If you recently read our MikroTik S+RJ10 Review you probably saw how it is now possible to inexpensively convert a SFP+ port to a 10Gbase-T or Nbase-T port. Today, we have our Ipolex ASF-10G-T and SFP-10G-T-S review. That seems to be a strange item to have two model numbers. SFP-10G-T-S is the Cisco part so these modules with the ASF-10G-T and with Cisco compatibility are marketed as the SFP-10G-TS. This is another and even less expensive option to that MikroTik S+RJ10 that we purchased for under $39. Although the difference between $39 and $54 is only about $15, when you are installing eight modules per switch that add up to $120 per switch savings. In this review, we are going to discuss this module and why it is important.
Ipolex ASF-10G-T / SFP-10G-T-S Overview
The overall module looks similar to the MikroTik S+RJ10. Part of this is that simply SFP+ is so standardized as a form factor that modules are inherently going to look similar. Still, the modules are the same metal with gold-colored latches. The unit that we purchased from Amazon came in a simple brown box. That is all one can expect at this price range.
These units plug into switch SFP+ ports and can provide up to 10Gbase-T connectivity at 30m. Aside from 10Gbase-T, they can also provide 2.5GbE and 5GbE in Nbase-T
One can see the fairly standard PCB here along with the gold SFP+ connectors.
Testing Ipolex ASF-10G-T/ SFP-10G-T-S 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.
First, we tried the Ipolex 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 5Gbps rate on the Aquantia AQtion NIC and again, we saw a 5GbE link:
We then swapped NICs just to get some diversity and used the TRENDnet TEG-25GECTX 2.5GbE adapter using the Realtek RTL8125.
Here we saw a 2.5Gbps link as we expect. Even though it is not on the spec sheet, the adapter supports 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps network speeds.
Ipolex ASF-10G-T/ SFP-10G-T-S 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 Ipolex SFP-10G-T-S running in a MikroTik CRS309-1G-8S+IN switch.
Overall, this is what we would expect from this type of module and switch. Pushing the bonus 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps speeds is a nice bonus.
Overall, this is a sub $39 device that actually does more than we expect. If you are ultra-budget conscious, then this makes sense. Ipolex says that these modules are compatible with Cisco, Ubiquiti, D-link, Supermicro, Netgear, MikroTik. We tried it on a Supermicro motherboard, and in the Netgear ProSafe XS716E combo port and it worked. None of the installations saw a lot of monitoring data coming back from the module which make it seem more like the MikroTik S+RJ10 v1 adapter rather than the updated module.
There is one other downside. When we put two of these into a low-cost MikroTik CRS326-24G-2S+RM switch they would heat up to levels well beyond the newer revision MikroTik S+RJ10. We did not get any drops in two days of testing, but we swapped one of the Ipolex ASF-10G-T / SFP-10G-T-S modules for a newer revision S+RJ10 and the Ipolex was noticeably warmer. In a home setting and running 25-30m 10Gbase-T that would get us nervous in a passively cooled switch.
If you need a few of these, and especially if you are using an active switch, there are significant cost savings to be had using Ipolex ASF-10G-T / SFP-10G-T-S modules. At the same time, it seems as though the newer MikroTik S+RJ10 is a better module and that may justify the added cost for many. We just wanted to show what we found in this review. The ability to run 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps that was not on the spec sheet was a welcome surprise.