Network switch: how to choose the best in 2021
If you need to connect many computers to each other to exchange data quickly and securely, this article is for you. Today we are going to talk about the network switch.
In this article, you will find out if and why you should invest in a network switch and how to choose the best model among so many available on the market today.
First, the most important
- The network switch can be used on both a home network and small and large companies.
- It is important to know the difference between switch, hub, router and modem.
- In this article, we will show you the criteria that you should review before purchasing the best network switch.
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- Router: How to choose the best one for you in 2020
- Modem: What is the best model for 2020?
The best network switches: our team’s favorites
Today there are several types of network switches. Manufacturers have invested in a variety of models to meet all needs. Therefore, we have selected the best models currently sold. Check out:
- The best option for companies
- The ideal home network switch
- The most versatile switch of all
As it is an electronic and network equipment, in fact some knowledge is needed before purchasing the ideal network switch. Therefore, in this Buying Guide you will have access to the main information about the network switch so that you can choose the best model.
What is a network switch and how does it work?
The network switch is a device used to connect several devices within the same network. When connecting computers, printers and servers, the switch then creates a network of shared resources.
That is, the network switch allows the various devices to share information and exchange data with each other. And the best: in an agile and safe way.
The most common is that the network switch is used in medium and large companies. But nowadays, even at home the switch is very useful.
So much so that, today, most home routers contain built-in switches.
This is because the network switch is also capable of increasing the performance of the wireless network in more congested networks. That is, with this device, you guarantee efficiency and agility in the communication between different devices.
What is the difference between network switch, hub, router and modem?
When buying the network switch you will certainly come across the name of other equipment, such as hubs, routers and modems. This is because these are in fact distribution equipment and network connection.
But, despite the similarity, they differ by the way they perform their functions. Therefore, it is essential that you know the characteristics of each one.
The hub is an old equipment, almost out of use. It is used to connect computers on a network, allowing the transmission of data between them. And yes, it does have the same function as the switch. But, as we will see shortly, there are fundamental differences in the way they operate.
This is because the hub, when transmitting information from one device to another, ends up passing the data through other devices until it finds the recipient.
And with that, it ends up generating traffic congestion, in addition to exposing the data to anyone who is connected to the network, which interferes with security.
Did you know that, until the hub and switch were created, personal computers did not interconnect?
The only way to insert information and data into a computer was, until then, done using a floppy disk.
Because of the way it works and the dangers it causes, the hub ended up being replaced by the switch.
As we have seen, the switch is a device that performs the same function as the hub but in a different way. The fact is that the switch receives the information to be transmitted and passes it on only to the recipient. That is, the switch does not expose the data to other devices as the hub does.
With this, the switch guarantees greater security in the transmission of information and also reduces network traffic.
The router is a device that plays the role of an intermediary. It allows the exchange of data packets between computer networks and is still able to determine the best route to carry out this process.
The router, for example, is essential in a company that occupies a four-story building, and has a network in each of them.
Thus, the company uses the router to interconnect the networks and, at the same time, connect them to the internet since the router distributes the internet to one or more devices, either through a network cable or over the Wi-Fi network.
Modems are devices that establish and mediate connections to the internet, both via cable and digitally. In other words, the modem is the device that brings the internet to your home.
Below, you can see the table that shows the main characteristics of the switch, hub, router and modem.
What is the difference between a managed and a non-managed network switch?
There are basically two types of switches: the manageable and the non-manageable. The unmanaged switch is the simplest. It transmits data between one machine and another, but does not allow network administration, data management, security settings, etc.
Therefore, this type of switch is suitable for home networks and smaller companies.
The manageable switch is more advanced because it allows remote configuration and administration of the device. With it you can even view reports with information about the network, such as speed, amount of data transmitted, among others. Therefore, the manageable switch is suitable for large companies.
How much does it cost and where to buy the network switch?
Depending on the brand, features and number of inputs, the price of the network switch can vary widely. In general, you will find this device costing between R $ 40 and R $ 5 thousand.
And you can buy the switch in specialized stores, department stores, and supermarkets. Still, our recommendation is that you purchase the switch from online stores, such as Amazon.
In addition to buying without leaving home, you can still choose from a wider range of models and brands.
Purchasing criteria: factors to consider before purchasing the network switch
If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to get in on the action and buy your network switch. For this, it is important to take into account some factors to make sure that you will buy the most suitable model according to your needs. Are they:
- Number of ports
- Other functions
Next, we will explain each of these items.
Number of ports
Before purchasing the network switch, note the number of ports on the device. To find the ideal quantity, evaluate how many devices need to be connected to the equipment. You will find switches with eight, 16, 24, 48 and even 96 ports on the market.
Currently, most switches already have ports that support the two network cable standards, Fast ethernet and Gigabit ethernet.
Fast ethernet, also called 10/100, is the oldest and has a slow file transfer speed. Gigabit ethernet has a standard that reaches speeds up to 10 times higher than Fast. For this reason, Gigabit, known as 10/100/1000, promises speeds of up to 1 Gb / s.
Also check the model of the network switch. In this regard, you will find table and wall mounting options, which are the most recommended if you have little space for installation.
In addition, these models also tend to be quieter, since most do not have internal fans. However, you can also choose the rack mount switch.
The metal switch is more durable.
Metal switches are more durable, but plastic switches are a more economical solution. Also note the manufacturing material. The metal switch is more durable. The network switch made of plastic is more economical.
Finally, be sure to consider what additional features are present in the network switch. Check out the following examples of some extra functions that you can find on the network switch:
- 10K Jumbo Frame: Improves the performance of data transfers.
- Auto-MDI / MDIX: Eliminates the need for crossover cables.
- Auto-negotiation ports: Provide intelligent integration between 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 1000Mbps hardware.
- Plug and Play: Simplifies installation.