The demand for Ethernet switches has grown tremendously in the past few years. If you are using a high-speed internet, this device is handy as it enhances the versatility and efficiency of a network. It is primarily used for handling the growing number of users on any given network.
Essentially, an Ethernet switch (aka network switch) acts as an ‘intelligent’ hub that connects various segments on a network and transmits the data where it must be received. Previously, this precision in data transmission was not achievable, and that is the reason why this switch is rather intelligent.
After numerous hours of internet research and personal experience, I have devised a list of best Ethernet switches for all domains (office, home, and gaming). It should be noted that a higher budget will, of course, get you a ‘state-of-the-art’ network switch, but you should find the one that offers the best value for your money.
Well, here are a few things that you must consider before buying an Ethernet switch for your home, office and gaming needs:
Managed or unmanaged
There are two types of Network switches; Managed and unmanaged. The managed switch can be programmed at a later instance depending on your requirements. However, an unmanaged switch cannot be programmed, and their functionality is hardwired for all users.
If you are looking to boost up the internet speed, it is crucial to select a good ethernet switch. For instance, a fast switch has the capability of handling speeds up to 100Mbps. If you want to reach a whole new level of speed, then I would recommend a gigabit Ethernet switch that could even handle 2000Mbps.
It determines the time taken by packets to be delivered and received. If your network speed is higher, you can download or upload more in a given time and vice versa.
Store and forward mode capability
There are two types of network switches which are named on the method they utilize for forwarding the packets. The first one is called a store and forward switch. It checks your packets for any possible errors, filters them and then forwards after minimizing the delay.
An alternative to this is a cut through a switch which is a compromise between speed and error checking capability.
Best Ethernet Switches 2017
Here is the list of top rated ethernet switches you can buy for home, gaming, office, and enterprise uses.
|Network Switch||Data transfer rate||Ports||Managed||Price|
|NETGEAR ProSAFE GS116||1000 Mbps||16||No||Check price|
|TP-Link TL-SF1005D||100 Mbps||5||No||Check price|
|Cisco SG200-26||1000 MB per second||26||Yes||Check price|
|Netgear GS308||1000 Mbps||8||No||Check price|
|Linksys SE3008||1000 MB per second||8||No||Check price|
|NETGEAR JGS524E||1000 Mbps||24||Yes||Check price|
|TP-Link TL-SG1016DE||1000 Mbps||16||Yes||Check price|
|Buffalo BS-GU2024||1000 Mbps||24||No||Check price|
|TRENDnet TPE-TG81g||2000 Mbps||8||No||Check price|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000||1000 Mbps||8||No||Check price|
|ZyXEL GS105SV2||2000 Mbps||5||No||Check price|
|Linksys SE1500||100 MB per second||5||No||Check price|
|NETGEAR GS348||1000 Mbps||48||No||Check price|
1. NETGEAR ProSAFE GS116 – 24 Ports Unmanaged Switch
NetGear has enjoyed the distinction of building hardware that tends to last a lifetime. This Gigabit Ethernet switch, having 5/8/16/24/ ports laced with auto-sensing capabilities. It is worth noticing that these ports allow up to ten times faster connection than a traditional fast Ethernet. Whether you desire to use it for home, office or gaming purpose, the plug and play connectivity allows seamless installation. Furthermore, ProSAFE GS116NA can integrate 10/100/1000 Mbps devices on the same network.
You can also buy the 8-ports PoE+ managed gigabit switch of the same model.
It is a robust hardware, and you must be skeptical about the energy consumption. Well, it’s quite friendly in that regard and consumes 60% less power. Probably the most alluring feature is that the device can detect cable length and adjust its power settings accordingly.
The compact design allows it to be used in all environments, displaying a sleek and stylish design. Fortunately, for such an excellent hardware, the price is under $100, and it is equipped with the power of 32GB bandwidth and 250KB buffer memory, together with the option of 8000 MAC entries.
However, apart from all these ‘satisfying’ features, it must be mentioned that the GS116NA does not come with any POE ports. Therefore, you need to have separate power supplies for each of your devices connected to the switch.
2. TP-Link TL-SF1005D – Cheap Switch for Home and Normal use
This unmanaged fast Ethernet unmanaged switch incorporates IEEE 902.3x flow control which enables it to transfer your packets more efficiently. It implies that if you need secure data transfer in office, this is one of the best Ethernet switches. To enhance the maximum throughput, the hardware comes with non-blocking switching architecture.
There are also 8/16/24 and even 48-port managed switches available from TP-Link. You can see different models of TP-Link including metal and fanless switch and pricing on Amazon.
It is using fanless design technology so you do not have to worry about the noise at all. Another fascinating feature is that the TL-SF1005D has Green Ethernet technology which enables this sleek desktop model to consume 68% less energy than the competitors.
It has the capability to auto-sense MAC addresses of all the network devices connected to it. Upon the detection of each MAC address, an LED indicator brightens up.
