A switch is a crucial part of networking equipment that offers additional Ethernet ports. Many routers feature an integrated switch with at least four ports in the device. Such models are appropriate for smaller setups.
Every home and workgroup requires networking. The increasing need for Ethernet switches has resulted in the production of many types of Ethernet switches. Users managing networks today continue to look for the most effective networking solutions.
Customers must choose an option that is built to deal with the traffic they are likely to experience. Moreover, a device must have enough ports for the number of users who are going to the network at a time.
Did you think wired networking is a history? It would never be. However, with functionality enhancement and quality improvement, Ethernet switches now serve as an extension of network hubs.
The core purpose of this tech accessory is to guarantee robust inter-device connectivity in the network environment. The devices operate by incorporating data transmission and packet switching.
It is a multi-port network bridge that employs hardware addresses for processing and forwarding information at data link layer of the OSI model.
It may be a bit challenging to manage wires. But looking at the utilities Ethernet switches can control and drives over the entire network, these switches have the edge over wireless networks.
Ethernet switches are famous for handling heavy network traffic. The accessory is also referred to a switching hub, bridging hub and MAC Bridge. These switches are categorized into two types, managed and unmanaged.
By choosing the best Ethernet switches for your work or home networking, you can connect various types of different devices. Be it laptops, printers, routers or media players; a good quality Ethernet switch allows users to share files or stream media with blazing speeds.
Whether you are looking for the best Ethernet switch to create a work, home or a gaming group, there are a few important factors you must look into before buying the best switch for your needs.
In this buying guide, we aim to highlight the most critical factors you must pay attention to before buying the best Ethernet switch that perfectly fits your needs and budget. Apart from identifying the type of switch you need and the number of ports you require, you should also consider other essential features such as warranty and affordability.
Let’s take a look at our top picks for the best Ethernet switch.
Best Ethernet Switch For Gaming
Best Ethernet Switch For Home Network
Best PoE Ethernet Switch
Best 8-Port Ethernet Switch
Best 16-Port Ethernet Switch
Best Ethernet Switch For Gaming
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Ethernet Switch
Our winner for the best Ethernet switch for gaming is the popular Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Ethernet Switch. It is one of the most versatile and easily configurable network switches available in the market.
The device is for 4k UHD media streaming, flawless gaming as well as home connectivity. The Nighthawk S8000 offers convenient plug and play installation and boasts features that satisfy the most demanding users.
The contemporary model features an intuitive user interface with inclusive prioritization presets. Moreover, it also offers settings for networking, media streaming, gaming and two user-defined presets to deliver total flexibility.
It is produced entirely out of metal and boasts a stunning design inspired by the brand’s Nighthawk lineup of routers. This Ethernet switch has Gigabit Ethernet ports. The manufacturers behind this robust model have engineered a cable break detection capability for users who are running cables in walls and such.
The Nighthawk S8000 is a feature-packed and is smooth to set up, and looks fantastic and performs well. The model is tested to withstand not full Gigabit bandwidth for all connected devices, but also low latencies. Enthusiastic gamers and users who have purchased this favorite Ethernet switch praise its top-notch performance and convenient set-up.
The product enjoys favorable reviews from happy customers who get a three-year warranty and a prompt 90 days free technical phone support. You can buy used and new models of the Nighthawk S8000 which start from $72 on Amazon.com.
Best Ethernet Switch For Home Network
TP-Link TL-SG1008D 8-Port Network Switch
Our top recommendation for the best Ethernet switch for a home network is the TP-Link TL-SG1008D 8-Port Gigabit Switch. The device ensures a convenient way to upgrade to Gigabit Ethernet. If you are looking to boost the speed of the backbone connection and network server, there is none other than the TL-SG1008D to do the job.
Moreover, the model features a lower power consumption design and employs innovative energy-efficient technology for an excellent performance.
This product is an exceptional eco-friendly solution for a flawless work and home network. Designed to expand your network capacity, the TL-SG1008D features eight 10/100/1000Mbps ports, for instant file transferring capabilities.
Hence, all users in a professional or home workgroup can transfer large bandwidth-intensive files including CGI, multimedia, and CAD to boost productivity. The ground-breaking 8-Port Desktop Switch incorporates updated power-efficient technologies to expand network capacity using less power.
By default, it takes care of power consumption as per the cable length and the link status to restrict the carbon footprint of your network. Thanks to auto-negotiation on each port, the model identifies any network device’s link speed for making adjustments. This feature guarantees optimal performance and compatibility.
