At STH, there are readers that span from those who want only high-end switches to those who want the cheapest of the cheap. Today, we have the cheapest of the cheap 5-port 2.5GbE switch, the TP-Link TL-SE1005M. We have been doing a big series on 2.5GbE switches, and this switch trades low cost for many features we see on other switches. The big question is whether those are good trade-offs.
TP-Link TL-SE1005M Overview
We featured this video in our September 2023 mini-round-up of fanless 2.5GbE switches that you can find here:
We have also added this switch to the Ultimate Cheap Fanless 2.5GbE Switch Buyer’s Guide where we have now listed 32 models and we already have 5 more switches tested, but not on that list. Bookmark that page to get the latest, we will like all of these reviews from that page.
The package arrived via AliExpress shipping in tape and bubble wrap.
Under the card we are using to blank the address was the name of a German-based company and contact information. That was not something we expected coming from an AliExpress switch.
We could not figure out the connection between the German company and these switches other than that their information was on the box.
TP-Link TL-SE1005M Hardware Overview
On the front of the switch, we see nothing except for a small power LED.
On the top, we get the TP-Link logo and what may at first glance appear to be a metal passively cooled chassis. Make no mistake, this is really plastic.
On the front of the switch, we get our five 2.5GbE ports.
On one side, there is a power input.
On the bottom, we get a label without regulatory markings and not in English nor German adding to the mystery.
Inside the switch, we can see the small switch board and what is an ultra-cost-optimized design. Even in the $65-70 class of switches we would get metal 2.5GbE ports that are shielded. In this switch, the ports are made of blue plastic that makes them feel more like Lego bricks than network ports.
Here is the internal overview where we can see the switch chip under a heatsink and then an extra Realtek PHY. We can even see the power LED connected via two long exposed wires.
Despite some marketing images to the contrary, the switch chip is not directly interfacing with the plastic chassis to dissipate heate. Instead, there is an internal heatsink and very little airflow in here.
Overall, this is far from a high-end design..
Next, let us get to performance and power consumption.