Trendnet TEG-10GECTX PCIe 10GbaseT Ethernet Adapter Review
Following up on our coverage of the TUC-ET5G it’s only fitting that we crank things up to 11(well 10) and take a look at the 10GbaseT TEG-10GECTX targeting a less mobile segment of small business servers, high end desktops and various NAS units. One thing we did have to do differently for testing the TEG-10GECTX was build a desktop PC to host it
Unboxing and first impressions
Opening the packaging for the TEG-10GECTX was fairly straight forward. The art on the box matched the included card with all the critical details on the package. Overall everything was easy to remove and seemed well protected with no real surprises. The adapter is a surprisingly small for 10GbaseT especially when compared to older 10gig network adapters using SFP+ modules. The included heat sink is rather small but seems sufficient and the PCB is a fairly standard green which is generally a non issue but may clash with some color coordinated setups.
What is NbaseT
NbaseT is rather recent evolution in the long history of Ethernet over twisted pair. While 10GbaseT was standardized back in 2006 gigabit installs using commodity category 5e and 6 cabling while 6A was required for transmission of 10Gig communications. 2.5GbaseT and 5GbaseT commonly refereed to together as NbaseT were approved as standards in 2016 allowing for a communications above gigabit speeds without the strict requirements that 10GbaseT required. Most new 10GbaseT equipment(such as the ipolex transceiver used in this review) allows for auto negotiation of link speed based on line capability as well as the capabilities of the connected device. NbaseT has been adopted much more quickly thanks to an increased demand in bandwith for devices such as wireless access points, the ability to re-use existing wiring and the addition of PoE which was missing from the original 10GbaseT standards.(if you want a more in depth article, or video about the full implications of NbaseT let us know in the comments below)
Building a PC for testing
Testing this card actually required building a dedicated test rig. For this purpose an older 3xxx series Thinkcentre M82. We’ll be repurpousing this system afterwards as a gaming system and will have coverage of that afterwards as well. For more details on that build please watch the build video.
Performance testing on the TEG-10GECTX was done using our refurbished M82 with the card mounted in the pcie 16x slot as well as an Ipolex transceiver that was purchased after reading a review on ServeTheHome. In addition my core network switch a Mikrotik CRS328-24p-4s+rm and home server were utilized. The home server is a custom built dual Xeon E5-2470 V2 system attached via a pair of 10gig links ensuring more than ample bandwidth and processing was available. As a validation I did check iperf between my desktop and the server and saw speeds in excess of 9gbit so there isn’t an issue with any of our testing equipment.
Overall performance was spectacular and managed to reach 9.69 Gbit/sec over a length of category 7 cable using iperf. Jumbo frames were enabled for this testing(and should be on links over 1Gbit) but other than that no settings were tweaked. I did test manually at 2.5 and 5GbaseT as well manually setting the connection speed. At 2.5GbaseT the card ran at 2.4Gbit/sec and at 5GbaseT we saw performance reaching 4.91Gbit/sec without issue.
On the performance side there’s no question that the TEG-10GECTX met with it’s specifications leaving only pricing and use case as the remaining considerations. On the price side of things the TEG-10GECTX is in good company at 119.99 it’s a reasonable alternative to used enterprise gear and is in the same pricing bracket as other cards although there are a few that offer better “per port” pricing that is fairly common for single port cards. As for who should be considering this, the same prosumers interested in it’s mobile counterpart will find it a welcome addition to nas units(that support it) and fixed workstations or custom nas units. More standard home users perhaps just trying to replace a failed adapter on a mainboard will generally find cheaper gigabit options more than sufficient however.