What Is an Ethernet Switch?
December 12, 2022
When you’re setting up your network at home, it’s often a good idea to use wired connection for at least a couple of your most important devices. After all, a device will always be faster and more reliable when connected with an Ethernet cable rather than over Wi-Fi. If you want proof, run a speed test on your computer while it’s connected to Wi-Fi, and then run another while it’s connected directly to your router with an Ethernet cord.
Opting for a wired connection instead of a wireless one can improve how you use your Internet connection. If you want to stream the latest shows or movies on Netflix, your viewing experience will be less susceptible to buffering while on a fast Ethernet connection. If you’re gaming online, you’re less likely to suffer from lagging. If you use a wired-connected security camera, it would likely be able to run longer without interference.
But your modem and router each only have so many Ethernet ports to make these faster, more reliable wired connections possible in your home. Do you have several devices that you want to hook up with a wired connection, but not enough Ethernet ports to connect them to? That’s where an Ethernet switch comes in.
What Is an Ethernet Switch?
An Ethernet switch is a tool that can add to the number of wired devices you want to connect to your network. A switch not only enables you to connect multiple devices to your network with a faster, more reliable wired connection, but also leaves more bandwidth for any remaining devices still connected wirelessly.
A switch looks like a box with a row of Ethernet ports. The number of Ethernet ports, and wired connections an Internet switch supports, can vary. Several models have at least five ports, others have eight, and some have up to fifty-two.
What Are the Benefits of an Ethernet Switch?
In addition to enabling a faster connection over a longer range, Ethernet switches has a few other benefits that Wi-Fi doesn’t.
One of those is resistance to interference. A Wi-Fi connection can often provide an inconsistent service due to interference from home appliances, your home's layout, and your router's placement relative to where you frequently use the Internet. Your connection will always be more stable and resistant to interference if it's hardwired with an Ethernet switch rather than with a wireless signal.
A switch can also accommodate a greater number of your devices with a connection that’s more secure than Wi-Fi. This is because data sent over an Ethernet connection can only be received by devices that are physically attached to that network, minimizing any risk of hacking or data loss. Wi-Fi is an open network, which means any data being stored or shared on it isn't safe.
Another thing to consider is that neighbors could be using your Wi-Fi. If you're using a hardwired connection, nobody else will be able to use your Internet without first physically connecting their devices to your switch.
How Do I Use an Ethernet Switch?
If you’re setting up wired connections for your devices at home, you’ll most likely need an unmanaged switch. An unmanaged switch is a type of switch that’s simple to use and easy to install. Managed switches are available as well, but we wouldn't recommend these to the average residential Internet user.
All you would need to do to set up an unmanaged switch is connect it to your router, and then connect your devices to it. It's a very easy plug-and-play setup. Make sure the switch you've chosen has enough ports to accommodate the number of network devices you want to connect, including your router. You’ll also need make sure you have enough Ethernet cables to connect your devices and router to your switch. Once your switch is connected to an outlet and to your router, it can deliver a direct, wired connection to your smart TV, VoIP phone, computer, security system, and more!
Looking for an Ethernet switch that’s easy to set up and can make your home’s Internet connection faster, more reliable, and more secure? Take a look at some best Ethernet switch options below!
A best seller on Amazon, this switch is a great choice for people with just a handful of wired-connected devices. In addition to your router, you can connect you computer, gaming console, printer, and smart TV—and you're all set!
One of the more affordable options on the list, this simple five-port device can give you the wired connectivity you need at a low cost. This models can accommodate 10/100 Mbps.
This eight port Ethernet switch is an affordable option, costing only $19.99. This model also has versions that come with sixteen and twenty-four ports.
Another great option for an eight-port Gigabit switch, this model is mountable on your desk or your wall, and comes with a three-year limited hardware warranty.
This five port Ethernet switch is one of the pricier items on the but for good reason. The TL-SG105-M2 is a 2.5 Gigabit switch, accommodating speeds far beyond what many Internet providers are supplying right homes right now. This model is also available as a 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch.
Interested in a Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled switch? A PoE switch like the SG1005P delivers electrical power and data over twisted-pair Ethernet cable to your connected devices.
This option is a little more complicated than the others, but it comes with a lot of great perks if you don’t mind working with some obscure features. This comes with five ports, is weather resistant, accommodates Gigabit speeds, and comes in a small, easy-to-place size.
TP-Link 16 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch
How many devices are you planning to connect to your home network? If you’re wanting an option that can accommodate many devices, this model is one of the more affordable for a sixteen port Ethernet switch.
These are just some of the options, and we plan to add to this list very soon. If you’re using a switch and would recommend it, let us know what model you’re using at email@example.com.
Think about your Internet use and what your needs are when choosing a connection. If you need more speed and reliability within your home network, using wired connections on certain devices is a great way to do that. Building out your Ethernet network at home doesn't necessarily have to be complicated or expensive. An Ethernet switch is easy to install and use, and can seriously optimize your home network.
Whichever method of connection you do end up choosing will serve you well as long as the Internet service it's connecting you to is fast and reliable as well. If you're interested in getting Fiber Internet to your home, check your address on our website and enter your information for the latest community updates. If we're not in your area yet, find out how you can bring Tachus Fiber Internet into your neighborhood.