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An ethernet switch is a great investment if you’re looking to expand the digital network in your home or small office. They are not expensive and provide far more efficient and faster transfer of data from your router/modem to your devices than Wi-Fi.
Buying an Ethernet switching can be daunting because they are so extensively used. From small home networks all the way to giant networking corporations, you’ll find ethernet switches everywhere.
Best Ethernet Switch Reviewed
Ethernet switches come in all shapes and sizes. During your search for the best kind on the ethernet, you’ll come across some crazy complex switches that offer 24 to 48 ports and an insane amount of speeds.
These switches are large, heavy, and cost a ton, even when they are unmanaged switches. They’re not designed for home use and are instead utilized by large corporate offices or networking organizations.
For your home and small office needs, you need a simple unmanaged switch. We’ve reviewed the 5 best-unmanaged ethernet switches for home use you can currently buy.
Our Top Pick
If you’re looking for the best ethernet switch for home or small office use, there isn’t one that can top the Nighthawk S8000.
When it comes to ethernet switches for homes and offices, there’s not much you can do better than this Netgear switch. Designed with gamers in mind, this switch was built to perform. It provides speeds of up to a Gigabit for each of its 8 ports, with a total switching capacity of 16Gbps.
The design of the switch takes inspiration from most edgy and sleek modern gaming gadgets. Like in true gamer gear fashion, the powerful ethernet switch is designed to be plugged in and played without any setup.
Inside, this ethernet switch uses several different techniques to give you extremely low latency perform. The switch is capable of adjusting traffic flow according to the device connected to it, conserving energy and greatly improving the performance. There is individual traffic prioritization at 3 different levels, and it works incredibly well.
The user interface of the Nighthawk is easy and mobile-friendly. It also includes a one-click configuration made specifically for gaming and streaming. In addition to these rudimentary options, you can also add your own custom configurations if you want to.
For home use, the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 is an expensive product. However, gamers looking to maximize their potential and individuals who have an elaborate home network setup will greatly benefit from this switch’s incredible performance and low latency.
- Incredible performance
- Easy to set up
- Great bandwidth
- Light weight can be problematic when all ethernet ports are used
Best Budget Buy
High-Speed 16-Port network switch in a very affordable range, perfect for small offices and has all the functionality of a high-end Ethernet switch. Undoubtedly a great deal for the most affordable price tag.
The TP-Link 16-Port Fast Ethernet Unmanaged Switch TL-SF1016D0 is a state of the art network switch that gives you amazingly fast network speeds that has a Non-blocking switching architecture. This means that this device does not block any packets and forwards them after filtering at full-speed.
This model comes without a fan, meaning it will not disturb the work environment with constant noise, making it ideal for any work environment. It is an unmanaged gigabit switch that provides 3.2 GBPS switching speed, meaning that this device all-though is super modern, does not require any configuration or software installation. You can just plug it in and start using it without any problems. Quite simple isn’t it?
It also has a 9K frame that ensures large data transfer at super-fast speeds. It costs less than $50 dollars which makes it the best choice for this category because while it is cheap it does not cut down on quality features.
- Great value
- Easy to set up
- No POE
CISCO is not a new name when it comes to networking, in fact, CISCO is one of the biggest names in networking today. Their products are the best of the line since the whole company was founded on the basis of networking. The 16-Port Gigabit Switch SG11016NA by CISCO Systems is a really sweet piece of networking technology.
The 16-Port comes with the configuration for the Ethernet of 10 to 1000 Gigabit, meaning you can configure it and set a limit to it as you wish. This also makes the 16-Port Gigabit Switch SG11016NA by CISCO Systems of the fastest gigabit switch available for purchase.
It has 16 ports to connect your systems together and to the internet, which makes this device ideal for small offices and home-based start-ups. It is also one of the best switches for home network to connect all your devices together, whether it is a TV, camera, consoles and desktop computers.
It has a metal built that is strong and makes this switch durable. With the built it has, it is meant to survive for a lifetime. Not to mention if you do end up having issues with the SG11016NA CISCO Systems switch though, you still have a limited lifetime warranty. You also get a year’s worth of technical support with the Ethernet switch.
Best of all this device does not require you to install any particular software to use the internet, nor does it require any configuration other than the standard internet one. It does not have a fan which makes it really silent for keeping a noise-free work environment.
It comes with some of the best features like QoS, loop detection and cable diagnostics to improve your network functionality. CISCO by far is one of the best Ethernet switch brands available for purchase.
- Great value
- Good build quality
- Easy to set up
- None so far
If you’re looking for an 8 port router that does a bit more than what the above TP-Link model offers, the Netgear ProSafe GS208 is an excellent choice because of its versatility. This is an unmanaged Ethernet switch that allows for flexible configurations with auto MDI/MDIX to eliminate the need for crossover cables.
