If you enjoy your fair bit of digital adventuring, exploring, and the occasional foray into a competitive match with friends – making sure that you’ve got a fast ethernet switch set up is absolutely crucial. However, let’s be honest finding the best ethernet switch for gaming isn’t exactly as easy as walking into the store and pulling a unit off the shelf in most cases.
The last thing you need when you’re trying to pull off a seamless runboost in Valorant is a lag spike. And sometimes, no matter how good your internet package is – if you don’t have the right gig switch powering your play, your connection will stutter, rubberband, and drop off the face of the earth time and time again.
We’ve put this guide together with the purpose of helping you find the best network switch for your gaming endeavor. Keep reading to learn about our top picks, where we’ll discuss all the details from the number of gigabit ports to the power saving features, configuration needed, and whether or not a lifetime warranty is available with a given model.
We’ll also give you our insights into what you should keep in mind while shopping for the best network switch for your home network. And to top things off, we’ll even give you detailed answers to some of the burning questions that most people have when looking for a gigabit ethernet switch to take their gaming experience to the next level.
Let’s dive right in!
Our Top Picks For The Best Ethernet Switch For Gaming This Year
All of the products that we feature in this article are independently tested & chosen by our editors. FragMeta may receive a commission on any products you buy through the links in this article.
NETGEAR Nighthawk S8000 – The Best All-Around
When it comes to finding a great gaming switch that features both stunning build quality and fantastic performance – the Nighthawk S8000 pretty much takes the crown, hands down.
Whether you want to chill out and stream some Netflix, or game the night away, this switch allows you to do both with ease, backed by an amazingly speedy and consistent network connection.
First of all, let’s talk about speed and connectivity. The Nighthawk S8000 features two multi-gig ports. These ports allow you to join your connections together (two into one) and get up to 4 Gigabits per second worth of bandwidth. After all, when it comes to a lag-free and seamless gaming session – this is absolutely crucial. And when you consider that the 10 Gigabit ports this switch boasts run at a less than 3.2-microsecond latency, this switch has definitely got the speed and connectivity department covered.
Next up – how noisy is it? Well, dear reader, it’s practically silent. This is all thanks to a fanless design and an improved cooling setup that allows this switch to be less of a distraction while you’re immersed in your gaming forays.
Overtop of this, however, this switch packs a wealth of amazing features. We’re talking about QoS, multimedia traffic optimization (through IGMP snooping), DoS attack prevention, L2 networking to prioritize video and voice traffic, and even storm control to keep your networking investment safe and sound.
And given the fact that it also boasts an eloquent web-based control panel to help you finetune the settings of your Nighthawk S8000, this gigabit ethernet capable switch is absolutely worth every penny.
- Fantastic aesthetics and absolutely beautiful design
- Very diverse feature offering and wealth of security options
- This model features two 10 Gigabit per second fast Ethernet ports to keep you connected and gaming with the best speeds available
- Nearly silent thanks to a fanless design
- It’s a bit more pricey than your average router, however quite affordable compared to other gaming switches
NETGEAR GS316 – The Best Affordable Unmanaged Switch
If spending a bit of money on a smart switch like the Nighthawk S8000 is just a bit out of your financial comfort zone, we’ve got the next best option for you!
When it comes to reliable, durable unmanaged switches with fantastic performance and lowe power consumption – it’s hard to beat the NETGEAR GS316 (or its 8-port variant, the GS308).
While it doesn’t offer any of the fancy bells and whistles that you’d expect from a smart switch, it’s practically the kind of unmanaged switches.
Appearance-wise, it has a pretty standard, timeless design, so it would be a fantastic fit in any home, just as well as any office. And with a whopping 16 Gigabit ports, you’ve got more than enough capacity to connect just about every device in your household.
An added benefit to this switch is the sturdy build quality. While it lacks some of the wow-factor that you may want with a fancy-er gaming switch, this switch is bound to last practically forever thanks to its sturdy metal frame. And in case something goes wrong, you’re covered with a solid 3-year warranty.
So, all in all, if you want to pick up a switch to improve your in-game performance or keep more devices connected at the same time, without breaking the bank – the GS316 is a surefire option.
