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2.5 GbE Networking Gets Affordable, $109 Qnap Five-Port Switch Now Available

(Image credit: Amazon)

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.

Original Article:

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 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 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. View Deal

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. 

  • SteveRX4
    Sounds good
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    does it need to replace all the wires at home or not ? my netwrok cables in the walls are cat5e
    Reply
  • TheJoker2020
    I have one.

    I got it a week ago. I needed 4-ports at 2.5G with the 5th port to connect to the 1G network. It works great.

    I have not had the time to thoroughly test it, indeed I have only tested it between 2 of my 4 machines connected at 2.5G, and it hits full speed and stays there solid (albeit not for long (drives/arrays being my issue). 🆒

    As for cables (nofanneeded asked), I was previously using direct-connect between 2 individual PC's (no switch) so I pre-bought CAT.7 and CAT.8 cables which work perfectly.

    The only issues I have had is that

    (1.) RealTek (LAN controller chip manufacturer) no longer allows you to simply download a driver (like they have for a very long time), jump through hoops or download elsewhere (be careful).!

    (2.) You need to manually change a couple of settings on the NIC (within W10 at least), Network Connections > Properties > Configure > Advanced > Jumbo Frame . Also in the "Advanced" section you may need to set "Speed and duplex" to "2.5Gbps Full Duplex" (shouldn't be needed, but if the detected speed drops to 1G and you know that the cables are good you may need this).

    (3.) In W10 (at least) you may need to change the "priority" of NIC usage, this article shows how >
    https://www.windowscentral.com/how-change-priority-order-network-adapters-windows-10
    This IS fanless, this was one of my criteria and why I rejected everything before it. it has 2 sides closed and 2 sides well ventilated, you can see the large aluminium finned heatsink inside. As for heat, I can not comment as I have only tested between 2-machines simultaneously and it is sat horizontally in free air on top of a 1G switch and this is not where it will stay.

    I would so far give this a score of 9/10 with it losing a point for minor things, such as all of the "blinkenlights" being on the same side as the ports so depending on placement you may never see them (do you care).! It has wall a mounting option (slot-screws on the back) so if you wall mount, the lights and cables will be upward.

    This is a much needed product in the marketplace, and IMHO the beginning of the 2.5G era as a reality.
    Reply
  • SteveRX4
    No.
    This is only the switch remember. And that's what it's capable of.
    If you aren't dealing with that sort of fast internet then it's not an issue.
    Reply
  • torbjorn.lindgren
    nofanneeded said:
    does it need to replace all the wires at home or not ? my netwrok cables in the walls are cat5e
    If the installation as a whole (not just the cables) meets CAT-5e requirements the 2.5GBASE-T standard guarantees that it will work at up to 100M just as the 1000BASE-T standard guarantees it will work up to 100m.

    Having CAT-5e cables doesn't guarantee that all the other required parts are OK (like cable lengths, max untwisted length inside the connector, connector quality and so on) but in practice 2.5G will works with almost all cables that works with gigabit, that was part of the design goal but because it does push more data it can be slightly more sensitive to subtle errors.

    Heck, even the faster 5GBASE-T will work fine on "many" CAT-5E installation as long as the cable runs aren't close to the maximum 100m, even if it requires CAT-6 (cables/connectors/...) to be guaranteed to work (but then it's guaranteed up to 100m).
    Reply
  • eye4bear
    Admin said:
    After a long wait, the first consumer-class 2.5GbE ethernet switch has now arrived - and it's only $109 with free shipping for Prime members.

    2.5 GbE Networking Gets Affordable, $109 Qnap Five-Port Switch Now Available : Read more
    I have several 1 GB switches, none of which cost me more than $25. I can understand that the move from 1 to 2.5gb might cause a slight additional cost, but why 4 times the price? I could see these being $49.95. Your article presents that the $109 price is great, why?
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    eye4bear said:
    I have several 1 GB switches, none of which cost me more than $25. I can understand that the move from 1 to 2.5gb might cause a slight additional cost, but why 4 times the price? I could see these being $49.95. Your article presents that the $109 price is great, why?

