The FS N5860-48SC is a 48-port 10GbE and 8-port 100GbE switch. In this review, we are going to take a look at the switch and show how it is similar and different to other switches we have seen previously. With that, let us get to the hardware.
FS N5860-48SC External Hardware Overview
The front of the switch may look familiar. We looked at the “S5860” version of this switch earlier this year in our FS S5860-48SC review. The switch itself is a relatively short-depth 1U switch. The entire unit is 15.2” or 387mm deep, meaning it is less deep than it is wide.
Again, on the front we have the LED status lights and the model number. The “N” is part of FS.com’s data center series switch line while the “S” model was part of the company’s “enterprise” line.
Perhaps the most notable switch feature here is the 48x SFP+ ports. While this is called a 48-port SFP+ switch, the majority of the bandwidth is not exposed through these ports.
Instead, there are 8x 100GbE QSFP28 ports. This is an interesting switch insofar as there is 480Gbps of ports on the majority port type (SFP+) but there is almost 2x the uplink bandwidth of 800Gbps.
If it looks like the top vents of the switch look uneven, they are. The front part is angled down slightly. Some other vendors do this as well.
The rear of the switch is a fairly standard setup for FS.com, but with a few notable changes.
The management port, serial console port, status LEDs, and USB port are on the back. This is the same as the S5860-48SC we reviewed previously.
Each fan module has two fans. Although the model number on the fans has “FB” printed, we would like to see FS.com adopt industry-standard Red and Blue handles to indicate airflow direction. Airflow is from port to power supply for those wondering.
The power supplies are Great Wall units. Great Wall is a brand we have seen a number of other OEMs use, and they usually come with things like more regulatory markings. This is a bit of an odd point to differentiate data center and enterprise switches in the brand of PSUs being used, but here we are.
This product has very strange reviews if you read them on FS.com’s site, that generally make little sense. All are 4 or 5 stars and of 50+ reviews, there was maybe one mentioning a lack of firmware updates. We did not see any of them mentioning the airflow direction and most seemed focused on how the “reviewers” were planning to use the switches. It was very strange indeed since that is one we would expect to see in almost any of these switch reviews.
Next, let us move to the interior of the switch as we continue our hardware overview.
FS N5860-48SC Internal Hardware Overview
Here is the switch on its side so we can see the entire layout. We are going to work from the port side to the fan side. This looks nearly identical to the S5860-48SC, but the N5860-48SC has different power supplies.
Starting with the front of the switch, we can see the switch ASIC just behind the middle block of SFP+ ports.
The switch ASIC is the Broadcom BCM56873 here is a look at the heatsink from the other side.
Here is Broadcom’s overview of the switch ASIC, this is the Broadcom Trident 3 X5:
On the other side of the switch hip, we can see an area for labels and certificates, but not much is present otherwise.
This appears to be the same management CPU complex as we saw on the S5860-48SC. The N5860-48SC’s management CPU on this system is an Arm Cortex A9 quad-core CPU running at 1.2GHz. The switch has 4GB of memory usable and 8GB of eMMC storage. For a 10GbE switch, this is about what we would expect. For those looking to run an open network operating system like SONiC, you would typically look to see an x86 CPU like an Atom C3000 or a Xeon D and ONIE support. Those switches are a different segment than this unit, so we just wanted to make sure our readers are aware.
One other interesting item is that the management CPU is sitting directly next to the switch chip. On some switches, we review the management complex sits on a separate PCB along with replaceable memory modules and storage. This design is a lower-cost design while having many replaceable components makes switches more serviceable.
Overall, the board we see with the Broadcom switch ASIC and the management CPU seems to be the same here as wee saw with the previous “S” series switch that we reviewed.
In the middle, we can see the fan controller PCB that the fans connect into.
Here is a look at the four dual fan modules installed.
Here is the management control board.
Between the internal and external views, the biggest differences we have seen between this FS N5860-48SC and the S5860-48SC we reviewed previously are the power supplies.
Next, let us get to management and pluggables.