Review – The QNAP QNA-T310G1T and QNA-T310G1S Thunderbolt3-to-10Gbe Adapters

Thunderbolt 3 and 10Gbe – Is the QNA-T310G1T and QNA-T310G1S the Answer?

If you have been considering upgrading to 10-gigabit ethernet in your home or business network, then chances are that you are already in possession of some pretty up-to-date hardware. 2018 has seen many hardware vendors make the jump towards 10Gbe in order to provide enormous speed advantages to those that need it most. This year one of the biggest industries, to benefit from and take advantage of 10Gbe, has been content creators. Photo and video editors all over the world are seeing huge benefits to their workflow by switching from the local editing of raw, to editing over Thunderbolt 3 or 10 Gigabit Ethernet. QNAP NAS is a brand that has been providing solutions for photo and video editors in the form of 10G and TB3 for several years now and therefore is a highly recognized name in this community. However, it is in the combining and connectivity of these two popular connections that QNAP has really made a name for itself with such Innovations as thunderbolt NAS and thunderbolt to ethernet software in there NAS platform. Using this vast library of knowledge and experience, QNAP has developed a brand new Thunderbolt-to-10G adaptor to helpThunderboltt 3 users connect and take advantage of 10Gbe networks and devices. However, is the new QNA-T310G1T and QNA-T310G1S 10G-2-TB3 adaptor a step too far, or is this another hot release from the guys at QNAP. Let’s find out.

The external packaging of this 10Gbe to Thunderbolt adaptor is a little understated. however this is not a product that is designed to be cool – it is designed to be useful and unable Media professionals to get the most from their network equipment. Think of this more as an accessory than a stand-alone product. That said, the image design and product layout inside the retail box is very ‘Apple’ and will appeal to editors.

Once I opened the retail box, I was able to find the following accessories.

Not a huge amount of accessories, but then again, you will not need much to get this working as the device is completely bus powered by the devices you connected to, and the 10GbE network you connect with will already have cables in place or in the case of SFP+, bespoke DAC or Transceivers in place.

Looking at the unit, the first thing that strikes you is that it is remarkably petit for something that is going to allow such high-speed connections to communicate. This is not the first Thunderbolt 3 to 10G adaptor to exist and arrives in a market that has already accepted the Sonnet solo 10G and Akitio thunder3 adaptor for content creators. However, it is worth mentioning that this QNAP device is both lower in price and a higher design quality. Plus I am especially pleased with the metallic finish on both the 10GBASE-T and SFP+ versions, putting it on par with the sonnet adaptor in the looks department. The devices measure at just 27.6 x 56 x 112 mm (1.08 x 2.20 x 4.41 inches).

As you can see, the device is slightly bigger than a Raspberry Pi and smaller than a takeaway coffee.

The top end of this petit thunderbolt adaptor is dedicated to the ethernet port. In the case of both the copper or fibre version of this device, we find a single network port with clear LED indicators that display connectivity and traffic when in use.

The sides of this metallic T2E adaptor are smooth and rounded and although can get warm when the device is in use (common among all adapters) it is extraordinarily robust and even has a ridged front and back for gripping. The metallic surroundings do an excellent job of dissipating the heat and the adapters even arrive with an internal cooling fan for when the internal heat spikes – VERY unique!

At the base of the device, we find the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port that allows connectivity between the 40Gb/s speeds of thunderbolt 3 to communicate with the 10Gbe speed of the fibre or copper connection. As this device arrives with a 50 cm official thunderbolt 3 cable, you will not need to purchase anything to connect this to your thunderbolt MacBook, Mac mini or Windows device. However, do remember that you will need to ensure the network table of your choice can make up for this rather short Thunderbolt cable.

Above the Thunderbolt port, we find additional ventilation that helps maintain lower internal temperatures whilst the device is in use. The QNAT310G1T and QNAT310G1S both generate quite a lot of heat whilst in use and in order to ensure that performance between the connections is maintained, there is passive heat sinks featured inside the device, as well as an active cooling fan for the controller chip that will kick in when the system needs it – all BUS powered! Finally, at the Thunderbolt end, there is an blue LED to denote that the device is connected. Although the Thunderbolt portion of this device requires no additional drivers, if you feature a thunderbolt 3 Port, you should update the Ethernet drivers on your host machine so it can use the aquantia network controller inside this device properly (links to drives at the bottom of this page).

