Asus XG-U2008 switch brings a taste of 10GbE to enthusiasts

Content creators and other users longing for more LAN bandwidth than the long-in-the-tooth Gigabit Ethernet standard has to offer can look towards the XG-U2008 hybrid 10GbE switch from Asus for some reprieve. The new switch combines a pair of 10GbE ports with eight GigE ports to allow up to ten times the bandwidth of a Gigabit Ethernet connection for a couple of machines—all without the dizzying $700+ price tag of an eight-port 10GbE switch. Instead, the XG-2008U is available from Newegg today for $250.

Asus' latest allows two machines with high local bandwidth requirements to tap the full capabilities of 10GbE networking while allowing the machines to talk with additional legacy devices. The switch is unmanaged, so those needing business-class management features like VLANs  should look elsewhere. Multi-colored LEDs for the 10GbE ports illuminate in blue for 10GbE connection, white for GigE connection, or red if the user's cabling isn't up to snuff.

The 2008U has an all-metal chassis with a silver brushed-aluminum finish. The manufacturer claims the stylish case makes the switch suitable for display, though it might not be so pretty with ten Ethernet cables sprouting from its backside. An optional 19" rack-mount kit allows easy deployment into a networking closet.

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    • Squuiid
    • 4 years ago

    Needs SFP+ for me. SFP+ NICs like the Intel X520 are cheap on eBay, Base-T is most definitely not cheap!

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 4 years ago

    Does anyone know what is keeping the cost so high? I feel like 1gps came on much more quickly.

      • jts888
      • 4 years ago

      UTP/RJ-45 is the only thing that consumers and small businesses are willing to use, and modulating 10 Gb reliably over two unshielded wire pairs requires drastically more tricks than 1 Gb, even if you have more pair isolation as in Cat 6/6A.

      The big new cost component is the comparatively large and power hungry (~5 W per port) forward error correction decoders in the receivers, which use low-density parity check (a.k.a. Gallager) codes to minimize wire overhead for the protection at the cost of complexity.

      So you have slightly clunkier cables that are a lot more cumbersome to terminate by hand combined with inherently more expensive and hotter hardware that doesn’t solve real problems for most consumers. And since volume sales are the chief reducer of prices, 10GBASE-T is kind of stuck for a while in enterprise.

      • Bensam123
      • 4 years ago

      Product segmentation.

    • danazar
    • 4 years ago

    Wake me when someone ships one of these with 8 2.5GbE ports.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]The switch is unmanaged, so those needing business-class management features like VLANs should look elsewhere. [/quote<] I feel like Asus missed their target market on this one. Most "consumers" that have a 10Gb BASE-T NIC switch probably want VLANs, too. If it had VLANs and/or POE[+] I'd have already ordered one.

      • sleeprae
      • 4 years ago

      I think they missed the mark too. It should be managed, plus either be half the price, or have 4 10gbase-T ports instead of 2. $250 for an unmanaged switch with only 2 10Gbase-T ports isn’t even interesting.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 4 years ago

        It’s interesting because the cost is so much lower than everything else on the market. 10BASE-T is still fairly expensive per port, and high in power consumption. Add-in cards are still over $100. But if you’re THAT into your “consumer” network you probably have some VLANs, PoE, or other more technologies that too “advanced” for a dumb switch.

          • sleeprae
          • 4 years ago

          Well, on a per-port cost basis, it really isn’t less expensive. The 8x 1gb ports are essentially throw-away, so you’re at $125 per 10GBASE-T port. Netgear’s XS708E is an 8-port 10gbase-T switch at $750, or $94/port–plus it supports VLANs and even has a (shared) SFP+ port.

          • Corrado
          • 4 years ago

          Power consumption on newer chips is MUCH lower. Its obviously still higher than a gig port, but its come way down in the past 2-3 years. Hell, here in 2013, this article says it came down to 1.5W/port.

          [url<]http://www.cablinginstall.com/articles/2013/11/28nm-10gbaset-phy.html[/url<] Its just something that is constantly being repeated even after its no longer true.

