If you’re looking for advice and recommendations on the best network switches, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the 10 best network switches of 2020 so you can expand and enhance the network in your home or office.
It’s quite common to have multiple devices in your home or office that require a wired connection.
However, a single internet modem won’t help you get all those devices connected.
Whether you’re an avid gamer or someone who is just looking to connect multiple wired devices in your home or office, you would need to have an ethernet switch that will allow each one of your devices to access the internet.
Of course, there are numerous network switches in the market right now. If you only need a few more ports to connect a few devices, there are several network switches for you.
On the other hand, if you’re simply looking for an Ethernet switch that has more advanced features with better performance, you’re spoilt for a choice.
In this review, we are going to show you which network switches are suitable for your specific purposes.
But first things first, let’s discuss some of the crucial things to consider when looking for the best network switches in the market.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Ethernet Switch
The search for the best ethernet switch demands serious research and analysis beforehand. With countless choices to choose from in the market, it’s wise to understand what exactly to look for before you pull money from your wallet.
Like any other product, not all network switches are equal in terms of features, performance, price, and many other factors.
That said, here are some of the most important features that you should look for when searching for the right network switch for your home/office network.
1. Number of Ports
When you have multiple devices in your home or office network, you’ll want to choose a switch that comes with enough ports to accommodate all the devices you want.
For this reason, you need to carefully count how many wired connections you require and choose a switch that has enough ports to accommodate them.
And even if you only need to connect about 6 devices, it would be wise to choose an ethernet switch with a higher number of ports.
This is because the number of devices in your home or small office may grow with time, so when this happens, you won’t necessarily need to purchase another switch.
You cannot overlook the speed aspect when it comes to choosing the best network switches.
If your needs require blazing fast movie and video streaming, fast data transfers, virtual reality gaming streaming, and other heavy internet usage tasks, then its highly advisable to choose the fastest gigabit ethernet switches.
On the other hand, if your needs do not demand heavy internet usage, then you can simply go for an ethernet switch that supports regular fast speeds.
And of course, keep in mind that the number of devices on a single switch may impact your internet speeds.
All the same, a gigabit network switch would be more suitable for home or small office networks with multiple devices.
3. Managed or Unmanaged Network Switches
When it comes to choosing an ethernet switch to expand your home or office network, you’ll be presented with two options- managed and unmanaged switches.
If you are a network expert who wants to control and manage every single aspect of your connections, then choosing a managed switch would certainly be a great idea.
Managed network switches allow you to dive deep into configuring your network and the device itself for optional functionality and performance.
Usually, managed switches are quite advanced and can, therefore, be only handled by an expert.
On the other hand, if you simply want little or no involvement with a network switch, then a good choice would be an unmanaged switch.
Unmanaged network switches are usually less advanced and therefore easy-to-use.
As stated earlier, not all ethernet switches are equal. In the case of features, there are those with particular features that are designed to make your connections much more efficient, high performance, and reliable.
These are numerous switch features in different models in the market. However, below are some of the most popular features in some of the most reputable network switch brands;
- Gigabit Ethernet- Switches that support the 1000Mbps transmission rates are quite popular due to their ability to providing blazing fast speeds
- Power over Ethernet (POE)- Switches with this capability can receive power over an ethernet cable
- Store and Forward Switches- Switches with this feature typically read and buffer complete network data packets on an incoming port. The network switch monitors and checks the entire frame for any errors and if its error-free, its sent out to the relevant port.
Other essential features include Port Mirroring, Cut-Through capability, Auto Cross-Over, Redundancy Support, and Auto-Sensing.
9 Best Network Switches 2020 (A Comprehensive Review and Buyer’s Guide)
1. TP-Link 5 Port TL-SG105 Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch
The TP-Link SG105 5 Port is perhaps the best network switch to consider if you need just a few ports or a large number of ports to connect multiple devices.
This particular model has just 5 ports. However, you have the option to choose up to 48 ports, making it ideal for both home and office networks.
The 5 ports Gigabit ethernet supports speeds of 10/100/1000Mbps, which makes it one of the fastest ethernet switches in the market.
As a high-speed switch, it enables blazing-fast speeds for fast downloading, movie/video/gaming streaming as well as instant large files transferring.
The TP-link SG105 ethernet switch does a great job to ensure proper router or modem connectivity while incorporating auto-negotiation RJ45 ports to greatly expand your network capacity.
