48-Port 2.5GbE Managed Chinese e-Sports Cafe and Hotel Switch Internal Hardware Overview
Inside the switch, we have a fairly clean layout that it took us a bit of time to figure out everything that was going on.
The easiest was the power supply in the rear of the switch.
On the bottom of the switch, we see an array of what appear to be 2.5GbE chips. Our sense on how this actually works is tha these are 12x 2.5GbE chips each corresponding to four 2.5GbE ports.
Our best guess is that each of these chips gets a total of 10Gbps from the main switch chip and that corresponds to 4x 2.5GbE ports on the other end.
Here we can see the SFP+ and SFP28 cages from the inside of the system.
On the side, we have 3x 3-pin fans and a management complex. The thermal paste you can see on the PCB here was there when we opened it. That says a bit about the manufacturing quality that something like that would get out.
Underneath though, we have five Micron DRAM packages and a SanDisk NAND package for storage.
The switch chip is a Microchip SparX-5. This is the Microchip VSC7556 chip.
That switch chip has a dual core Arm CPU for the management interface, plus up to 160Gbps of switching capacity. It seems like the VSC7558 would have been the better chip for this switch.
Next, let us look at why in the performance section.
48-Port 2.5GbE Managed Chinese e-Sports Cafe and Hotel Switch Performance
Performance on the 2.5GbE ports was decent, but the 10GbE and 25GbE performance was a bit choppy, especially when we had this loaded. Although we would expect 120Gbps from all of the 2.5GbE ports, 20Gbps from the 10GbE ports, and 50Gbps from the 25GbE ports, we saw notably lower than 190Gbps of aggregate performance on the switch.
We actually did not even get up to 160Gbps that we would expect to see on the switch chip given the VSC5776.
We looked up the pricing, and the VSC7558 would have been about $20 more from Microchip.
If someone makes a similar design for the US/ EU markets, we hope they use the VSC7558 even at a higher cost.
On the management side, we logged in via our non-HTTPS admin/ admin interface, and we were a bit shocked at what we saw beyond the CLI on the console port.
There was a very usable management interface with a lot of features. We were expecting, at best, a barebones management interface, but that is not what we got.
Microchip sells several software packages ranging from unmanaged/ smart switch packages up to more full-featured packages for managing SparX switches. That seems to be what is being used here.
One really good example of how this is a higher-end management solution than we were expecting is that this $400 switch came with the ability to manage config files like we would see on much more expensive switches, but do not often see in the $400 new price range.
The next question though is the power and noise since this is a higher-end solution.
Power Consumption and Noise
We knew the power consumption would be much higher than the 1-10W range that we saw in our 2.5GbE switch round-up. We just did not know the magnitude. At idle, we saw a 38W power draw figure. We also grabbed a sound meter in this shot showing our 34dba studio is now at 60dba. 60-61dba was pretty consistent in our testing.
The 2.5GbE switch port being active added only 0.3W which is very good.
We added another 1W with a SFP+ to 10Gbase-T converter installed.
If you want to hear the switch, we have it in the Power Consumption and Noise section of the video:
Decent, but nothing earth-shattering in those results.
Again, the question remains why can we not get a switch like this for even $600-700 in the US and EU while these are being sold, with reseller margin, in China for $400? The recipe in this case is simple, use a Microchip SparX-5. It was a bit shocking to see this was a Microchip, Micron, and SanDisk solution. These components are all from US companies so this should be something that can be built for the US market.
Performance was not great, but we will attribute at least a part of that to the fact that the switch seems designed with some overprovisioning compared to its non-blocking switching capacity. For most e-Sports Internet cafes, hotels, and so forth, it would be uncommon to see every port at 100% utilization, so that perhaps is a worthy trade-off.
Overall, we just wanted to show our readers what is out there in the world and possible. We purchased this switch back in March so this was shipping in quantity over a quarter ago and we still do not have anything like this here.
If you want to find a 2.5GbE switch that is a bit easier to find, we have our Ultimate 2.5GbE Switch Buyer’s Guide that we have been updating. Also, if someone finds this switch on AliExpress, please let us know.
Ultimate Fanless 2.5GbE Switch Roundup
You may have seen that we published the Ultimate Cheap Fanless 2.5GbE Switch Mega Round-Up. This switch did not make it into the video however, you can check out other options here.
We decided to do the round-up first and will be filling in with reviews that we had not published at that point, including this one.