Introduction

External design and hardware

Testing

Summary

ASUS XG-U2008

Introduction

ASUS XG-U2008 is a switch with ten copper ports two of which are 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Today we have an unusual guest in our testing laboratory. Traditionally we are testing devices with web-interface or command line for configuring. ASUS XG-U2008 doesn’t require any special configuration, the switch works right out of the box and ideally suits for small working groups that need connection on maximum speed for reasonable price.

10 GE interfaces of ASUS XG-U2008 can be used both as uplinks and for connection of high speed hosts such as powerful servers and workstations, or modern network storages.

 

External design and hardware

ASUS XG-U2008 unmanaged level 2 switch comes in a thin metal case with the plastic elements and the dimensions of 240х125х27 mm and mass of 630 g. To work properly the model under review needs an external power adapter (included in the box) with the following characteristics: 12V and 1,5A, so its power consumption does not exceed 18W.

 

 

The upper panel of the switch is metal, the name of the vendor’s company together with the model name are placed here.

 

There are LEDs indicating operating of the whole device and each of its wired interfaces on the front panel. LEDs indication allows one to identify not only speed on which a device connected to a switch port is working but also a problem in cable infrastructure if any.

 

The most part of both sides is covered with the ventilation grate.

 

The ventilation grate is also placed on the bottom panel of the case. In addition to it, there are four rubber legs and a small sticker with brief information about the switch here. ASUS XG-U2008 is intended for desktop placing, for mounting on the rack special holders are needed.

 

There are three groups of network interfaces on the rare panel of the switch case. In addition, ON/OFF button and a plug for connecting of external adapter are located here.

 

ASUS XG-U2008 doesn’t have fans and its cooling is performed with the help of metal case inside of which a remarkable heat sink rejecting heat from two main chips is placed.

 

The hardware platform of the switch consists of the only green textolite plate, which main elements are placed on its one side.

 

Marvell 88E6190X-BUK2 chip serves as a switch and silicon Marvell 88X3220-BTH4 provides support of 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

 

That's where we proceed to completion of the review about the hardware of ASUS XG-U2008 switch and pass directly on to testing it.

Testing

As ASUS XG-U2008 is an unmanaged switch, many our standard tests are not applicable to it. The only thing that we could measure was switching speed and latency of forwarding frames. Let’s review it step by step.

According to ASUS, XG-U2008 switch fabric performance is 56 Gbps that is an incredible value for such a small device. Such throughput means that the switch is able to pass data from all its interfaces on the wire speed. So, for example, using GE interface the user is able to send data at 1488000 fps. On the graph below one can see the dependency between throughput and the frame size. Naturally, the larger the frame size is, the higher efficiency of transmission is, because of change in proportion between user data and overheads (encapsulation headers of the corresponding layer).

In parallel with measuring of throughput, we decided to discover which latency the switch adds.

As one can see from the diagram above, switching latency almost linearly depends on the frame size. Such dependency occurs due to store-and-forward switching mode used for ASUS XG-U2008. Overall, there are three switching modes: store-and-forward, cut-through and fragment-free. In the first mode the switch stores the whole frame and checks the FCS (frame check sequence), and after that the switching procedure is performed. In cut-through mode sending of the frame starts right after the part of Ethernet-frame header that contains destination address is received. Fragment-free mode is a kind of hybrid of the first ones: at the beginning, first 64 bytes of the frame are received and after that its transmission is started (without waiting till the whole frame is received by the switch). The value of received data (64 bytes) was not chosen occasionally: in the first networks using Ethernet standard collision could occur exactly at the moment of transmission of the first 64 bytes. Certainly, networks with hubs and half-duplex modes are not used for a long time. Naturally, in two last modes checking of FCS is not performed that can cause transmission of broken frames (frames with wrong FCS value) in the network.

It’s worth noting here that for all measurements in this review we used traffic-generator IXIA because our testing platform was not able to measure latency with the needed accuracy.

Except the latency itself we also measured jitter that is displayed in the diagram below. We would like to take readers attention to the jitter measurement unit for ASUS XG-U2008: it is measured in nanoseconds.

The next step was repeating of the same measurements using 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. As our testing traffic-generator didn’t have copper ports working at such speed we decided to use Cisco WS-C3560CX-8XPD-S switch as a media converter (between optical interfaces of the traffic-generator and copper ports of the tested switch ASUS XG-U2008). We already mentioned this model earlier in the article about multigigabit interfaces. The ninth and tenth interfaces of ASUS XG-U2008 switch don’t support NBASE-T technology so when we manually set 2,5 or 5 Gbps speed on connected devices the interface didn’t come up indicating with orange LED about the problems with connection. It’s worth to mention here that there are devices with the support of NBASE-T technology in ASUS products line, for example, wired network card XG-C100C with RJ-45 port. However, let’s go back to the testing. In the diagram below one can see user data transmission speed using connection to 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

We also measured the delay added by ASUS XG-U2008 switch. In all fairness, it’s worth to mention that we don’t know how to explain such an increase of latency depending on the frame size on Gigabit Ethernet interface. Probably, it occurs due to some internal procedures of traffic processing. On calculation of latency added by the testing switch, we, naturally, considered that the traffic two times passed through our laboratory media converter.

The dependency of the jitter on the frame size is shown in the diagram below.

During all passed tests we also measured the number of lost frames. Based on our measurements, the number of lost frames was equal to 0 percent so ASUS XG-U2008 switch is a non-blocking one.

Finally, we’d like to mention that we are a bit surprised with the absence of 10 Mbps speed support, however, in all fairness, we haven’t seen such network cards throughout the past few tens of years.

That's where we draw the testing part to a close and move on to summing it all up.

Summary

On the whole, we are pleased with tested ASUS XG-U2008 unmanaged level 2 switch. Certainly, we didn’t perform as many measurements as during testing of manageable models, however, in most cases for houses and small offices availability of managing the switch is not needed.

ASUS XG-U2008 model has eight Gigabit and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and is able to transmit traffic on the wire speed.

Stylish case and fanless design allow placing the device in any place of the interior not deteriorating it.

The strength areas of the switch are listed below.

  • Stylish case without fans
  • Support of 10GBASE-T
  • Switching on the wire speed
  • Compact dimensions
  • Availability of desk mounting and mounting on the rack
  • Support of jumbo-frames
  • Reasonable power consumption

We cannot forget about the requirements raised for cable infrastructure on using the devices with the support of 10GBASE-T standard. So if it is needed to provide connection on 10 Gbps speed at a distance till 100 m, one should use cable of 6a or 7 category. Cat6a cable allows transmitting data on maximum speed with the length of the track till 55 meters. On short distances (till 30 meters) twisted-pair wire of Cat5e category can be used.

When this review was being written, ASUS XG-U2008 switch was not being sold in Russia yet, so it is too preliminary to say about novelty price in roubles. However, average model price in Europe was 250 euro.

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