The D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch has been part of my network since before Christmas. I have been a touch slow writing this review. And, while I must apologies to D-Link for my tardiness in this review, the reason is quite simple. In its flawless, seamless operation, I pretty much forgot it was in use until Kevin chased me with a stick.
This unmanaged switch offers full 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports for unrestricted Wi-Fi 6 router or AP connections, a 10Gbps port for NAS or Uplink connectivity, auto speed dections (of 1000, 2500, 5000 and 10000 Mbps), smart technology with a “TURBO” mode that delivers low latency performance and Quality of Service delivery, all in a schmick looking unit. But how’s it stack up to the sell?
Unboxing the sleek unit
Before I get to box contents, the D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch is fits perfectly for my ‘design aesthetic’ (which isn’t intentional). Its black, angular, stealth-bomber-like shape is matched to my Netgear Nighthawk X4S modem-router. It is 217mm at its longest edge, 163mm deep, and only 33mm high, weighing in at 680g. It is a pretty elegant design and one that suits my space.
With that said, I have it set up on my book shelves over my desk. These are only narrow shelves — wide enough to take a paperback novel — and this unit does hang over the front edge. But this is a pretty normal thing for switches, as none seem to be ‘vertical’ units which would suit a narrow space. There are no ‘hang hooks’ or mounting holes on the underside of this unit, though, so no mounting it under your desk (or shelf) or on a wall. A bit of a shame, but this is a design made for showing off, I guess. There are some nice big rubber pads, though, which will help ensure it doesn’t slip.
On the front, there’s a long narrow strip LED (more on that later), and six little LEDs that indicate connection for each of the ethernet ports which you plug in.
On the rear of the device, there’s the hole you plug your power cable into, five 2.5GE multi-gigabit ethernet ports, one 10GE multi-gigabit ethernet port (i.e. six ports in total), a switch for “TURBO” mode, and a button that will turn on or off the LED lights.
In terms of what’s in the box, it’s pretty minimal. There is the actual switch unit, the power adapter, and the Quick Installation Guide.
D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch is easy to manage
When I say it is a Quick Installation Guide, I very much mean it. This thing advertises itself as Plug and Play, and it is. This thing is so damn easy to use, I barely looked at the instructions.
Setting it up is broken down to three compulsory steps with an optional fourth.
1) Plug it into power.
2) If up-linking to your existing gateway/router, connect from said gateway/router with an ethernet cable into any available port on the switch.
3) Connect one end of an ethernet cable to your device and the other into another available port. Check the LEDs to verify connection.
It really is that easy. There’s no need to log in and set up passwords or device names or any of the like. The unit is smart enough to just… work. And I really appreciate this.
TURBO Mode and super simple QoS
That fourth optional set up step? There is a little switch at the back of the D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch which will turn on or off TURBO mode. This is all you need with this device.
And this switch is where this device shines (and probably why it was the reddot winner of 2021). This is an unmanaged switch. There is no need to log into the device and set up rules to make things work, to specify bandwidth to devices and have everything run smoothly as you expect. Instead, this switch keeps it simple. Really simple.
Use Standard mode (i.e. TURBO mode off) for your normal operations and high speed activities. This can be your every day use, with things such as basic data transmission, in my case, connection to my VOIP phone and work laptop.
However, use TURBO mode to enable port-based Quality of Service (QoS) settings for when you have multiple devices running simultaneously. When running things like multi-media services, such as gaming, video streaming, while also large file downloading, this can result in smoother and faster performance across your prioritised devices.
How does the QoS work?
With TURBO mode on, the ports dictate which takes priority service. Port 6 (the 10GE uplink port, ideal for connection to a NAS backup device) takes highest priority, and then Port 1 takes preference over Port 2, and Port 2 over Port 3, and so on. If you’re downloading something on a computer connected to Port 4, and someone sends a large file to the printer connected in Port 5, but you’re streaming something in 4K on your television connected to Port 2, your video should stream seamlessly with TURBO mode active as the inbuilt prioritisation takes over.
My more real-life example: I have my work laptop set up on Port 2 and my television in Port 3. This prioritises my work’s Teams video calls over the 4K streaming of Frozen when my nieces or nephews are here using the television I have plugged into Port 3.
You may not always want this mode enabled, so there is the option to have it on or off. TURBO mode does promise it provides up to 40% more speeds in addition to the port-based QoS, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just run it.
The other reason you may like TURBO mode? Well, that long LED strip at the front of the unit? It glows bright white in Standard mode, but it has a beautiful rotating RGB colour display when in TURBO mode. That said, of course, you can just turn off the LED lights with the light switch on the back if you don’t like that.
The D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch in operation
As said before, I have run this switch for a few months now, and it’s performed seamlessly. My work laptop has had zero issues connecting to the remote VPN. My 4K television and my Xbox both have run without issue, with streaming flawless with no buffering. My VOIP phone has had less drop outs connected to the switch than it used to connected straight into the router, though that may be coincidence.
The unit runs a little warm, but much cooler than the Netgear Nighthawk X4S modem/router beneath it. It is silent in operation, with a fanless design and its matte grey aluminium casing.
For me, when running TURBO mode, I turn off the LED lights. As pretty as they are, the rotating colours catch my eye as it is at eye-level on the shelf beside me.
Test 1: Basic SpeedTest.net results on the D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch
It’s worth noting I am on a 50/20 NBN connection. The most basic of speed tests was doing a connection test to the internet from my PC while nothing else was running on the network. Below are some comparisons, which show zero impact to speeds between having my PC plugged in to the modem/router direct or into the D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch.
Test 2: SpeedTest.net results during 4K streaming
My connection is really solid and stable, and I have no issues streaming in 4K generally and doing various internet tasks. But, in the interest of real world use, I wanted to see how the Switch would work depending on the mode and which device, the PC running the speed test or the television, was plugged into the higher priority port. Streaming Disney Nature’s Penguins in 4K from Disney+ on my large screen television, the following are the results I saw:
While my 4K stream kept going without issue (likely due to buffering), as you can see from the results above, TURBO mode prioritising the PC actually increased the speeds during the tests on SpeedTest.net.
Test 3: Downloading files while 4K streaming
My final test was just to download a large file from my Google Drive while the 4K stream kept playing on Disney+. Below are the average download speeds while downloading the files:
Download speed on PC plugged direct into the modem/router (while NOT streaming 4K on the television): 5.8MB/s
Download speed on PC plugged into switch in standard mode (while NOT streaming 4K on the television): 5.8MB/s
Download speed on PC plugged into switch in standard mode while streaming 4K content on the television: 3.8MB/s
Download speed on PC plugged into switch in TURBO mode while streaming 4K content on television (television as priority device): 3.4MB/s
Download speed on PC plugged into switch in TURBO mode (PC as priority device) while streaming 4K content on television: 4.4MB/s
Again, as seen above, the TURBO mode can certainly make a difference. So simple and easy to use, but quite a noticeable impact.
Final thoughts on the D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch
This device, for me, just works. It is reliable, silent, super easy to setup and, well, it just looks good. To the point there’s been a couple of comments about it sitting on my shelf during work meetings. With the simplified QoS running on the D-Link DMS-106XT 6-Port Multi-Gigabit Unmanaged Switch, with a little forethought on plugging in your devices, you will have zero issues on your network.
Retailing for $399, this switch is not going to be for everyone. There are much cheaper unmanaged switches available out there. But the overall performance, the superb aesthetic, and especially the TURBO mode and its simplified QoS setup resulting from said mode make this a standout unit and very much worth the purchase price.
Many thanks to D-Link for providing me the opportunity to incorporate this switch into my network.