home lab

Mikrotik CRS310-8G+2S+IN Review: 2.5 Gigabit Switch For Home Lab

The 2.5-gigabit switch market is set to really heat up in late 2023 and 2024 with so many cheap switches and network adapters now running at 2.5 gig in micro PCs, access points, and other devices. The MikroTik CRS310-8G+2S+IN is a new switch from Mikrotik that is set to be a favorite in the home lab. It has many great features and is designed to meet the needs of small offices, edge locations, and labs with faster 2.5 Gigabit connectivity. One of the great features as well is the ability to uplink to a core or other switch using 10 gig SFP connections.

MikroTik CRS310-8G+2S+IN: An Overview

The Mikrotik switch unit is a small form factor unit that sports eight 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports and two 10 Gigabit SFP+ ports. The SFP+ cages are versatile, supporting data rates of 1G, 2.5G, and 10G, offering flexibility in usage.

Usually, home lab enthusiasts love Mikrotik gear as it sports a lot of processing power and features, and has very competitive pricing for what you get with their products.

Below is a look at the Mikrotik CRS310-8G+2S+IN switch. Up front, you have the 8 2.5 gigabit ports, 2 SFP ports, dc jack for your dc inputs. However, there are no multiple powering options with this switch like poe in, etc.

The microtik crs310 8g2sin switch
The microtik crs310 8g2sin switch

The Switch Chip: A Deep Dive

Embedded in the MikroTik CRS310 is the Marvell 98DX226S switch chip that Mikrotik boasts has unprecedented processing power and is found in some of their other devices. This by a dual-core ARM CPU chip allows the device to run RouterOS v7 efficiently.

The processing power of the chip can handle VLANs, Jumbo frames, link aggregation, ACL rules, and other advanced features. The hardware also supports offloaded Layer-3 routing if you are looking for new routers in your environment.

Exploring Connectivity Options

The device allows users to access 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 10g SFP modules. These ports support various data rates, including 1G, 2.5G, and 10G, providing options to utilize the switch differently based on the needs.

Mounting Alternatives

Users have multiple mounting options at their disposal. The CRS310-8G+2S+IN can be installed in a standard 19” rack using the included rackmount ears. Alternatively, with the RMK-2/10 accessory set, it’s possible to mount two units within the same 1U 19” rack space or in a 10” rack.

Mount kit for 2 of the mikrotik crs310 2.5 gig switches
Mount kit for 2 of the mikrotik crs310 2.5 gig switches

Power consumption

The device operates with a max power consumption of 34W and 21W without attachments. The power efficiency of the switch will be a nice fit for businesses and home lab enthusiasts alike who are trimming power consumption back in the home lab and elsewhere.

Operating system and CPU details

As mentioned earlier, the CRS310 operates on RouterOS v7 and houses a 98DX226S CPU with dual cores, each running at a nominal frequency of 800 MHz. This CPU is essential for the smooth running of various operations and tasks the device performs and gives it the power to perform advanced operations without any performance hits.

Price Considerations

Priced at $219.00, the MikroTik CRS310-8G+2S+IN is not terribly expensive and will be a great option for home labs. Its lack of PoE may go against the purchase for many at this price range. However, I think the other features and Mikrotik reliability and capabilities will help to make up for that.

A Look at Additional Features

The device has one USB port, supporting a max current of 1A. It also has a CPU and PCB temperature monitor. It has industry standard ratings, such as CE, EAC, and ROHS certifications, and has an IP20 rating.

Unboxing

Below is after I first unboxed the switch. It is super light. I’m not saying it feels cheap, but it is not a heavy switch unit compared to some.

Unboxing the mikrotik crs310 2.5 gig switch
Unboxing the mikrotik crs310 2.5 gig switch

One thing to note. Don’t do like me and get the switch mounted in the rack only to realize the initial admin password is stamped on the bottom of the unit next to the serial number. You will need this to initially connect to the unit with Winbox.

Location of the admin password
Location of the admin password

Below is a front view of the unit after mounting in the rack with everything working properly.

