Having multiple devices in your home or office that demand for a wired connection is a rather common scenario these days. Unfortunately, just owning a modem isn’t enough in that sort of situations and you are required to provide an Ethernet switch that will allow for each of your devices to have internet access.
Of course, finding the best Ethernet switch for your needs isn’t an easy task, but hopefully, this guide will help you with that job and make things a little bit clearer, even if you are a complete beginner in this matter.
How to Choose the Best Ethernet Switch
As previously mentioned, the search for the best Ethernet switch demands a serious analysis, but what if you have no clue what to look for? Well, in that case, the following few lines will clear the things for you and make sense of it all.
Although there are various aspects that separate products among each other, not all of them are “born” equal. Some of them are more important, and for that reason, pay attention to the following:
Depending on the network type and use, you will have to choose the supported speed of your switch. If your needs require fast data transfers, video streaming or video calls, you will have to go for the faster gigabit switches. On the other hand, if your demands are limited, you can also get through with a fast Ethernet switch that has supported speeds a few times lower.
The Number of Ports
Probably the most important characteristic of any switch is its number of ports. Carefully count how many wired connections you require and decide on the device in accordance with that.
Also, keep in mind that things change and that today’s requirement for six connections may very easily turn into eight or nine in the years to come. For that reason, don’t be strict about the needed number of ports and always give yourself a little bit of space and go for the devices that offer more ports that you actually require.
The device itself either does the job or not, and that is something no function can change. However, it can change its efficiency and altogether provide a completely new user experience and perspective. Therefore, do a little research and find out what features (PoE, QoS, Auto DoS, etc.) may have such an impact and decide for the switch that has them.
If you want an easy-to-use device, without too much involvement, go for the unmanaged switch. On the other hand, if you are a network expert, or just want to control every aspect of your connection, choose the managed one.
9 Best Network Switches
TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116)
A Basic Gigabit Switch with a Large Capacity
If you are into more affordable devices, without too many advanced features, but with a large number of ports, TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116) is an ideal device for you.
Its fanless design, combined with steel housing, doesn’t bring anything revolutionary, but it guarantees for great durability. The switch itself is unmanaged, comes with 16 gigabit ports and is equipped with auto-negotiation (it optimizes the switch performance according to the link speed on the port) and Auto-MDI/MDIX (it eliminates the need for crossover cables) function.
TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116) complies with IEEE 802.3ab/x/u/i standards and is supplied with DSCP QoS and IGMP Snooping feature, which smooths the latency and allows for a quality video and game streaming. Along with that, this switch has a power-saving function, which reduces the power on the ports when they are not in use, and more importantly, offers a simple setup that makes it practical even for networking newbies.
All in all, if capacity and easy use are the crucial aspects in your decision making, TP-LINK 16 Port Switch (TL-SG116) is the device for you, and definitely the best gigabit Ethernet switch for this amount of money.
- Easy setup
- Lacks some of the advanced settings
NETGEAR 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS324)
A Large-Capacity Switch Ideal for Small Offices
Every business has its own requirements and one of the more common ones is fast networking. Of course, not every job demands it, but if you own a small downtown business, there is a huge chance that, among other things, you may also need a high-quality, large capacity switch that will provide a reliable and, before anything else, fast connection in your office – and NETGEAR 24-Port Gigabit (GS324) fits perfectly into that role.
It is compact, unmanaged, with 24 gigabit ports and a highly durable, robust build that includes a metal housing. Also, it is equipped with numerous features, which include Energy Efficient Ethernet, QoS, auto-sensing (negotiation), auto MDI/MDI-X and a lot more.
NETGEAR 24-Port Gigabit (GS324) complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u/i standards and comes with a fanless design, which guarantees for a silent performance.
In other words, if powerline adapters aren’t sufficient for your business and you require the maximum speeds at any time, NETGEAR 24-Port Gigabit (GS324) is the best Ethernet switch for you. Everything you may need is there, along with a very nice 3-year warranty, and all that for more than a fair price.