As a plug-and-play device, the SG105 switch makes it extremely easy to set up and use. You don’t need to be an IT expert to set it up.
And of course, the auto-negotiation on each port automatically senses the link speed of your network and adjusts it to ensure compatibility and optimal performance.
Additionally, the Auto MDI/MDIX eliminates the need for crossover cables.
The TP-Link SG105 also happens to use the latest innovative energy-efficient technologies.
It’s thus able to save up to 65 percent of energy, limiting the carbon footprint of your home/office network.
TP-Link 8 Port SG108S Gigabit Ethernet Switch
The TP-Link 8 Port SG108 network switch is essentially a bigger version of the TP-Link SG105. It has 3 more ports which mean its capable of accommodating more devices.
However, it may not be suitable for typical large office settings due to the small number of ports.
It's more suited to the needs of a typical consumer who doesn’t need as many connections in their home networks.
With this switch, you can easily monitor your network traffic and even prioritize certain types of network traffic over others.
For example, the switch features the 802.1p and DSCP QoS to enable smooth latency-sensitive traffic in multimedia such as video and voice.
The network switch also uses a reliable IEEE 802.3x flow control that provides one of the most reliable and consistent data transfer capabilities.
The TP-Link SG 108 also supports half-duplex mode which makes it ideal for small businesses that have older security systems or outdated POS systems.
This means you don’t necessarily need to upgrade your hardware to make this network switch work.
Like the TP-Link 5 port model, this network switch is also constructed with green technology in mind. This simply means that it needs a lesser amount of energy to expand and improve the efficiency of your network.
Additionally, this ethernet switch powers only the ports that you’re using. This simply means that if you’re using just 5 ports, the other 3 won’t end up adding up on your monthly bills.
NETGEAR 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS316)
The NetGear 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Network Switch was specifically designed for small/medium offices or businesses.
This particular unmanaged switch from Netgear also offers a wide variety of ports- from 5-48 ports.
If yours is a large business or simply want to expand the network capacity of a large building or campus, the 48 port would be a great choice.
The GS316 network switch allows you to connect as many devices as possible without necessarily managing or tweaking the network by yourself as it is with managed switches.
This plug-and-play switch is extremely easy to set up as it does not require any software installation or other complicated configurations.
The switch also offers full and half-duplex support, which means you can easily upgrade it without having to upgrade your older security and POS systems. Its full and half-duplex support also means that it was specifically made for small businesses.
Its pricing is quite reasonable for such a high number of ports and of course, its performance is quite impressive compared to most of its competitors in the market.
So if you’re looking for a high-capacity network switch for your home, small office, or small business, the NetGear 16-Port switch is just what you need.
Perhaps the only drawback is the fact that its buffer is significantly small. With only 768KB buffer, this switch may not be ideal for businesses that require a lot of file transfer, streaming, or even gaming.
But then, this may depend on factors such as your network traffic, the number of connected devices, and more.
Plus the fact that it lacks network management options means that it may not be suitable for large businesses or companies.
The switch is also available in more styles including 5-port, 8-port, 10-port, 24 port, and 48-port.
4. NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS105NA)
The NetGear 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch GS105NA is yet another incredibly popular ethernet switch among home and small business owners.
It’s typically an unmanaged and Smart Managed Plus network switch. As an unmanaged switch, you don’t necessarily need to be an IT expert to configure it.
Plus being a plug-and-play device allows you to easily connect all of your network devices without any hassle.
And with its Smart Managed Plus, this device empowers small businesses by providing them with the capability to easily configure, monitor, and even secure their networks at a reasonable price.
The NetGear 5-port switch supports up to 2000Mbps in dedicated bandwidth in every single port. It’s typically a high-speed network switch that will allow all the connected devices to receive blazing fast internet speeds.
The switch also has an automatic flow control that ensures smooth traffic all the time.
The device provides power over Ethernet, which means you can run all of your smart home devices or IP cameras via this switch. The switch can also be used to power industrial controllers, power intercoms, as well as smart light controls.
We cannot also forget to mention that this NetGear 5-Port supports half-duplex.
So even if you’re not running any new devices with POE, this network switch will still support your network devices’ old security and POE systems
5. TP-Link 5 Port SG1005D Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Ethernet Splitter
The TP-Link 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch/Splitter allows you to increase the speed of your home or small business network.
The switch features 10/100/1000Mbps non-blocking ports that enable fast streaming and instant transferring of large files without any lagging or interference.
