Best Network Switch Buyers Guide 2017-2018
Whether you’re starting a business or just putting together a home network, you’ll definitely need a network switch. This device is an important part of a computer network since it connects different equipment together using packet switching technology. Through a network switch, your laptops, desktop PCs, printers, servers, and other devices can easily forward data to each other as well as receive and process these data.
Network switches are similar to network hubs in that they both add LAN ports to the network and allow more devices to be connected to it. However, they differ from each other in that network hubs broadcast the same info to all of its ports, while network switches provide a dedicated channel for each device and send data only to the target devices. Because of the way they’re designed, hubs experience slower data rate when more devices are connected to the network. Switches, on the other hand, don’t experience any change in speed regardless of the number of devices that are in the network.
There are many makes and models of network switches on the market, so choosing the right unit for your needs can be challenging. You can use this guide to find the perfect network switch for your home or business.
BEST NETWORK SWITCH FOR BUSINESSES
The right network switch for your business depends on the number of employees you have and the number of devices you need to connect. You also have to choose between managed and unmanaged network switches. The latter can be used right out of the box, while managed switches are configurable and can provide you with the capacity and flexibility that your business needs.
Here are some of the best network switches for businesses:
Most Budget Friendly:
Netis 10-Port Ethernet Switch with 8 PoE Ports, 802.3at/af Compliant, Up to 124W Power Supply (PE6110)
- 10 10/100Mbps Auto-Negotiation RJ45 ports, 8 PoE function; Complies with IEEE 802.3af and IEEE 802.3at standards^Supports PoE power up to 30W for each PoE port, 140W for all PoE ports; Supports PoE IEEE 802.3af and IEEE 802.3at compliant Powered Device (PD)^Supports 1K MAC address table, MAC address auto-learning & auto-aging; Supports IEEE 802.3x flow control for Full-duplex mode, Back-pressure flow control for Half-duplex mode ports^Plug and play, no configuration required^Steel desktop design, with internal power supply
The Netis 10-Port Ethernet Switch comes with eight RJ45 ports that support 10/100 Mbps speed as well as Power over Ethernet, which means they can provide both data connection and electricity to your devices. This greatly reduces the number of wires you need to use as well as your overall expenses. The Ethernet switch (which supports devices that are IEEE 802.3af and IEEE 802.3at compliant) allows you to expand your network to areas without electrical outlets, and it helps reduce downtime while making your network easier to maintain. If you have a small business and need a powerful but budget-friendly network switch, this is a great option for you.
Top of the Line:
NETGEAR ProSAFE 48-Port 10-Gigabit Ethernet Smart Managed Switch (XS748T-100NES)
- 44 x 10-Gigabit Copper + 4 x dedicated 10-Gigabit SFP+ ports for connections to 10G-capable servers and NAS
- Comprehensive networking features such as VLAN, QoS, IGMP and MLD snooping, IPv4 & IPv6 Static Routing, Link Aggregation, ACLs
- Powerful L2+/Layer 3 Lite features make them the most cost-effective core switches for SMB and virtualization environment
This network switch is a great choice for growing businesses with several employees and devices. It has 44 10-Gigabit copper ports and four dedicated 10-Gigabit SFP+ ports that can be connected to 10G-capable servers as well as NAS. It comes with a wide range of networking features including VLAN, QoS, and IPv4 & IPv6 static routing, and it’s built with L2+/Layer 3 Lite features, which allows you to enjoy cost-effective core switches and ensure your business is ready for virtualization. The NETGEAR ProSAFE is a managed network switch, so you can configure it to match your specific business needs.
D-Link 16-Port Gigabit Switch (DGS-1016A)
- Sixteen (16) 10/100/1000Mbps ports
- Aggregated bandwidth of 32Gbps
- 9K of jumbo frame support to help expedite transmission
- All ports feature auto-MDI/MDI-X for automatic cable detection
- Non-blocking, full wire speed forwarding and filtering
The D-Link 16-Port Gigabit Switch is an excellent option for small and medium-sized businesses. It comes with 16 ports that support 10, 100, and 1,000 Mbps, which means it can accommodate both legacy and modern computers and other devices. With an aggregated bandwidth of 32 Gbps, you have the assurance that you and your staff will enjoy fast speeds, which will definitely boost your productivity. We love its compact plastic housing, which helps you save space, as well as its D-Link Green power saving technology and IEEE 802.3az Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE) capability, which lets you reduce energy consumption without compromising speed and efficiency.
BEST NETWORK SWITCH FOR HOME
Many families nowadays use devices that need to be connected to each other and to the internet, which is why it makes sense to build a home network. If you’re planning to make one, you need to choose a high-quality network switch. Most homeowners opt for unmanaged switches, since they can be used right out of the box and don’t need much tinkering. Here are some of the best options for you.