The plug and play functionality of this gigabit switch allows a hassle-free installation. Auto MDI/MDIX ensures that there is no need for crossover cables. The TL-SG1008D 8-Port Unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet switch is available for just under $20 on Amazon.
Best PoE Ethernet Switch
TP-Link TL-SG1008P 8-Port Switch
Power over Ethernet switches combine data and a power source through the Ethernet cable. Such a setup eliminates the need for a power source at the network device and is best suited for setting up intercoms and webcams.
The switches are also used for VoIP and wireless access points when there is no power nearby. Any non-PoE device needs a compatible PoE Splitter. The TL-SG1008P 8-Port Switch is the best PoE Ethernet switch in the market. It offers a seamless network connection for eight network devices in a work or home environment.
The accessory integrates 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet and 1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet network capabilities as well as PoE on four ports for powering cameras, IP phones, and other PoE enabled devices. The TL-SG1008P is an unmanaged switch that does not need any complicated set-up.
What’s great about this device is that it supports four ports of 802.3af PoE. With a power supply of 55W, it is one of the most cost-effective models to work with PoE supported devices, IP phones, and surveillance cameras.
Great features, easy set-up, and remarkable performance make it an excellent choice for expanding your work or office network.
The power-saving features and green Ethernet technology maintains and an eco-friendly network without compromising performance. The device automatically powers down idle ports and adjusts power output for varying Ethernet cable lengths.
The product has received rave reviews from satisfied customers. It is available for just around $60 on Amazon.com.
Best 8-Port Ethernet Switch
D-Link DGS-1008G Ethernet Switch
If you are looking for the best eight-port Ethernet switch, the D-Link DGS-1008G Ethernet Switch delivers an outstanding performance. Convenient installation ensures a speedy gigabit-capable network that works well with slower devices without any configuration.
The DGS-1008D provides an affordable way for SMB’s and SOHO to benefit from the enhanced bandwidth of Gigabit Ethernet. The accessory offers eight Gigabit ports for rapid server deployment. It is an unmanaged Desktop Switch which is part of the brand’s innovative series of SOHO devices that benefits from D-Link’s Green technology.
The product is an excellent option if you desire durability and great features for steady performance. Thanks to a robust power adapter, the use of harmful substances is significantly minimized while a recycle packaging makes it an eco-friendly Ethernet switch.
The switch is compliant with Energy Star Level V as well as with the strict MEPS and CEC regulations that require the use of energy efficient power adapters. Moreover, it is also engineered to comply with the RoHS standards for reducing the use of harmful materials.
The D-Link Ethernet Switch has garnered a fair share of positive reviews from happy customers. You can buy used and new models of the Ethernet switch on Amazon.com where the price tag starts from $13.
Best 16-Port Ethernet Switch
NetGear GS116NA 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch
The Netgear GS116NA 16 port Ethernet Switch is a cost-effective way to expand your network to Gigabit speeds. All switches from Netgear including this one are for ultimate durability and superior functionality.
Moreover, all products undergo premium quality testing to ensure that users get higher port counts and seamless integration with more networks. The GS116NA Ethernet switch is perfect for all businesses that require 802.1p traffic prioritization.
The ProSafe GS116NA provides incredible Gigabit speeds on all 16 of its auto-sensing ports. The switch supports jumbo frame rates of up to 16KB and features a 250KB buffer memory. The product is an excellent solution for all users who are looking for an affordable way to connect various devices to their network.
Users have an excellent ability to hard-wire devices without fearing a loss of speed, thanks to its 16 ports. The NetGear ProSafe GS116NA has robust auto-sensing ports for selecting an appropriate connection speed for the device.
The GS116NA boasts a reliable Quality of Service functionality for prioritizing all devices that require more speed than other connected devices. The model benefits from a solid metal construction and passes the durability test. Its dark metal gives off a sleek appearance.
It supports jumbo frames of up to 16KB. That implies that the switch is engineered to handle impressively large data transfers than other regular Ethernet switches. The 256 KB buffer memory optimizes the overall performance of all devices, especially when it comes to multiple devices.
This intelligently created Ethernet switch has received notable reviews from users who consider it an excellent solution for maximizing performance. If you are interested in buying the NetGear GS116NA, the unmanaged 16 port Ethernet switch is available on Amazon.com. You can choose from used and new models that start from almost $50.
How To Buy The Best Ethernet Switch
Before you begin shopping for the best Ethernet switch, there are plenty of factors you need to consider to make an appropriate purchase.
Types Of Ethernet Switches
When you are purchasing a good quality Ethernet switch, it is essential to get familiar with the different types of Ethernet switches. Fixed configuration switches feature a definite number of components and ports whereas a modular switch is flexible.
