As the demand for faster and more reliable connectivity grows, investing in the right network switch becomes crucial for businesses of all sizes.
Network switches play a vital role in managing and directing data traffic in a local area network (LAN). A good quality network switch ensures a stable, efficient and high-speed connection.
Here are our picks for the top network switches in 2023:
Top Network Switch Comparison
In this comparison table, we’ve focused on the key features and capabilities of each network switch, ensuring you have a clear picture of their differences and unique selling points.
|Switch||Unmanaged||Gigabit Ports||PoE Support||Energy Efficient||Fanless Design||Warranty|
|NETGEAR GS108||Yes||8||No||Yes||Yes||3 years|
|TP-Link 16-Port||Yes||0||No||Yes||Yes||Lifetime (for metal case design)|
|Amcrest Gigabit Uplink 9-Port Poe+ Ethernet Switch||No||9||Yes||Yes||No||1 year|
|TRENDnet Long Range PoE+ Switch||Yes||8||Yes||Yes||Yes||Lifetime|
|D-Link DGS-1100-08P||No||8||Yes||Yes||Yes||Limited lifetime|
|NETGEAR JGS524||Yes||24||No||Yes||Yes||Limited lifetime|
|Zyxel MG-108||Yes||8||No||Yes||Yes||Varies with region|
NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS108)
Best for small businesses
The NETGEAR GS108 is an excellent choice for small businesses seeking a straightforward, plug-and-play solution to expand their network connectivity. This compact, 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch is designed for easy installation, ensuring minimal disruption to your network operations. Its robust metal housing and compact design make it suitable for tight spaces, like desktops or wall-mounted setups.
One-time purchase of $44.99.
- 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports for high-speed connections.
- Easy installation and cable management.
- Non-blocking architecture to ensure maximum throughput.
- Energy-efficient design with features like auto power-down and short cable detection.
- Compact and sturdy metal build for durability and space-saving.
- Easy to set up and use with plug-and-play functionality.
- Silent operation, thanks to the fanless design.
- 3-year warranty, providing peace of mind and long-term support.
- No advanced management features, limiting the ability to customize network settings.
- Limited port count for larger networks, which may require a more extensive switch or multiple switches.
TP-Link 16-Port Fast Ethernet Unmanaged Switch
Best for affordability
The TP-Link 16-Port Fast Ethernet Unmanaged Switch is a budget-friendly option for businesses that require a reliable network switch without stretching their budget. This affordable switch is ideal for small to medium-sized networks that need a balance between cost and performance. The plug-and-play installation makes it suitable for those with limited networking knowledge, while the fanless design ensures quiet operation, making it a perfect choice for office environments.
The product is sold primarily through Amazon, and the price varies based on market conditions, but as of writing it started at $39.58.
- 16 Fast Ethernet ports for versatile connectivity.
- IEEE 802.3x low control support for optimal speed and duplex mode.
- Plug-and-play installation, with no configuration required.
- Fanless design for silent operation and reduced energy consumption.
- Highly affordable pricing.
- Easy setup with no configuration needed.
- Quiet operation, suitable for office environments.
- Compact design for easy placement.
- Limited to Fast Ethernet speeds (100 Mbps).
- No advanced management features.
Amcrest Gigabit Uplink 9-Port Poe+ Ethernet Switch
Best for IP surveillance
The Amcrest Gigabit Uplink 9-Port Poe+ Ethernet Switch is specifically designed for IP surveillance systems, providing seamless integration with IP cameras, network video recorders (NVRs), and other Power over Ethernet (PoE)-enabled devices. With 8 PoE+ ports and a dedicated Gigabit uplink port, this switch ensures reliable power delivery and high-speed data transmission for your security infrastructure.
Available direct from Amcrest for $64.99.
- 8 PoE+ ports with 96W total power budget.
- 1 Gigabit uplink port.
- Plug-and-play installation.
- IEEE 802.3af/at compliant.
- LED indicators for power and PoE status.
- Optimized for IP surveillance systems.
- Supports up to 30W per PoE+ port.
- Robust metal housing for durability.
- Compact design for easy installation.
- Lacks advanced management features.
- Its build is quite bulky.
