Affordable 4 or 5-port 2.5 gbe switches?

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
I'm looking to upgrade my home network to 2.5 gbe, and while 2.5 gbe adapters are reasonably affordable, I'm having a hard time finding a 4 or 5-port 2.5 gbe switch that is less than $200 (or preferably less than $150). I know that Mikrotik makes a very nice 4-port 10 gbe SFP+ switch that's only $130, but it appears that I would need fiber-to-copper adapters to utilize this switch with my existing ethernet cabling (which is all Cat 6). Each one of those is ~$30/ea, so that adds another $90 to the cost.

If anyone knows of an affordable 2.5/5 gbe switch, would be great to see what those are.
 

Keith Gorham

Occasional Visitor
I just wonder why you think you need 2.5 gbe. I upgrade my to GB(when I found cheap used switches) even when I know I really do not need the speed.
 

follower

Senior Member
I'm looking to upgrade my home network to 2.5 gbe, and while 2.5 gbe adapters are reasonably affordable, I'm having a hard time finding a 4 or 5-port 2.5 gbe switch that is less than $200 (or preferably less than $150). I know that Mikrotik makes a very nice 4-port 10 gbe SFP+ switch that's only $130, but it appears that I would need fiber-to-copper adapters to utilize this switch with my existing ethernet cabling (which is all Cat 6). Each one of those is ~$30/ea, so that adds another $90 to the cost.

If anyone knows of an affordable 2.5/5 gbe switch, would be great to see what those are.
With that price? Impossible.
 

abailey

Very Senior Member
Your price point is going to be very tough to get to right now. I think we will see some in that price range in another 18 months or so. Maybe there is something out there I don't know about. The lowest I know of is kind of a hybrid. The Netgear MS510TX. It has (4) 1 Gig RJ-45 ports, (2) 1G/2.5G RJ-45 ports, (2) 1G/2.5G/5G RJ-45 ports, (1) 10G RJ-45 port and (1) SFP+ port. It is still above your price point at around $210.00.
 

NSNE

Regular Contributor
Keep an eye on Amazon Warehouse. You might be able to find your ideal switch at a much lower price point. Just before Christmas I bought a 28-port, 4-SFP+ 10G switch there for $175 (normally $400+). "Very Good" was an understatement for "Brand New," as it didn't even appear to have been touched.
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
I just wonder why you think you need 2.5 gbe. I upgrade my to GB(when I found cheap used switches) even when I know I really do not need the speed.
Need the speed for large data backups in a reasonable period of time. My NAS is 2.5 gbe with a RAID10 array, so plenty of speed internally.

Your price point is going to be very tough to get to right now. I think we will see some in that price range in another 18 months or so. Maybe there is something out there I don't know about. The lowest I know of is kind of a hybrid. The Netgear MS510TX. It has (4) 1 Gig RJ-45 ports, (2) 1G/2.5G RJ-45 ports, (2) 1G/2.5G/5G RJ-45 ports, (1) 10G RJ-45 port and (1) SFP+ port. It is still above your price point at around $210.00.
Thanks. I hadn't seen that, and it would get the job done, although more than I want to spend. Its probably the safest bet. Maybe I'll watch Amazon warehouse as NSNE mentioned.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
GS110EMX is slightly cheaper at $189, but only 2 multi-gig ports vs 8 on the MS510TX.

Interestingly enough Buffalo has come out with the LXW-10G2/2G, but only for sale in Japan (of all places), and a bit pricey still at ~$300 USD equivalent. Still, a nice option if they ever decided to sell it elsewhere and if the price came down a bit.
 

paraplu

Regular Contributor
Watch out with that Mikrotik crs305; it only allows a max of two of their RJ+ 10g adapters; these adapters are power hungry. Optical would be the way to go.
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
After looking through the available 2.5+ gbe copper switches many times now, without a doubt the MS510TX is the best deal, even at the current price of $270. Until I scored an Amazon Warehouse one for for $110, I was kicking myself for having not bought the MS510TX when it was on sale for $210.
 
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maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
I received installed my MS510TX. I hate running and terminating ethernet cable - there's always something that ends up making it a hassle. In this case it was running cable in my crawlspace working below fiberglass insulation, and then the Cat 6a keystone plug for my wall plate didn't like the 26 awg Cat 6a cable wire (26 awg is within Cat 6a spec).

Anyhow, its all working now. I have a 2.5 gbe connection between my 2012 MacBook Pro and my ASUSTOR AS5304T. Its an older MBP that is using a Cable Creation 2.5 gbe to USB 3 adapter that is plugged into Thunderbolt II to USB3 adapter. Its janky, but its what I can do right now.