Unmanaged switches are cost-effective solutions that work great for scenarios requiring essential layer two switching. They are great products to provide you with a few extra ports at home or work.
Such switches are engineered to deliver the best of features with the highest level of security. Managed switches give precise control and management of the network. Moreover, these switches also provide the most scalability in the fixed configuration category.
Number Of Ports
The most common feature that buyers look for when buying the best Ethernet switch is the number of ports to fit their needs.
It is imperative that you purchase a model that offers an adequate number of ports so you can allow your desired amount of consoles, computers or other devices along with one to connect the switch to your router. Ethernet switches are available with 5, 8, 16, 24 or 48 ports.
Users who possess a high-speed internet connection require an Ethernet switch that is built to handle such a rate. That is a crucial factor to consider since there is always a risk of experiencing lower speeds when all devices are connected.
The best Ethernet switches are those that feature a 10/100/1000Mbps configuration.However, a model with a 10/100 Mbps should not be an issue if you have a slower internet speed.
Managed Or Unmanaged
As mentioned before, Ethernet switches are either managed or unmanaged. The significant difference is that managed switches offer a web interface to give you complete control of the network. Such switches are also rich in security features, thanks to which they can protect themselves and the system from accidental Denial of Service attacks.
There are all kinds of Ethernet switches available on the market. But, not all models are the same. A few models are engineered for performance but come in a flimsy plastic housing. We recommend you to invest in good quality and somewhat expensive Ethernet switch which comes with a solid warranty.
Gigabit Or Fast Ethernet
The term Fast Ethernet refers to a traffic rate of 100Mbps which is an upgrade over the current 10Mbps rate whereas Gigabit Ethernet indicates to a traffic rate of 1000Mbps. Naturally, users prefer buying a Gigabit Ethernet switch. But it may not be a necessity, considering your network set up.
Go for this option when you need to transfer large data volumes over a fast performing network with low latency. However, tech gurus recommended using Gigabit switches since the technology has resulted in better outcomes and is now less expensive.
With Fans Or Fanless
A fanless device offers peace. Web-smart and unmanaged switches are fanless since these devices do not give off a lot of heat, owing to a less powerful setup. However, if switches are managed and have the PoE technology, the passive cooling is sometimes not adequate. In this case, the fan is handy to cool the situation down.
A noisy switch is not a problem in a noisy server room. But if you intend to wall-mount the device or keep it on your desk, consider a fanless switch.
The Power over Ethernet technology implies to any system that passes network data along with the electric power on an Ethernet cable. The technology has successfully reduced installation costs since users don’t have to install power cables.
A few devices that benefit from PoE are wireless access points, VoIP phones, and IP cameras. Since today's users prefer a flexible network infrastructure, a PoE switch allows them to connect to any devices. The PoE technology is known for quite a few advantages and is in both managed and unmanaged switches. But it increases the price tag.
Wall-Mount, Desktop Or Rackmount
In an ideal situation, the best Ethernet switches feature all three options. However, a rack mounting option makes little sense, depending on its size. Choose the right choice according to your needs.
Benefits Of Using The Best Ethernet Switches
Ethernet Switches never propagate bad packets in the networks. These switches use a store-and-forward technology that guarantees the data integrity of the packets being forwarded by performing cyclic redundancy checks. Also, the packet is sent and received in a specific period.
Moreover, running a cable to each industrial Ethernet node is expensive. Ethernet switches eliminate the need for costly wiring options. Ethernet switches have significantly evolved since their inception and are now one of the most popular tech accessories.
Home networks must be flexible and reliable to accommodate various devices connected at the same time. Although Ethernet switches for such systems do not need to feature a vast number of ports, they must boast Quality of Service functionality as well as auto prioritization.
Users who are looking for an extraordinary performance from their internet connection for flawless video streaming and gaming must choose the best Ethernet switch that features low latency rates, large buffer sizes and superior quality of service.
All users like devices that come equipped with fast data pack transferring and switching speeds. In addition to that, users need to connect as many devices as possible to a network. Hence, it is essential that you invest in high-end equipment that comes with all such valuable features.
Ethernet switch functions pretty much same as a hub. It joins several parts a network and some devices to a single system where it meticulously transmits data to every computer or device.
Unlike a typical hub, an Ethernet switch does not only send data packets from one device to another that is connected to the network but also assigns the packets as required to particular users. Hence, Ethernet switch prevents collision and ensures a reliable system.
By following the tips we have mentioned in this buying guide, you can purchase the best Ethernet switch according to your needs. All products we have recommended in this guide are for performance and durability.