Good news. The lovely people at NetGear, have replaced my defective gigabit switch promptly, without fuss or question. I can now, once again, transfer files at superfast speed between my Slackware boxes on my home network.
I had noticed a slow down when moving 9GB of mp3 files and 12GB of Linux ISOs. At gigabit speed this should have taken minutes but gftp was reporting an hour. Checking the cables and replugging my main server indicated that the switch’s board had blow, at the least the gigabit part of it and possibly the megabit also.
So after a quick call to NetGear, they came and collected the switch, checked that it was faulty as I described and within two days, I had a brand new in box switch. What excellent service!