The rear panel of this device is secured with two screws which, although you should never remove, we are totally going to do it to get a closer look on the inside of this device. You will also need to remove the rubber feet of the adapter in order to access a further 4 screws that hold the chassis and internal board in place.

Inside we find the heatsink that helps to maintain the internal cold temperatures whilst the device is in use. Given that this device will be generating a potential 1000MB/s of read and write speed whilst in operation with the right 10Gbe NAS storage media, it is unsurprising that a large amount of heat will be created and this heat sink and metal casing help dissipate this unwanted temperature increase. Additionally, we can see the active cooling fan that will kick in when temperatures rise – this is automatic and a very unique feature.

Like many 10Gbe peripherals and host devices released in 2018, both the copper and fibre versions of this adapter use the Aquantia AQC100 and AQC107 controller on board, depending on whether you are using the 10BASE-T copper connection or more enterprise and expensive SFP+ fibre. Few network brands have had such universal coverage as Aquantia in 2018 and they continue to produce affordable yet highly capable hardware that is supporting 10Gbe innovation all through the industry. Once again, ensure you download the correct drivers for your PC or mac system before utilising this thunderbolt to 10G adaptor.

Here is the AJA results of 2x Samsung SSD in a RAID 1 environment, over 10Gbe. The more SSD/HDD you use (ideally in a RAID 0 or RAID 10) will result in MUCH higher speeds.

 

2x Samsung 860 SSD in a RAID 1 environment, installed in a QNAP HS-453DX

 

This incredibly user-friendly solution for photo and video editors to access their content and edit it as conveniently as possible cannot be overstated. As previously mentioned, using this device alongside a solid 10Gbe NAS and the right media storage will reinvent and improve your workflow. A 10Gbe environment to coordinate your work, along with the ease and flexibility of Thunderbolt on modern devices is something that is only going to become more desirable in 2019 and further. We will be doing full speed tests on both the QNA-T310G1S SFP+ and QNA-T310G1T 10GBASE-T version of this QNAP QNA ethernet adaptor, in order to see just how well it performs in both live editing and in general files speed with programs such as black magic or simple file transfers in Windows. But for now, I can comfortably say that this is potentially the best 10G-to-TB3 adapter I have ever used.

How to set the QNA-T310G1T and QNA-T310G1S with your Mac, Windows and NAS System for Editing

In most cases this device will plug and play with your TB3 port and 10Gbe network, as long as you download the correct drive in the links below, you should be fine. However if you are have difficulty, use the more technical set up options below:

With Mac: Open “System Preferences” → go to “Network” → Select the QNA Thunderbolt Ethernet → click “Advanced…” → go to the “Hardware” tab → change “Configure” to “Manually” → set “MTU” to “9000”.

With Windows: Open “Settings” → go to “Network & Internet” → click “Change your adapter options” → right click on the Thunderbolt 3 Ethernet adapter and click “Properties” → click “Configure…” → go to the “Advanced” tab → select “Jumbo Frame” and set the value to “9KB MTU”.

With NAS: Open “Network & Virtual Switch” → go to “Network” > “Interfaces” → find the applicable Ethernet adapter, click  and select “Configure” → go to the “IPv4” tab → set “Jumbo Frame” to 9000

Where can I buy the QNAP QNA-T310G1T and QNA-T310G1S?

You can buy both the fiber and copper QNAP-T310G1T AND QNAT310G1S from SPAN below.
QNAP QNA-T310G1T

Network controller: AQC107S
transmission interface: 1 x Thunderbolt 3; 1 x 10GbE/NBASE-T
Package contents: QNA-T310G1T; 0.5M Thunderbolt 3 Transmission line and manual
transmission and wire: RJ-45 network portNotes on Cat 6a Wire :
● Windows Device: The Aquantia AQC107 driver must be downloaded first to enable the QNA Series Converter. Driver Download
● Mac Device: Update to macOS 10.13.3 (or later) to enable the QNA Series Converter.Buy Now for £190+ ex.VAT at SPAN
QNAP QNA-T310G1S

Controller: AQC100S
transmission interface: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x 10GbE SFP+
Package contents: QNA-T310G1S; 0.5M Thunderbolt 3 Transmission line and manual
Transfer and wire: SFP+ fiber; SFP+ DAC wire is recommendedNote:
● Windows Device: The Aquantia AQC100 driver must be downloaded first to enable the QNA Series Converter. Driver Download
● Mac Device: Update to macOS 10.13.3 (or later) to enable the QNA Series Converter.Buy Now for £160+ ex.VAT at SPAN

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