MikroTik CRS328-24P-4S+RM Review 24-port PoE and 4x 10GbE Switch

10

MikroTik CRS328-24P-4S+RM Internal Overview

Inside the switch, we see the simplicity of design. It is effectively a metal box with two main sections. The top (rear of the switch) is a power supply covered by a black shroud. The bottom is the switch PCB.

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal Overview
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal Overview

The power supply itself is relatively large for a 500W model. Here is a view of the PSU without that black shroud on it:

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal Power Supply
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal Power Supply

For a sense of scale, here is a Supermicro SYS-1029P-WTRT 700/750W 80Plus Platinum server power supply sitting in front of the MikroTik 500W PSU. Note, the Supermicro PSU has the AC input (behind the PSU on the MikroTik) as well as a fan (to the right in this photo on the MikroTik) built-in.

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal Power Supply To Supermicro Comparison
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal Power Supply To Supermicro Comparison

450W of that 500W PSU is split into three 150W segments. Each of these 150W segments powers a MikroTik PSE-24 PoE/ PoE+ power distribution board.

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal PoE Boards
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal PoE Boards

Each of these power distribution boards is aligned to a set of 8x 1GbE ports.

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal PoE Boards With Ports
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Internal PoE Boards With Ports

Tracing the power distribution from the power supply to these PoE injection boards and finally to the ports allows us to see how MikroTik is building a switch with 450W of capacity with 150W per 8 ports.

While the vast majority of the switch goes to powering those 24 ports, there is a bit more going on. Here is what the block diagram looks like for the switch:

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Block Diagram
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Block Diagram

Again, we see MikroTik turn to a Marvell Prestera switch chip. This is the same chip that is used on the MikroTik CRS326-24G-2S+RM and the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN we reviewed. There is also a CRS328-4C-20S-4S+ model we have not reviewed that the company uses this chip on. We get an 800MHz single-core Arm chip for the management controller. As a quick aside here, we like that MikroTik is disclosing the switch chip solution inside their products. Many vendors in this space do not while it is a common practice in the higher-end segments. If there was ever an issue like the Intel Atom C2000 Series Bug one could figure out if their MikroTik is impacted (to our knowledge MikroTik never used the C2000 chips in the CRS line.) Many other vendors in the lower-cost switch space do not disclose what chips they use so one would have no idea that they are impacted if a silicon bug is found.

There is one other small feature we wanted to point out while looking at the inside of the switch, and that is a feature with fan headers. On the left side of the switch, there are two headers powering two PWM fans. On the right side of the switch, we have standard labeled 4-pin PWM fan headers that are empty.

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM PWM Fan Labels
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM PWM Fan Labels

These fan headers correspond to two openings for 1U fans on the side of the switch so MikroTik seems to have thought about people wanting to potentially try fan mods here.

MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Paint Job
MikroTik CRS328 24P 4S+RM Paint Job

You will notice that picture is labeled “Paint Job” and there is a good reason. The inside of the chassis took some paint as it was applied from the exterior. That is something you tend not to see as much of on higher quality switches. At the same time, it does not impact operation so it seems to be a small area of cost savings in the manufacturing process. You can certainly tell the difference between the CRS328-24P-4S+RM versus a $5000 or $1000 switch such as the Edgecore AS7712-32X 32x 100GbE Switch, but that is reasonable. This is a $379 list price switch.

One other item that you will have noticed is that the airflow is side to side instead of front to back or back to front. Many racks are not designed to handle that kind of airflow so we are going to caution our readers to ensure this will work for their racks. This is a cost-saving measure since MikroTik does not need to have two SKUs one for PSU to Port and one for Port to PSU airflow, but one needs to be aware of it.

Next, we are going to look at the management, power consumption, performance, and discuss our final thoughts.

10 COMMENTS

  1. You’re joking right? 0.8W is negligible. If they read 25.4 and rounded down to 25 that’s normal. Fan speeds based on temp and humidity can take half a watt delta too. That’s like no difference to me. Being within a watt is darn good.

  2. I have this sucker + 2 MikroTik WAP’s. This switch is quirky at times, the management is a bit odd and not as clean as as a Sonicwall or a Meraki for Router features but still gets the job done. There is CLI but the web/RMON software works just fine.

    Adding 2 WAP’s via the CAPSMAN built into the device makes setting up WAP’s a breeze if you follow the instructions on Mikrotik’s website. Don’t try to follow the manual, just use the web so you’ll need a system handy that has access to the web.

    Then you have “The Dude” which allows graphing and Solarwindseque like displays of multiple devices which is very neat, this is also free and requires you download a package.

    All in all for less than $500 i got a Router, PoE Switch, 10GB SFP’s, and 2 802.11AC WAP’s fully managed and controlled that would be 10x the price for any major vendor.

  3. Wow, do those exhaust vents really have no grills on them? Seems like a disaster waiting to happen given the open-frame power supply inside and fingers or objects just waiting to go in those big open holes on the side.

  4. Mine has punched grills on both sides. Not sure why STH’s don’t.

    I wonder what revision they have as well, as I think there have different ones which have affected fan speed. Note that the version of routerOS definitely affects the fan speed with the later versions aiming for low speed at idle and better hysteresis so they don’t ramp up and down so much. ie. smooth ramp up and down

  5. That psu looks to be the same one that’s in the Ubiquiti US48-500w and just died due to a known fail defect where AC leaks onto the DC side through a FET.

    Could we get closeups of the PSU?

  6. Why wouldn’t you just buy that Ubiquiti US-48-500W

    It’s got the same power. It’s got 2 SFP+ and 2 SFP. Both 24 port.

    What’s the appeal of this over the Ubiquiti?

  7. Odin, the Ubiquiti US-48-500W has 48 ports but is over twice the price.

    The 24 port model only has SFP uplinks, no 10gb SFP+ and this has four of them.

    You’d have to really like Ubiquiti to make that choice I think.

  8. I think the problem for me with these is simply that you can get old enterprise gear (ie Cisco…) even cheaper second hand.

    Right now it’s hard to say how long your budget Mikrotik switch will actually last, whereas it’s pretty established from my experience that Cisco gear can last a decade and perhaps more, especially if you have a spare modular power supply or two, perhaps a fan tray.

    Looking at the warranty that Mikrotik offer, it’s only a year (perhaps two if you’re in the EU and no one screws you over)… that isn’t enough for me to feel confident that if I buy them I don’t have to worry about them for years – no one wants to be replacing failed switches.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here