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Cheapest 2.5G switch (standard Ethernet, not SFP)

Hi

I'm looking for switch that can handle 2.5G. It can be 10G overall but has to be able to properly handle 2.5G because that what my home network will be. It can also be hybrid, where some ports are 1G but I need at least two to be 2.5G+.

The only one I found that *is* really cheap (considering overall >1G hardware prices) is QSW-1105-5T from QNAP. I wonder though if there are some other devices? Maybe some used ones that I could look for? I don't mind used ones or Chinese ones. I need it to be as cheap as possible. ;)

I tried to look myself but it's really hard if you don't know model number...

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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That switch was fairly recently released, and IIRC none of the reviews I read at the time mentioned competitively cheaply priced switches.

Looking to buy GTX690, other multi-GPU cards, or single-slot graphics cards: 

 

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Coincidentally enough, Amazon are due to drop off the QNAP switch to me any moment now.

 

While on Amazon, I did see "Zyxel Multi-Gig 12-Port Unmanaged Switch, 2-Port 2.5G, 2-Port 10G SFP+ Desktop/Wallmount[XGS1010-12]". As name implies, 8 port gigabit, 2 port 2.5G, 2 port 10G SFP+, at £130 compared to £108 for the 5 port 2.5G QNAP. So not cheaper, but might provide more flexibility in other use cases.

 

I needed more than 2 ports at 2.5G+ without messing with fiber, so the Zyxel wasn't going to work well for me.

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https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Ethernet-Unmanaged-Rackmount-Protection/dp/B075Q66RKF

 

That has been the cheapest i have been able to find.  They is a 5 port version as well.

1 hour ago, Draghmar said:

Hi

I'm looking for switch that can handle 2.5G. It can be 10G overall but has to be able to properly handle 2.5G because that what my home network will be. It can also be hybrid, where some ports are 1G but I need at least two to be 2.5G+.

The only one I found that *is* really cheap (considering overall >1G hardware prices) is QSW-1105-5T from QNAP. I wonder though if there are some other devices? Maybe some used ones that I could look for? I don't mind used ones or Chinese ones. I need it to be as cheap as possible. ;)

I tried to look myself but it's really hard if you don't know model number...

 

Slayerking92

<Type something witty here>
<Link to some pcpartpicker fantasy build and claim as my own>

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1 hour ago, brwainer said:

That switch was fairly recently released, and IIRC none of the reviews I read at the time mentioned competitively cheaply priced switches.

Yeah, I've noticed that...unfortunately. At first I thought that when it finally come out, reviews will point out some competition but for the moment there is none. That's why I wanted to look on used market. But it's very hard to look for anything out there...

 

24 minutes ago, porina said:

Coincidentally enough, Amazon are due to drop off the QNAP switch to me any moment now.

 

While on Amazon, I did see "Zyxel Multi-Gig 12-Port Unmanaged Switch, 2-Port 2.5G, 2-Port 10G SFP+ Desktop/Wallmount[XGS1010-12]". As name implies, 8 port gigabit, 2 port 2.5G, 2 port 10G SFP+, at £130 compared to £108 for the 5 port 2.5G QNAP. So not cheaper, but might provide more flexibility in other use cases.

 

I needed more than 2 ports at 2.5G+ without messing with fiber, so the Zyxel wasn't going to work well for me.

 

15 minutes ago, Slayerking92 said:

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Ethernet-Unmanaged-Rackmount-Protection/dp/B075Q66RKF

 

That has been the cheapest i have been able to find.  They is a 5 port version as well.

 

Thanks for your suggestions. Having more ports gives some flexibility, even if talking about some future upgrades but at the moment I'm really looking for the cheapest possible because I will actually need two switches with 2.5G support - I have issue routing cable to my PC because I made one stupid mistake long time ago when placing cables and that is biting my *** ever since. ;)

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I'd be very wary of multi-gig unmanaged switches personally as I had huge performance issues mixing speeds on my smart-managed switch. eg I had to enable flow control to get Gigabit to Multi-gig links to work properly.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Ubiquiti nanoHD (~700Mbit peak throughput)
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 (66Mbit) + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra. (56Mbit)

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35 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

I'd be very wary of multi-gig unmanaged switches personally as I had huge performance issues mixing speeds on my smart-managed switch. eg I had to enable flow control to get Gigabit to Multi-gig links to work properly.