    Once 2.5gbe becomes standard, the price will go down. It's not quite standard yet, but it's finally trickling down into the $100-$200 equipment space, like routers and motherboards. My alienware laptop has it.

    Really nice upgrade if you have a NAS. The 250MB/s-300MB/s is the sweet spot for a consumer/small business NAS with standard hard drives since regular hard drives will be just quick enough with a large enough array to meet those speeds.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    nofanneeded said:
    does it need to replace all the wires at home or not ? my netwrok cables in the walls are cat5e

    Was plug and play at my house. Dropped in a network switch in place of my gigabit switch and bought 2 network cards for each desktop. Looks like you could do it now for under $200 with the 2.5gbe switch and 2 network cards. They also have USB to 2.5gbe adapters now too, for laptops.
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    TheJoker2020 said:
    I have one.

    I got it a week ago. I needed 4-ports at 2.5G with the 5th port to connect to the 1G network. It works great.

    I have not had the time to thoroughly test it, indeed I have only tested it between 2 of my 4 machines connected at 2.5G, and it hits full speed and stays there solid (albeit not for long (drives/arrays being my issue). 🆒

    As for cables (nofanneeded asked), I was previously using direct-connect between 2 individual PC's (no switch) so I pre-bought CAT.7 and CAT.8 cables which work perfectly.

    The only issues I have had is that

    (1.) RealTek (LAN controller chip manufacturer) no longer allows you to simply download a driver (like they have for a very long time), jump through hoops or download elsewhere (be careful).!

    (2.) You need to manually change a couple of settings on the NIC (within W10 at least), Network Connections > Properties > Configure > Advanced > Jumbo Frame . Also in the "Advanced" section you may need to set "Speed and duplex" to "2.5Gbps Full Duplex" (shouldn't be needed, but if the detected speed drops to 1G and you know that the cables are good you may need this).

    (3.) In W10 (at least) you may need to change the "priority" of NIC usage, this article shows how >
    https://www.windowscentral.com/how-change-priority-order-network-adapters-windows-10
    This IS fanless, this was one of my criteria and why I rejected everything before it. it has 2 sides closed and 2 sides well ventilated, you can see the large aluminium finned heatsink inside. As for heat, I can not comment as I have only tested between 2-machines simultaneously and it is sat horizontally in free air on top of a 1G switch and this is not where it will stay.

    I would so far give this a score of 9/10 with it losing a point for minor things, such as all of the "blinkenlights" being on the same side as the ports so depending on placement you may never see them (do you care).! It has wall a mounting option (slot-screws on the back) so if you wall mount, the lights and cables will be upward.

    This is a much needed product in the marketplace, and IMHO the beginning of the 2.5G era as a reality.

    Did you get drivers from your mobo maker?
    Reply
  • jeremyj_83
    torbjorn.lindgren said:
    If the installation as a whole (not just the cables) meets CAT-5e requirements the 2.5GBASE-T standard guarantees that it will work at up to 100M just as the 1000BASE-T standard guarantees it will work up to 100m.

    Having CAT-5e cables doesn't guarantee that all the other required parts are OK (like cable lengths, max untwisted length inside the connector, connector quality and so on) but in practice 2.5G will works with almost all cables that works with gigabit, that was part of the design goal but because it does push more data it can be slightly more sensitive to subtle errors.

    Heck, even the faster 5GBASE-T will work fine on "many" CAT-5E installation as long as the cable runs aren't close to the maximum 100m, even if it requires CAT-6 (cables/connectors/...) to be guaranteed to work (but then it's guaranteed up to 100m).
    Both 2.5GBase-T and 5GBase-T allow for Cat-5e cables according to the IEEE Standard 802.3bz. For 10GBase-T you need Cat-6a officially. However, if your run is less than 33M it will work on Cat-5e and less than 50M for Cat-6.
    Reply