Reading a large file from the NAS gives speeds of ~210 MB/s, so that's pretty good (although still a ways below the limit of ~300 MB/s), but writing a large file to the NAS gives only ~150 MB/s, about half of theoretical. Ping times between the machines have unfortunately increased slightly, probably due to the use of the two adapters to create a 2.5 gbe outlet on my computer. With the modest increase in write speed and the small increase in network latency, it will be interesting to see the 2.5 gbe network reduces the time for my backups to run.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Your read and write speeds actually aren't that bad. Perhaps it's less the 2.5GbE link or adapters that are the bottleneck and more so the RAID/cache/controller/drives of the NAS? Either way, pretty decent throughput, all things considered. And glad to know the Netgear seems to be working as intended.
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
The AS5304T is a very new model, and in general, ASUSTOR NAS's in general have always been fast. The MBP has a 1TB SSD, and the NAS has an Iron Wolf RAID10 array. My guess would be the double-adapter on the MBP is acting as a bottleneck. Also, I'm using an MTU of 1500. A 9000 byte MTU would definitely speed up large file read and write. It made a big improvement when I experimented with it on my first NAS a few years ago. Not sure if it would help much for backup operations though.

But getting back to the MS510TX, I'll comment that the web gui is very basic and somewhat obfuscated to use, but there are a fair number of features. The green and yellow port lights to indicate connection speed are hard to differentiate. When I was troubleshooting the Cat 6a keystone plug, I had to rely on the web gui to tell me whether a 2.5 gbe link had been accomplished. Its has a pretty impressive feature set for the price.
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
I decided to run some speed tests using established software, in particular ATTO and AmorphousDiskMark, the latter of which is supposed to implement the same tests that are performed using CrystalDiskMark. The setup is a 2011 MacBookPro connecting to the MS510TX via a dual adapter setup consisting of a CableCreation USB3-to-2.5 gbe adapter connecting to a Thunderbolt2-to-USB3 adapter. Its not ideal, but its been 100% stable so far. The only drawback so far are slightly longer ping times compared to the built-in 1 gbe port. I get an average of 0.35 ms for the 1 gbe port and 0.45 ms for the 2.5 gbe setup. This will definitely have an effect on small file read/writes as will be shown. The NAS is an ASUSTOR AS5304T with 4x Ironwolf 8 TB in RAID10 configuration. Cat6a cabling and connectors are used throughout. Packet monitoring on the MS510TX show no packet errors or loss. I ran tests using both AFP and SMB3.02 protocols.

Here are the AmorphousDiskMark results for AFP:

AmorphousDiskMark PDX AFP 1gbe.png
AmorphousDiskMark PDX AFP 2.5gbe.png



Here are the AmorphousDiskMark results for SMB3:

AmorphousDiskMark PDX SMB 1gbe.png
AmorphousDiskMark PDX SMB 2.5gbe.png


For the 4K file size, there are still clear benefits to the 2.5 gbe setup for sequential read/writes with peak speeds read speeds reaching 280+ MB/s for both AFP and SMB which is 2.45x the speed compared to 1 gbe. Sequential write speeds are 1.65x that of 1 gbe. For random read/writes, the benefit is mixed. If the dual adapter setup on the MacBookPro had a faster response time, I'm sure that random read/writes would have been better for the 2.5 gbe setup.

ATTO disk benchmark tests are in the next post.
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
Rather than show the ATTO benchmarks which are less representative of normal usage scenarios, I decided to show the results for the latest version of AmorphousDiskMark.

Here are the AmorphousDiskMark v254 results for AFP:

ADM254 PDX AFP 1gbe.png
ADM254 PDX AFP 2.5gbe.png



Here are the AmorphousDiskMark v254 results for SMB3:

ADM254 PDX SMB 1gbe.png
ADM254 PDX SMB 2.5gbe.png


Here the benefit of the 2.5 gbe connection is clearly visible for large files that are less dependent on the higher network latency associated with the double adapter setup on the MacbookPro. Somewhat surprisingly, AFP does very poorly on writes with the 2.5 gbe card, in particular the 1 MB sequential writes are very slow even with the 1 gbe connection that doesn't suffer from the higher network latency. The ATTO benchmark doesn't show this poor performance for 1 MB writes on AFP. Anyhow, almost everyone will be using SMB3 which scales up very well with the 2.5 gbe connection.
 

unmesh

Occasional Visitor
My use case for going beyond gigabit Ethernet was large file transfers. Since multi-gig copper was expensive and I wasn't ready for fiber, I managed to get 200MB/s between my Windows 10 Desktop and my Linux NAS using SMB3 Multichannel and dual-gigabit NICs at each end. Fortunately, I have two cat 5e cable drops at every location.

People have said that this is not a reliable protocol but it's been okay for a couple of months now in that the occasional file compares I do haven't shown a mismatch.

Keeping my fingers crossed :)
 

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