- Incredibly affordable compared to other gaming switches that we’ve covered
- Whopping 16 ports to connect all of your devices to, with an even cheaper 8-port variant available
- Zero configuration needed thanks to the fact that it’s an unmanaged switch
- Very quiet and low power consumption thanks to NETGEAR’s smart fanless design
- Since it’s unmanaged, you have no ability to fine-tune your network
- There are no added quality of life or security features with this gigabit switch
TRENDNet TEG-S24DG – Best 24-Port Gigabit Switch
While 8 or 16-port network switches generally cover the majority of people’s needs – what if you simply need (or just want) more than that?
No problem! The TRENDnet TEG-S24DG has definitely got you covered.
First of all, you’ve got 24 gigabit ports that enable a stable and latency-free gigabit ethernet network connection. All of these ports also run at a 48 Gigabits per second switching capacity, which does this fantastic unmanaged switch that much more justice.
In addition to this, this model is practically indestructible thanks to its sturdy metal build. And if you do somehow manage to do some damage, don’t worry – it’s backed by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
One of the interesting tidbits to mention is their smart power consumption technology, which actually reduces the power sourced to devices that aren’t currently running or pushing any traffic. All in all, this can cut the power this switch uses by almost 70% compared to other popular unmanaged switches with a similar feature-kit. And when it comes to your power bills – that’s huge!
All in all, if you’re looking for something simple, reliable, yet with enough capacity for all the devices you may want to throw at it – this switch is one of the best options to look into.
- A whole 24 gigabit ports to keep all of your devices connected with a whopping 48 Gigabits per second switching capacity to boot
- Fantastically low power consumption and nearly no noise output thanks to a smart fanless design
- No setup needed on your part, it’s an entirely plug and play gigabit switch
- Lifetime warranty from TRENDnet
- Not exactly easy to wall-mount, unless you want to hard-mount it via the rack ears (which you also have to buy separately)
Ubiquiti UniFi US-24-250W – The Best Managed Switch
Coming in as the first truly managed switch on our list – the Ubiquiti US-24-250W pretty much takes the crown when it comes to the whopping breadth of feature offerings that it packs.
If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to performance, connectivity, control, and feature offerings – this switch is pretty much the go-to in that department.
This particular model packs 24 gigabit ports alongside 2 dedicated SPF ports which allow you to bring a fiber-optic connection into the picture. And here’s the cool bit – every single one of the ports runs with PoE capability pre-configured. This allows you to prioritize the power output to certain devices such as additional access points, or even your gaming PC.
And in addition to this, Ubiquiti has also put together a stunning and powerful management suite called the UniFi Controller. This suite lets you control every aspect of your network from a single point of access. From advanced network monitoring features, to access points and user-control – you’ll find all the features you’ll ever need in here to tailor your home network to your exact preference.
However, as with all great things, there is a small downside to choosing this switch over the others we’ve covered so far. This switch is not fanless, and as such does produce a little bit of noise. The switch is rated at 33 Db for noise output, though according to public reviews, this is actually closer to 50 Db. And with that, it can also run quite hot, making it great for an enclosed server rack or network cabinet, but much less of a fantastic option for something you’d keep on your desk.
All in all, this is a great switch that offers every high-end bell and whistle that you could want. So, if you don’t mind shelling out a fair sum to get the best of the best for your gaming – the US-24-250W is a great option to consider.
- 2 Gigabit SPF Ports to power an even more seamless connection than you’d get with basic RJ45 Ethernet
- This switch features passive PoE switching capacity at 52 Gigabits per second
- Utilizes the new and improved 802.3af network protocol for better network connectivity and improved speeds
- Sleek all-silver design and comprehensive yet powerful management interface
- It’s a little louder than a fanless gigabit switch with an advertised noise level of 33Db
- It’s quite pricey, even more so than other high-end managed or smart switches that we’ve covered so far
TP-Link T1500G – The Best Smart Switch
If the garish looks of the Nighthawk S8000 turn you off, but you want that perfect middle ground between a barebones unmanaged switch and its technologically complex managed counterpart, the T1500G is probably the perfect smart switch for you.
Let’s start with the 8 PoE+ enabled gigabit ports that the T1500G features. This configuration gives you a lot of flexibility in designing your network at home, making sure that all of your devices are connected, as well as a bit of an added boost to any devices that you’d like to prioritize.
In addition to this, there are another 2 SPF ports, just like in the Ubiquity model that we covered above. These ports give you the flexibility of running a fiber connection directly to the switch to give your devices even better connectivity. Or instead, you could just plug another 2 ethernet cables or even crossover cables in there if you need the extra connection.