Hm...That's interesting topic worth of investigation, especially since only two machines in the network will be on 2.5G and the rest will be 1G. Thanks for the tip! I'll search for some info regarding this and also I'll write to QNAP to check what they have to say.

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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5 minutes ago, Draghmar said:

Hm...That's interesting topic worth of investigation, especially since only two machines in the network will be on 2.5G and the rest will be 1G. Thanks for the tip! I'll search for some info regarding this and also I'll write to QNAP to check what they have to say.

Its certainly possible its unique to my switches or my network usage, for all I know unmanaged might use flow control by default, I have no idea.  Its just worth keeping in mind if you did decide to go that route then couldn't figure why performance was off.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Ubiquiti nanoHD (~700Mbit peak throughput)
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 (66Mbit) + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra. (56Mbit)

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40 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Its certainly possible its unique to my switches or my network usage, for all I know unmanaged might use flow control by default, I have no idea.  Its just worth keeping in mind if you did decide to go that route then couldn't figure why performance was off.

From what I see in specs it's highly possible it uses pause frame by default when needed. I'm trying to find some contact form to QNAP to ask them directly. Thanks!

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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13 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Its certainly possible its unique to my switches or my network usage, for all I know unmanaged might use flow control by default, I have no idea.  Its just worth keeping in mind if you did decide to go that route then couldn't figure why performance was off.

I've got response from QNAP support. They said that indeed there are possible delays with full buffer but at the same time he said that in home environment it's very unlikely to happen. As for the difference in communication speed between devices - it doesn't matter.

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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On 9/26/2020 at 1:01 AM, Draghmar said:

I've got response from QNAP support. They said that indeed there are possible delays with full buffer but at the same time he said that in home environment it's very unlikely to happen. As for the difference in communication speed between devices - it doesn't matter.

Not sure I believe them. I couldn't even hit half a Gigabit between a Gigabit client and my 10Gbit NAS, until I enabled flow control and that was on a Netgear MS510TXPP.  Both ends are Intel chipset NICs.  The problem manifested immediately when I tried to pull data from my 10Gbit NAS to a slower client, I must have been very unlucky according to QNAP to have to happen the second I tried that configuration.

Most of my NAS storage is spinning rust, but even those can hit 220MB/s sustained these days so Gigabit is a huge bottleneck.  As I recall it was even worse with the USB 5Gbit NIC as that is bottlenecked by USB 3.2 to begin with (it can only hit about 3.5Gbit), which is the identical chipset to the one QNAP themselves sell for upgrading a NAS.

I'd certainly be interested to see the result if someone an unmanaged multi-gig switch it, but I'm still sceptical they wouldn't have performance issues.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Ubiquiti nanoHD (~700Mbit peak throughput)
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 (66Mbit) + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra. (56Mbit)

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On 9/27/2020 at 1:34 AM, Alex Atkin UK said:

Not sure I believe them. I couldn't even hit half a Gigabit between a Gigabit client and my 10Gbit NAS, until I enabled flow control [...]

I don't have experience with speeds exceeding 1G so it's hard for me to guess here...But if I had to, I think both ends should negotiate max possible speeds each can handle and go with lower one. So theoretically there shouldn't be any difference in speeds and thus performance.

I talked a little bit with my IT department and they said that there shouldn't be any issues. Maybe you had some unusual issue there? I really hope that's only that ;)

 

I will probably go with that QNAP switch, if I finally find a way to connect my PC directly to it (cables layout issues) so I will report what will happen then. Although it can take me a little bit considering I'd have to also buy three expansion cards for router, server and my PC ;)

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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4 hours ago, Draghmar said:

I don't have experience with speeds exceeding 1G so it's hard for me to guess here...But if I had to, I think both ends should negotiate max possible speeds each can handle and go with lower one. So theoretically there shouldn't be any difference in speeds and thus performance.

I talked a little bit with my IT department and they said that there shouldn't be any issues. Maybe you had some unusual issue there? I really hope that's only that ;)

 

I will probably go with that QNAP switch, if I finally find a way to connect my PC directly to it (cables layout issues) so I will report what will happen then. Although it can take me a little bit considering I'd have to also buy three expansion cards for router, server and my PC ;)

That's not how it works, devices negotiate with the switch and will throw data at the switch as fast as that link can handle.  How that traffic is handled relies entirely on the protocol you are using (eg TCP, UDP, etc) and if you don't the switch will drop packets once the buffer is full.  Its the same principle as how you access the Internet, your PC doesn't know how fast the slowest link in the chain is, congestion control is meant to deal with avoiding packet loss.

