Qnap QSW-1208-8C 10gbe switch

12 ports of 10 Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net glory for a re­mark­ably low price.

APC Australia - - Contents - An­thony Agius

Ten gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net (aka 10GbE or 10GBASE-T) has been around for a while but has been mostly rel­e­gated to the data cen­tre due to cost. In the last few years 10GbE has trick­led down to small busi­nesses, but is still con­fined to the server cup­board due to ex­pense and noise. With the new QNAP QSW-12088C switch, 10GbE might fi­nally be ready for the pro­sumer’s home of­fice.

Let’s start off with the QSW-1208-8C’s price – $799. There’s not much on the mar­ket that comes even close. Many other net­work switches con­tain two or even four 10GbE ports, but 12 ports for un­der $800? Nice work QNAP! The clos­est com­peti­tor would be the Net­gear XS708T, which re­tails for just un­der $1,000.

Un­like Net­gear’s XS708T how­ever, QNAP’s QSW-12088C is an un­man­aged switch, which means you can’t do stuff like con­fig­ure VLANs, re­strict net­work ac­cess at a phys­i­cal level, re­dun­dancy, net­work traf­fic anal­y­sis or any of that fun stuff. This is just a dumb packet for­warder, plug and play. Prob­a­bly not an is­sue for this switch’s tar­get au­di­ence (the SOHO/pro­sumer crowd), but it’s one of the sac­ri­fices made in or­der to reach a price point.

Where things get weird is the QSW-1208-8C’s port se­lec­tion. There’s a to­tal of 20 ports on the front of this thing, but you can only use 12 at once. There’s four ded­i­cated 10G SFP+ (for fi­bre op­tic ca­bles) ports, eight RJ-45 (cop­per) ports and eight ad­di­tional 10G SFP+ ports. The eight RJ-45 and SFP+ ports share port num­bers (there’s two port nines for ex­am­ple) but have sep­a­rate phys­i­cal con­nec­tions. If you plug a ca­ble into the same num­bered RJ-45 and SFP+ port, the RJ-45 port takes prece­dence, dis­abling the SFP+ port.

Don’t for­get that with SFP ports, you need to pro­vide your own trans­ceiver to suit the type of fi­bre op­tic ca­ble you’re us­ing. They’re rel­a­tively cheap to buy (un­der $50 each), but QNAP didn’t in­clude them as it’s an­other way to keep costs down.

Per­for­mance wise, yep, the QSW-1208-8C does what it says on the box; 10GbE switch­ing, with iperf3 bench­mark speeds us­ing shielded CAT6 ca­ble hit­ting over 9.1 Gbits/sec be­tween a Linux server and an iMac Pro. Real world file copies be­tween two Win­dows 10 PCs with 10GbE net­work cards and PCIe SSDs reached around 900MB/sec too.

Be sure to use a high qual­ity CAT6 net­work ca­ble how­ever, as when us­ing reg­u­lar CAT5 or even good qual­ity CAT5e, speeds tended to fluc­tu­ate. This didn’t oc­cur when us­ing CAT6 ca­bles. If you need a ca­ble run fur­ther than 50 me­ters, go for CAT6A ca­bling or multi-mode fi­bre, as CAT6 will tend to crap out af­ter 40-50 me­ters.

If you don’t need any fancy net­work­ing mumbo jumbo and just want the fastest net­work con­nec­tion pos­si­ble be­tween your PCs kit­ted out with 10GbE net­work cards and net­work at­tached stor­age de­vices also equipped with 10GbE net­work cards, QNAP’s QSW-1208-8C is an easy buy. It’s quiet, fast, easy to use and most im­por­tant of all, very well priced.


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