All of these cables which go to your network cabinet will need something to attach to. If you have more cables than you have ports on your router, you’ll need a switch. This is a piece of hardware which manages the connections to all of the attached devices. Think of it a little bit like a 5-way, 10-way or 48-way adapter. They come in different sizes with different types available, which I’ll go into more detail about shortly. It acts as a central hub for your wired network. The cables which go from the devices around your home to your network cabinet will all plug into this device, either directly or via a patch plate in your cabinet.
Types of Network Switch
The heart of any network is the switch. These are available with different specifications which effect things like the data transfer speed, the number of ports and other features. For a modern system you want to consider a switch with Gigabit ethernet speed. The three main types of switch are:
These are perhaps the most common choice for basic home networking and are the simplest to set up. They are not configurable, have all their programming built in and are ready to work straight out of the box. You can find out more about each product by clicking on it’s image!
Smart switches allow for a level of configuration and customisation using a control panel that can be accessed through your web browser. These are a good option if you want the simplicity, but with the options for more advanced features later on. A smart switch is a good idea if you are likely to be using the network with VOIP enabled phones or setting up a VLAN network for guests. Please click on the pictures for more information.
Fully Managed Switches
These are the most expensive and the most complicated to set up. They offer a full range of configuration options for the advanced user such as more VLAN ability, port security and access control lists. They are really for use by larger businesses and usually need to be set up and configured by professional IT technicians. The features and set-up of a fully managed switch go way beyond what is required for most home networks and certainly beyond the scope of this guide. Please click on the pictures for more information..
Did you know that some networked devices can be powered by their ethernet connection? Power Over Ethernet is a useful feature to consider when choosing a switch. A PoE switch will not only be able to send and receive data, but can also power devices such as WiFi access points and even security cameras.