These non-blocking ports greatly improve your network’s response times and further speeds up the traffic between subnets forwarding and filters network data packets as lighting speeds.
The switch also doubles as an ethernet splitter which allows for the connectivity to your router or modem for additional wired connections such as desktop computers, laptops, printers, gaming consoles, and other devices.
Like most network switches, the TP-Link 5-Ports switch comes with a reliable IEEE 802.3x flow control that provides an efficient and reliable data transfer.
The switch also supports Auto MDI/MDIX which eliminates the need for crossover cables.
Additionally, the auto-negotiation on each port automatically senses the link speed of the attached network device and therefore adjusts it for optimal performance and compatibility.
With the TP-Link 5-port, you also get the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint on your network.
6. D-Link Ethernet Switch, 8 Port Gigabit Unmanaged DGS 108
The D-Link 8-Port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet switch is one of the most popular and best-performing network switches in the market right now. It’s also among the cheapest for an 8-port switch.
The DGS 108 is an ideal choice for gamers, small and medium businesses that require blazing-fast speeds- up to 2000Mbps.
With its 8-ports, this switch benefits small/medium businesses from the increased bandwidth of Gigabit Ethernet.
With data transfer speeds of up 2000 Mbs, this switch is ideal for easy transfer of large files while allowing for the expansion of your network.
The switch supports Auto MDI/MDIX which eliminates the need for crossover cables. The switch also supports full and half-duplex for fast ethernet speeds, making it ideal for small businesses.
Additionally, the D-Link ethernet switch does not consume a lot of power. So if you’re looking for an energy-efficient network switch, the D-Link is an excellent choice.
7. NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch GS208
Every business, whether small or big, requires fast networking for things to run smoothly. A fast network is even more important for the growth of your small business.
Of course, you’ll need a high-quality yet reliable network switch that will ensure fast connections to all of your network devices in the office.
The NetGear 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch features a total of 8 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow you to achieve up to 10 times faster ethernet for optimal performance.
It’s a plug-and-play device that allows you to connect all your network devices with ease.
Plus the fact that it’s an unmanaged switch makes it extremely easy for anyone without any IT expertise to set it up and use it.
The network switch automatically connects to your router or modem using an ethernet port. It’s a perfect upgrade for your home or small/medium business.
Additionally, the Netgear GS208 network switch is energy efficient and power saving. So if you’re looking for a power-saving switch, this is certainly a great option.
This particular model is also designed for quiet operation. It’s fanless and therefore produces less noise, making it ideal for noise-sensitive environments.
8. TRENDnet 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit
The TRENDnet 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit network switch provides a high bandwidth performance and reliability while reducing power consumption by up to 70 percent.
The 5-gigabit ports of the TRENDnet network switch provide high-speed network connections to all of your network devices.
Plus its 10Gbps switching capacity allows the data traffic passing through it to flow smoothly while minimizing traffic bottlenecks.
This makes it perfect for boosting your office or small business network while eliminating congestion within your network.
The ethernet switch sends larger packets of up to 9kb for increased performance.
The switch also features LED indicators that convey power, link, and activity. It features a Link Down detect technology that delivers a less amount of power to the inactive ports.
It’s also able to detect cable length which allows it to deliver less power to the shorter cables, thus reducing overall power consumption.
The TRENDnet 5-port network switch also boasts of a fanless design that allows for quiet operation for silent environments.
The switch also provides multiple mounting options, including wall mounting.
9. Ubiquiti UniFi Switch - 8 Ports Managed
The Ubiquiti UniFi 8 Port Managed switch is yet another fast, efficient, and highly reliable managed network switch that is perfectly capable of dealing with heavy traffic in a home, small or medium office environment.
The 8 port gigabit switch comes with four 802.3af PoE ports. The ports also support auto-sensing PoE ports which deliver up to 15.4W of power on each port.
The Ubiquiti UniFi switch also has an intuitive switching functionality with up to 16Gbps switching capacity. With the switching functionality, homeowners can easily switch to set up a more complete home network.
Additionally, its non-blocking ports greatly increase your network’s response times for enhanced performance.
The Ubiquiti UniFi switch is a little bit more expensive compared to most models in the market. However, its performance and reliability are unrivaled.
9 Best Network Switches- Bottom Line
Finding the best network switches can be a little bit hard especially if you have no idea what to look for. Hopefully, after reading our comprehensive and unbiased review, you’ll now be in a better position to choose the right one for your home/business network needs.