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Lower-cost 2.5gbe switch that supports port aggregation (or maybe not???)

Some Call Me Tim
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I'm putting together an unraid plex server. i5-8400, 16gb 2666, 500gb nvme cache, 6 x 8TB in parity is the hardware I'm planning on using.

 

The board only has a single 1gb ethernet port (obviously) and I'm thinking that might not cut it.

I'm looking for a use case of 2-3 4K streams while still being able to perform file operations like backing up family computers.

I do have a couple of devices on wifi 6, and I would like for the laptop to get the best possible transfer speeds to the server. 

I have a Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, which has a single 2.5GBE port, and 4 1GBE ports. It supports link aggregation for 2 of the gigabit ports. Currently my cable-modem is connected to the 2.5g port, because the modem supports it, but my internet speed is gigabit. So I don't think it needs to stay in the faster port. 

 

Now my actual question: should I get a managed 2.5g switch that supports link aggregation? I could leave the modem in the 2.5g port, uplink the switch to the router with two gigabit links, and connect the server to the switch with a 2.5g network card. Or... Am I overthinking this entire thing, and gigabit will be fine for my needs. I don't have a clue what kind of transfer speeds can be expected from 6 7200rpm 8tb drives in a parity pool. 

 

Appreciate any advise or insight.

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22 minutes ago, Some Call Me Tim said:

The board only has a single 1gb ethernet port (obviously) and I'm thinking that might not cut it.

I'm looking for a use case of 2-3 4K streams while still being able to perform file operations like backing up family computers.

I

Id say 1gbe is more than plenty for a few 4k streams and a few systems being backed up. Id try using 1gbe fir.st

 

23 minutes ago, Some Call Me Tim said:

should I get a managed 2.5g switch that supports link aggregation?

Why would you need link aggregation? Id use smb multichannel if you want faster file copy speeds over multiple ports.

 

24 minutes ago, Some Call Me Tim said:

I don't have a clue what kind of transfer speeds can be expected from 6 7200rpm 8tb drives in a parity pool. 

Unraid is normally pretty slow, so you won't get much more speed thn. single drive, or about 200mB/s

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6 hours ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Id say 1gbe is more than plenty for a few 4k streams and a few systems being backed up. Id try using 1gbe fir.st

 

Why would you need link aggregation? Id use smb multichannel if you want faster file copy speeds over multiple ports.

Running plex and a file server on the same box is one of the cases where I would use LACP.  Neither of them really needs 1 Gbps, but you want an excess of bandwidth or dedicated NICs for each service to avoid any hiccup in the Plex streaming - and LACP is by and large much simpler than service binding to specific NICs, plus the bandwidth allocation is dynamic..

 

As far as overthinking things @Some Call Me Tim... yes, yes you are.  You should get a cheap PCI-E dual port gigabit NIC from a server pull for like $20, and just run LACP directly from Unraid to your existing router.  The extra switch in the middle is just going to make a mess of things. 🙂

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1 minute ago, jec6613 said:

Running plex and a file server on the same box is one of the cases where I would use LACP.  Neither of them really needs 1 Gbps, but you want an excess of bandwidth or dedicated NICs for each service to avoid any hiccup in the Plex streaming - and LACP is by and large much simpler than service binding to specific NICs, plus the bandwidth allocation is dynamic..

 

As far as overthinking things @Some Call Me Tim... yes, yes you are.  You should get a cheap PCI-E dual port gigabit NIC from a server pull for like $20, and just run LACP directly from Unraid to your existing router.  The extra switch in the middle is just going to make a mess of things. 🙂

I woudln't use lacp here if you have multiple ports, Id use smb3 multichannel. Then one client can get > 1gbe speeds, and you don't need any switch configuration.

 

But id try 1gbe first, it should be plenty, and easy to add later on.

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3 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

I woudln't use lacp here if you have multiple ports, Id use smb3 multichannel. Then one client can get > 1gbe speeds, and you don't need any switch configuration.

 

But id try 1gbe first, it should be plenty, and easy to add later on.

Which is great, except for the whole Plex on the same box thing, sure.  SMB Multichannel doesn't play nice when you have other bandwidth-using services bound to one adapter and not the other (very long story how I found that out).  Also, that router has LACP enabled on the ports already, there's no switch configuration required here, just LACP two NICs in Unraid.

