Something that we have wondered for some time is whether MikroTik is using a price per Gbps pricing methodology for their switches. Part of this is a discussion I had with Patrick on how often we replace the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN switch in our networks. This is one of only four products STH has given its Editor’s Choice Award to yet we are constantly pulling the CRS305 from our networks. The biggest factor is that it is relatively inexpensive to move up to larger switches in the MikroTik CRS line. We wanted to take a look at some of the pricing metrics to see if there is not only a pure port count reason to buy larger switches at the outset but also if there is an economic incentive to do so as well.
MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN Video
We are releasing a video on the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN today as well.
In this video, Patrick goes into some of the color commentaries about why we replace these low-cost models often. In this article, we have an analysis of why.
MikroTik CRS Switch Cost Per Gbps Analysis
We went through a few steps to get a reasonable set of switches we wanted to compare, then do our analysis
MikroTik CRS Switch Analysis Selection Criteria
To do this analysis, we first needed a list of the MikroTik switches, along with their capabilities. We made a few decisions regarding what to include.
- We were not going to focus on some of the SFP 1GbE switches nor PoE switches. Those have a different set of capabilities. If you saw the MikroTik CRS354-48P-4S+2Q+RM Review we showed just how much extra goes into a PoE switch.
- We are also going to focus on switches that have 10GbE SFP+ ports. We debated including the MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM because the 10Gbase-T ports cost more to implement and that skews the charts. We decided to include it just to show this.
- We also are not including the pure 1GbE switches. This is 2020, let us at least start with 10GbE capabilities as standard.
- We included the MikroTik CSS326-24G-2S+RM because it is an inexpensive 1/10GbE alternative to the CRS series built on similar hardware.
- We excluded the CRS226 line because that is being replaced.
Those selection criteria gave us nine switches in MikroTik’s portfolio to focus on for our analysis.
Some of the larger switches, such as the CRS354 have management ports. We are counting the 1GbE ports only if they are in the model name for coming up with our aggregate switch port Gbps figure. That may not be the best method, but it is one that is easy to explain.
MikroTik CRS Switch Analysis Pricing
Once we had our set of nine models, we then needed to get pricing. There is generally an appreciable gap between list pricing and street pricing for the CRS line. As a result, we scoured the Internet for US pricing from larger resellers, and are using that. We had two STH team members double-check they could see these street prices as well and that they were reasonable for Q2 2020. Here is what we came up with:
When we look at the street price discount we see a consistent 13-18% off of list price. At the time we are publishing this article, the CRS326-24G-2S+IN is announced, but not yet available from most resellers. As a result, we are seeing no major discount. We expect a price in the $160 range when it is finally available.
MikroTik CRS Switch Analysis Cost Per Gbps
When we put the pricing together, here is what we get. We added columns assuming that you are purchasing the switch solely for a certain port type as well. For example, if you are purchasing a higher-end switch only for 40GbE ports or a lower-end switch only for 1GbE ports.
List price is instructive as it shows the pricing especially for the CRS326-24G-2S+IN that does not yet have a true street price. Our readers are likely more interested in street pricing.
This shows a pattern that is very important to our discussion. While the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN may seem extremely inexpensive, moving up to the CRS309-1G-8S+IN yields a slightly lower cost per port. Taking this to another level, the MikroTik CRS317-1G-16S+RM looks like an amazing value with pricing around a third lower per 10GbE SFP+ port than the 4 and 8 port models.
What we can see here is that MikroTik is indeed pricing the relatively similar aggregate capacity CRS317-1G-16S+RM and CRS354-48G-4S+2Q+RM in a similar pricing band around $2/Gbps.
What is more impressive is the CRS326-24S+2Q+RM pricing. That switch is only $1.30/ Gbps new. Putting that into some perspective, the Netgear GS305 5-port unmanaged 1GbE switch is around $3.40/ 1Gbps and that is designed to be an ultra-inexpensive high-volume part. It is also unmanaged while these CRS units have management.
On the other end of the pricing spectrum, the CRS312-4C+8XG-RM using 10Gbase-T ports at the higher-end of this segment and would be the highest if we excluded the CRS326-24G-2S+IN which is effectively using list rather than street price.
If you look at our charts starting with the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN, you can see why we tend to replace that great switch often with its larger siblings. Getting a higher-end switch has the benefit of higher port counts and smaller network topology. What we showed through this analysis is that it also drives the per port and per Gbps of throughput costs down by a significant amount.
We hope this helps some of our readers think through a decision on where to buy in the stack. A big part of why we did this article is to have the above numbers for Patrick and my reference since we tend to do these calculations anyway. Instead of keeping those spreadsheets private, we wanted to let our readers have a quick reference that they can use as well.