A Note on Performance
We typically use these for fairly simple networking either with flat networks or using some VLANs but without routing. Since our typical network usage is small file transfers when we are doing things like loading ISOs via IPMI or running management tasks. If you need highly specialized networking or the lowest latency switch, you probably are not looking at the $189 price bracket. For its intended use, it is fine. Here are the official switching results from MikroTik:
Since for our low-end switch testing we focus on fairly basic L2 switching, we instead wanted to show a stark contrast in performance on the bridging and routing performance using MikroTik’s data for the previous model versus the newer model. Here is what the delta looks like in terms of packets per second between the CRS226 (older model) and this CRS326 (newer model):
Here are the results in Mbps:
Although we generally advise that these low-end switches are best suited to basic networking functionality, the performance moving from the older Atheros MIPS solution to the newer Marvell Arm solution is drastic.
We tested power consumption on 120V power since that is common at the edge where these will be deployed in North America. In terms of actual power consumption we saw:
- Idle Power: 9W
- Max Observed Power: 19W
- Max Power from Spec Sheet: 21W
Overall, the idle power consumption was surprising. We would have expected that this switch is closer to 11-12W at idle given our experience with the rackmount version. Instead, we are seeing only a 9W idle with a single port connected. Perhaps something has changed with the firmware since we reviewed the rackmount unit since we saw inside they are effectively the same switch.
We did not get any audible noise from the switch as it is a fanless unit.
Overall, the MikroTik CRS326-24G-2S+IN is a solid successor to the CRS226-24G-2S+IN. It is faster, and costs less, albeit without the top LCD screen. MikroTik had to make this change in order to stay competitive. Since the CRS226 launch, there are many competitors priced as such in this market. Indeed, over the six years since we reviewed the CRS226, MikroTik has launched a number of new products in the switch space so one can now say that some of its own models offer competition with different feature sets to this model. MikroTik hits a good price and feature point with this unit, but we still do not understand why MikroTik did not just include rack ears and unify the line behind this desktop unit instead of offering the MikroTik CRS326-24G-2S+RM rackmount option.
Whereas the CRS226 was revolutionary, this is evolutionary. What we would love to see from MikroTik is a 2.5GbE solution. The number of 2.5GbE devices from IoT offerings such as the ODROID-H2+ with H2 Net Card to SMB storage such as the QNAP GM-1002 3U Dual ZFS NAS, Wi-Fi 6 APs, and workstations this year are becoming more plentiful. It would be great to see MikroTik launch a disruptive 24x 2.5GbE and 2x 25GbE (or 10GbE but we can hope) switch in this space to completely change the market as it did with the CRS226. For now, the MikroTik CRS326-24G-2S+IN is designed for non-PoE out, desktop only (not rack) RouterOS deployments that need this port configuration.