#1
Gigabit SwitchNETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch (GS808E)
Ethernet Ports8
Switching Capacity16 Gbps
Rating4.6/5
Price$$$$
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#2
Gigabit SwitchTP-Link® 24-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (TL-SG1024)
Ethernet Ports24
Switching Capacity48 Gbps
Rating4.5/5
Price$$$$
 Get it on AmazonBuy Now
#3
Gigabit SwitchTP-Link 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch (TL-SG108)
Ethernet Ports8
Switching Capacity16 Gbps
Rating4.5/5
Price$$
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#4
Gigabit SwitchTP-Link 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit Desktop Switch (TL-SG1005D)
Ethernet Ports5
Switching Capacity16 Gbps
Rating4.6/5
Price$
 Get it on AmazonBuy Now

Data effective 6/11/2017

If you’re looking for advice on gigabit switches, we’re here to give some recommendations and a little context around what you might need. If you’re not sure what gigabit switches are, what their specs mean, or how they differ from routers, you can jump ahead to that information by clicking here.

If you’re not getting enough speed for how you use the internet, enter your zip below to find a faster internet service in your area.

The Top 5 Gigabit Ethernet Switches

Specs

  • Great for lag-free gaming
  • Durable, zinc-alloy housing
  • Soft-touch, no-slip base
  • Bandwidth of 16 Gbps
  • Three levels of network traffic prioritization and QoS management
  • Advanced L2 switch networking features
  • 6″ x 7″ x 1.1″
  • 1.65 pounds

Choose the Netgear GS808E for smooth gaming and streaming across your network. You’ll have to spend a little more for it than you would for other 8-port switches, but it’s worth the extra money if you enjoy lag-free gaming.

The GS808E comes pre-configured for both gaming and streaming, making it an easy plug-and-play setup. Combine that with low-latency ports and three levels of traffic prioritization and this switch becomes the perfect choice for gamers—especially if you like Virtual Reality (VR) gaming.

The GS808E has a mobile-friendly interface that makes it easy to access if you need to change settings for any reason. It also has a sleek design that will look good on your desktop.

For a quick-and-easy solution to setting up a local network, especially for gaming, you can’t go wrong with the combination of power and ease of use you’ll get from the NETGEAR GS808E.

Specs

  • Great for large home networks with lots of devices
  • Standard 19-inch, rack-mountable steel case
  • 48 Gbps switching capacity
  • 8K MAC address table
  • 10 KB jumbo frame
  • 4 MB buffer memory
  • 100% data-filtering rate
  • MAC address with auto-learning and auto-aging
  • Port NWay auto-negotiation
  • 100-240V power supply
  • 1.7″ x 7.1″ x 17.3″
  • 2 pounds

If you need a high-quality switch with a lot of ports, make the TP-Link TL-SG1024 your choice. The TL-SG1024 may cost twice as much as some of the other routers we recommend, but it delivers three times the capacity. It can handle large home networks with 24 Ethernet ports, and its 48 Gbps switching capacity keeps all your connections fast and efficient.

This switch is easy to set up—just connect your devices and plug it in. The TL-SG1024 automatically adjusts to the speed needed for each port. It also uses up to 40% less power than other switches of this caliber by utilizing Green TP-Link® Technology.

The TL-SG1024 was designed to switch traffic on large networks with a lot of connections and to be mounted on a rack with other heavy-duty equipment. Don’t worry if you don’t have a rack—the switch will still function, even if it just sits on your desktop. It just may not look as pretty.

Know that unless you’re connecting around ten or more devices directly to this switch with Ethernet cables, the TL-SG1024 is probably more capacity than you need. But if you need a reliable switch with a lot of capacity, this is the switch you want.

Specs

  • Great as a low-cost option for typical home networks
  • IEEE 802.3x flow control
  • Full-duplex mode and half-duplex mode
  • Non-blocking switching architecture
  • 16 Gbps switching capacity
  • 8K MAC address table
  • 12 KB jumbo frame
  • 2 MB buffer memory
  • Auto-MDI/MDIX
  • MAC address auto-learning and auto-aging
  • Smart integration between 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, and 1,000 Mbps devices
  • 100-240V power supply
  • 6.2″ x 3.9″ x 1″
  • 1 pound

The TP-Link TL-SG108 is essentially a smaller version of the TL-SG1024. It’s not quite as fast and can’t handle as many connections, but it’s more suited for the needs of the typical consumer. Choose the TL-SG108 for a low-cost, high-performance switch that most home networks will be happy with.

The plug-and-play setup makes this router simple to use, and it’s TP-Link Green Technology can save up to 72% on power consumption. When you consider the affordability of the TP-SG108 and the power savings it offers, it virtually pays for itself.  Mount this 8-port router on your wall or simply leave it on your desktop.