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13 minutes ago, jec6613 said:

Which is great, except for the whole Plex on the same box thing, sure.  SMB Multichannel doesn't play nice when you have other bandwidth-using services bound to one adapter and not the other (very long story how I found that out).  Also, that router has LACP enabled on the ports already, there's no switch configuration required here, just LACP two NICs in Unraid.

Why not get a 2.5gbe nic then? Even faster than dual 1gbe ports, and the extra nic will cost about the same.

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7 minutes ago, Electronics Wizardy said:

Why not get a 2.5gbe nic then? Even faster than dual 1gbe ports, and the extra nic will cost about the same.

A few reasons:

  1. The OP's Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 only has one 2.5 Gbps port and it's currently occupied.  Sure, one could move devices around, but given faster than 1 Gbps might be in the future, better not to.
  2. LACP (if it adheres to the standard) will prevent any one MAC destination from using more than 1 Gbps.  Since this server is to serve multiple clients, this prevents one client from monopolizing the connection to the server.  From a client experience standpoint, 2x1 is better than 1x2.5 (weirdly enough).
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4 minutes ago, jec6613 said:

A few reasons:

  1. The OP's Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 only has one 2.5 Gbps port and it's currently occupied.  Sure, one could move devices around, but given faster than 1 Gbps might be in the future, better not to.
  2. LACP (if it adheres to the standard) will prevent any one MAC destination from using more than 1 Gbps.  Since this server is to serve multiple clients, this prevents one client from monopolizing the connection to the server.  From a client experience standpoint, 2x1 is better than 1x2.5 (weirdly enough).

Id say a nas is a much better use of a 2.5gbe port than a modem, esp since OP only has a 1gbe connection to the internet.

 

THe switch here would keep any device from using >1gbe too as no other devices has a 1gbe connection. 

 

With a 2.5gbe link you could have 2 clients fully using 1gbe and still have left over bandwidth, where you would be fully suing a 2x1gbe link.

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3 hours ago, jec6613 said:

Running plex and a file server on the same box is one of the cases where I would use LACP.  Neither of them really needs 1 Gbps, but you want an excess of bandwidth or dedicated NICs for each service to avoid any hiccup in the Plex streaming - and LACP is by and large much simpler than service binding to specific NICs, plus the bandwidth allocation is dynamic..

 

As far as overthinking things @Some Call Me Tim... yes, yes you are.  You should get a cheap PCI-E dual port gigabit NIC from a server pull for like $20, and just run LACP directly from Unraid to your existing router.  The extra switch in the middle is just going to make a mess of things. 🙂

The reason I'm overthinking is I already have a switch it's just gigabit. I have 2 nvidia shields, an xbox, my pc, and a second WIFI AP. Plus adding the server to the mix. If I LACP to the router, then use the 2.5GB as an uplink to the switch? I can connect my PC to the router since that is where my largest file transfers will originate...

 

Thank you both for contributing, the back-and-forth is helping me think it through. I still might just plug it into what I have, and see if it's good enough.

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9 hours ago, jec6613 said:

LACP (if it adheres to the standard) will prevent any one MAC destination from using more than 1 Gbps.  Since this server is to serve multiple clients, this prevents one client from monopolizing the connection to the server.  From a client experience standpoint, 2x1 is better than 1x2.5 (weirdly enough).

The problem with LACP is a "cheap" switch probably wont balance very well.

I have a MS510TXPP and discovered it only has ONE HASH mode.  I was trying to use LACP to my router in preparation for having Gigabit FTTP and 5G balancing. (mostly just out of curiosity)

In testing from multiple LAN clients to my router using iperf3, my switch just wouldn't do it, it ALWAYS was sending both clients to the same port on the router.  The ports would switch, but always all traffic would end up on the same port.

 

I managed to mitigate this for my purposes by forcing the router to do the hashing for outgoing traffic (where I would need it to push >1Gbit to the LAN), but no way to solve it when going from the switch back to the router, that's entirely down to the switch.

Ironically I got the MS510TXPP in the first place to avoid this kind of hassle so I could connect my NAS at 10Gbit and never worry it be contended on the LAN.  I never considered I might want more than 1Gbit on the router.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak) + Ubiquiti nanoHD (OpenWRT)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + Lebara 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~700Mbit during quiet hours, ~500Mbit peak hours)

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