Now let’s talk about the features. When it comes to feature-value for the money you pay, this switch is one of the best options out there. Firstly, it features port mirroring and loopback detection. However, overtop of this it also offers the same QoS and IGMP snooping capabilities as the Nighthawk S8000 does, which help optimize your traffic to prioritize voice and video.
And in addition to this, this gigabit switch also features a double firmware image, which helps improve the overall reliability of your connection and boosts the average up-time of your entire network.
Looks-wise, it’s comparable to some of the unmanaged models that we’ve covered previously. And of course, it comes with the same sturdy metal build and solid overall feel.
Lastly, let’s take a second to talk about the web interface. While it’s not as in-depth as the Ubiquiti’s UniFi controller, the T1500G features an amazingly comprehensive web-based interface that will give you all the control you’ll need over your switch, without any of the associated networking-induced headaches. So, while it’s not entirely plug and play like some of the other options we’ve covered, the setup is quick and painless.
So, all in all, if you’re looking for the best middle ground between a managed switch and an unmanaged variant, this is a great option that you shouldn’t skip over. It’s cheaper than a Nighthawk S8000, and offers lots of the same feature kit. However, undeniably, it doesn’t look as stunning as the S8000 does.
- Quite affordable compared to other gaming-oriented smart switches
- All 8 gigabit ports are PoE+ enabled, giving you all the extra boost you need for a seamless and lag-free gaming experience
- Lots of awesome features to give you that extra bit of control over your network
- Easy and quick configuration thanks to TP-Link’s elegant web interface, though it’s not quite plug and play
- Doesn’t feature a fanless design, so it can get somewhat loud when under heavy load
How To Choose The Best Ethernet Switch For Seamless Gaming – Our Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to picking out the best ethernet switches for yourself, it’s not uncommon to get confused and stuck. After all, there are hundreds of models, each with their own bells and whistles. And when you consider that often, two different switches will have virtually the same feature offering – the whole shopping experience can suddenly turn into quite the quest.
Each best network switch manufacturer is keen to call their products superior to other models. To help you see past the marketing collateral, we’ve put together an essential list of factors that we look at when we review models to find the best network switch out there.
Here they are:
Look Over The Specifications First
Before you go out and buy a gaming switch, it’s important to consider what sort of environment it’ll reside in once you install it.
Is it going to be humid? Do you want to minimize any potential noises that it makes? Will it need a separate cooling setup to keep it from overheating?
Of course, these specifications will make more difference to power-users. However, they are just as important for you to consider so that you don’t end up buying a network switch that doesn’t fit your home or the environment you had planned for it. So budget, flow control, crossover cables and lifetime warranty aside – here are a few things that you may want to figure out before looking for the best network switch to power your gaming nights:
Data Transfer Speed & Capacity
When you’re gaming – you definitely need all the speed you can get. As such, we recommend that you limit your search to gig switches, which have a data transfer speed of 1 Gigabit per second or greater.
The switching capacity of your devices will also play a role in this. In particular, keep an eye out for whether or not it offers gigabyte ports or priority routing, which is going to be a big benefit for gamers.
However, keep in mind that the speeds you’ll get also depend on your PC quite a bit. As such, it’s definitely a good idea to pick up one of the options from our list of the best motherboards for i9 9900k depending on your budget.
How Many Ports Do You Need The Ethernet Switch To Have?
Next up, you should really put some thought into how many devices will be connected to the ethernet ports of your newly bought gigabit ethernet switching device at any given time.
This is important because the best ethernet switches come with a wide capacity range. Some will offer 4 ports, others can offer 48, while others go even further. While it’s a good idea to have one or two ports available for extra devices, there’s really no reason to spend double the money for capacity that you’ll never use. Similarly, the last thing you’d want is to buy a switch that can’t accommodate all of the devices you need to have hooked up.
Our suggestion here is going for a switch that offers anywhere between 8 and 24 ports. This is going to give you a good bit of extra room, without limiting yourself what so ever.
Managed Switch Vs. Unmanaged – Which One Do I Need?
When it comes to all the different types of gigabit ethernet switching devices, there are two that you’ll likely find relevant. Managed switches, and their unmanaged counterparts.
So, what’s the difference between a managed switch and an unmanaged one?
Let’s start off with an unmanaged gigabit ethernet switching device. These switches don’t generally feature any sort of interface or control panel. The manufacturer pre-configures them as they’re made. As such, they’re entirely plug and play.
