What are you gonna do if your lovely wireless router that you just bought and hooked it up to your home network running out of ports?
Let’s say I have many many computers in my house and I want to connect them the router through wired connections but my router has only 4 ports. I connected three computers and a printer to this router and I have no more ports left on the router to connect more wired devices to it. That’s what the network switch is for.
What is a network switch?
A network switch is a kind of like a network surge protector. You plug in one output to your router and other ones will split up the connections so you can plug wired devices into the input on the switch.
A 4 port switch will have a total of 5 ports, one output and 4 in ports and just like that, and sometimes an 8 port switch will have a total of 9 ports in the same fashion but mostly just have 8 ethernet ports in total. Switches come in many sizes and network speeds like 4 port switches, 8, 16, or even 32 ports or 64 and like 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps or 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) or even if you want to go overkill you can get one in 10 Gbps. And there are much larger and more industrial switches to handle all the wired connections and meet up your networking needs.
10 Mbps is the lowest wired speed which is seen very less frequently on devices, 100Mbps has become usually a standard for slow speed devices like printers, scanners, AV receivers, Smart Bulbs, and 1000Mbps which is often stated as 1 Gigabit ethernet is the signature speed for most desktops, laptops, or even some tablets (with separate ethernet adapters). You can often get 10 Gbps network switches but those are for industrial use and very fewer people are going to be taking advantage of that kind of network switches. Also, you will need to install 10 Gbps network interface cards in your computer to fully benefit from the blazing fast network switch that supports 10 Gbps.
What is the difference between a network hub and a network switch?
People often do get confused in a network hub and a network switch and think they are the same things with two different names. I mean if I were not educated in networking I would think the same. But let me tell you one thing, they are not the same and are totally different things. They might look the same (to an untrained eye) but they have different functions altogether.
When you connect your computer to a network hub and one computer sends data to it, the network hub replicates that data and sends it to all the other computers connected to it. No matter if they need to receive it or not. A hub doesn’t know anything about packets and doesn’t care about who is supposed to receive it. This behavior of hub introduces security issues in your network and also slows it down with all the data spamming it is doing.
A network switch, on the other hand, is like a network hub with a brain. It does not replicate the data sent to but it looks for packets and knows what data is needed to be sent to what computer or client. This behavior of a network switch makes it more secure than a hub and also doesn’t allow your network to get slow because it is only sending the data out to the computers or clients that need that data and not cloning and spamming it.
Ok, what should I look for when buying a network switch?
Gigabit is the way to go these days. it’s not like 2000’s anymore when Gigabit connections were only for the rich and an average consumer would just sit and dream of it. Gigabit has come very far and the prices have gone down. So why not invest in a good Gigabit network switch. If you are thinking that your old devices won’t work because they are not gigabit? Don’t worry! All of the modern switches have auto-sensing ports which allow them to support legacy hardware as well.
When buying a gigabit switch it is wise to make sure that you also have a gigabit router and the ports on your computer are gigabit too. Otherwise you are not really benefiting from your gigabit switch. So if you have a home server that you frequently watch movies from or do your projects from it, a gigabit connection is the way to go. if you think a single gigabit connection isn’t cutting for your needs, you can go 10 Gbps. But for all of it to work properly, (in most cases) your router should be at least a gigabit router.
Top 10 Best Gigabit Network Switches 2018
Here is the list of 10 Best Network Switches that you can buy to expand your high speed wired network. Let’s make your home network fast & furious!
10. TP-Link TL-SG1005D – Check Price
- 4-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch with 10 Gbps Switching Capacity and support for MDI/MDIX.
- Save upto 85% Power with Green Ethernet Technology.
- Reliable data flow with IEEE 802.3x
- Plug & Play with desktop or wall mounting sleek design.
For beginners TL-SG1005D from TP-Link is the perfect choice to add more wired devices to your high-speed gigabit network. Its a great little switch for the money and you can buy.
9. Linksys 8 Port Network Switch – Check Price
- 8-Port Gigabit network switch for home or small office use.
- Full-duplex IEEE802.x standard flow control with half-duplex backpressure and port congestion & broadcast control.
- Auto MDI & MDI/X cable detection for seamless connectivity of devices.
- Auto power-off for non-used ports to save power and generate less heat.
- Intelligent QoS for prioritizing traffic for video and audio for seamless network experience.
- Hard metal enclosure for long lasting durability.
- Easy Plug & Play installation for getting your network up and running in a matter of minutes.
This simple, fast, un-managed switch which does its job of getting data from one client to other and does it really well. A great metal design, super fast and reliable performance, advanced QoS and traffic prioritization and the ease of setup and use: make this gigabit network switch a great purchase for your high-speed wired network expansion.
8. Brash Networks 5 Port Network Switch – Check Price
- 5-Port Gigabit network switch.
- Small and power-saving design that can be hidden behind your network equipment or be placed on a desktop.
- Auto-sensing gigabit ethernet ports that support legacy devices.
- Consumes less power and outputs let’s heat.
- Easy to hook-up to your existing network and get up and running in minutes.
This high-speed gigabit network switch is built to work. It doesn’t have much bells and whistles but for the price you are paying, it gets the job done. And does it really well.
7. Linksys SE2500 5 Port Gigabit Switch – Check Price
- Wired connection speed of up-to 1 Gbps.