With flow control on, the switch will instead send pause frames back to the faster NIC so that it stops sending traffic it can't deliver, so no packets need to be dropped. 

 

For whatever reason, that just wasn't working right on my setup over NFS, Samba or iperf3 so I was seeing tons of traffic dropped on the NAS as the switch was unable to deliver it to the Gigabit client.  I'm not sure exactly why but as flow control fixed it I saw no reason to look into it further.

It may be possible to just force flow control on the NICs themselves and that work with an unmanaged switch, I'm not sure, but enabling it in the switch seemed to do the trick without me messing with the clients.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Ubiquiti nanoHD (~700Mbit peak throughput)
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 (66Mbit) + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra. (56Mbit)

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Pretty much all switches with 2.5Gbps or more for affordable prices have already been mentioned.

 

QNap QSW-1105-5T:

Five 2.5Gbps ports

 

ZyXEL XGS1010-12:

Eight 1Gbps ports

Two 2.5Gbps ports

Two 10Gbps ports (SFP+)

 

Netgear GS110MX:

Eight 1Gbps ports

Two 10Gbps ports (RJ-45)

 

Netgear SX10 (GS810EMX):

Eight 1Gbps ports

Two 10Gbps ports (RJ-45)

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1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

Pretty much all switches with 2.5Gbps or more for affordable prices have already been mentioned

Such a shame 😭 You can get 2.5Gbps Ethernet NICs on eBay and the likes for 18€ now, but complete switches with them are still stupid expensive. Heck, I just bought an Odroid H2+ last week with two 2.5Gbps Realtek NICs and it definitely wasn't the NICs that cost the most in that design.

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11 hours ago, WereCatf said:

Such a shame 😭 You can get 2.5Gbps Ethernet NICs on eBay and the likes for 18€ now, but complete switches with them are still stupid expensive. Heck, I just bought an Odroid H2+ last week with two 2.5Gbps Realtek NICs and it definitely wasn't the NICs that cost the most in that design.

It does seem bizarre, as Realtek I believe released their 2.5Gbit switch SoC at the same time as their NIC ICs, but few vendors have adopted the former.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Ubiquiti nanoHD (~700Mbit peak throughput)
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 (66Mbit) + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra. (56Mbit)

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On 9/28/2020 at 1:27 PM, Alex Atkin UK said:

That's not how it works, devices negotiate with the switch and will throw data at the switch as fast as that link can handle.  How that traffic is handled relies entirely on the protocol you are using (eg TCP, UDP, etc) and if you don't the switch will drop packets once the buffer is full.  Its the same principle as how you access the Internet, your PC doesn't know how fast the slowest link in the chain is, congestion control is meant to deal with avoiding packet loss.

With flow control on, the switch will instead send pause frames back to the faster NIC so that it stops sending traffic it can't deliver, so no packets need to be dropped. 

 

For whatever reason, that just wasn't working right on my setup over NFS, Samba or iperf3 so I was seeing tons of traffic dropped on the NAS as the switch was unable to deliver it to the Gigabit client.  I'm not sure exactly why but as flow control fixed it I saw no reason to look into it further.

It may be possible to just force flow control on the NICs themselves and that work with an unmanaged switch, I'm not sure, but enabling it in the switch seemed to do the trick without me messing with the clients.

Yeah, you're right. That has more sense.

Flow control is enabled on that switch so I assume that's what QNAP meant when they said it shouldn't give any issues. I finally found a way to connect my PC directly to the switch (now there's another one that sits between) so I have to wait for the payout from latest job and here we go with testing. :D

 

On 9/29/2020 at 9:02 AM, LAwLz said:

Pretty much all switches with 2.5Gbps or more for affordable prices have already been mentioned.

 

QNap QSW-1105-5T:

Five 2.5Gbps ports

 

ZyXEL XGS1010-12:

Eight 1Gbps ports

Two 2.5Gbps ports

Two 10Gbps ports (SFP+)

 

Netgear GS110MX:

Eight 1Gbps ports

Two 10Gbps ports (RJ-45)

 

Netgear SX10 (GS810EMX):

Eight 1Gbps ports

Two 10Gbps ports (RJ-45)

Thanks for the summary :D I did mostly found them by myself and it's a shame that there's so little devices to choose from. :(

22 hours ago, WereCatf said:

Such a shame 😭 You can get 2.5Gbps Ethernet NICs on eBay and the likes for 18€ now, but complete switches with them are still stupid expensive. Heck, I just bought an Odroid H2+ last week with two 2.5Gbps Realtek NICs and it definitely wasn't the NICs that cost the most in that design.

