How to Set up a 2.5G Multigigabit Network and Transfer Files Fast

In recent times, Multigigabit networks at speeds of 2.5Gbps are getting fully into our homes, although today the most common thing is to have a Gigabit Ethernet network, where we will be able to achieve download and upload speeds of 1Gbps in the local network Home users who want to transfer twice as fast are seeing 2.5G networking equipment getting cheaper and cheaper. Today in this article we are going to give you all the keys to set up a 2.5G Multigigabit network at home, to make the most of your NAS server or your computer when you go to transfer data on the local network.

Features of 2.5G Multigigabit Networks

2.5G Multigigabit networks are a reality thanks to the IEEE 802.3bz standard, or popularly known as NBASE-T , a new standard that defines speeds of 2.5Gbps making use of the typical twisted pair network cables, without having to change network cabling in our home. If you have bought a new house recently (or for more than 6 years), it is very likely that all rooms have RJ-45 rosettes and the whole house wired with Cat 6 network cable. Thanks to this new NBASE-T standard, We will be able to achieve real speeds of 2.5Gbps Full Duplex (both in download and upload simultaneously) with this Cat 6 cabling , therefore, we will have more than double the speed of the 1000BASE-T standard that is usually used, just by changing the electronics network (switches and network cards).

Other characteristics of this 2.5G Multigigabit standard is that it inherits technologies such as automatic negotiation , the network cards will always try to synchronize at the maximum possible speed automatically, without us having to “force” this speed. It incorporates a function called ” downshift ” to lower the speed manually whenever we want, in case of stability problems we can do it. Finally, we also have the popular Auto MDI / MDIX to use both flat and crossover cables, the network electronics will detect them automatically and it does not matter what type of cable you use.

2.5G Multigigabit networks, unlike 10G networks that we can also use in our homes, have other strengths that we detail below.

Price

2.5G networks are quite cheap today, currently you can think about buying equipment without leaving hundreds of euros in the new network, we must bear in mind that, to have a 2.5G network, at least we will need a 2.5G Multigigabit switch, whether manageable or not, and a network card for our PC or NAS server that is also 2.5G.

If we have a NAS server or a PC that acts as a server, having a 2.5G card will mean that they can access up to 2 computers with Gigabit Ethernet cards and transfer data at maximum speed, previously they would only be able to transfer at speeds of 500Mbps each. of them, now they will be able to squeeze the maximum 1Gbps. The ideal is to have all the NAS and PC servers with 2.5G network cards, to transfer data at the highest possible speed and squeeze the hard drives to the maximum.

10G networks are clearly more expensive today, not only 10G switches are much more expensive, but also 10G network cards for our equipment, compared to 2.5G network cards. In addition, we must bear in mind that Cat 6 cabling is very limited in terms of distance if we want to achieve speeds of real 10Gbps, therefore, we should change it to Cat 7 cabling if we want to obtain the maximum possible speed.

Temperatures

Another point in favor of 2.5G Multigigabit networks is that the network electronics (switches and network cards) do not heat up almost at all, very similar to what could heat up switches or network cards with the Gigabit Ethernet standard, for Therefore, this is ideal in a domestic environment where we do not want the switches or network cards to have active cooling (fans), and we want it to be all passive or fanless cooling, with the aim that the noise generated by the equipment is zero.

In 10G networks, switches and network cards get much hotter, and typically require active cooling with fans to draw hot air from inside. The vast majority of 10G switches incorporate fans to adequately cool their interior, although there are 10G network cards that have a large passive heatsink to control temperatures so that they do not rise too high. The temperature above the 2.5G standard makes USB to RJ-45 adapters too hot if we give it intensive use, something that does not happen with the 2.5G Multigigabit standard.

Network equipment: switch, cards and cables

In this article we are going to recommend a series of highly recommended network equipment for home environments to achieve speeds of 2.5G Multigigabit, where any user could install the devices without having any problem, and without having to configure absolutely anything, because we will have switches. not manageable to facilitate configuration, and if one is manageable to do Link Aggregation, its firmware is very intuitive to be able to do it quickly without complicated configurations.

