The Mikrotik CSS326-24G-2S+RM is not what I would call a glamorous switch. It is instead a switch with a mission. For a sub $130 street price you get 2x SFP+ 10GbE ports and 24x 1GbE RJ-45 ports. The package is rack-mountable in all but the shortest depth racks. It is also completely silent. Mikrotik did not include a fan. Cheap, silent, and decently fast, what is not to like?
Normally we do a lot of product photos. This time, there is not much to show. The rear of the unit has a DC power input cable and a grounding point, that is all.
Here is the front of the unit again:
There are three sets of 8x 1GbE ports for a total of 24. There are 2x SFP+ ports for 10GbE connectivity. Unlike the Mikrotik CRS236-24G-2S+RM there is no “fancy” LCD. You get a 1U white box with rack mount ears, a power input, and network ports.
In terms of performance, here is what MikroTik claims:
This is not the switch you get for L3 switching performance. This is the switch that replaces $100 unmanaged numbers or your favorite IPMI interface switch.
Selling at a minimal premium over 24x 1GbE switches with no 10GbE, you would normally assume that you are getting no software management. If you start with that expectation, the SwOS is going to seem completely amazing:
You get a GUI. You can configure things like port based VLANs, LAG and port isolation. You certainly do not get the rich features of RouterOS. Then again, this is about half the price of the RouterOS (CRS226) version with the LCD and RouterOS:
When your comparables have no management, and you have a management GUI, that is a clear win. You do not need to be a CCNA IT guru to configure the switch. Since MikroTik updates SwOS with new features our suggestion is to just buy one yourself to see if it has what you need.
Power Consumption and Noise
Like the rest of the unit, there is not much to it. Noise is easy since this is a fanless design, there are no moving parts. Although it is a rackmount switch, there is nothing to make noise.
Being fanless also helps with power consumption we were unable to get our switch to over 14W. MikroTik’s specs claim 19W so there may be more room.
Why would anyone want a 24x 1GbE Switch with SFP+ uplinks? If you have a SMB with a small flat network and want to share a Xeon D or Atom C3000 series 10GbE NAS or virtualization server, this works fine. Where I am using it: for management interfaces. Using this switch I have a low power switch that provides 1GbE for management. I can have a QSFP+ 40GbE switch and use a 4-to-1 breakout cable to connect all of my lab’s management interfaces using this switch. I can run servers on 40/56GbE and only need 1GbE for management. For that purpose, it works great. No restarts in almost three months. I got mine for $125 and my modest expectations were greatly exceeded.