An Unexpected Key Lesson
During Patrick’s photography/ video, the mounting arm for an Aputure p300c swiveled and fell directly on the unit. As a result of this, he mentioned a key lesson in the video.
While this is not a ruggedized unit, it is still a fan-less system that has a metal chassis. The impact from what was like a hammer did leave a mark in the chassis but did not impact operation. A key use for a switch like this, especially given its size may be taking it to less controlled environments such as on sales trips or other functions. This is a metal chassis unlike some of the plastic switches we see in the sub-$100 space. That helps with durability even though this is far from the thickest metal we have seen.
Also, seeing damage to one of these units, and it still worked made us think that an advantage is that the relatively solid feature set at under $100 means that it can be used in places where there is a risk of damage. It is better to have a less expensive switch get damaged than a more expensive switch.
Overall, this is a unit that divides us. From a sub $100 switch market perspective, it may be one of, if not the best offering out there. Dual 10GbE ports and 8x 1GbE ports is a solid feature set.
The fact that we get dual power supply options, rack mount ears, and a silent, fanless metal chassis makes it work just about anywhere. If you saw this rack from our MyElectronics.nl Apple Mac Mini and Raspberry Pi Rack Review this is an ideal candidate for a switch like this instead of the 54-port switch (CRS354) we have here. We could add another node, a NAS, and a 10GbE uplink and keep everything in a small and lightweight footprint.
The challenge for us is really that the MikroTik CSS326-24G-2S+RM exists. This too is a SwOS unit at $40 more for a $139 MSRP. The switch takes what the CSS610 offers, but adds 16x more 1GbE ports for only an incremental $40 or $2.50/ port. If you think you may need more than 8x 1GbE ports, then it would be wise to get the larger unit instead. It is more expensive, and it is physically larger, but it is still very tight segmentation.
What we would love to see is a switch that uses this form factor, with a similar switching capacity to the MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+IN just with 8x 2.5GbE plus 2x SFP+ ports. In 2021, we are going to see a large number of 2.5GbE devices hit the market as desktops start to incorporate the new standard. We even saw the QNAP GM-1002 3U Dual ZFS NAS trade 1GbE ports for 2.5GbE ports. If MikroTik could make version of the CSS610 in that configuration, in the $150 price range, that would likely win an Editor’s Choice Award like the CRS305. Given this is 1GbE, we could not give this unit an Editor’s Choice Award.
Still, if you just need an inexpensive, small, silent switch with 2x SFP+ ports and 8x 1GbE ports, then this is a great little switch.