A network switch is a networking device which connects devices to a single network by using packet switching for receiving, processing, and forwarding data to destination devices. It is a multiport network bridge which uses the hardware’s addresses to send and receive data. Some switches can even process data at the network layer by incorporating routing capabilities.
Ethernet switches are the most commonly used form. Unlike “primitive” repeater hubs which serve to broadcast the same data from each port and lets devices pick and choose what they need, a network switch sends data only to devices that need it.
A common misconception about Ethernet switches is that they play the exact same role as a router, when in fact they have completely different functions. Routers connect multiple networks into one and manage traffic between the networks. Routers also offer advanced services such as firewalls. On the other hand, switches connect multiple computers within one singular network and manage traffic between the computers. They are not the first “bridge” connecting computers and the outside world. One of the most important things to note about Ethernet switches is that they do not improve the speed of your internet, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help speed things up. Ethernet switches are extremely handy at keeping sending and receiving speeds consistently quick between users in a single network.
In a nutshell, routers are the mastermind behind a network’s operations and handle security, traffic, and other important things, while switches are designed to let traffic through as quickly as possible with little to no interference. Switches increase the number of ports in your network.
There are several notable manufacturers of Ethernet switches out there, but they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, casings, port numbers, and they have several distinguishing features to attract buyers. This list provides the top 5 best-performing gigabit switches that could help expand the network of your home or small business.
5 Best Gigabit Switch
The D-Link DGS-1008G is an excellent solution for both home and business networks. There are eight gigabit Ethernet ports with switching speeds of up to 16 Gbps max. This is a compact device made of strong plastic which some users find feels somewhat cheap in the hands. However, what’s important is how to works. Similar to other unmanaged switches that do not come with remote configuration, management, or monitoring capabilities, this switch by D-Link is easy to setup and use.
This fan-less, hence silent, Ethernet switch is ideal for small business and homes. This simplistic device has an array of features that put it ahead of its competitors. The Quality of Service features lets the DGS-1008G prioritize time-sensitive data packets so you have full network speed for important tasks or games. The cable diagnostics features allow users to troubleshoot any sort of connectivity problem you might have. In addition, this Ethernet switch is certified by Energy Star, meaning it uses power efficiently and is made of eco-friendly materials.
The TP-Link TL-SG1005D is perhaps the best budget-friendly Ethernet switch based off of the value you get from using this switch. It’s a basic plug-and-play device which is easy to setup and operate. These make this a convenient switch for even the most technologically backward of us.
This switch comes with five gigabit Ethernet ports with non-blocking switching. This allows users to transfer large files with little issues. There are five LED indicators which light up when the ports found on the back-facing panel is in use. This little feature saves users seconds of irritation from trying to plug in a LAN cable into an already-in-use port. This Ethernet switch is for those of you who are extremely conscious of price tag and energy costs. First of all, purchasing this unit doesn’t require having a thick wallet. Secondly, the switch automatically detects which ports are being used, and it diverts power from empty ports, reducing unnecessary electricity use.
The NETGEAR GS208 is perhaps one of the most versatile Ethernet switches available on the market. This is an unmanaged switch, suitable for use at home or at the office. It’s extremely easy to use, and the plug-and-play setup, making for worry-free installation and operating.
If you thought five ports are enough, you are sadly mistaken. This NETGEAT Ethernet switch features eight ports for increased flexibility which eliminate the need for crossing cables. All of the ports support gigabit speeds due to the non-blocking switching design, allowing each port to transfer data at a maximum speed of 16 Gbps. Each port also collaborates to operate as quickly as the fastest port in use. The fan-less switch comes in either plastic or metal casing, both of which are compact and lightweight.
The Linksys SE3008 is a great Ethernet switch that comes with eight ports, non-head of line blocking system, and full duplex IEEE802.3 flow control. The auto-detection feature constantly detects and broadcasts speeds of a maximum of 1,000 Mbps.
This device performs excellently when playing online media and games, and it allows users to connect several Smart TVs, gaming platforms, VoIP devices, printers, and much more. The SE3008 can be enjoyed by home-users and in professional settings. The casing is made of a metallic material and is a reliable shell for protecting the delicate hardware inside.
The TP-Link TL-SG1024DE is a high-end but easy to use switch that provides a maximum speed of up to 1,000 Mbps. This is for serious home and office users who feel that the standard 5- and 8-port setup is inadequate. This Ethernet switch comes with an amazing 24 ports for connecting several different devices in for internet access at once.
This device doesn’t just feature QoS, VLAN, 802.3x flow, and IGMP, but it comes with some advanced management features that are easy to set up, monitor, and diagnose. This TP-Link switch ensures constant speeds with minimum latency with its 36 Mbps of packet forwarding, 4 Mb of memory for buffing, and a maximum of 10 KB of a jumbo frame. Large offices with several team members working in close quarters will enjoy the speedy ports and secure system.