Recommended 2.5G Multigigabit Switches

Currently we have many Multigigabit switches with speeds up to 10G, but these devices are usually very expensive and are out of a household budget. The ideal is to have switches with all 2.5G Multigigabit ports, or that have some 10G Multigigabit ports to connect the fastest devices there, and the slowest devices in the other Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The first switch that we are going to recommend is the QNAP QSW-1105-5T, a model that incorporates a total of 5 2.5G Multigigabit ports, it is not manageable, therefore, we will not be able to do Link Aggregation or segment by VLANs. The best thing is that this equipment is really cheap.

Another highly recommended model is the QNAP QSW-M408-4C, in fact, it is one of the switches that we use in this article for testing Multigigabit equipment. This model has 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a total of 4 Combo RJ-45 / SFP + ports, the RJ-45 ports are 10G Multigigabit. Although it is clearly more expensive than the previous one, we must bear in mind that it has many more ports and is manageable, therefore, we can segment by VLANs or do Link Aggregation among other advanced L2 functions.

An interesting switch if you don’t want to spend too much money

Another highly recommended switch for home environments is the NETGEAR XS508M, but this model does have a fan, so it will make some noise. The main features are the incorporation of 8 10G Multigigabit ports, therefore, it is clearly superior to the previous ones, but it is also more expensive. Depending on your needs, it may be a good option.

The manufacturer NETGEAR currently has a great variety of Multigigabit switches, we recommend you visit their official website where you will find them all.

Finally, another manufacturer that is also highly recommended is Zyxel, in this case we have a switch with a total of 12 ports (8 Gigabit ports, 2 2.5G Multigigabit ports and 2 SFP + ports at 10G), we have two versions, the version without web management and the version with web management:

Recommended 2.5G Multigigabit network cards

If you have recently bought a computer, the motherboard probably incorporates a 2.5G Multigigabit port from the manufacturer Realtek. This 2.5G connectivity is available on mid- and high-end motherboards, although we don’t have it available on entry-level motherboards yet. If you are lucky enough to have a desktop with a recent high-mid-range motherboard, check that you have a 2.5G port on it.

If your PC does not have a card, then you can opt for the ASUS PCE-C2500 card with a 2.5G Multigigabit port, you connect it through an available PCIe port on your computer, and you will be able to transfer data at the maximum speed of the device. Interface.

However, our recommendation is that you buy directly the ASUS XG-C100C model, a model with a 10G Multigigabit port, for the price difference between the two cards (only 30 euros), you can get higher speeds and be prepared for future switches 5G and even make the most of 10G networks.

If you want to take advantage of 2.5G Multigigabit speeds in a laptop, the D-Link DUB-E250 is the best you can buy. It has an RJ-45 2.5G Multigigabit port, and a USB type C port to connect it to a laptop, although if you have a desktop PC with this type of port, you could also use it to avoid having to disassemble the PC and puncture the PCie Ethernet network card.

Network cabling

Regarding network cabling, it is something that we must take into account. For 2.5G speeds, the most advisable thing is to use Cat 6 cabling, a cabling that today is really cheap. In fact, if your house is wired because it is a new home, this is the category of cable that you will have installed, correctly complying with current regulations. However, you could also use Cat 6A, Cat 7 and even Cat 8 cables, but it is not at all necessary.

Any quality Cat 6 category cable will work perfectly for syncing at 2.5G speeds:

If you have to run network cable to wire your house, then our recommendation is that you go directly to Cat 7 cabling, with its corresponding RJ-45 plugs or RJ-45 rosettes, and also special Cat 7 crimpers.

As you have seen, it is currently not too expensive to update our home network at 2.5G Multigigabit speeds, what we must take into account are the different equipment involved, and what our needs are. Do you need to be able to do Link Aggregation or segment by VLANs? Then you need to buy a manageable switch, otherwise it is better to buy a non-manageable switch and thus you save money. Today the first home routers with 2.5G Multigigabit ports are appearing, in this case, it would be ideal to use that port as a LAN and connect it to a switch that is also Multigigabit, to expand the number of ports.

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