A managed switch allows users to hook up several devices to the same network and manipulate their traffic. Think of it as a virtual private server offering more than shared web hosting, including configuration and management of QoS, security, and VLANs. They're common in large networks or enterprise environments, but a managed switch has a place in a busy house if you work from home or otherwise have a lot of devices to handle.
Besides traffic monitoring, benefits compared to unmanaged switches include optimizing network performance and generally preventing common network issues. Managed switches are often significantly more expensive than their unmanaged counterparts but offer more options to an administrator. If you're taking your home networking seriously or setting up a business, check our picks for the best options.
The S8000 is a viable option for gamers with an easy interface. There are a total of eight Gigabit ports for hooking up consoles, PCs, and other devices to the network, and it even packs a punch with traffic prioritization and QoS management. Best of all, it's rather affordable.
Coming in various configurations with 24 ports, it's an affordable, powerful, and capable hub. The Gigabit and four mini-BGIC ports allow for not only computers and laptops to be hooked up, but also printers, IP telephones, other access points, and smaller devices.
This 24-port switch offers an excellent user interface for managing everything on the device, called SwitchOS. With 24 ports, it offers Layer 3 management, PoE functionality, and port isolation with additional security protocols and two SFP+ Ethernet ports.
TP-Link offers some killer networking equipment, and this five-port managed switch is ideal for a small setup connecting gaming hardware and media servers. The small unit houses some serious features usually found in more expensive switches like diagnostics, QoS, and more despite the budget price.
The Netgear XS708E is a serious hub for small businesses and deployment. It's easy to configure, reliable, and offers high levels of network performance, but comes at a price. It's ideally suited for high-speed networks with eight 10Gb ports and 10Gb SFP+.
EnGenius makes some smart networking equipment and the EWS2910P is a great 10-port switch that lets you not only see what's going on in a local sense, but opens up the company's cloud platform for external access to analytics and more. This switch has 8 PoE 1Gb ports with a further two SFP ports.
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Managed switches like the Netgear S8000 are great for allowing you to set up and configure your home network with gaming in mind. This gaming switch houses eight Gigabit ports for hooking up all your consoles, PCs, and other devices to the system. It even rocks some advanced features like traffic prioritization and QoS management.
You get a three-year warranty with it, and the software is incredibly easy to use, but it is — at the end of the day — a network switch. It may sound like quite the investment to spend this amount on a switch, but it's worth picking up if you're a gamer, especially if you're a streamer. Other switches in this collection are better suited for home and business owners, depending on your budget, like the Netgear XS708E.
If you're unsure whether or not a managed switch is right for you, we've got a guide to better understand the differences between unmanaged and managed switches.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
- Ben WilsonChannel Editor