Most Budget Friendly:
Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch, Works with Linksys WRT1900AC Wi-Fi Router (SE4008)
- Expands your home network by offering eight Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast wired connections
- Gigabit Ethernet ports deliver speeds up to 10 times faster than Fast Ethernet ports
- Fastest wired connection for laptops, smart TVs, game consoles, and more
- Auto-Sensing Ports : Adjust to maximize data flow rates of 10/100/1000 Mbps
- Quality of Service (QoS): Prioritize video and audio applications for better streaming ((IEEE 802.1p)
If you’re looking a network switch that does the job without costing too much, this is one of your best options. It comes with eight ports that support 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet connection, which is 10 times faster than Fast Ethernet. The unit doesn’t require any configuration; simply plug it in to instantly connect your devices and create a network. It also automatically turns off when it’s not in use and helps you save energy.
Top of the Line:
Cisco SG300-10 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch (SRW2008-K9-NA)
The Cisco SG300-10 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch is not for all homeowners, but it’s a must-have if you’re an entrepreneur with a SOHO or a tech enthusiast who wants to build a high-end network at home. It comes with 10 ports that support 10/100/1000 Mbps that support high-bandwidth applications along with two combination mini-GBIC ports that can be connected to fiber-optic or Gigabit Ethernet uplink. It also has a fanless design and low-power chipsets that help reduce noise and energy consumption. The Cisco SG300-10 10-port Gigabit Managed Switch does need configuration before you can use it, but it’s a small price to pay for flexibility and manageability.
TP-Link 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Rackmount Switch (TL-SG1024)
- 24 10/100/1000M RJ45 ports
- Supports MAC address self-learning and auto MDI/MDIX
- Standard 19-inch rack-mountable steel case
- All ports support Full/half duplex transfer mode for 10Mbps/100Mbps and Full duplex transfer mode for 1000Mbps
- Supports IEEE 802.3X flow control for full-duplex mode and back pressure flow control for half-duplex mode
There’s a lot of things to like about the TP-Link 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Rackmount Switch. It has 24 ports that support 10/100/1000 Mbps plus a non-blocking switching architecture that allows full wire-speed for packet forwarding and filtering, which lets you enjoy fast and efficient connections. It also features a fanless design, which promotes quiet operation and ensure you can focus on your tasks without getting distracted by noise. One of the best things about the switch is that it comes with innovative energy-efficient technologies that help reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your power consumption up to 40 percent.
BEST BUDGET FRIENDLY NETWORK SWITCHES
Just because you have a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-quality network switch! We’ve listed some of the best options that won’t break the bank:
Most Budget Friendly (under $100):
NETGEAR 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Desktop Switch (GS316)
- 16 auto-sensing Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Unmanaged switch (plug-and-play) auto connect to router and modem using any port
- LEDs for Power/Port Speed/Link and Activity
- Auto MDI/MDI-X (Autosense)
- Durable and rugged metal case with fanless design for silent operation
This network switch will barely put a dent on your wallet, but it will give you the best bang for your buck. It has 16 ports that support 10, 100, and 1,000 Mbps and come with auto-negotiation technology. It’s a plug-and-play device, so you can use it right away after you get it out of the box without any configuration. It’s designed to be wall-mountable and comes with a wall-mounting kit, which means it can help you save a lot of space in your home or office.
Top of the Line (under $300):
Ubiquiti US-16-150W UniFi Switch
- Ubiquiti Networks US-16-150W UniFi Managed PoE+ 16-Ports Gigabit Switch (2-Ports SFP) 150W
- Managed PoE+ Gigabit Switch with SFP
- The UniFi Switch delivers robust performance over its 18 independent switching ports.
- Two SFP ports offer optical connectivity, and 16 Gigabit Ethernet ports offer 802.3af/at PoE+
- 24V passive PoE sharing a total of 150W PoE
The Ubiquiti US-16-150W UniFi Switch lets you enjoy excellent value for money without going over $300. It has 16 Gigabit RJ45 ports that support Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, along with SFP ports that provide fiber and uplink connectivity. The Ubiquiti US-16-150W is capable of Power over Ethernet (PoE), so you can power your devices with minimal wiring and put devices in an area without power outlets.
NETGEAR ProSAFE 8-Port Gigabit PoE Web Managed (Plus) Switch with 53W 4 PoE Ports (GS108PE-300NAS)
- EASY-MANAGEMENT - Simple setup and configuration with easy-to-use web-browser based interface
- ENHANCED CONTROL - Segment your network and prioritize your traffic with VLAN, QoS, IGMP Snooping, rate limiting and traffic monitoring
- VISIBILITY - Monitor your network status and your cabling with the port statistics and cable health
- RELIABILITY - Add Redundancy to your network with Port Trunking
- GIGABIT ETHERNET - 8 auto-sensing 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports with up to 16Gb non-blocking switching
This switch comes with eight ports that support 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet and has auto-sensing and 15 GB non-blocking switching capabilities. Four of the ports have PoE capability and support a maximum of 53w total PoE power, while three of them accommodate wired connections for laptops, security cameras, and other devices. Since it’s a managed switch, you can configure it to ensure it matches your connectivity needs.
Buying a network switch requires some research on your part. Explore the units listed above to find the right switch that suits your budget and needs.