Top 5 Best Ethernet Switches 2021:
- Netgear GS108 Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Switch
- TP-Link TL-SF1005P PoE Switch
- TP-Link TL-SG1016 Gigabit Unmanaged Switch
- Linksys SE3008 Gigabit Switch
- Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Gaming Switch
WiFi has gone a long way since its inception, but it still hasn’t been able to remove the need for cables entirely.
For the purpose of connecting several devices, ethernet is still the daddy, daddy that’ll never give you any issues.
Cabled connections are faster and more stable than WiFi, and if you don’t believe us, just ask the pros – LAN gamers. Of course, there are many more instances where ethernet switches are needed, but more on that later.
Today, we’re going to try to find the best ethernet switch on the current market. We reviewed what we believe to be the top 5 models, so all that’s left for you to do is to read and pick one.
Related: The Best Wireless Routers
What Is An Ethernet Switch?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, an ethernet switch is a device that allows you to connect several computers, as well as printers, cameras, etc., into a single network.
This lets the devices communicate and transfer data between each other, which is needed in an office environment, multiplayer gaming, and, increasingly, homes.
Wait, there’s more.
An ethernet switch is used to create a network which you can then connect to a router to access the internet. All the computers in the network can share the single connection coming from the router, and thus save a lot of money.
What’s not to like?
See Also: The Best Outdoor Wifi Extender
What To Know When Buying An Ethernet Switch?
Even if you consider yourself tech-savvy, it’s impossible to know everything about every piece of equipment, and that’s why you shouldn’t skip this section.
Now, pay attention, please.
We’re going to break down all the essential features of an ethernet switch to properly educate you on what to look for when buying one of these products.
Fortunately, there aren’t too many things to learn, but it is vital that you know them all before giving your money to any retailer.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
1. How Many Ports?
The number of ports that you need is the first thing that you ought to figure out. And to do this, think about all the devices that you’d like to connect to your network. How many are there?
- If we’re talking about two, or there, then go for the smallest, five-port switch. Gamers who like to play in large groups might want to look into eight-port models, and people who are building an office network will want to go for sixteen ports and higher.
- Usually, the more ports you need, the more you’ll have to pay, and we’ve learned that the vast majority of buyers don’t need more than an eight-port.
When it comes to speed, there are two distinctive types of ethernet switches – fast ethernet and gigabit ethernet. The latter is around ten times faster than the former, so if you need a lightspeed connection, that’s the way to go.
As you’ve probably guessed, more speed means a higher price, so be ready to spend a few extra bucks on a gigabit switch. However, this is only worth it if you have or need a very fast internet.
- For example, if yout internet is capable of 1Gbps or more, then definitely buy a gigabit model.
- Contrary to that, if your download speed is, say, only around 50 Mbps, then a fast ethernet switch will be enough.
3. Managed Or Unmanaged
The first two characteristics were pretty obvious, but now it’s time to get down to the real techy stuff.
What are managed and unmanaged switches, and what’s the difference between them?
- Tech experts (and control freaks) will probably be more interested in managed switches. These devices will allow you to make many adjustments to the switch’s operation, such as setting bandwidth limits, managing VLANs, optimizing security, and more.
- Managed devices are pricier and more complicated to use, so don’t buy them if you’re not good with computers.
- On the other hand, unmanaged switches are the better choice for people with limited IT skills. Simply plug in all the devices, set up a network, and voila – you can forget that you even have it.
Oh, one more thing.
- There is another subcategory known as partially managed switches. These are basically simplified versions of managed models that’ll allow you to adjust a few minor features.
- QoS stands for Quality of Service, and no, it doesn’t refer to customer service. Quality of service is a bit difficult to explain, but basically, it manipulates bandwidth according to different sources and applications from which the traffic comes, to give you the best possible output.
- Don’t worry; you don’t need to understand anything mentioned above.
- All you need to know is that QoS is vital for people who use a lot of music or video streaming because, without it, the quality of those services could be hindered. Besides this, gaming enthusiasts will also want to look for this feature.
- This abbreviation stands for Power over Ethernet, and we swear it’s the last techy term that we’ll use today!
- PoE switches allow you to power devices like WiFi access points, cameras, and so on, using just a network cable. Simply plug in the preferred device into your switch, and it’ll get those electrical juices flowing to it.
- This feature is very popular nowadays, and it is particularly useful in rooms where power outlets are hard to reach.
5 Best Ethernet Switches In 2021: Detailed Reviews
Like we mentioned before, ethernet switches come in different shapes, sizes, and features. This makes it challenging to pick out just a few for a list like ours, but we believe that we did a good job.
Below, you will find five ethernet switches, each at the top of its respective category, so that you can choose the one that’ll suit you the most.
Get ready to get networked!
If simple, reliable, and affordable is what you’re in search of, then look no further than Netgear’s 8-port unmanaged switch. This bad boy has tons of satisfied customers behind it, and it carries the name of a very reputable company.
There’s little that could go wrong here.
GS108 is an unmanaged, plug-and-play switch, which requires no software installations or configurations. It is perfect for users who are not tech-savvy; just plug in all the devices, and you’ll be good to go.
As you can see from the name, this is a gigabit switch – the faster kind- so it’ll allow you to get the most out of super-fast internet (given that you have it).
It has got eight ports, which makes it suitable for small offices, homes, and LAN gaming with your friends. As for the construction, the GS108 has a rugged metal case that can definitely withstand a drop, however, please don’t test it yourself.
