Qnap QSW-1208-8C 10gbe switch
12 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet glory for a remarkably low price.
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.
NETWORKING $799 | QNAP.COM