- 4-Port Gigabit Switch (5 total Gigabit ethernet ports).
- Built-in QoS and traffic prioritization for smooth networking experience.
- Power saving features for less power consumption.
- Easy setup with Plug & Play connections to get your network up and running in minutes.
Successor to its sibling SE1500, this is the perfect choice if you are looking for a stylish high-speed network switch to go along with your sleek router. Get this router to expand your high speed network without compromising device looks.
6. Netgear 8 Port Gigabit Switch with PoE – Check Price
- 8-Port Gigabit Network Switch with (4 port) PoE 802.3f standard.
- 15.4W of power output on each PoE port. (Total power output: 53W on 4 PoE ports).
- Ideal for the most security cameras that require PoE.
- Separate LED indicators for PoE power and link activity.
- Build your high performance wired network in minutes with easy installation.
- Metal housing for durability and protection against everyday wear and tear.
- Low power consumption with auto switching off LAN ports that are not in use.
- A well-built metal construction which runs cool and quiet.
Wired networks are a mess. Cables everywhere. But if you have IP cameras for security and they run on PoE injectors, you can do yourself a favor and eliminate some clutter by investing in a good PoE switch. This high-speed PoE network switch is a great addition for your home or small office network and works with most IP cameras on the market without losing any performance on transfer speeds.
5. Netgear JGS516 – Check Price
- 16 auto sensing Gigabit ethernet ports for total capacity of 48 Gbps.
- 1U Rack mountable form factor.
- Plug & Play for easy and quick installation.
- Consumes up-to 60% less power for stellar performance.
- Ideal for small business or heavily connected home.
This industrial grade networking switch is for those who wants serious performance from their wired network. With sturdy build quality and rack mounting design, this network switch not only looks professional but performs excellent too.
4. D’Link DGS-1210-28P – Check Price
- 24-port gigabit network switch to expand your high-speed network.
- Supports 4-ports Combo UTP/SFP for ultra-high speed transfer rates.
- Features Auto Surveillance VLAN and Voice VLAN for advanced users.
- Safeguard Engine protects switches from flooded traffic.
- Easy management via the web interface.
- Smart energy saving technology to consume less power when traffic is low.
If you are looking for high-speed wired networking switching that can handle multiple large file transfers, multiple HD Video streams then this network switch is the perfect choice for you. Plus it also has more features like IGMP Snooping, Port Mirroring, Spanning Tree, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) to further improve your high-speed network.
3. Netgear Nighthawk S8000 – Check Price
- Made with high-quality zinc-alloy with gamers in mind.
- Angular & mean design for aesthetic pleasure.
- Features up-to 8 Gigabit LAN ports for the high-speed wired network.
- Suitable for online gaming and 4K HDR video playback.
- Three levels of QoS built-in for smoother network performance for gaming and video playback.
- Excellent performance even when under heavy load.
This router might be a perfect choice for any home but it sure is a perfect router for gamers looking for lag-free online sessions. With support for Windows Connect Now you can easily plug your media drive and access it without even the need of encryption key. Overall, this router performs great without any hiccups and offers some excellent range and speed.
2. Linksys WRT 8 Port Gigabit Switch – Check Price
- 8 high-speed gigabit ethernet ports to expand your wired home or office network.
- Offers 10 times more bandwidth than fast ethernet (100 Mbps).
- Super fast ethernet connection for laptops, smart TVs, consoles and more.
- Auto-sensing ports for backward compatibility so you can use legacy Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps) devices.
- Advanced QoS for superior network performance even under high traffic loads.
- Advanced power-saving features for switching off un-used LAN ports to save power.
- Plug and play design for auto detecting everything. You do not need anything to configure to start using this high-speed gigabit network switch.
This high-speed gigabit network switch doesn’t need any time to get to work. All you need to do is take it out of the box and plug it in. It’s that simple of a deal. With powerful features like Gigabit speeds, Intelligent QoS, legacy hardware compatibility, and the Linksys’s signature stackable design, this network switch is a great one to own and use.
1. Netgear JGS524NA 24-Port Network Switch – Check Price
- 24-port high-speed unmanaged gigabit switch.
- Rack mountable and fanless design so you can mount it or put it anywhere for silent operation.
- Can be connected to your router or a modem to expand wired connections.
- Half-/full-duplex auto-negotiating comparability for every high-speed ethernet port.
- Consumes up to 60% less power than its competitors.
- Metal housing designed for long-lasting in everyday rough use and abuse.
- Features easy-to-use out of the box and plug-and-play deployment.
It is a basic high-speed network switch that is built to last for years. Considering the number of ports, ease of use and reliability, construction and low power consumption, this high-speed network switch is not expensive it’s competition and is a great purchase for anyone who needs a lot of high-speed gigabit ports.
It’s simple: check out how many devices you want to add to your wired network, make sure if you need Gigabit speeds (slower devices like printers can work on Fast Ethernet too without a problem) and look for advanced features and controls (if you need some) while buying the network switch. They are not really any complicated if you are just doing some simple tasks, like adding more wired devices to your network to access the internet, share files on your network, or control smart home devices. Almost any switch is going to work with that.
But if you want advanced features like VLAN’s and PoE compatibility, then you will need to do some little bit of research of yours.
I must say one thing. It is always great to future-proof your investment so I would highly recommend you to get a Gigabit switch.
Happy Wired Networking !!!