Even though it offers a lot of benefits for multi-purpose usage and offers plug and play functionality, there are a couple of issues that might force you to think another time. Firstly, a lot of users have reported high pitch noise from the device, regardless of the fact that the switch is fan-less. Secondly, it offers just five ports, and the speed is also lower (i.e., 100 Mbps) than some other devices.
3. Cisco SG200-26 – 26-Port Gigabit Managed Switch
Now, this is one of the smartest, efficient and most durable gigabit Ethernet switches in the industry. It has 24-ports, significantly reduces the downtime and all the functionality it possesses is quite suitable for supporting business applications. The SG200-26 enables you to control traffic by some of the advanced features including QoS, IPv6 support and Layer 3 static routing as well. Not only that, there is a pair of mini GBIC ports as well. So basically, you get 26 ports altogether! Amazing, right?
This particular model has an up to 50-port managed smart switch which is good for small businesses.
The User Interface and feasibility are yet another thing to praise in this model. It does not only offer browser-based tools, but the mass deployment capabilities make it a perfect all-in-one solution.
The incorporation of IEEE 802.1x port security ensures that you have full control over the network and possibility of a breach is always at its minimum. Its boosting data transfer rate of 1000 MBps makes it one of the prime choices for people demanding intense usage (i.e., 4K gaming and running resource demanding business applications).
It is worth mentioning that it supports 52Gbps of packet forwarding as well. However, there is no SSH access, and not all of the ports are POE.
4. Netgear GS308 – Plug-and-Play Premium Switch for Home
Here comes yet another gigabit Ethernet switch which offers a perfect solution for home networks. The device comes with eight autosensing ports with a capacity to integrate multiple hardware. In order to facilitate you for monitoring network speed and activity, each port has indicators in the form of LEDs. Moreover, if you want to connect multiple devices, such as laptop, printer or console, internet splitter gives you the option of extensive connectivity to your modem or router.
If you’re considering it for your office where no of users is more, you can buy the 24-port Gigabit rackmount switch.
This energy efficient networking switch has a forwarding rate of 100 Mbps with a non-blocking bandwidth of 1Gbps and data transfer rate of 1K Mbps. It should be noted that it supports the store and forward mode for forwarding.
In some of the cases, users have reported that since it is an unmanaged switch, it might not work well with latest gaming consoles concerning speed.
5. Linksys SE3008 – 8-Port Metallic Gigabit Switch
This eight-port gigabit network switch is laced with full-duplex and half-duplex, controlling flow and backpressure, respectively. IEEE 802.3x technology is also incorporated in this hardware to ensure an intelligent detection and broadcast. Moreover, its architecture favors nonhead-of-line blocking as well.
On a side note, there is also the 24-Port variant of the same model on Amazon which is suitable for larger networks such as Office, Hospitals, etc.
Here is something fascinating to notice. It does not only offer an overall energy efficient solution but can detect unused ports as well so you could turn them off. Furthermore, each of its ports can auto-detect MDI and MDI-X cables.
Since it is a gigabit switch, you could enjoy ten times faster connection than a regular Ethernet. Its auto-sensing ports have the ability to maximize your data flow rate for up to 1000 Mbps. The QoS traffic management feature does not only allow you to increase the number of connected devices at gigabit speeds, but it also prioritizes audio and video application to enhance streaming quality. Considering all these robust qualities, it is equally suitable for office and home usage.
6. NETGEAR JGS524E – 24-Port Gigabit Rackmount Managed Plus Switch
This is a darling hardware piece ever manufactured by NetGear. It’s a 24 port managed switch with a data transfer rate of 1000 Mbps. Crazy, right? Yes, this is one of the best Ethernet switches in my list which suits all environments equally.
In order to segment your traffic for utilizing the bandwidth more efficiently, VLAN also supports available. It is also laced with traffic prioritization functionality (QoS). Moreover, it also optimizes multicasting by providing IGMP snooping.
It is quite easily configurable and allows you to enjoy seamless usage even with the least technical knowledge required for configuration.
7. TP-Link TL-SG1016DE – 16-Port Gigabit Smart Network Switch
Here comes a mighty 16-port gigabit Ethernet switch which is powered with manageable features and is one of the best switches for efficient and instant file transfers. The presence of 10KB jumbo frames ensures that the large packets are transferred reliably over the network.
It also enables you to administer the network via port mirroring, cable diagnostic and loop prevention. If you want to send data to multiple users on the same network, IGMP snooping allows this practice pretty quickly. Furthermore, an array of VLAN features to ensure that traffic efficiency and network security is always at its maximum.
Latency-sensitive traffic is also optimized due to the incorporation of port and tag-based QoS. It should be noticed that even a ‘heavy’ device of this standard saves 40% of the power by innovative energy-efficient technology.
The TL-SG1016DE has an 8K MAC address table with a switch capacity of 32Gbps and data transfer rate of 1000 Mbps.
