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Best Small Network Switches for Simple Networks

Best Small Network Switches for Simple Networks

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Quick Summary

To effectively provide power to your devices, you’ll want a cost-effective PoE network switch. Here are our recommendations for the best small four-to-eight port switches.

If your planned network is small and simple but you need an effective means of providing power to your devices, you’ll want a cost-effective PoE network switch. Here are our recommendations for the best small (4-to-8 port) switches for around £100 or less.

TP-Link TL-SG1005P (Low Cost)

Astonishingly compact and cost-effective, the tiny SG1005P from TP-Link is a five port, unmanaged network switch with four PoE (802.3af) ports.

Our most efficient means of providing power to your network devices, the TP-Link TL-SG1005P is the best option for those with small home networks and simple needs who want to elegantly power and connect their other network devices.

TP-Link-TLSG1005P

At a low price like this, however, you’ll be missing out on more advanced features like QoS and VLAN options. It’s also impossible to gain insights into your network since the device doesn’t come as part of a software-managed family of products like the Netgear Insight or Ubiquiti UniFi ranges.

Finally, it should be noted that the TL-SG1005P only offers standard PoE (802.3af), rather than PoE+ (803.2at) from each of its four ports.

TP-Link TL-SG1008MP (Low-Moderate Cost)

This eight-port switch has a 126W PoE power budget, meaning it can supply PoE+ (802.3at) from all eight ports.

It comes at a higher price point, certainly, but the TP-Link SG-TL1008MP has double the ports of the TL-SG1005P and the ability to supply power to any 802.3af/t PoE device since it is compatible with both.

Advanced network features including VLAN configuration, Quality of Service (QoS) management for various types of traffic, including VoIP and video data streams, are also on offer here.

Netgear GC108P-100UKS (Low-Moderate Cost)

For true insight into your network, you’ll need devices managed via a software package like Netgear Insight or Ubiquiti’s UniFi network controller.

Netgear’s GC108P-100UKS is an eight-port gigabit PoE+ switch managed by Netgear’s Insight network management software, which will enable the management of other Insight-managed devices and the monitoring of network traffic, along with advanced configuration options like the creation of subnets, VLANs and more.

netgear-gc108p-100uks

Like the TP-Link TL-SG1008MP, all of its 8 ports are capable of supplying PoE or PoE+ to connected devices but, unlike the TL-SG1008MP, this Netgear switch’s power budget is only 64W out of the box, meaning it will not be able to supply PoE+ to eight devices simultaneously. The switch is capable of smartly managing this budget across your devices to provide power, but when you’re out you’re out. If you need to power eight power-hungry devices at once, you’ll need to boost the device’s power budget to 126W with the Netgear FlexPoE EPS130W power adaptor.

US8 60/150W (Moderate Cost)

Ubiquiti’s most popular network switches for businesses and discerning home users with more complex network requirements, the US-8 comes in three versions, each with a different power budget.

The US-8 12W is the cheapest, with only a single PoE passthrough port (meaning PoE is supplied to the switch via port 1 and passed through to another device via port 8).

The US-8 60W, however, can supply standard PoE (802.3af) out of four of its 8 ports, while the US-8-150W version supplies PoE+ (802.3at) out of all eight of its ports.

ubiquiti-unifi-us-8-150w

As part of the UniFi ecosystem, all of the US-8 switches are managed via the UniFi Network Controller software. Through this powerful management hub, like with Netgear Insight, it’s possible to monitor traffic across your network, configure your VLANs, manage network security and more.

Conclusion

At three different price points, it’s possible to source simple and compact network switches that supply PoE to your network devices.

For the most simple and cost-effective solution available, the TP-Link TL-SG1005P provides PoE (802.3af) out of all four of its ports, but will struggle with more demanding devices that require the PoE+ (802.3at) standard. It also will not offer any user-controlled management features, unlike Netgear Insight or Ubiquiti UniFi products.

If you need PoE+ from all eight ports, the US-8-150W is recommended, though the TP-Link TL-SG1008MP is a great option as well. Coming in at a lower price than Ubiquiti’s US-8-150W, you miss out on the managerial power of the UniFi Network Controller software, but have perhaps the most cost-effective and efficient means of powering high-powered devices like high-end wireless access points, IP cameras and VOIP phones. If you prefer simplicity to in-depth insights, the plug-and-play convenience of the TP-Link might be more amenable to you.

Best Small Network Switches for Simple Networks