    • tom_in_mn
    • 4 years ago

    And then you need a couple of 10 GB NICs, at what looks like $250 each. Why get a switch when you can just point to point the two machines with the nics, if a fast interconnect is all you are after.

    OTOH, if you have an NAS box that can saturate a 10gb link serving the other machines then this makes more sense.

      • kcarlile
      • 4 years ago

      Spoiler: you don’t have a NAS that can saturate a 10Gb link. Unless you happen to have an enterprise NAS setup.

        • eofpi
        • 4 years ago

        Saturating 10Gb is a tall order, but exceeding 1Gb isn’t.

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        Uh, it’s not that hard. I’ve been looking at QDR Infiniband on Ebay to actually get some legs out of mine.

        Prebuilt? Not happening without serious coin.

        Custom? Absolutely. Mine breaks 1 GB/s without anything magical in sequential workloads.

        I’d love a switch with a single 10 Gb uplink and 8-16 Gigabit ports.

        • jts888
        • 4 years ago

        Exceeding ~1.25 GB/s is hard with small arrays of spinning rust but trivial with any sort of PCIe/NVMe SSD cache.

          • Waco
          • 4 years ago

          Hard with spinning rust? Jesus, people have given up, haven’t they?

            • jts888
            • 4 years ago

            Saturating 10GbE takes more HDDs than fit in most consumer-level NAS enclosures (i.e., “small” arrays), especially if you’re talking about the whole platters and not just the outer tracks. OTOH, even a single drive is bottlenecked by GbE, so there’s an argument for 10GbE regardless.

            • Waco
            • 4 years ago

            Sorry, that’s more what I meant. Bottlenecking with GbE is ultra trivial, and it’s very easy to have a cached dataset stream at RAM speed if the network is fast enough.

            If I had 10GbE+ at home I would be sorely tempted to move all of my storage out of my desktops (game drives and everything).

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 4 years ago

      This. With only two ports, you might as well run a direct cable between the two 10 Gb devices. If this switch had [b<]three[/b<] 10 Gb ports, it would actually do something that you couldn't accomplish with the simple cable between the 10 Gb devices and purely 1 Gb networking everywhere else.

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        You mean, minus 10 clients being served from a single NAS…

    • Wirko
    • 4 years ago

    Most important question: what will the LED colours be for 5GBASE-T and 2.5GBASE-T links?

    Less important question: Does this $250 consumer switch, released in late 2016, know anything about 5GBASE-T and 2.5GBASE-T?

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      The 2.5Mbps and 5Gbps standards haven’t been ratify yet but I would assume they would lite-up as “10Gbps Ethernet” or “1Gbps Ethernet” depending on signaling that 2.5Gbsp and 5Gbps Ethernet use.

        • danazar
        • 4 years ago

        [url=https://techreport.com/news/30725/cat5e-and-cat6-cables-get-a-5gbps-speed-boost<]2.5GbE and 5GbE were ratified as 802.3bz last month.[/url<] They won't light up as anything other than 1GbE on this switch, because they'll fall back to 1GbE speeds. Only devices designed to support the new 802.3bz standard will operate at 2.5GbE or 5GbE speeds.

          • Wirko
          • 4 years ago

          My point is that an expensive, unmanaged, consumer/small office switch, released at this time, should at least be prepared for the new standards and be advertised as such (and guaranteed to support them after a firmware update).

    • cygnus1
    • 4 years ago

    This is great and all, but pretty damn niche without any higher end functions like VLANs or LAG.

    • The Egg
    • 4 years ago

    Well it’s about time. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for a networking switch with brushed aluminum finish and some decent LED lighting options to display on the mantelpiece. My friends will be jealous and the ladies will swoon.

      • meerkt
      • 4 years ago

      But it’s unmanaged.

      No full RGB control for the LEDs.

      • CuttinHobo
      • 4 years ago

      Oh the ladies will swoon, alright. Just before they leave you for your hot router.

      • albundy
      • 4 years ago

      oh the ladies will definitely swoon. just make sure to put tennis balls on their walkers so they dont damage the floor.

    • ratborg
    • 4 years ago

    Where would you display it? The last thing I need to see is a bunch of blinking activity lights. Networking gear is best out of sight.

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