- Good price
- Great capacity
- No PoE ports
Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008)
A Highly-Reliable Compact Switch for Regular Everyday Users
Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008) is a device built for regular users that demand reliability and basic functions at a reasonable price. There are no advanced functions with this one, no PoE, or managing. This is a simple plug-and-play eight-port gigabit switch, optimal for beginners, but also a decent choice for experienced users.
As previously mentioned, its features are standard and among others, include QoS, Power Saving function, auto-sensing, MDI/MDI-X Ethernet cable detection, etc. The switch itself complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u standards and comes with a metal housing, which significantly adds to its overall great durability. Unfortunately, the warranty doesn’t go along with it and is limited to only one year.
Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008) comes with a wall-mount kit, but can also be put vertically on your desk, just be sure to give it as much space as possible, because it has a tendency to heat up too much.
Overall, if you are looking for the best home network switch that will offer a stable network for you and your family members, Linksys 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch (SE3008) is more than a good choice.
- Metal housing
- It heats too much
TP-Link 5 Port PoE Switch (TL-SF1005P)
An Affordable, Easy to Use PoE Switch
If speed isn’t one of your priorities, but the need to supply your Access Points and IP cameras with power, TP-Link 5 Port PoE Switch (TL-SF1005P) will be more than a handy solution for you. It is small, cheap, and above everything else, efficient in its PoE department, and supports up to 15.4W on each port.
Unfortunately, there are no gigabit speeds, just the 100Mbps ones, on each of its five ports, but on the other hand, there are some other very handy functions, especially for the PoE users, such as Overload Arrangement and Port Priority Function. These features, as their name suggests, prevent overloads and allow for easy port prioritization, which can prove to be very important in AP and IP camera installments.
TP-Link 5 Port PoE Switch (TL-SF1005P) also comes equipped with auto-sensing (negotiation) and auto MDI/MDI-X feature, as well as a plug-and-play function that proves to be very handy if you are not willing to bother with numerous network settings.
All in all, if your primary goal is to find a cheap device with a PoE feature that will also provide decent networking, TP-Link 5 Port PoE Switch (TL-SF1005P) is surely the best network switch you can find for that purpose.
- PoE Ports
- No gigabit ports
NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 (GS810EMX) Gaming Switch
A Feature-Rich Ethernet Switch Built Primarily for Gaming Enthusiasts
Gaming switches, in general, aren’t that rare, however, the ones with both great performance and quality features are. Fortunately, they still can be found, and NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 (GS810EMX) Gaming Switch is an excellent example of that type of a device. It offers great gaming and streaming capacity and comes with numerous functions that guarantee great user experience.
These features, among others, include QoS, IGMP snooping (optimizes multimedia traffic), Storm Control, Auto DoS (prevents online attacks), L2 switch networking (prioritizes video and voice streaming) and many more.
The switch itself comes with two Multi-gig/10G ports and eight gigabit ones that allow for link aggregation (joining of up to four connections into one and increasing bandwidth up to 4Gbps). Also, it offers great durability that is a result of numerous tests considering performance, reliability and build quality, and comes with a solid 3-year warranty.
Thanks to its design, its fan noise is reduced to a minimum, resulting in an almost silent performance. All the best can also be said for its latency, which allows for a lag-free experience that is crucial for good streaming performance, thanks to its low levels. Also, all of its settings can be easily changed through the web-based interface, which on the other hand isn’t ideal for newbies. However, it can be handled.
Altogether, NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 (GS810EMX) Gaming Switch is a great deal, especially if your gaming router lacks the QoS function. If that is the case, your whole gaming experience will rise to a much higher level, while the switch itself will justify every cent of its price.
- Solid design
- Great features
- Two 10G ports
D-Link 24-Port Gigabit Switch (DGS-1024A)
An Easy-to-Use Large-Capacity Switch
In the mass of similar looking and performing devices, it is hard to spot the product that offers some additional, not that noticeable values that can make a huge difference for the consumer, and D-Link 24-Port Gigabit Switch (DGS-1024A) is precisely that type of product.
