Currently all of us use routers, switches, network cards, NAS servers and other devices with Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (at 1Gbps). Until the advent of Multigigabit networks , if we wanted more speed of 1Gbps, we had to go directly to 10G networks with the 10GBASE-T standard to achieve speeds of 10Gbps. Thanks to Multigigabit networks, we will be able to transfer at speeds of 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps without having to spend too much money, and that is that currently 10G networks are still quite expensive, and the 802.3bz standard allows us to save a lot of money because the hardware is cheaper.
Characteristics of Multigigabit networks with the 802.3bz standard
The IEEE 802.3bz is a new standard that defines the speeds of 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps, using twisted pair network cables with the typical RJ-45 connector, thanks to this new standard, home users and professionals will be able to use “intermediate” speeds. »Between 1Gbps and 10Gbps, something that until the launch of this standard was not possible. Thanks to Multigigabit networks, we will be able to transfer data at speeds of 2.5Gbps if we use the 2.5GBASE-T standard , and 5Gbps if we use the 5GBASE-T standard .
To achieve speeds at 10Gbps with the 10GBASE-T standard, it was necessary to have Cat6 or higher cabling, with Cat 6A or higher cabling being recommended if we wanted to synchronize at 10Gbps speeds over long distances, otherwise we were limited by crosstalk. Thanks to Multigigabit networks, we can even use Cat 5e cables to obtain a maximum speed of up to 2.5Gbps in sections of less than 100 meters, in addition, in ideal conditions (without interference, noise, etc.) it is also possible to achieve the speed of 5Gbps .
Nowadays it is always recommended that all the wiring be Cat 6 or higher , in new homes that comply with current regulations, it is always wired with Cat 6 UTP wiring. In case of using this Cat 6 wiring, we can always obtain a speed of 5Gbps in sections of less than 100 meters, something ideal to have high speeds throughout our home, office or business, without having to change all the wiring to synchronize at higher speeds.
Thanks to this new 802.3bz specification, it will not be necessary to change the network cabling that we had before with Gigabit networks, because the same Cat 5e or Cat 6 cabling will also serve us for these new 2.5BASE-T or 5GBASE-T standards, but it will be necessary to change the network electronics (switches, routers and network cards) that have this new specification.
The 802.3bz standard or also known as Multigigabit or NBASE-T networks, inherits the Auto MDI / MDIX technologies from the previous standards, and also has automatic negotiation , to always synchronize at the maximum possible speed that the link allows. Furthermore, with this specification a function called “ downshift ” has been added to allow the network administrator to select the optimal speed, so that the communication is reliable and there are not too many relays at the link layer level.
One of the strengths of Multigigabit networks is the price of network electronics , manufacturers are currently starting to incorporate network cards to motherboards, NAS servers, and even the first Multigigabit switches with speeds of 2.5 already exist. G, 5G and also 10G, much cheaper than devices that are only 10G (switches, routers and network cards). If you want to get more speed through the wired network, and you don’t want to spend too much money on 10G networks, Multigigabit networks (2.5G and 5G) are what you are looking for.
A very important detail that we must take into account is that there are currently network electronics (switches, routers, network cards) that are 10G, but are not compatible with Multigigabit speeds (2.5G and 5G), however, in the latter times, a lot of 10G hardware does support this technology. Before buying a device, we must take a good look at its technical specifications to see if it really supports Multigigabit speeds or not.
How to install a Multigigabit network in our home
If you want to install a Multigigabit network in your home, office or company , the first thing you should know is that you will have ultra-fast connectivity, but locally, that is, it does not mean that you are going to get more Internet speed, you will only get more than double speed (compared to typical Gigabit networks) on the local network itself.
Multigigabit networks are here to stay, and it is that, with very little money, we can transfer data at speeds of 2.5Gbps or higher, with the aim of halving the transfer time of the different files on the local network. And all without having to spend a fortune on new wiring or expensive network electronics.
Currently there are already home routers, unmanageable switches, manageable switches, and even 10G network cards that support Multigigabit speeds, and NAS servers that already come by default with this type of ultra-fast connectivity.
Home routers with Multigigabit network port
The router is the brain of the local home network, currently we have some models that incorporate Multigigabit ports, although we will have to go to the high-end of this type of device to be able to enjoy them. What use is a router with a 2.5G or 5G port if we are not going to get more Internet speed? If we have a NAS server compatible with Multigigabit networks, you can transfer data on the local network at a higher speed, specifically you can reach speeds of approximately 280-285MB / s. With these speeds, it is absolutely necessary to have several hard drives in RAID, since normally SATA3 hard drives are around 160MB / s read and write approximately.
Currently one of the best routers that incorporate a Multigigabit port, specifically a 2.5GBASE-T port, is the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 , this port can work as a LAN and also as an Internet WAN, however, today the most It will be common to use it as a LAN to connect a NAS server.
