For well over a year, Mikrotik has teased a new 12-port 10Gbase-T switch. You can see our 2018 coverage of the initial announcement and the 2019 follow-up. We finally have one in the lab and oscillate between extreme excitement and disappointment. In our MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM review, we are going to show you around the switch, and show why it is both exciting and why it has one feature that prevents it from being a runaway recommendation.
MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM 12-Port 10GbE Switch Overview
Before we get to features, let us start with the price. The MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM has a list price of $599, but we got ours for around $500 shipped. That means this 12-port managed switch is under $42/ port for 10Gbase-T. Perhaps the closest competition is something like the QNAP QSW-1208-8C-US at $550 but it only has 8x 10Gbase-T ports of its 12 ports and is unmanaged. The Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch ES-16-XG only has four combo 10Gbase-T ports. That leaves the MikroTik offering in a class by itself in terms of features and pricing. In the rest of the review, we are going to talk about some of the other differentiation points. Price, however, very much limits the competitive offerings.
Here is a quick video overview of the switch:
On the front of the switch, there are twelve 10Gbase-T ports. If you are simply looking for a 10Gbase-T Layer 2 switch, then you can skip to the power consumption part of this review. The first eight ports also function at multi-gigabit speeds (e.g. 2.5GbE/ 5GbE.)
Instead, of simply offering 12x 10Gbase-T, MikroTik makes four of these ports SFP+ combo ports. You can choose to use either of the ports depending on your physical infrastructure needs. That can include an uplink to a silent and inexpensive 8 port SFP+ switch like the MikroTik CRS309-1G-8S+IN, 1Gbase-T switches like the MikroTik CSS326-24G-2S+RM, or even higher-end 40GbE switches.
Along with the combo ports there is a serial console port for configuration, a management Ethernet for OOB management, and a USB port on the front panel.
The rear has two big features: an array of fans and two power inputs. Unlike many other switches in the $500 price bracket, the CRS312-4C+8XG-RM has redundant internal power supplies for A+B power sources. That is a great feature in a low-cost switch like this.
10Gbase-T runs 10GbE over traditional copper. That great backward compatibility comes at a cost: power consumption and heat. Processing of 10Gbase-T signaling requires enormous amounts of signal processing, especially for longer runs. As a result, the MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM has an absolutely massive heatsink and heat pipe cooling solution.
This is cooled by two fans but there are four fans total. In our testing, we hit 41.8dba for the idle noise and the fans are surely annoying. This is far from a low hum and is instead an annoying fan noise which makes it something you want in an equipment closet instead of being next to your desk. This is an absolute shame. If MikroTik figured out how to make a near-silent switch, this would be even more of a category killer. We saw the Netgear ProSAFE XS708T which was a quiet 10Gbase-T switch and it would have been great to see MikroTik beat that head-on in the market.
For management, the MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM can utilize the company’s Webfig or WinBox management solution. We generally prefer the RouterOS for the extra features and ease of use, but MikroTik also has a newer SwOS designed for switches. A trade-off you make is that the network processing engine is not to the same level as you get on high-end switches, so we suggest doing heavy routing, firewalls, and other services elsewhere. As such, it is really up to you how you want to do simple tasks such as setting up VLANs. Many users will use the management tools once if ever with these switches.
Here is the rated performance from MikroTik:
We tested power consumption on 120V power since that is common at the edge where these will be deployed in North America, and wanted to share a few notes. The power supplies did not balance load between them when they were both plugged in. Instead, one PSU handled the full load while the other sat in reserve. We tried pulling the power from both ports one at a time and the switch stayed up so the redundancy worked.
In terms of actual power consumption we saw:
- Idle Power: 25.7W
- Max Observed Power: 56.8W
- Max Power from Spec Sheet: 60W
That will vary based on how long your 10Gbase-T runs are, how many you use, and services you are using. At the same time, this level of power consumption is reasonable. It is also possible to get a near-silent 60W 1U box. MikroTik could have made this silent but missed the opportunity.
Overall, this is a good switch for the money. In fact, it is probably the best new 10Gbase-T switch you can buy at this price by a wide margin. Other switches in this class do not come with redundant internal power supplies. There are SFP+ based switches in this price range, but none that have the capacity for 12x 10Gbase-T ports.
Where MikroTik again missed is in the noise. Making this switch silent would have been a game-changer. For those with gear that utilizes 10Gbase-T such as small labs based on platforms like the Supermicro X11SDV-4C-TLN2F, this would have been the go-to switch. Instead, due to the noise, we can only recommend it if it is instead placed in an equipment cabinet.
On balance, if you need a 10Gbase-T switch for simple L2 duties, the combination of inexpensive price, features like web/ app-based management, and redundant power supplies make the CRS312-4C+8XG-RM a clear winner.