Best Managed Switches Windows Central 2020

Managed switches are networking hubs that allow you to hook up several devices to a network and manipulate how traffic is controlled. Think of a managed switch (in comparison to an unmanaged switch) as a virtual private server (VPS) that offers you more than shared web hosting, but requires you to get a little dirty in the backend to get everything working. Here are a few options to get you started.

For Gaming: Netgear S8000

Staff pick

For gamers, Netgear has a viable switch option in the S8000. It's a managed switch with an easy interface to get accustomed to. 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.

$80 at Amazon

Office Companion: TP-Link T2600G

The T2600G-28TS from TP-Link is an excellently managed switch, coming in a variety of configurations and offering several ports. This unit has 24 ports, which is usually more than enough for a home or small office deployment, but for the price, 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.

$170 at Amazon

Value-driven: Mikrotik CSS326

This 24-port switch from Mikrotik offers more connectivity for your buck when compared to the Cisco SG300. It even packs a punch with an excellent user interface for managing everything on the device, called SwitchOS. As well as 24 ports, this switch offers Layer 3 management, PoE functionality, and port isolation with some additional security protocols. On the front of the unit are the Gigabit port cluster and two SFP+ Ethernet ports.

$141 at Amazon

Compact Switch: TP-Link TL-SG105E

TP-Link offers some killer networking equipment, and this five-port managed switch is ideal for a small office setup or in the home for 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.

$25 at Amazon

Workhorse: Netgear XS708E

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+.

$597 at Amazon

Smart Networking: EnGenius EWS2910P

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.

$126 at Amazon

If we were to make a suggestion

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.

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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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