In the near future, ASUS will launch models like the RT-AX86U and also the RT-AX89X with 2.5GBASE-T ports and 10G Multigigabit port respectively, very soon in this article you will find in-depth analysis of these routers. ASUS has recently launched the ASUS ZenWiFi AX XT8 , a model that also has a 2.5GBASE-T network port but for the Internet WAN only (in the Mesh router), but the AiMesh node allows it to be configured as LAN / WAN, ideal to provide the best possible speed on the wired network.
NETGEAR also currently has two top of the range routers with this type of connectivity, the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 model has a 2.5G port for WAN / LAN, in addition to many Gigabit ports with Link Aggregation configurations:
Another model is the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX120 , this model has a 5GBASE-T port for the WAN / LAN, so it is capable of synchronizing at speeds of 5Gbps and also 2.5Gbps. This port is specifically oriented to the LAN, since it is where we will make the most of it.
Other manufacturers also incorporate 2.5G ports in their higher-end routers, since it shares hardware with the ASUS and NETGEAR that we have mentioned, but these teams were the first to come out and whose firmware is more optimized.
Switches with Multigigabit ports
There are mainly two types of switches, the unmanageable switches, which do not have any advanced configuration options via the web, and also the manageable switches, which do have web access to their configuration, and we can perform different advanced configurations such as segmenting traffic in VLANs among many other options.
First we are going to talk about unmanageable switches with Multigigabit ports , these switches have 10G ports, but with the 802.3bz standard, so we can also synchronize at speeds of 5Gbps and 2.5Gbps without any problem. In this article we have already talked about this type of switch before when we talk about 10G networks, but since it is Multigigabit, here we will also recommend them to you.
The ASUS XG-U2008 is a highly recommended switch, an unmanageable switch with 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 10G Multigigabit ports with 10GBASE-T standard, therefore it uses the typical RJ-45 connector. It is a team that has a really elegant design, and the performance it has provided us is excellent.
The manufacturer QNAP is one of the best doing it with Multigigabit speeds, we currently have several models with this type of ports, ideal to make the most of your NAS servers.
- QNAP QSW-1208-4C: This unmanageable switch has 8 10Gbps SFP + ports and we also have 4 10GBASE-T ports with Multigigabit speeds.
- QNAP QSW-1208-8C: This unmanaged switch has 8 10Gbps SFP + ports and we also have 8 10GBASE-T ports with Multigigabit speeds.
- QNAP QSW-308-1C : This unmanageable switch has 8 Gigabit ports, 3 10Gbps SFP + ports, and 1 10GBASE-T port with Multigigabit speeds.
- QNAP QSW-1105-5T: This unmanaged switch has a total of 5 2.5GbE ports, has been recently released and is not yet available for purchase.
Another manufacturer that has done really well with Multigigabit speeds is NETGEAR. Currently it has the NETGEAR GS110MX , an unmanageable switch with 8 Gigabit ports and 2 10GBASE-T ports with Multigigabit (NBASE-T) support, so we can synchronize at speeds of 100Mbps / 1Gbps / 2.5Gbps / 5Gbps and also at speeds of 10Gbps on these two ports.
Other models from the NETGEAR manufacturer are the NETGEAR XS505M with a total of 4 10GBASE-T ports with Multigigabit support, and it also has a SFP + port at 10Gbps.
Finally, we have the NETGEAR XS508M, an unmanageable switch with 7 dedicated 10GBASE-T ports, these ports incorporate Multigigabit (NBASE-T) support. In addition, this model has an additional 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo port at 10Gbps to use DAC cables or a transceiver and fiber optics, an important detail is that being “Combo” we will not have both ports available simultaneously.
As you have seen, we currently have many models of high performance unmanageable switches with a fairly competitive price.
As for the manageable switches with Multigigabit speeds , we must highlight two manufacturers, QNAP and NETGEAR, both have high-end equipment with 10GBASE-T ports compatible with NBASE-T speeds, therefore, they are highly recommended if you need at home or business advanced configuration options.
NETGEAR Managed Switches with Multigigabit Ports are:
- MS510TX : It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports ( 10/100 / 1000Mbps), 2 2.5G Multigigabit ports, 2 5G Multigigabit ports, and finally, a 10G port with the 10GBASE-T standard, and another SFP + port for fiber.
- MS510TXPP : It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports ( 10/100 / 1000Mbps), 2 2.5G Multigigabit ports, 2 5G Multigigabit ports, and finally, a 10G port with the 10GBASE-T standard, and another SFP + port for fiber. This switch has PoE + on the Gigabit, 2.5G and 5G ports, with a PoE Budget of 180W.
- XS708T : It has 6 dedicated 10GBASE-T ports, and another 2 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports.
- XS712Tv2 : It has 10 dedicated 10GBASE-T ports, and another 2 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports.
- XS716T : It has 14 dedicated 10GBASE-T ports, and another 2 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports.