Mounting the microtik crs310 8g2sin in the rack
Mounting the microtik crs310 8g2sin in the rack

The rack mounts it comes with will have the unit mounted to one side or the other, not a middle mount. So you can choose which side you position the long rack ear and the short one.

The microtik crs310 8g2sin rack ears
The microtik crs310 8g2sin rack ears

This switch has very efficient power consumption. Below is after plugging in 2 devices into the 2.5 gig ethernet ports and with 1 10 gig SFP port uplinked. Since this is not a PoE switch it would not make much sense if we did see a lot of power draw. Still it is nice to see the low power consumption.

Power consumption with 2 ports plugged in and a 10 gig uplink
Power consumption with 2 ports plugged in and a 10 gig uplink

Initial configuration

The initial configuration can be carried out using Winbox after you plug in the switch to your main network. Mikrotiks will come default with the 192.168.88.1 IP address configured.

Connecting to the mikrotik switch using winbox
Connecting to the mikrotik switch using winbox

Using the admin password stamped to the bottom of the unit, login to Winbox. You will be prompted to change the initial password upon first login.

Changing the initial password in winbox
Changing the initial password in winbox

Looking at the ports in Winbox.

Viewing the ports in winbox 1
Viewing the ports in winbox 1

VLAN configuration.

Viewing the bridge setup in winbox for the microtik crs310 8g2sin 1
Viewing the bridge setup in winbox for the microtik crs310 8g2sin 1

The good about this switch

If you are looking for a great little 2.5-gigabit ethernet switch for your home server or home lab environment, this is a great switch. Mikrotik switches have a lot of features and capabilities built into the solution. If you like to geek out and have lots of “nerd knobs,” that is Mikrotik. There is so much you can do with their switches.

This switch’s power consumption is very efficient and will fit nicely if you are trying to have a small footprint home server lab and using micro PCs or other devices with 2.5 gig network adapters.

Also, it has (2) 10 gig SFP ports, so you have a high-bandwidth connection back into your core switch if you have a switch with 10 gig capabilities.

The bad about this switch

Some will point out that one thing that is less than desirable about this switch is that it does not have PoE built-in. I guess that could be a concern, especially if you are looking for an all-in-one switch that can do everything for you, including PoE. Many would like to have PoE in a 2.5 gig switch to power APs and other devices that can take advantage of PoE connections.

This switch is not easy to configure if you are coming from other switch manufacturers, like Unifi, etc., making setup extremely easy. Mikrotik has its own way of implementing configurations, and you can definitely get in the weeds quickly trying to configure basic things like VLANs, etc.

Wrapping up

The MikroTik CRS310-8G+2S+IN is a great little switch and it is nice to see Mikrotik offering something for this space that has a decent number of ports and 10 gig uplinks. The lack of PoE may put some off, though so be aware this won’t be a switch for you to uplink your APs and other devices for power. It has efficient power consumption, flexible mounting options, and the right mix of network ports and speeds.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at Virtualizationhowto.com and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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4 Comments

  1. I bought this switch as soon as it was available for my homelab to go with my Beelink EQ12 cluster. Works great, but I had to instantly replace the fan with Noctua, the helicopter sound was unbearable. I also had to saw off the grounding pin as it did not fit into my 10″ rack. Wonder why it is so long, there is so much wasted space in the case.

    1. Megastary,

      Thanks for sharing! What kind of cluster are you running with the EQ12, Proxmox? So far I haven’t noticed too much noise from my Mikrotik, however, I have quite a bit of equipment running anyways so used to some level of noise to be honest.

      Brandon

  2. Can you set up the switch to have both 10G ports do 802.3ad for LACP? I have a Unifi USW-Aggregate switch. I already have a QNAP NAS with dual 10G ports running LACP for 20Gbps total bandwidth connected to the Unifi switch. Just curious, that’s all. I ask, not because I need it, but just because it’s nice to know that we can!

    1. Jeff,

      Hey I saw you signed up on the site. Let’s take the conversation over to the VHT networking forum. I will post a topic there if that sounds good. I can answer in a bit more detail and pics there.

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