TRENDnet 8-Port Gigabit Long Range PoE+ Switch
Best for long-range connectivity
TRENDnet’s 8-Port Gigabit Long Range PoE+ Switch is designed to cater to businesses that require long-range connectivity without compromising on performance. This switch is ideal for organizations with large facilities, such as warehouses, campuses, or multiple buildings where devices need to be connected at distances greater than the standard 100-meter Ethernet limit.
Available from a variety of retailers starting at $94.99.
- 8 Gigabit PoE+ ports.
- Long-range support up to 656 ft (200m).
- 65W total PoE budget.
- Durable metal housing.
- Plug-and-play installation.
- Extended PoE range for large facilities.
- Supports high-speed Gigabit connectivity.
- Sturdy build quality.
- Fanless design for silent operation.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Higher price compared to some competitors.
- Limited port count for larger networks.
D-Link 8-Port EasySmart Gigabit Ethernet PoE Switch (DGS-1100-08P)
Best for energy efficiency
The D-Link DGS-1100-08P EasySmart Gigabit Ethernet PoE Switch is a perfect choice for businesses that prioritize energy efficiency without compromising on performance. This switch comes with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, four of which support PoE, making it ideal for powering devices like IP cameras, VoIP phones, and wireless access points without the need for separate power supplies.
- 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- PoE-enabled ports with a total budget of 64W.
- Energy-efficient design with IEEE 802.3az support.
- VLAN, QoS, and bandwidth control features.
- Web-based management interface.
- D-Link Green energy-saving capabilities.
- PoE support for powering devices.
- Easy-to-use management interface.
- Compact and fanless design for silent operation.
- Limited PoE budget for larger PoE deployments.
- May require some networking knowledge to fully utilize advanced features.
NETGEAR 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (JGS524)
Best for scalability
The NETGEAR JGS524 is an excellent choice for medium-sized businesses requiring a higher port count and fast connectivity. With 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports, this unmanaged switch is designed to handle more devices, making it perfect for businesses with growing network needs. The JGS524 is also easy to install, ensuring seamless integration into your existing network infrastructure.
Currently retailing for $119.99—or you can reach out to the company directly to discuss bulk purchase options.
- 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- Plug-and-play installation.
- Auto-sensing ports for optimal speed.
- Energy-efficient technology.
- High port count for larger networks.
- Reliable performance.
- Silent operation due to fanless design.
- Rack-mountable for better organization.
- Limited ability to customize network settings.
- May be overkill for smaller networks.
Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Switch
Best for high-speed performance
The Zyxel MG-108 Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Switch is an excellent choice for businesses that require high-speed network performance and seamless data transfers. With eight multi-gigabit ports, this switch provides ultra-fast connectivity, making it ideal for demanding applications such as 4K video streaming, large file transfers, and virtualization.
Price varies by vendor and market conditions, but typically starts around $170.
- 8 Multi-Gigabit Ethernet ports.
- Auto-negotiation support for optimal performance.
- Quality of Service (QoS) for traffic prioritization.
- Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping to optimize multicast traffic.
- Sturdy metal housing for durability.
- High-speed performance for demanding applications.
- Plug-and-play setup for easy installation.
- Energy-efficient design.
- Durable build for long-lasting use.
- Higher price point compared to some other switches.
- May be overkill for smaller networks with less demanding requirements.
Key features of network switches
When selecting a network switch, it’s essential to consider the key features that will best suit your business requirements. Some of the most important features to look for when choosing a network switch include number and quality of Ethernet ports, PoE, energy efficiency, QoS, and whether they are managed or unmanaged switches.
Gigabit Ethernet ports offer faster speeds compared to Fast Ethernet ports. These high-speed ports are essential for businesses that require fast data transfers and reduced latency for applications such as VoIP, videoconferencing, and large file transfers.
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
PoE allows the network switch to provide power to connected devices, such as IP cameras, access points, and VoIP phones, through the same Ethernet cable used for data transmission. This eliminates the need for additional power cables and makes it easier to deploy and manage your devices.
Managed vs. unmanaged switches
Managed switches offer advanced configuration options, allowing you to control various aspects of network traffic and performance. These switches are ideal for businesses that need granular control over their network, whereas unmanaged switches provide a simpler, plug-and-play solution for smaller networks or those with basic requirements.
