A short and slightly niche review compared to my usual content. Recently I have been covering quite a bit of multi-gig networking including the Zyxel XGS1210-12 switch as well as various multi-gig Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Most of the affordable 10Gbps switches use SFP+ ports rather than copper RJ45 meaning you then need to find an affordable SFP+ nic, normally in the form of a used Mellanox ConnectX card. This is normally OK if you are connecting computers in the same room, but less convenient room to room where you may already have laid out CAT cable. I only need my main PC in the office connected up via copper, but everything in my server room can use SFP.
You can overcome this problem by investing in a 10G SFP+ RJ45 10Gbase-T copper transceiver, which conveniently converts the SFP+ to RJ45.
I previously tried one of these transceivers and failed miserably, but when I got the Zyxel XGS1210-12 I figured I would try a different option, hoping it was an incompatibility with the Mikrotik switch rather than these transceivers just being bad.
Sadly, they are not cheap at all, the QSFPTEK transceiver is £53.59, and the H!fiber is £53.98, so they are not particularly practical if you want to convert a lot of SFP+ ports, but a cost worth paying compared to buying SFP+ modules, LC to LC fibre patch cable then trying to run it from your switch to PC.
While I was not able to get the 10Gtek transceiver I used last year to work, both of these worked out of the box straight away. They work on both the Zyxel switches I just reviewed and the Mikrotik switch I already had. All the switches identify the full speed straight away, and the throughput appears to be about the same as using SFP+ directly.
The module will also work with both 2.5GbE and 5GbE.
It is also worth noting that the spec sheet for these indicates shorter distances than you would get compared to using a native 10GbE RJ45 switch. For these, you get 30 meters at 10Gbps, 50 meters at 5Gbps and 2.5Gbps, 100 meters at 1000Mbps.
They also run extremely hot, so I am not sure about their longevity if you are using them extensively throughout the day, but I have experienced no problems yet.
£50+ per port is still a lot to pay to get 10Gbase-T, but it is the cheapest option currently out there, and it works. For me, the cost wasn’t much different than buying SFP transceivers and fibre, and I saved a couple of hours trying to route the cable from my server room to office, so worth it.
|H!fiber 10G SFP+ RJ45 Copper Transceiver(Cat6a/7, 30m),...||£47.99||Buy on Amazon|
|QSFPTEK 10G SFP+ Copper RJ45 30m Module 10GBASE-T...||£53.99||Buy on Amazon|
QSFPTEK & H!fiber 10G SFP+ to 10Gbase-T Copper Transceiver Module Review Rating
Overall - 80%
Useful modules to convert SFP+ modules to 10Gbase-T RJ45, even though they are not particularly cheap, these are the most affordable options I can find and they work as advertised
Easy to install
Performance as advertised
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API