However, users have some objection with the outdated interface and poor throughput of this fan-less device.
8. Buffalo BS-GU2024 – 24 gigabit Ethernet ports
The Buffalo GU2024 is an unmanaged switch comprising of 24 ports and is fully compliant with 10/100/1000 IEEE Bases. It should be noted that its flow control follows IEEE 802.3x mechanism.
Whenever it detects a network loop, the port is shut down, and this is quite essential to halt or at least minimize network disruptions. It has a buffer memory of 512KB and uses store and forward switching method. Just like most of the network switches of its standard, BS-GU2024 comes with plug and play functionality.
Due to the presence of full-duplex operation, it offers a maximum switching capacity of up to 48 Gbps. Automatic energy conservation system ensures that this Ethernet switch never becomes heavy for your wallet. It’s a very affordable solution, especially for a business environment where low power consumption and simplicity are preferred.
9. TRENDnet TPE-TG81g – 16 Gbps switching capacity
Offering 16 Gbps of switching capacity with up to 75% energy saving, this is one of the best Ethernet switches ever manufactured by TRENDnet.
It contains 8-gigabit ports and offers a data transfer rate of 2000 Mbps, which is enough to compete with almost all the best switches falling under $200. Comprehensively, this switch consumes about 105W of power, and each port has a rating of 30W.
The two major disadvantages are that it supports a fewer number of MAC addresses (2K) and has a significantly lower buffer memory (96KB).
10. NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 – Best for Gaming & Streaming
If you ask me for my choice regarding the best gaming Ethernet switch, I won’t hesitate to mention this eight-port Gigabit network switch with a data transfer rate of 1000 Mbps.
When it comes to durability with stylish looks, Nighthawk S8000 pioneered the concept and introduced a soft touch base as well. If you are looking out for VR gaming and 4K media streaming, this is your best bet. It is worth mentioning that in order to take your gaming experience to a whole new level, it offers low latency as well.
Gaming requires numerous resources to be utilized on the network. Therefore, there are three different levels of traffic prioritization together with QoS management. All of this guarantees that the gamer enjoys an unforgettable experience.
Furthermore, the management of advanced features, such as port configurations, is offered in an optimized Graphical User Interface on the web.
Even though some of you might consider it an expensive device, but considering the versatility, I’d say it is very reasonably priced.
11. ZyXEL GS105SV2 – Cheaper option for Gamers
This five port gigabit Ethernet switch is very compact and quite affordable for gaming purpose. Again, just like the NightHawk S8000, this device offers traffic prioritization for up to 3 levels via QoS ports. It ensures that streaming and multimedia run smoothly at this blazing fast connection.
It offers a memory buffer of 128KB together with a MAC capacity of 2K addresses. Furthermore, it also supports a jumbo frame of 9KB, which is fine in this budget.
Last but not the least, the GS105SV2 is laced with Green Ethernet technology which aids in reducing the unnecessary power consumption.
Apart from all these features worthy of celebration in this budget, the number of ports is quite limited.
12. Linksys SE1500 – 10/100Mbps Desktop Switch
Let it be a computer, printer, scanner or console this desktop switch enables you to add up to 5 devices for expanding your network. Not only that, but it offers a data transfer rate of 100 MBps and is laced with auto-sensing technology. It also aids the switch in saving an enormous amount of power.
Due to the availability of QoS traffic prioritization, you will always enjoy an astonishing performance.
However, it is worth mentioning that this device does not offer gigabit-speed capacity and it also entertains an insufficient number of ports. Therefore, it is only good for a restricted network, requiring a general boost to its speed.
13. NETGEAR GS348 – 48-port business essentials switch
It is safe to declare it the 48 port giant of NETGEAR. Trust me; even the engineers would have enjoyed designing and building this remarkable gigabit Ethernet switch.
Even though it is a very sophisticated and robust device, the plug and play functionality is there. So even if you lack technical skills to configure an Ethernet switch, you won’t face any problem. Just imagine connecting a bunch of 48 devices (up to 1000 Mbps per port) to your switch.
Moreover, each port has a dedicated LED which identifies an issue in the port activity. It is not only crucial for maintaining a throttling speed, but it also plays a vital part in making your switch more power efficient. This unmanaged and fan-less device offers a switching speed of 96GBps.
The most definite disadvantage is that the device is a bit heavy and is quite expensive for regular home usage.
Well, the technology is evolving every second day, and the needs are emerging too. Therefore, this Ethernet switches review mentions many devices that could be used for an array of purposes.
However, if you seek an Ethernet switch specifically for gaming use, then I’d certainly recommend NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000, which offers all the lavishness required by an enthusiastic gamer. But if that is not your foremost requirement and you need a product for office and commercial use, then, of course, nothing comes close to NETGEAR GS348, which supports up to 48 devices and is quite versatile as well.
Furthermore, if you require a very economical yet comprehensive solution for home, then you should consider Netgear GS308. Although it might not work perfectly for gaming purpose.