Energy-efficient network switches help to reduce power consumption by adjusting power usage based on the network load and cable length. This feature is not only environmentally friendly but can also contribute to reducing your business’s operating costs.
Port density refers to the number of available ports on the network switch. It’s crucial to choose a switch with enough ports to accommodate your current devices and any anticipated future growth.
Quality of service (QoS)
QoS features enable prioritization of specific network traffic types, ensuring that high-priority applications receive the necessary bandwidth for optimal performance. This is particularly important for businesses relying on VoIP, videoconferencing, or other latency-sensitive applications.
Benefits of working with network switches
Network switches play a crucial role in modern enterprise networks, providing numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes. Some of the most notable advantages include improved performance, scalability, segmentation, security, and energy efficiency.
Improved network performance
Network switches use advanced technologies such as store-and-forward, cut-through switching, and packet filtering to optimize data transmission and reduce latency. By intelligently directing traffic between devices within a LAN, switches help to ensure a smooth and efficient network operation.
Network switches offer scalability, allowing businesses to expand their networks with ease. Many switches come with multiple ports that enable the addition of devices, accommodating business growth and increasing network demands.
Switches provide the option to create virtual LANs (VLANs), enabling network administrators to segment the network into smaller, more manageable units. This feature helps enhance security, control traffic flow and minimize congestion by restricting communication between segments.
Many network switches offer QoS management capabilities, allowing administrators to prioritize specific types of traffic, such as voice or video, over less time-sensitive data. This feature helps maintain consistent performance for critical applications and ensures a better user experience.
Network switches often come with built-in security features like port-based access control and advanced VLAN configurations, enabling businesses to protect their networks from unauthorized access and potential threats.
Modern network switches are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Features like Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE) and Green Ethernet technology help to reduce power consumption by automatically adjusting the power usage based on network activity and cable length.
Many switches offer advanced management features, enabling network administrators to monitor and control the entire network from a central location. This centralized management simplifies network maintenance and troubleshooting, reducing downtime and boosting productivity.
How do I choose the best network switches for my business?
Choosing the best network switch for your business is crucial to ensure efficient network management, reliable connectivity, and overall improved performance. When making a decision, consider your business needs and budget against types of network switches, performance and speed, and any additional features you need.
Understand your business needs
Take into account the size of your network, the number of devices you need to connect and the level of traffic your network experiences. For small businesses or home offices, an 8- or 16-port unmanaged switch may be sufficient. However, larger businesses or networks with higher traffic may require a more robust solution with a higher port count and advanced management features.
Consider the type of network switch
There are three main types of network switches: unmanaged, managed, and smart (or semi-managed) switches. Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play devices that don’t offer any advanced management features, making them suitable for small networks. Managed switches provide advanced features like VLANs, QoS, and network monitoring, making them suitable for larger networks or those requiring high levels of control. Smart switches offer a middle ground between the two, with some advanced features but at a lower cost than managed switches.
Evaluate performance and speed
Choose a switch that offers sufficient speed and performance to meet your network’s requirements. For most businesses, a Gigabit Ethernet switch will be sufficient, providing fast connectivity for all connected devices. However, if your network requires higher speeds or more advanced features, consider a Multi-Gigabit or even a 10-Gigabit switch.
Assess additional features
Depending on your network requirements, you might need specific features such as PoE, which allows you to power devices like IP cameras or access points through the network cable. Also, consider switches with energy-efficient designs and features such as EEE or Green Ethernet, which can help reduce power consumption and overall operational costs.
Determine your budget
Lastly, determine your budget and consider the long-term costs of ownership. While some switches may be more expensive upfront, they may offer advanced features or better performance that can save you money and time in the long run. Additionally, keep in mind that the prices of these switches listed in this article may vary depending on the seller and location.
By considering these factors and reviewing the top network switches we’ve recommended, you can make an informed decision and choose the best network switch to meet your business’s specific needs and requirements.
Our methodology for choosing the best network switches for 2023 involved evaluating each switch based on performance, features, pricing, ease of use, customer reviews, expert opinions, variety of use cases and market reputation. This comprehensive approach allowed us to present an unbiased comparison of top network switches, ensuring that you can make informed decisions based on your specific requirements and preferences.
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