Quieting down the Unifi 16XG switch

From CaveLab
Fibers and SFP+ modules in Unifi 16XG switch

Late 2018 I finally pulled the trigger and bought a Unifi 16XG 10GbE switch, I’ve wanted one for a long time. When I plugged it in for the first time, I realized it was pretty loud… It was the loudest thing in my rack — bummer.

I’m used to the Unifi switches having temperature controlled fans; the 16XG however does not. I’ve read about people replacing the fans on the USG-PRO-4 with ultra-silent Noctua fans. However, those are 40 mm fans. The 16XG has 30 mm fans, which Noctua doesn’t make.

Comparing the chip temperature of the 16XG to my 16 POE-150W, I noticed the 16XG ran a lot cooler. Like 25 °C cooler — the 16 POE-150W was stable at 65-68 °C and doesn’t even turn on the fan until 70 °C. While the 16XG was hovering around 40 °C, it seemed like I could safely lower the fan RPMs a bit.

Seems a lot of people are looking for info on the fans in the Unifi switches, so to recap:
  • The fans in the 16 POE-150W only turns on when the internal temperature reaches 70 °C, below that it is completely silent.
  • I've never heard the fans on US-24/48, not sure when they turn on.
  • The 16XG does not have temperature controlled fans, they run continuously.

I used two Noctua low-noise adapters (RC-10) and connected them in series with the 16XG internal fans. The sleeve on these is pretty stiff, so I carefully cut it off using a scalpel. The adapters made a world of difference; there is still some noise, but it’s not dominating like it used to be.

The chip temperature of the 16XG went up a bit, from around 40 °C to 45 °C, which seems perfectly safe — considering the running temperature of the other Unifi switches.