Specs

  • Great for maximizing a small home network
  • RJ45 ports
  • Fanless, quiet design
  • IEEE 802.3x
  • Power Consumption, Maximum: 3W (220V/50Hz)
  • External Power Supply (Output: 9VDC / 0.6A)
  • Up to 80% power saving
  • Supports auto-MDI/MDIX
  • 1.1″ x 4.3″ x 6.5″
  • 2 pounds

The most affordable of our recommendations, the TP-Link TL-SG1005D, delivers fast switching but a limited number of connections. However, its 5 Ethernet ports are enough for most home networking needs.

Like the other TP-Link switches we recommend, this one comes with power-saving technology along with plug-and-play capability. This means you can set it up easily, and it will cost you less to run than other switches that use more power. The power savings is the biggest reason to get a switch with enough ports only for your network because using a large switch on a small network wastes power.

This sleek piece of hardware was designed to fit right on your desktop and look good doing so. If you’ve got a small home network and want an affordable way to squeeze a bit more performance out of it, the TL-SG1005D is the way to go.

What is a gigabit switch?

An Ethernet gigabit switch directs the bandwidth of your network connection to different devices on the network. It doesn’t connect to the internet directly; it just directs the traffic.

Think of your network as a building: The internet connection is the front door, the internet signal is the person entering the building, and the switch is an elevator. It takes your signal to the right floor and bypasses all the other floors so the signal doesn’t get lost or waste time in empty rooms.

Internet Switches vs. Routers

Ethernet switches and routers perform similar functions. They both manage traffic on your home network, but switches don’t manage connections to the internet. They need a modem or router to handle those connections. Ethernet switches are essentially a way to create more wired connections for your home network, while routers connect your home to the main internet network.

Although routers can connect directly to the internet on their own, they sometimes connect through a modem. Most modern-routers contain a built-in modem and switch. If there aren’t enough Ethernet switches in your modem-router, that’s when you’ll want to consider adding an Ethernet switch. Modem-routers also usually have Wi-Fi capabilities, while switches are for wired connections only. If you’re looking for routers, we have recommendations on the best Wi-Fi routers for gigabit internet.

Tips to Get a Faster Home Network

If you’re trying to get the most out of your home network, hardwiring all your devices into a switch (instead of using Wi-Fi) may help reduce interference and signal loss. It won’t increase the overall internet speed that comes from your main connection, but it will likely improve the performance of your network.

If you’d rather stick to Wi-Fi but still want to get more out of your home network, use our Wi-Fi calibration guide. Getting a Wi-Fi extender could also help.

If you’re continually having issues with slow connections, you probably need faster internet. To see how much internet speed you need, click the button and use the tool.

How much internet speed you need button

Once you know how much speed you need, compare that to the speed you’re currently getting. Even if you already know what speed you’re paying for, it’s a good idea to see what’s actually coming down the pipe.

internet speed test button

Gigabit Switches FAQ

How does a gigabit Ethernet switch work?

A gigabit Ethernet switch allows you to expand your home network using wired connections. Wired connections tend to be more reliable and secure than Wi-Fi connections. They also tend to have less lag. Many routers come with a small, built-in Ethernet switch.

Most internet users won’t need an Ethernet switch. But, if you’re gamer having a LAN party or continually have issues with Wi-Fi disruptions, an Ethernet switch may be just what you want.

You can think of a gigabit Ethernet switch as a power strip for Ethernet ports. To get it to work, you plug the switch into an Ethernet port on the router. Switches come with as few as 4 ports and as many as 50.

Will a gigabit Ethernet switch improve my home network?

Yes, a gigabit Ethernet switch often improves the reliability and functionality of a network. You also may see better performance from your 4K streaming device or gaming system by hardwiring them into an Ethernet switch instead of using a Wi-Fi connection.

If I buy a gigabit Ethernet switch, do I still need a router?

Yes, you will still need a router. A gigabit Ethernet switch cannot connect to the internet by itself. Its task is to extend home network capacity, not home network connectivity.

 

What else do I need to know about gigabit Ethernet switches?

  • Most switches have a store-and-forward mode capability, meaning they check the data packets for errors and filter them before forwarding the information to the appropriate device. This means your network will have fewer errors and work more efficiently. You will want to buy an Ethernet switch with this functionality.
  • Ethernet switches employ “switching capacity.” This term refers to the maximum load capacity of the switches. It’s important because it essentially caps the switch so the circuits don’t fry. If you’re going to be dealing with a lot of data, get a switch that’s equipped to handle it.
  • Ethernet switches are either managed or unmanaged. Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play, but feature little customizability. Managed gigabit Ethernet switches, by contrast, allow you to change network settings and other functions.
  • Ethernet switches use different form factors. Most are designed for the desktop, meaning they sit as pretty on the desk as your sleek router does. Others use a rack-mountable design, which offers more location versatility because you can mount it on a wall rack.
  • Many gigabit Ethernet switches focus on various special capacities, depending on their intended use. Some focus on energy efficiency, as denoted by an IEEE 802.3 energy rating. Other switches offer benefits to gamers, such as Quality of Service (QoS) settings. Still others offer backward compatibility, providing basic Ethernet, fast Ethernet, and gigabit Ethernet connections.
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