Sometimes there are products that make you lust after the high-end of the market. Other times, there are products that are chic because they are inexpensive and immensely useful. The MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN is certainly in the inexpensive camp with a $99 MSRP and a street price now nearing around $91-$92. For that, one gets 8x 1GbE ports, dual 10GbE (SFP+) ports, a decent management interface, and even options for dual power inputs. Let us get into our review.
MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN Video
As with many recent reviews, we have a video version with some additional commentary:
Of course, we suggest opening the video on YouTube and watching it there since that is a better experience than the embedded viewer.
MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN Hardware Overview
The “IN” means we have a desktop chassis with the MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN. Indeed, this entire system is only 200mm x 167mm x 46mm so it is perfectly able to sit on your desk.
Using our quick decoder ring we have “8G” which means that this is an 8x 1GbE switch. We have “2S+” which means we have two SFP+ 10GbE ports. Each of these ports has LED indicators as we would expect. The SFP+ ports can take the MikroTik S+RJ10 converters. We were able to validate basic functionality but MikroTik lists them as compatible without restrictions in its compatibility matrix.
The front also has the main status indicators for the system along with a reset button. Something notable is that the power input is on the same front of the chassis as the network ports. This means one can fairly easily access all cabled connections. There is one drawback to the design. There is nothing locking the power input cable to the chassis. Other MikroTik switches often have even power cable holders to prevent accidental power cable removal. That is seemingly absent as part of a cost-saving design.
Unlike some other MikroTik units that come with “apply your own” rubber feet, we get little rubber feet pre-applied. This is a nice touch that saves a minute or two if you are looking for a desktop chassis that is appropriate for the “IN”.
We mentioned earlier that the power input is on the front of the chassis. While that is certainly the case, there is a second way to power this switch which is via PoE in. That means that this switch technically has dual power inputs. This may not seem like a huge feature, but it is something small and extra that is included here on an extremely low-cost switch of this class.
The rear of the unit has very little going on. There is effectively a grounding point and perforations. The entire chassis has these perforations to allow for additional airflow.
Looking inside the chassis, we see something that is relatively simple. There is a pretty basic PCB. This is a lower-end switch these days. Inside we have the Marvell 88E6193X switch chip. In higher-end 10Gbase-T switches such as the MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM, we get extensive heatsink assemblies. In this switch, we get a relatively small heatsink assembly. Frankly, this switch does not use this much power.
Something we did see is that the PCB is barren. There is certainly a lot less going on in here than other MikroTik switches.
Inside the switch we have a very small switch chip, the Marvell 88E6193X. One can see a diminutive amount of cooling in this switch due to its modest power consumption.
We will note that around the PCB’s label there seem to be pads for components that are not placed in this model.
One of the more exciting aspects of this is that there are pads at the edge. There is one spot that says “Output to PoE PSE8”. MikroTik CRS328-24P-4S+RM Review 24-port PoE and 4x 10GbE Switch
Bringing costs down this severely means that there are some trade-offs. Somewhat surprisingly one of them is not being rack-mountable.
Although this is a low-cost desktop unit, MikroTik still includes rackmount ears for the unit. There is a small and large ear. So the switch will be mounted to a side with a large blank area on the opposite side. It almost makes you wish MikroTik offered an ear that could double as a patch panel for small racks like the Startech 12U 19-Inch Desktop Open Frame 2 Post Rack (RK12OD.)
Overall, this is not the fanciest hardware, but given the sub-$100 price tag, this is better than what we would expect. Next, we are going to look at management and performance.