Netgear S8000

Managed switches are networking hubs that allow you to hook up a number of 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 much more than shared web hosting but requires you to get a little dirty in the backend to get everything working.

We rounded up a few great examples of managed switches.

Related: Managed versus unmanaged switches

Cisco SG300

Cisco SG300

The SG300 from Cisco is a stellar switch, coming in a variety of configurations offering different numbers of ports. The unit we're linking to here has 10 ports, which is usually more than enough for a home or small office deployment. At around $120, it's an affordable but powerful and capable hub. The Gigabit and two 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.

IPv6 support is included among other advanced features like remote management, dual image support, and advanced traffic control. Access Control Lists (ACL) make it possible to require authentication for new connections to the network, which aids in keeping data secured by preventing unwanted access. It's even possible to segment the network and provide a secure area for guest access.

Overall, this is a great little switch that offers impressive features for the price.

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Netgear S8000

Netgear S8000

For gamers, Netgear has a viable 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 even packs a punch with traffic prioritization and QoS management. It's also rather affordable, coming in at $80. You should check out our full review on the S8000 for more details.

Should you be looking to get the most out of your gaming setup, the S8000 may be just what you're looking for.

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Mikrotik CSS326

Mikrotik CSS326

This 24-port switch from Latvian Mikrotik offers more connectivity for your buck when compared to the Cisco SG300 and even packs a punch with a great user interface for managing everything on the device, 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.

If you're new to the game of managing switches (beyond that of a router and access point), the CSS326 series is a great place to start with some user-friendly features. It costs about $140.

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Other options

These managed switches offer similar features and are at an affordable price point:

These are our choices when it comes to selecting a managed switch, but what managed switches have you installed? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.