Update 10/14/20: This deal has expired and/or is out of stock. Please head to our Prime Day Tech Hub for the latest deals.
In terms of affordable networking for mass consumer consumption, we've been stuck with a peak of 1 GbE for seemingly forever now - but that is finally changing now that QNAP's five-port QSW-1105-5T 2.5 GbE switch (opens in new tab) is available during Prime Day season. Given that most high-end motherboards now come with the speedy 2.5 GbE interface and there are several 2.5 GbE NAS available, the time is right for just such a product.
QNAP announced the switch several months ago, but now it has finally landed on American shores at Amazon for $109 with free shipping for Prime members. That works out to ~$22 per port, which is a great deal for a consumer-class switch that finally breaks the 1 GbE barrier. The switch will be in stock on October 22, 2020, but you can pre-order it now.
QNAP's QSW-1105-5T (opens in new tab) is now available for $109 on Amazon with free shipping for Prime members.
This five port switch is the only affordable 2.5 GbE switch on the market, and it comes in a small footprint, is passively cooled, sips power, and works with existing Cat5e (or faster) Ethernet cabling.
The 2.5GBASE-T switch has five RJ45 ports, but it is unmanaged. That means you do give up some of the more expansive configuration options you find with pricier professional 2.5 GbE models. Still, those professional 2.5 GbE switches tend to retail for ~$60 a port, which has stifled adoption, and the majority of home users don't need those expanded features. And that's not to mention the even higher pricing, cabling requirements, heat and power consumption we see with the 10 GbE switches that have largely been a bust for the consumer market.
QNAP's switch is much more flexible: You can upgrade to 2.5 GbE speeds for your home network with existing Cat5e and Cat6 cabling with the same limit of (up to) 100m cable runs. The unit itself if fanless, which isn't surprising given its peak power consumption of 12W (2.4W per port), and it weighs in at a mere 2.05 lbs. The unit is quite small, too, with a 1.4 x 8 x 6 inch footprint.
Overall, the switch is inexpensive, small, quiet, light, fanless, and you can mount it just about anywhere. The switch also auto-negotiates to 1 GbE if needed, so it's compatible with existing 1 GbE network hardware.
Given the widespread use of 2.5 GbE ethernet connections on high-end motherboards and new NAS models, it appears that 2.5 GbE will be the more amenable high-speed specification that makes it to mass adoption for consumers (10 GbE is obviously going nowhere for most home users). For now, QNAP's QSW-1105-5T is the only inexpensive 2.5 GbE game in town, so we imagine it will get snapped up en masse over the holiday season.