- XS728T : It has 20 dedicated 10GBASE-T ports, and another 4 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports.
- XS748T : It has 40 dedicated 10GBASE-T ports, and another 4 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports.
All of these models are professional, but we also have the NETGEAR Nighthawk GS810EMX SX10 which is geared towards advanced home users, and which also features two 10GBASE-T ports with Multigigabit speeds.
QNAP recently launched a total of two manageable switches with 10GBASE-T Multigigabit ports, these models are as follows:
- QNAP QSW-M408-4C: It has 8 dedicated Gigabit Ethernet ports, and four 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports, RJ-45 ports are Multigigabit.
- QNAP QSW-M408-2C: It has 8 dedicated Gigabit Ethernet ports, two dedicated SFP + ports and two 10GBASE-T / SFP + Combo ports, the RJ-45 ports are Multigigabit.
As you can see, we currently have a wide variety of high-performance devices with 10G Multigigabit connectivity.
Multigigabit network cards
Manufacturers have released several PC network cards that will allow us to have Multigigabit speeds, although currently, most of them are 10G Multigigabit cards, it is still a few weeks (or months) until they launch cards that are 2.5G or 5G exclusively, and Logically these new cards will be cheaper than 10G cards. Realtek is one of the manufacturers that is putting more efforts to launch chipsets compatible with Multigigabit speeds.
One of the most recommended 10G Multigigabit network cards is the ASUS XG-C100C , a network card with a 10Gigabit port and that, in addition, supports NBASE-T technology that will allow us to synchronize at speeds of 5Gbps and 2.5Gbps depending on the wiring. and distance. This network card must be connected to a PCI Express 2.0 port (PCI Express 2.0 x4 interface) that we have available on our motherboard.
Another highly recommended model, and which has exactly the same characteristics as the previous one, is the Edimax EN-9320TX-E . We have a 10GBASE-T port with Multigigabit speeds. Other characteristics are that it incorporates checksum offload of TCP, UDP and IP, as well as QoS and compatible with VLANs. The price of this card is very similar to the previous one, a detail to take into account is the checksum offload that ASUS does not have.
QNAP also has several Multigigabit network cards, both with 10G and 5G speeds for the interior of the computer, we currently have several models such as the following:
- QNAP QXG-10G2T-107: It has Marvell AQtion AQC107S chipset, it has two 10GBASE-T Multigigabit ports and its interface is PCIe Gen 3.0 x4.
- QNAP QXG-10G1T: It has Marvell AQtion AQC107 chipset, it has 10GBASE-T Multigigabit port and its interface is PCIe Gen 3.0 x4.
- QNAP QXG-5G1T-111C: It has Marvell AQtion AQC111C chipset, it has 5GBASE-T Multigigabit port and its interface is PCIe Gen 3.0 x1.
- QNAP QXG-5G2T-111C: It has Marvell AQtion AQC111C chipset, it has two 5GBASE-T Multigigabit ports and its interface is PCIe Gen 3.0 x2.
- QNAP QXG-5G4T-111C: It has Marvell AQtion AQC111C chipset, it has four 5GBASE-T Multigigabit ports and its interface is PCIe Gen 3.0 x4.
Other very interesting QNAP cards are the QNAP QNA-T310G1T and QNAP QNA-UC5G1T . The first model is a 10GBASE-T Multigigabit to Thunderbolt 3 network card, and the second model is a 5GBASE-T network card to USB 3.2 Gen 1. We have analyzed this second model in this article and it has a great quality ratio- price.
As you have seen, we also have a lot of variety in network cards with Multigigabit speeds, and soon we will see many more models. In addition, NAS servers are already starting to incorporate this type of Multigigabit ports, such as the QNAP TS-253D that we have analyzed previously in this article.
Recommended cabling for Multigigabit networks
To get Multigigabit speeds Cat 5e cabling is enough, but our recommendation is that you always buy Cat 6 cabling or higher, in order to be able to take full advantage of the speeds and not have any problems. For example, this wiring would be highly recommended in a domestic environment:
It is highly recommended that, if you are going to make the network cables, you buy shielded plugs, the price difference is minimal and it is worth it for long distances.
If you want to go further, you must buy Cat 6A category cables, and these cables will allow you to go up to 100 meters away, without losing the 10Gbps speed, although you should always check it. Cat 6A cables are more expensive than previous cables, but it’s worth it if you’re going to cable long distances.
Finally, we find Cat7 cables on the market, more expensive than Cat 6A but better since it has a higher level of coverage and insulation than the previous ones. If for example you need 3 cables of about 3 meters in length, it is worth buying them ready made, in addition, you can buy flat cables.
We must remember that from Cat 6 we can achieve 10Gbps speeds, although depending on the distance in this case
We hope this guide helps you to set up a high-performance Multigigabit network in your home, to transfer data at the highest possible speed.