got seven devices hooked up, being able to prioritize is helpful. That said, if you can hook up straight to your router you may not even need one of these, but you would benefit if your use case suits. A managed switch will have better control for high demand devices than the 'dumb' ports on the back of a router.

Whether it's worth $100 is more of a question. You get a three-year warranty with it and the software is incredibly easy to use, but it is, after all, an Ethernet switch. If you can get it on discount it's worth picking up if you're a gamer, especially if you're also a streamer. But it's a harder sell at full price.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

18 Comments
  • I doubt anyone will notice any difference compared to a $20 switch. 
  • As do I. There may be some differences that you can see synthetically if you have a network with high utilization but a switch just pushes packets based on addresses... not a whole lot of extra magic needed for that.
  • Not to mention, Eby has wonderful Cisco switches/gear on bargain deals if one is really serious about it.
  • about as necessary as your mother in a bikini.
  • Ewwwww thanks!
  • I love central windows notifications, how can I make the website ringtone available? Wanted to set default on my lumia ... please!
  • I'd rather put that 100 into an asus Rog router. That's all you really need in a house you wont go beyond the 300ft limit of cat5 so there's no point in a switch.
  • No giveaway? :D
  • Wow. So, it's a "switch" with an uplink port.  Doesn't that make it a router?  The article doesn't even list its specs. I guess you can slap any ol' device with "gamer" on its name, and sell it for triple the cost.  Want a "gamer" gigabit network cable?  $50 is a steal for such speeds! Personally, I'd rather stick with my used but perfectly good 24 port gigabit switch.
  • A router allows people to modify the routeing table to point the router to another router which is extremely useful in businesses or if they have a deal with a service provider to provide some sort of dedicated line. A switch cannot do that. Every consumer grade router comes with a switch (those 4 or 8 LAN ports are a switch). But I have to agree this switch is ridiculous. A simple Managed switch (configurable software) goes for like 40$
  • Re: aka DragonPoo,
    May I ask what make and model is your 24 port gigabit switch?
    Bast Wishes
  • It's a D-Link DGS-1024D.  You can find them on ebay for less than $30.
  • $100 is "expensive"??? I paid more than that for my TP-LINK PoE switches (I have 2). This is a managed switch, not a cheap network hub.
    It's amusing that they're marketing standard Link Aggregation as a reason why it'll be "4x faster than a single Gigabit connection". Uh... no. On your LAN perhaps, but if you expect it to be faster for gaming and streaming then you'll be sorely disappointed. The main bottleneck will always be the internet connection. Most people will have anywhere from 10-100 Mbps connections, so expecting it to run at Gigabit speeds, let alone 4 x Gigabit is delusional at best.
  • I disagree with some things. It's not just a switch, it's a managed switch. In the conclusion, this is mentioned,"The dynamic quality of service has less of an impact maybe since you're not talking about a wireless connection". Respectfully, I don't think you understand this. QoS is not signal/service Wi-Fi quality/speed, but is based on different network services. i.e. prioritizing inbound and/or outbound network ports used by a game. This is applicable with one PC with different apps/services/OS components that have network requirements or many PCs with active network usage. "if you've got seven devices hooked up, being able to prioritize is helpful. That said, if you can hook up straight to your router you may not even need one of these." Again, the scenario persists with another piece of software on the user's computer making network demands. Also, i think this device can and will do a lot more. Just looking through some of their meeting material on Amazon, i learned it does link aggregation! That is fantastic. Create redundant paths between devices. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_aggregation This is a basic managed gigabit switch that is currently sold for 80$. That's pretty impressive. Since it's managed, other features are likely added automatically: spanning-tree! If you've ever looped a switch back into itself, this feature would have prevented it.
  • Why can't you just stick all of your cables into your router and skip the switch entirely? Netgear itself has some beastly routers out there
  • Routers can have QoS, but typically only between LAN and WAN. A laptop streaming over local network could starve the pipe. A managed switch for a LAN would handle that.
  • Re: PeterFnet,
    Respectively, could you please explain what you just said in layman's language? Certainly, I understand that you may say that we should research it on our own, but it seems if you have the knowledge, you might be able to educate us.
    Best Wishes
  • Sure. Typically when we see QoS, it's based on type of application. Example, gaming . We want this prioritized over someone watching Sesame Street on Netflix. But this only applies if it goes through the router, to the internet. If Sesame Street were to me on a local Plex server, your local network usage could be taken over by Big Bird since it doesn't go through the router's "routing" capabilities. Typically, the ports on a router are "dumb" unmanaged ports where anything can happen. It's a free-for-all. With a managed network switch. That control is exists locally now; not just for traffic bound for interwebs