But, the downside here is that an unmanaged switch is generally less technologically advanced, and doesn’t offer you any sort of control over the switch, should you want to make some customizations. However, for most gamers, an unmanaged switch is generally more than enough. And hey – unmanaged gigabyte switches are generally far more affordable too!
On the other hand, managed switches allow you to do just that – manage your home network. This means that you’ll be able to configure priority traffic across your home network, enact flow control, and tinker around with the various functions and settings through a smart user interface or mobile app.
Managed switches are a great option for power-users and those who simply like to have that added factor of control over their home network, the devices on it, and even the protocols the connection is established over. However, as a consequence of all these extras, they tend to run a higher price tag than the average unmanaged switch.
Now, somewhere between both types of gigabit ethernet switch, we’ve also got the “smart switch.”
They aren’t entirely set in stone the way an unmanaged switch is, as they offer you a degree of control over your network. But, they’re not quite as customizable and feature-rich as one of the best managed switch options. And as such, price-wise, they sit between the two aforementioned types as well.
While an unmanaged switch is going to be more than enough for the average gamer – if you have a bit of extra money that you’re willing to invest towards an ethernet switch, we recommend that you pick up a smart switch. It’s just the perfect middle ground!
Gaming Ethernet Switch FAQ
Before we wrap things up, let’s talk about some of the burning questions that people have when looking for the perfect ethernet switch to power their gaming nights.
Are Ethernet Switches Good For Gaming?
While most people tend to just connect to their router or modem and call it a day, sometimes it just isn’t enough. First of all, Ethernet is far better than a WiFi connection pretty much by default. It’s more reliable, far more consistent and you get way better speeds.
However, while the best gaming routers are incredibly well-built and optimized for the taxing network traffic that gaming provides for, sometimes they’re also just not enough. After all, you’re generally limited to only a handful of ports (most typically 4). And when you have your PC, a TV, a console, and a few other internet-dependent devices across the house, you’re suddenly pressed for space. And this is exactly where ethernet switches come into play.
In short, if you don’t have enough ethernet ports to connect all of your devices directly to the router, an ethernet switch is great for gaming.
Do Ethernet Switches Affect Speed?
Despite the popular misconception, connecting your PC to an Ethernet switch will not slow down your connection speed.
Unlike a hub, an ethernet switch doesn’t broadcast all the data it transmits to every device connected. When this happens, packet collisions and a whole networking mess are practically a given.
Instead, if you are facing connectivity issues or slower speeds while using an ethernet switch – in 99% of the cases, your switch has nothing to do with it at all. In fact, generally, it’s an overburdened network, busted ethernet cables, poor configuration of crossover cables, or even something with your device that’s causing the issues.
In short, using an Ethernet switch does not affect the speed in most cases.
What Is The Fastest Ethernet Switch?
While this is up for quite a bit of debate, among the gaming network switches we’ve reviewed, we’re happy to recommend the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 as the fastest gaming ethernet switch.
This is thanks to the fact that it’s gigabit ports operate at just under 3.2 microseconds, which results in far less latency and considerably smoother gaming experience.
What Kind Of Ethernet Switch Do I Need?
What sort of ethernet switch or network switch will be the best for you depends entirely on your personal needs and circumstances.
Above, we’ve laid out the groundwork for the things you should consider when choosing a home network switch for yourself. However, over top of this, pay attention to things like warranty offerings from the manufacturer, your budget, and what you’ll be using it for in the first place.
Following the advice we’ve laid out will help you narrow down your search quite a bit. However, if you need a general recommendation, we suggest that you opt for a smart switch if your budget allows for it. And if it doesn’t, picking up a reliable unmanaged switch is going to be your best option when looking at cheap switches.
Closing Thoughts – Shopping For The Best Network Switches For Your Gaming Sessions
So there you have it. In this article, we’ve laid out the very best when it comes to your options in picking out a solid ethernet switch for your gaming sessions in 2020.
We’ve covered our top picks, their ins and outs, and the finer details that you should keep in mind while shopping around for your very own Ethernet switch.
Our recommendation? Out of all the options for the best network switch for gaming that we’ve covered and reviewed above – the Nighthawk S8000 takes the cake by a landslide!
We hope that we were able to provide some valuable insight, and even possibly give you a few options to put onto your shortlist as you shop around.
With that, we want to hear from you. What are some of the network switches you’re curious about that we haven’t covered above? Let us know in the comments below!