Some people have complained that switch just stops working after months of use, so we’d advise you to look into this a bit further. Also, some have claimed that Netgear didn’t want to pay them the promised rebate.
Aside from these issues, there are very few negatives to the GS108. It’s cheap and straightforward to use, and if you like this, then feel free to go for this product.
- Simple to set up
- Sturdy construction
- Fast operation
- No PoE
- Rebate payment issues
In case you’re not chasing after speed, but you need a switch that can power other devices than take a look at TP-Link’s TL-SF1005P. Let’s see what this little guy can do.
This switch is small, it has only five ports, and that makes it suitable for tiny networks like the ones at homes or small offices. It is a PoE switch, meaning that it can power devices like access points or cameras via network cables, which is why most people buy it.
Only four of its ports are PoE, and the fifth one isn’t; we just wanted to point that out.
Like the previous model on the list, this is an unmanaged ethernet switch, which means that even your grandma can use it.
TL-SF1005P isn’t the fastest model out there, and it has no gigabit ports. The maximum speed it can reach is 100Mbps, and if your internet is faster than that, you go and find another switch.
The switch’s body is constructed of solid metal, so it isn’t prone to damage. Also, its price is more than acceptable, so it can be an ideal choice for shoppers on a budget.
All in all, those in need of a small ethernet switch will probably be happy with this one.
- Includes four PoE ports
- Well-constructed and sturdy
- Unmanaged, simple to use
- Not very fast (no gigabit ports)
Folks who need something with a large capacity yet easy to operate have to check out this review. Meet TP-Link’s TL-SG1015, a big ethernet switch that’ll provide you with (almost) everything you want out of such a product.
TL-SG1016 is a 16-port model that’s able to handle anything you throw at it. We’re talking about the speed, of course, as this is a gigabit switch with a capacity of 32Gbps.
The people over at TP-Link are thinking green, so this product uses very little power and thus leaves a tiny carbon footprint.
Just like the last two products on our list, this too is an unmanaged model, and its plug-and-play design makes installation a breeze.
Now, there is one thing regarding its construction that some people don’t like.
Namely, the power connection is in the back, while network connections are in the front, so your cables will be sticking out on both sides. Placement can be awkward because of this, and the lack of rack-mount hardware makes things even more complicated.
On the bright side, the switch operates nearly flawlessly, and it is sold at a very good price. The customer support isn’t TP-Link’s strong side, so keep this in mind when purchasing.
- Gigabit speed
- Great for offices
- Simple installation
- Reasonable price
- Power and network connections on opposite sides
- No rack/mount hardware
- No PoE
No matter if you’re a gamer or you wish to connect a few devices together, Linksys has a product that might interest you. SE3008 is an ethernet switch that has been gaining a lot of popularity lately, so let’s see what makes it so good.
At first glance, this model looks very plain, but when you take a closer look, well, it’s still very plain. However, don’t take this as a bad thing; this is an excellent ethernet switch.
It houses eight ports with no PoE, which kind of sucks, but what can you do about it? It’s a gigabit model, and each port is able to conduct up to 1000 Mbps of traffic, which is really something.
It’s relatively small, it has an elegant design, so you can place it on your desk, just be sure to leave some extra space around it because it tends to heat up.
The other placement option would be to mount it on a wall. Some customers claim that they never received the mounting equipment, so you might want to see what’s up with that.
As for the other characteristics, SE3008 has all that good stuff like QoS, stable operation, and plug-and-play. On top of this, it is a surprisingly cheap product!
- Metal casing
- Plug-and-play design
- Gigabit speed
- Heats up
- Mounting equipment missing from some packages
Last but not least, here’s somewhat of a special switch. Netgear’s Nighthawk S8000 is made specifically for gaming purposes, and many folks seem to like it.
The switch includes ten ports, eight of which are standard gigabit ports, and two which are multi-gig. The latter means that their speed reaches up to 10Gbps.
Also, the eight ports can be used for link aggregation, which means that you can join more ports into one and thus increase speed.
Besides its speed, what makes S8000 particularly good for gamers?
Well, features such as QoS and IMGP improve multimedia traffic, meaning that all the visuals and sound will run smoothly. Another component, called the L2 switch, prioritizes voice and video streaming, which makes the gaming experience much more pleasurable.
The switch has a different-colored LED light for each port, making it easy to differentiate them. A characteristic that’s praised a lot is the silent operation, so your gaming experience won’t be hindered by annoying noise.
Now, the thing that throws off most buyers is the price. This switch is several times more expensive than some of the leading models on the market, and some people say that it’s not worth all that money.
- Gigabit speed including link aggregation
- Many features for improved gaming
- Unique design
- Very expensive
Slowly but surely, we’ve come to the end of today’s article. Now, all that’s left for us to do is tell you which products we liked the most.
Let’s begin with our top pick, Netgear GS108. We love this model because of its simplicity and reliability. It has an amazing performance, it’s super-easy to set up, and costs no more than a few cups of coffee.
The runner-up is the TP-Link TL-SF1005P PoE switch, which is a small and basic device. It’ll serve anyone who needs to power other devices through it and should last a long time.
The third-place belongs to TP-Link TL-SG1016, a 16-port model that’s ideal for fast file transfers in offices, as it packs a lot of speed.
That’ll be all for today, folks. Until next time – stay connected!