Expand a small network with an Ethernet switch

Most home-office networks start with a PC, a router, and a modem

Most home-office networks start with a PC, a router, and a modem. But when a small single-user network grows into a larger multiuser network, your original Wi-Fi router can run out of free ethernet ports to connect various PCs, networkable printers, small-business servers, and other essential hardware. That's when a switch comes in handy.

An ethernet switch is a simple box that sits between your router and your networked devices to control traffic flow across your network. The devices come in two basic types: unmanaged and managed. With the former, you merely plug in your devices and get back to work. But managed switches provide advanced features that prioritize data, link ports for improved performance, and enforce se­­curity policies on your network.

An appealing middle ground for small businesses is a manageable switch like Cisco's eight-port Linksys SLM2008, which offers some of the robust trunking and data prioritization of a managed switch in a compact package with a Web-based control interface that novices can manage easily.The SLM2008 measures just over 5 inches wide by 5 inches deep. Setting up the basic features via the Web-based interface takes only minutes, but there are enough advanced security and data-routing options to satisfy nearly any small-business need. Midrange small-business switches like this one can be the perfect choice for small-office/home-office workers with robust VoIP and videoconferencing demands.

Managed and manageable switches often duplicate (or surpass) the port-forwarding and port-linking features of conventional Wi-Fi routers; you may have to disable the corresponding features in your router to avoid conflicts.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Wi-Fismall businessNetworking

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Strohmeyer

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?