Best Network Switch 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Will Barinas
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A network switch is a device that is used to expand a wired Ethernet local area network. It is a networking device that connects wired devices (the nodes).

Network switches are also referred to as Ethernet switches.

An Ethernet switch is a multiport bridge that uses MAC addresses to forward network traffic. Switches are the most commonly used network switch that is widely available.

The use of Ethernet switches has gained popularity in recent times as most industries use Ethernet interfaces for their networking systems and equipment. Ethernet switches make things easier and more simple and cost-effective.

NameCategoryProduct
TP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet SwitchBest OverallTP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet Switch
NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged SwitchBudget PickNETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch
Ubiquiti UniFi SwitchUpgrade PickUbiquiti UniFi Switch

Our rating: 9 / 10

TP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet Switch

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Pros:

  • Sturdy Network Splitter
  • Superior Resistance to EMI
  • No External Power Required
  • Cost-effective 5-Port Ethernet Switch
  • Power Mode for QoS Applications
  • Plastic Housing for Better Heat Dissipation
  • Easy Switch Management
  • Rackmount Installation for More Application
  • No Fans or Ventilation Holes

Cons:

  • Short Cables
  • Cables can’t be swapped.
  • No (Ethernet) LEDs
  • Five fixed 10/100M Ethernet ports
  • No Gigabit Ethernet support

Dealing with devices that connect to a network via an Ethernet port isn’t as simple as it used to be. There are Ethernet hubs to connect wired PCs with other Ethernet devices, there are WiFi routers for wireless communication, and then there are Ethernet switches to connect other Ethernet devices.

Surprisingly, Ethernet switches are the most complex of the three. WiFi routers are trivial; an Ethernet switch can be simply a part of a network, with no special functions, or it could act as an intelligent device by implementing control logic that handles the communication of all devices in a network.

Read more about the TP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet Switch

2. Cisco SG112-24 Desktop Switch

Our rating: 9 / 10

Cisco SG112-24 Desktop Switch

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Pros:

  • High-speed data transfer is guaranteed
  • Boosts network performance
  • 24 Gigabit ports to support high-performance devices

There are a lot of network switches in the market, but there is one product that is considered to be a champion among all the rest. That product is the Cisco SG112-24-NA.

The Cisco SG112-24 is considered as the best network switch for its elegant yet incredibly functional design. As a digital hub, they specialize in network connectivity. Whether establishing wired or wireless networks, the Cisco SG112-24-NA switches are perfect for all the systems that require dependable data transfer.

This data transfer is done through its 24 GbE ports that support data rates of up to 10 GbE full duplex and that transfers more data while offering a lower latency.

Read more about the Cisco SG112-24 Desktop Switch

3. TRENDnet 16-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch

Our rating: 9 / 10

TRENDnet 16-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch

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Pros:

  • Powerful big switch
  • Adjustable speed is helpful
  • Strong transmission power
  • 2 USB ports for connecting printers, external storage devices

Cons:

  • Printer sharing is not good
  • Many PCs sharing more than 1 printer

If you need to share your printer with your computer, be sure to set your Mac as the local printer.

A network switch is an essential network device, and this is the most appropriate one if you are looking for a switch that can be used in a high-usage location, such as a computer center or internet cafe. Its top-of-the-line performance is perfect for most types of businesses, allowing for incredible levels of connectivity. Plus, its ability to handle very demanding work environments is extraordinary.

For user-friendliness, this switch offers a particular kind of port that can be plugged directly into each of the computers in the area, which are then linked together. Each of the ports on the switch is then labeled with a number in order to avoid any confusion that might come when plugging in a new computer into the line. And thanks to the fast gigabit Ethernet transfer speeds, no lag time will come when something is moved from one computer to another.