DGS-1024A is a switch with a good performance and features that include 24 gigabit ports with aggregated bandwidth of 48Gbp, auto-MDI/MDI-X function, flow control and 3.5Mbits of RAM for data buffering.
D-Link 24-Port Gigabit Switch (DGS-1024A) complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/x/u standards and comes with a plug-and-play function that makes it optimal for the use of a large base of consumers. Its built is based on the combination of a fanless design and plastic housing, which makes it ideal for desktops, but on the other hand, surely affects its durability. Nevertheless, its warranty is a lifetime one, which is rather unusual for today’s standards, but surely convincing, considering its reliability.
Overall, D-Link 24-Port Gigabit Switch (DGS-1024A) probably isn’t the best switch for a home network; still, if offers a great capacity, has a good price and a decent set of features, which makes it more than a good deal.
- Easy to use
- Lifetime warranty
- No QoS
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305)
A Basic, Simple-to-Use Switch for More than a Fair Price
Things don’t need to be complicated or expensive in order to be good. A proof of that is a NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305) that comes only with the basics, but still has the performance of much more expensive units.
It has five gigabit ports and offers a silent work that is a result of its fanless design. Because of its compact size, it can be easily placed on your desktop or mounted on the wall, while its plug-and-play function makes it easy to use for anyone.
NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305) comes with both auto-negotiation and auto MDI/MDI-X function and flow control. It complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u/i standards, and more importantly, provides a low latency performance that is among the best in class and even better from some much pricier models.
Overall, NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS305) has everything that the best Ethernet switch should have: cheap price, great performance, and on top of that, a highly respectable 3-year warranty.
- No QoS
A Good All-Around Switch Perfect for Large Capacity Needs
TRENDnet TEG-S16DG is easy to use, with plug-and-play function and great performance, more common in pricier devices. It is equipped with 16 gigabit ports that allow for a speed of up to 2000Mbps at full duplex, which results in the total switching capacity of 32Gbps.
TRENDnet TEG-S16DG is a compact switch, with a fanless design, a metal housing and a lifetime warranty that largely comes as a result of its durable build.
The list of its features includes Auto-negotiation, Auto-MDIX, 2Mbits of RAM data buffer, Green technology that lowers power consumption up to 70% and much more. The switch itself complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/x/u standards and provides almost quiet performance.
In other words, if you want a reliable, well-performing product that “doesn’t bite more than it can chew” this switch is an ideal choice. Yes, with this device you won’t get the best gigabit switch for a home network, but still, the proper value and quality performance are surely there.
- Almost silent performance
- Great speed
- No rack-mounting brackets
- No PoE
NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS348)
A Switch that Proves that Large Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Complicated
If you are in demand for a large network, with numerous fast connections, NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS348) may prove as a great deal for you. This switch is supplied with 48 gigabit ports and allows for a simple, unmanageable, plug-and-play use that, although limiting, is more than enough for the majority of both home and business users.
The switch itself provides silent work and complies with IEEE 802.3ab/az/p/x/u/i standards. Its construction is based on the fanless design and includes a sturdy metal casing that adds to its overall great durability. This switch, like every other NETGEAR switch, has gone through rigorous testing that involved checking its reliability, quality, and performance, and for that reason it has a very solid 3-year warranty, which isn’t that common among other brands.
NETGEAR 48-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS348) features include QoS, Auto-MDI/MDIX, Auto-negotiation, 1.5MB packet buffer, DiffServ Code Point (DSCP) support, Energy Efficient Ethernet and much more. Basically, all that might be needed by the standard user is present.
Unfortunately, its price is nowhere near affordable, but if you want a large capacity switch, with a decent set of features, you just need to dig deeper into your pocket.
- It is simple to use
- No PoE
- No link aggregation
We hope that we have been able to ease your search for the best Ethernet switch, and make sure it will be a successful one. You should now know everything you need to know in order to find your perfect fit. Good luck!