Gigabit Ethernet Switch: Is It Needed for Your Home Network
As one part of the Ethernet family, Gigabit Ethernet is now inexpensive and ubiquitous enough for home networks. Thus many people plan to buy the Gigabit Ethernet switch for upgrading their wired home and small office networks. It is true that we will benefit from Gigabit Ethernet switches since they provide 1000Mbps data rate theoretically. But do you really know or need a Gigabit Ethernet switch? Are your home network devices ready for upgrading to Gigabit Internet?
What Is A Gigabit Ethernet Switch for Home Network?
A gigabit switch is a type of network switch, typically Ethernet-based, that allows devices to be connected to a LAN at speeds of 1 Gbps or higher. Gigabit Ethernet replaced Fast Ethernet as the current network standard. Like the other Ethernet switches, the Gigabit Ethernet switch is responsible for directing the bandwidth of your network connection to different home network wired devices such as computers.
However, it can support 10, 100 and 1000Mbps data rate, which improves the reliability and functionality of a home network. For example, you may see better performance from your 4K streaming device or gaming system by connecting them to a Gigabit Ethernet switch. A home router can usually be used to connect wireless devices like computers and smartphones. However, a Gigabit Ethernet switch is essential if you have several wired devices to connect, such as IP cameras, smart TVs and laptops.
The Gigabit Ethernet switch is responsible for directing the bandwidth of your network connection to different home network wired devices. Now there are often 5-port, 8-port, 24-port and even 48-port Gigabit Ethernet switches in the market. While the commonly used ones are 8-port and 24-port switches. In addition, there are also managed and unmanaged, PoE and Non-PoE types. For home users who need a IP camera system, it’s better choice to buy a managed Gigabit Ethernet switch with PoE function.
How to Select the Best Gigabit Switch for Home Network?
Like other Ethernet switches, a Gigabit Ethernet switch is responsible for directing the bandwidth of your network connection to different home network wired devices such as computers, PCs. Before upgrading your home network to Gigabit Ethernet, you should know when it can offer a benefit and when it can’t. Not all network operations will benefit from Gigabit Ethernet. For example, Gigabit Ethernet won’t speed up things like Web browsing or the uploading and downloading of files from the Internet.
This is because those activities are limited by the speed of your broadband connection. However, if there are multiple users accessing the same network device, Gigabit Ethernet will provide more total bandwidth to go around, which in turn result in less congestion and better overall performance. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet is also helpful when large file transfers are involved, like when you perform backups over the network to a server. If you decide to deploy the Gigabit Ethernet, there is another thing to consider – buying a Gigabit Ethernet switch or Gigabit router. Generally, home Gigabit routers usually come with three or four Gigabit Ethernet ports built in. And most devices in a home network can support Wi-Fi. Therefore, most people don’t really need the switch. But a Gigabit Ethernet switch is essential when you don’t have enough Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devices. Moreover, if you prefer to use wires for faster speed or plan to install Gigabit Ethernet ports in your home wall, a Gigabit Ethernet switch is also a better idea.
Home Network Gigabit Ethernet Switch FAQ
Q1: If I Buy a Gigabit Ethernet Switch, Do I Still Need a Router? Sure you will need. Although switches and routers perform some similar functions, they are still different. The common switch works in the data link layer, and the router works in the network layer. The Gigabit Ethernet switch itself cannot connect to the Internet. In other words, it needs a router to connect to the Internet. The main task of Gigabit Ethernet switches is to expand network capacity. But there is an exception. A layer 3 switch has the main function of the basic router. The layer 3 switch has both data exchange and routing and forwarding functions, but its main function is still data exchange. However, layer 3 switches cannot replace routers, because more complex protocols or functions are currently implemented in software, while switches implement data processing through hardware.
Q2: What Shall I Prepare for Moving to Gigabit Ethernet?First of all, you need to make sure your home devices can support Gigabit Ethernet. However, there is a good chance that your devices already support it because Gigabit Ethernet capability has been standard fare on desktops and other devices for years. Second, it is suggested to use Cat5e or Cat6 cabling for Gigabit Ethernet. So if you use Cat5 cables now, you’d better replace them. Though this may be troublesome, it is desirable in the long run. The last thing is to buy a Gigabit Ethernet switch best for your needs.
Q3: How to Buy a Best Gigabit Ethernet Switch?A best Gigabit Ethernet switch here means it meets all your needs and the price is good. As mentioned above, the Gigabit Ethernet switch can be divided into managed and unmanaged, PoE and Non-PoE types with 5/8/16/24/48 ports. Unmanaged switches are plug-and-play, while the managed ones allow you to change network settings and other functions. Gigabit PoE switches are designed for home IP camera systems, or for situations where there is no power source for PoE enabled devices. As to the switch ports, you’d better choose one meets both your current and future growth needs. LightOptics provides various Gigabit switches with competitive prices.