Read more about the TRENDnet 16-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Metal Switch

4. Ubiquiti UniFi Switch

Our rating: 8 / 10

Ubiquiti UniFi Switch

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Pros:

  • Super long life-span: The UniFi Switch is the brainchild of Ubiquiti Networks famous for its revolutionary and long-lasting products and services. The UniFi is built with a design that will last for years.
  • Great investment: The UniFi Switch is built to provide extreme performance, efficiency, and intelligence within the network. You can expect it to outperform and outlast legacy enterprise technology.
  • Plenty of ports: The Unifi Switch is designed for use in situations when you need a lot of ports. It is available in 24-port, 16-port, 8-port, and 48-port versions.
  • Great management software: The Ubiquiti Unifi Switch comes with an intuitive software interface. You can easily manage the device from a mobile device, desktop computer, or a cloud-based Web interface.
  • Fast and simple installation: Installing the Ubiquiti UniFi switch is easy. The device requires minimal configuration. Plus, it comes with guided, step-by-step instructions.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for advance users: The Ubiquiti Unifi switch is not ideal for advanced users. They will not be able to achieve the level of customization they need.
  • Expensive: Compared to other network switches, the Ubiquiti Unifi is pricier. It also has fewer features.

Read more about the Ubiquiti UniFi Switch

Our rating: 8 / 10

D-Link 10 Port Smart Managed Layer 2+ Gigabit Ethernet Switch

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Pros:

  • One-touch setup process
  • Great for managing multiple devices
  • Auto-sensing ports
  • Integrated power surge protection
  • LED display for configuration
  • Quality construction
  • Great for business environments

This model is ideal for the average home office or small business. It is a 10 port switch designed for more complex networks with a total of 10 auto-sensing Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The construction of the DGS-1210 series represents the next level in D-Link’s long-term commitment to the highest standard of quality and performance. The DGS-1210 series comes with a wide variety of features and is fully supported by D-Link’s award-winning 24×7 technical support.

The D-Link DGS-1210 10-Port Smart Switch is true plug-and-play networking. It is easy to set up and comes with all the features that the average user could ever need for wired networking. It is ideal fo the average home office or small business.

Read more about the D-Link 10 Port Smart Managed Layer 2+ Gigabit Ethernet Switch

6. NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch

Our rating: 7 / 10

NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch

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24x Gigabit Ports, 1000Mbps.

Read more about the NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best network switch to buy?

The best network switch for your home depends on the number of computers/devices, the amount of bandwidth you need, and how much you can afford to spend.

For example, a 5 port network switch is good to connect 5 computers/devices. If you have more than 5 computers/devices, then a network switch with a higher number of ports would be needed.

However, a network switch with a higher number of ports isn’t necessarily the most economical choice. For example, a network switch with a 16 port feature will cost more than a network switch with a 24 port feature.

If you need more than 25 Mbps port speed to enable your multiple users to surf the Internet, then you need to buy a switch with no less than 25 Mbps.

A network switch is needed if you want two network cables to be used from one network card.

What is the best managed switch?

A managed switch is a switch that can be configured from a remote location through a computer interface. This interface can be web-based, and works as a control panel for the switch, allowing the user access to its settings, statistics, and other menus.

Managed switches have additional features which allow you to optimize network performance by making sure that you have enough network capacity for your network traffic and that you have the best routing of data throughout your network. Most of the time, managed switches are designed to automatically optimize settings using a variety of methods, including thresholds you can set for determining whether your network is saturated with traffic.

Managed switches are great for people who want to have a network configuration that is easier to maintain, and who want to get out of performing any network administration themselves.

Which network switches do I need?

The term “switch” does not refer to a specific device. It is actually commonly used as a term to designate the hardware used in a computer network.

What you need to decide first is what you are going to use the switch for. If you’re just going to be connecting a few computer’s, then the simplest and most cost-effective solution is a simple hub.

This will connect all your computer’s to each other. But, it won’t get you any additional functions.

As you grow, you can always upgrade to a switch later on for cheap. You can also go ahead and get a single or dual switch depending on your needs. For more details, read the next section.

What is the best 8 port Gigabit Switch?

Well, this really depends on how many NICs you need to connect. For the most basicoffice network, a 4-port Gigabit switch would be sufficient. But if you have more computers to connect, it would be best to get an 8-port.

Conclusion

Testing switches can be as tricky as testing routers, especially for things like managing ports. Switches do many of the same things that routers do, like filtering traffic and utilizing VLANs, but their user interfaces are significantly different. So while hardware specs can tell you how many ports the router has, or bandwidth on a switch port, these tests require a little more "specific" testing.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
TP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet SwitchBest OverallTP-Link 5 Port 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet Switch
NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged SwitchBudget PickNETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch
Ubiquiti UniFi SwitchUpgrade PickUbiquiti UniFi Switch