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What Is The Best Home Gigabit Network Switch?

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Does this sound familiar? You've got a smart TV, Xbox, desktop computer, and phone all running on wifi. The connection is spotty. You alternate between pulling out your hair & cursing loudly at inanimate objects. Resetting the router does nothing. Bleep this.

It's time to take your network back to 1990. I'm talking hard lining devices with ethernet cables. Avoid all the problems of wifi, and start streaming in 4k without buffering. However, unlike 1990, we won't be wearing JNCO jeans or using outdated equipment. Adding a modern ethernet switch to your network turns a single ethernet cable into a multi-port internet powerhouse, without slowing down the network.

what is a network switch?

If you weren't around to experience the majesty of JNCO jeans, here's an artist rendering of my boss Andrew wearing purple ones back in his prime. I think he looked like a more handsome Matt Damon. Tweet us @echogear if you have a strong opinion on that.

JNCO jeans & ethernet switches, echogear style

Anyways, using ethernet cables is a sure fire way to improve the speed & reliability of your home network. Using a switch to create multiple ethernet ports with one cable coming from your router is the way to go. Since we are now officially networking nerds, we've broken down how a network switch works below. If you'd rather just take our word for it and see what we consider to be the best gigabit switch for home use, click here. This might ruin the suspense, but you won't be surprised to see that it's ours.

What Does A Network Switch Do?

Wifi is cool as hell, it enables us to access vital information from anywhere, and by that I mean we can scroll through endless memes on the toilet. But wifi has its drawbacks. Downloading big files, streaming 4k video, or gaming is faster and more reliable with a hardline ethernet connection. Cool, but what happens if there's only 1 ethernet port coming from your wall? Adding a multi-port switch let's all your devices access the internet with a secure connection. In the simplest terms, a switch connects devices and allows them to communicate. However, they do it in a smart way. Switches actively manage traffic between devices, which means your connection won't slow down even if you've got multiple devices using the same internet connection.

It's like a phone operator working at hyper-speed. So like... some kind of weird Admiral Ackbar phone operator mashup. Instead of just blasting the information out to all ports, a switch learns what devices are connected, and routes traffic only to the port that needs it. Not that you asked for it, but here's a visual aid. This phone call, IT'S A TRAP!

admirial ackbar is a phone operator for some weird reason

Connecting all your devices using a switch also creates a LAN (local area network) which allows devices to communicate directly with each other. Now your computer and printer can transmit information faster & more reliably. Each device can send data at the same time without any packet collisions. That's where switches differ from an ethernet hub, although they look basically the same. Switches are much smarter than hubs. Instead of routing traffic to the correct destination, a hub takes incoming data and indiscriminately blasts it out to all connected devices. Talk about a traffic nightmare. All your devices receive information they didn't ask for, clogging up the road for actually important communication. It's like back in the day when your mom would be on the phone talking to your crazy aunts for hours on end. How on earth are you supposed to progress things with your 4th-grade girlfriend if you can't chat on the phone? Talk to her in person? Nope, definitely not that. Moral of the story, if someone tries to sell you a hub for your network, flip them the bird and bust outta there.

Okay I'm In, So What Is A Gigabit Switch?

Switches come in all shapes, sizes, and speeds. The term "gigabit" just refers to the maximum speed the switch can support. One gigabit equals 1000 Mbps (megabits per second), aka crazy fast. Stop. Analogy time! If one Mbps was the same speed as this baller little dude pimpin' his home run:

gigabit internet speed vs mbps

That would make make a gigabit Byron Buxton flying around the bases in 14.05 seconds. Conclusion: gigabits are fast and this kid is going places.

All devices communicate using a 10mbps, 100mbps, or 1000mbps signal depending on how new they are. Picking a switch with gigabit functionality ensures no slowdown in your wired network. Let's pretend that a certain internet company is charging you a $74,000 a month for 200mbps internet. Just for fun, let's call it Xfinity. Buying a gigabit switch ensures maximum speed on the network because it can go up to 1000mbps (1 gigabit). Sure you could save a few bucks buying a less-than-gigabit switch. But if you upgrade the internet speed in the future, you'll have to buy an entirely new switch, and that sucks big time. Gigabit switches future-proof your networking setup. So just get one already.

Best Home Network Switch

And now the moment you've been waiting for, a shameless pitch! If you're picking out a network switch for your home or office, we recommend ours (what a surprise). We aren't being marketing douches though. These switches (5 port or 8 port) are purpose-built for DIY home use. They've got all the features you need, without any crazy specs that are overkill.

Let's start at the top. Echogear switches are both gigabit compatible, so they check that major box. Setup is easier than blaming "the system" for your lack of financial responsibility. You gotta stop buying rounds of tequila for strangers! At least downgrade them to Karkov to save a few bucks.

Our switches are plug & play, which is as simple as it sounds. Step 1: plug switch into your wall. Step 2: connect your stuff with ethernet cables. That's it. Just think of how awesome you'll feel upgrading your network, with essentially no effort. You'll be in such a great mood, 8-bit glasses & a dope Echogear hat might magically appear on your head:

deal with it echogear victoria

We made this thing to be compact & easy to hide. Even our ego isn't so big that we'd recommend leaving your switch out in the open for everyone to see. By keeping it small and adding a mounting hole to the back, you'll be able to keep the switch hidden. Instead of charging you extra for an entirely unnecessary metal exterior, we made ours of black plastic with a matte finish. Who doesn't love a matte finish?

wall mountable gigabit network switch

On top of that, it's got all the fancy features that make a switch the best for your network. Stuff like auto-negotiation for maximum throughput speed and full-duplex control for 2 way device communication. It turns a dusry one lane road into a 2 way information super-highway. With Auto MDI/MDI-X technology, both crossover and straight-through ethernet cables will work. Read about that here. Warning, it's really really techy.

This blog got a little long, my bad. Here's the wrap up: You can find our switches on Amazon. Boom, short & sweet. Find the 5-port Echogear gigabit switch here or the 8-port version here.

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