As many of our readers will have seen, at STH, we have been doing a series on SFP+ to 10Gbase-T converter modules. It is now time for our 6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T SFP+ to RJ45 10GBase-T Transceiver for Cisco SFP-10G-T-S review. That is a ton of jargon. The best we can tell, 6C-SFP-10G-T is the model number, and the Cisco SFP-10G-T-S is the model number it is meant to replace. These SFP+ to 10Gbase-T adapters previously were hundreds or thousands of dollars each which made them cost-prohibitive to deploy. We purchased this module for under $40 on Amazon making it relatively affordable to deploy when needed. In this review, we are going to see if one should deploy the module.
6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T Overview
The overall module looks similar to the MikroTik S+RJ10 with a silver case and a “gold” colored latch. Part of this is that simply SFP+ is so standardized as a form factor that modules are inherently going to look similar. Unlike modules like the Ipolex and HiFiber, the 6COM came in a much more attractive white box.
You can see the back of the box has information including the factory in Shenzhen, China where the module was manufactured.
These modules are designed to plug into SFP+ ports converting them to RJ45 for 1GbE and 10GbE networking. If you have a SFP+ switch but need one or a few ports of 10Gbase-T of up to 30 meters, this is the target application for these modules.
Overall, these are simple modules. As part of our series, we are testing advertised Nbase-T support for 2.5GbE and 5GbE that we saw on the MikroTik S+RJ10 unit. Many other modules that claim to be Cisco SFP-10G-T-S alternatives include this as an undocumented feature so we wanted to test the functionality.
6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T Nbase-T Support
According to the official spec, this is a SFP+ to 10Gbase-T converter. There is no mention of Nbase-T, 2.5Gbase-T, 5Gbase-T, 2.5GbE, or 5GbE in the specs, nor on the device or its contents. We, naturally, had to test this out since the MikroTik S+RJ10 included Nbase-T support as did a few other Cisco SFP-10G-T-S modules we have tested in this series.
First, we tried the 6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T in a MikroTik CRS326-24S+2Q+RM Switch connected to an Aquantia AQtion 10Gbase-T adapter on a 20m CAT5e cable we had:
As you can see, we linked at 10Gbase-T speeds.
We then selected a 2.5Gbps rate on the TRENDnet TEG-25GECTX 2.5GbE adapter using the Realtek RTL8125, we did not get a stable link.
We saw the same thing with an Aquantia AQtion NIC and again, at 5GbE link even though this worked fine at 10Gbps:
Our key takeaway is that this unit does not support Nbase-T 2.5GbE and 5GbE speeds like many of the other offerings we are testing. Given the similar pricing, this is actually a huge finding.
We compared the SFP+ connector PCB to that of the Ipolex ASF-10G-T and MikroTik S+RJ10 and it is different as you can see above. The metal casing is more like the Ipolex so we at first thought it was the same module. After testing, and looking at this shot, it is clear they are different modules.
6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T Performance
We ran a few NAS tests to a SFP+ SSD NAS from a workstation with a 2.5/5/10Gbase-T adapter as well as a SFP+ adapter to see the impact of the 6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T running in a MikroTik CRS309-1G-8S+IN switch.
This is an acceptable performance. It is on the lower side of the SFP+ to 10Gbase-T adapters that we have tested, but it is still very close. Of course, there are no 2.5GbE nor 5GbE results here as we could not properly pass traffic at those speeds.
We also tested the SFP+ module with Jumbo Frames in Windows using -d -l 8972 in our command line.
As you can see, this is working as well. This was an ask in some of our previous reviews, so we are adding going forward in the series.
In a market where direct competitors are offering Nbase-T support, the showing here was disappointing. After successfully testing three SFP+ to 10Gbase-T adapters and finding all three supported 2.5GbE and 5GbE as well, we figured this would be a standard feature these days. We were wrong. The 6COM 6C-SFP-10G-T failed to link on our test systems at higher speeds. We also tried using them connected to a multi-gigabit switch without success.
We do want to note that we purchased this unit in late December 2019. It is entirely possible that 6COM can update the module to a newer rev with 2.5GbE/ 5GbE support in the future and not change the model number at the same time. MikroTik did this with the S+RJ10.
All of this means that the module, technically, does all that it says it should do. It also means that in a similar price bracket it does not have some of the additional features we saw with its peers. Given this, it is difficult to be too hard on the 6C-SFP-10G-T for doing exactly what it said it would. Still, it is also something hard to recommend given other options.