The total maximum switching speed of the device is 16 Gbps, with a non-blocking architecture on all the ports to deliver maximum throughput across each one. The ports are also versatile because of their ability to auto-negotiate connections. This allows them to work at the fastest common speed for each of the devices connected to the ethernet switch.
Like most unmanaged Ethernet switches designed for homes and small offices, the NetGear ProSafe GS208 has a plug and play design that allows an individual to easily start utilizing the switch without hassle. You can buy the switch in a sturdy plastic design or a specialized metal casing. The latter is ideal if you plan to use most of the ports, as the heavier metallic chassis provides better stability.
This is a fanless ethernet switch with a very quiet operation that won’t distract anyone. It is also compliant with Energy Efficient Ethernet standards, limiting energy provided to any idle port.
- Very versatile ports
- Multiple housing options
- Easy to set up
- Power connector placement is awkward
The D-Link DGS-1008G is a no-nonsense ethernet switch with 8 ports and switching speeds of up to 16 Gbps. This is a straightforward switch that has front-facing ports with dual-LED indicator lights in front of them.
It comes with QoS features, which automatically organize and prioritize important data packets for efficient delivery to the connected devices. With this, you get smoother media streaming and improved online gaming experiences.
Additionally, the D-Link DGS-1008G comes with cable diagnostic functions that immediately isolate issues with pin connections of a specific cable. It then promptly troubleshoots the cable issues, if necessary.
D-Link adds its own Green Technology into this ethernet switch that allows it to reduce heat build-up and consume less energy. It also supports Energy-Efficient Ethernet which powers down idle ports to save energy. With this feature, it can also detect the length of each cable connected to the switch, ensuring only the necessary amount of energy is being sent to the cable.
- QoS Features
- Cable diagnostic function
- Easy to set up
- Light weight makes it flimsy when lots of cables are connected
Ethernet Switch Buyer’s Guide
For home and office use, an Ethernet switch that supports 10/100/1000 Mbps switching speeds will be adequate. If you have a switch with Full Duplex mode, it will be able to handle speeds of up to 2000 Mbps for each port.
Generally, you want your speeds to be well above what you will intend to use. Because of the very small difference in price between Gigabit and Fast Ethernet switches, we almost always recommend Gigabit ones that can handle speeds in the 1000s to be on the safe side. After all, you never know when you’ll upgrade your internet speeds.
Although switches don’t take up much power, they can be wasteful with bandwidth if the ports are not regulated. You want an ethernet switch that regulates its port in some form or manner. This means it reduces the power sent to an unused port or altogether switches it off.
Not all switches can manage cables, but several of them have special features that allow for the ethernet switch to adjust the power sent to the cable. Since ethernet cables are essentially a jumble of wires and pins, they have the tendency to break.
A break in a cable can lead to a lot of problems, and it’s not always easy to diagnose. Certain switches do the diagnosis for you and tell you if the ethernet cable needs replacement.
Versatility of Ports
The ports of an Ethernet switch should be versatile if you want to get more out of them. This means features like QoS (Quality of Service) to greatly improve the data transfer method, adequate speeds for each port, a high overall switching capacity, and more.
The chassis may seem like the most unimportant part of a switch, but it isn’t. A chassis made of plastic is lightweight, which means that if a large number of lengthy ethernet cables are connected to it, it will move around and topple if it is resting on a table.
Metallic chassis look old-school, but they provide better stability. Additionally, metal is a far better conductor of heat, so a switch with a metallic chassis won’t heat up.
What’s the difference between an Ethernet switch and a router?
A router is responsible for handling the internet connection with your modem or ISP, whereas a switch manages the location traffic coming from the router or modem.
Most modern routers have multiple ethernet ports that you can use instead of a switch. However, when that isn’t adequate or practical, an ethernet switch is utilized instead, allowing for more wired connections for your home network.
What about hubs – don’t they do the same thing as switches?
Hubs, as the name suggests, are a single junction with which all devices are connected. The major difference between hubs and switches is that the latter sort information before sending it. Hubs on the other hand send all information to all devices.
This makes the two quite different, and Ethernet switches are inherently better at making more efficient use of your bandwidth.
How can a switch improve performance over Wi-Fi?
Ethernet switches greatly improve performance because data transfer from the cable is far more efficient. Additionally, switches tend to “filter” bad packets in such a way that the data you received is streamlined, allowing for much faster and more efficient transfer.
For everyday use, Wi-Fi is adequate. However, if you’re a hardcore gamer, stream regularly, or tend to transfer large data, a wired connection through a switch will be much faster than speeds over Wi-Fi.
Should I buy a managed switch instead of an unmanaged one?
An unmanaged switch requires no tinkering or adjustments to set up, making them excellent for home and small offices use. We recommend sticking to unmanaged switches unless you’re an IT expert. The true power of managed switches is released in a more professional networking environment. They are also harder to set up. For regular purposes, an unmanaged switch is ideal.