QNAP advertises the QGD-1600P as a Layer 2 switch. Using a software solution to add Layer 3 functionality means that one is limited by the CPU. That is also important because if one is thinking of using the PCIe slots for 10GbE expansion, remember that that is going through the CPU to the switch.
On a more realistic front, devices such as IP cameras and VoIP phones that one would expect to be attached to a SwitchNAServer type of device, are not going to use anywhere near gigabit speeds.
Power Consumption and Noise
For a device such as this one, power consumption and noise can be a major consideration.
We found that the SwitchNAServer once we had all of the software online and two 480GB Seagate IronWolf 110 SSDs, was around 30W on 120V power. That is fairly reasonable and likely less than if you had a separate PoE switch, NAS, and server. That is likely closer to a lower boundary as one can use the PCIe Gen2 x2 slots for expansion, as well as the USB ports which would add power.
Since this is a PoE switch, there is one component which is the unit itself, but the other big one is the power available to deliver to other devices. If we use a 30-45W range for the switch and NAS, that gets us nicely into the 370W range for PoE devices. Again, you can read the Key Differences of PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ Switches a STH Guide to learn more about PoE.
One item we will note is that in QNAP specs the QGD-1600P as offering 370W of PoE power, but QSS (which can also be accessed via QuNetSwitch from QTS). Most likely, the power consumption of this device will be most impacted by the PoE devices you are utilizing.
On the noise front, despite being a 30W at idle switch, it is fairly loud. That all comes down to the delta PSU fan as the other two fans are reasonably quiet.
This was uncomfortable enough to be around that Patrick confirmed as well that it was significantly louder than our workstations (mine is a dual Xeon Dell, and Patrick is using a Threadripper 3970X and Titan RTX.) We thought it may be quiet given the low power CPU and the fact it came with rubber feet. It was louder than our workstations to the point neither of us wanted it within 3 meters of our work area. We wish that QNAP works with Delta to make the PSU fan quieter. At the same time, we cannot recommend this in an inhabited workplace.
Overall, this is a great SwitchNAServer. It is frankly not the best PoE switch on the market. Likewise, it is not the best $700 NAS, nor the best server in this price range. What the SwitchNAServer (or QNAP QGD-1600P) may be is the best combination of those three pieces of functionality at this price range.
On the switch side, one gets a Layer 2 1GbE 16-port switch. There is a mix of PoE++ and PoE+ ports which gives a solid amount of versatility. There are even SFP ports for WAN connectivity. We wish that QNAP looks at using a 10GbE capable switch chip, much like MikroTik has done with their CRS/ CSS line that we review.
On the NAS front, we get a NAS that does not offer hot-swap bays. For many, the internal SATA bays are going to be enough. We can see these acting primarily as a NAS for surveillance footage as well as perhaps VMs and containers to run a firewall and maybe a VoIP solution. For even light-duty file sharing tasks this works well. One can expand via USB ports and the PCIe Gen2 x2 slots, but it is fair to say this is limited expandability compared to the average $700 NAS. All of this, of course, a reasonable trade-off given that this also has the PoE switch function. QNAP has a great NAS-focused software set within QTS for functions such as backups, file sharing, and similar applications. To be fair, a lot of QNAP’s value is in their software stack rather than hardware and one can see why QNAP is a large NAS vendor given the polish.
As a server, QNAP QTS is actually a great solution, again with caveats. The Intel Celeron J4115 is not the fastest CPU. It is focused on low power operation. We do not get ECC memory in the unit which is a feature many will want to see in servers. Still, for a lower-cost edge server, this is a solid solution. One can run containers along with VMs on the SwitchNAServer which can be handy if it means not adding another box to a location. Many applications QNAP already has a library for, however, if you have something more custom you want to run, then this works well.
We have been calling the QNAP QGD-1600P the SwitchNAServer almost as a term of endearment. Conceptually, the idea of unifying all of these common edge machines into a single short-depth 1U box is a great one and one we hope QNAP continues to innovate on. There are going to be readers that will see this solution and think it is not for them. That is fine. On the other hand, there is going to be a subset of our readers that are going to look at the SwitchNAServer and see a world of possibilities to deliver better services to their clients. For that subset, the SwitchNAServer is going to be a game-changer.