Similar thing with 10G. NICs are so much cheaper and much easier to get on ebay then finding some switch to work with that. I've seen that H2+ - awesome device. I was almost angry that I didn't find it before I built pfSense router a month ago. The 'almost' part comes only from the fact that I have i3, which means more power and FreeBSD works better with Intel's NICs.

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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3 minutes ago, Draghmar said:

I've seen that H2+ - awesome device. I was almost angry that I didn't find it before I built pfSense router a month ago. The 'almost' part comes only from the fact that I have i3, which means more power and FreeBSD works better with Intel's NICs.

Off-topic, but I actually bought mine in order to make it both a PFsense-box and a server to handle my home-automation duties. Gonna be using Ubuntu Linux as the underlying OS and PFsense in a VM on top of it, so it doesn't even matter that FreeBSD handles Realtek-NICs poorly, since it's actually done by Linux and PFsense only uses them via virtio.

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1 hour ago, WereCatf said:

Off-topic, but I actually bought mine in order to make it both a PFsense-box and a server to handle my home-automation duties. Gonna be using Ubuntu Linux as the underlying OS and PFsense in a VM on top of it, so it doesn't even matter that FreeBSD handles Realtek-NICs poorly, since it's actually done by Linux and PFsense only uses them via virtio.

I was thinking about getting pfSesne into VM (I have server with J1900 running Archlinux) but I read that there's a little bit of performance drop, I'd have issue with adding enough NICs and most importantly - router in this setup is dependent on host stability and I didn't want to risk this dependency.

BTW At the moment FreeBSD doesn't handle those NICs poorly but rather won't handle them at all :D. There's no official support (there are some unofficial patches) for any 2.5G and 5G NICs. I know that there's on-going work to add support for I225 chips but I don't even know when that actually happen...

꧁╭⊱́𝕀́ ̖𝕕̨̖𝕠̨ ͗𝕨̨͗𝕖̨̖𝕓̖̞𝕤̨̞𝕚̨͐𝕥͐́𝕖̨́𝕤̨⊱╮꧂ ¨˜ˆ”°¹~·-.„¸(͡o‿O͡)¸„.-·~¹°”ˆ˜¨

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19 hours ago, Draghmar said:

I was thinking about getting pfSesne into VM (I have server with J1900 running Archlinux) but I read that there's a little bit of performance drop, I'd have issue with adding enough NICs and most importantly - router in this setup is dependent on host stability and I didn't want to risk this dependency.

BTW At the moment FreeBSD doesn't handle those NICs poorly but rather won't handle them at all :D. There's no official support (there are some unofficial patches) for any 2.5G and 5G NICs. I know that there's on-going work to add support for I225 chips but I don't even know when that actually happen...

Can confirm, it shows up on pfSense as "ugen0.3: <Realtek USB 101001G2.5G LAN> at usbus0" but no driver is assigned.

I guess either pfSense or FreeBSD itself is missing the generic USB Ethernet driver support.

Not too surprised as its a bit rough on Linux too.  Mine was working on Linux but due to not being officially supported it spams constant "link up" messages to syslog and does not support Junbo Frames, but does actually work otherwise.  Compiling the Linux driver fixes both those problems but requires re-compiling every time you update the kernel and THAT driver isn't officially supported on kernels than have the USB Ethernet driver.  Because Realtek don't care that the USB Ethernet driver is not fully functional for this adapter so stopped updating their source the instant they no longer had to for basic functionality with a stock kernel.

Personally I just despise USB devices, as both the Realtek 2.5Gbit and the Aquantia 5Gbit I replaced it with (which DOES work properly in Linux) refuse to work if I reboot from Windows back into Linux without unplugging and plugging back in.

Incidentally, the Aquantia Multi-gig chips are not supported on FreeBSD either without manually compiling the "in development" driver.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Ubiquiti nanoHD (~700Mbit peak throughput)
ISP: Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 (66Mbit) + Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra. (56Mbit)

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