network switch for home your it and tech mates

Network Switches For Home

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Network Switches For Home

Network Switches For Home

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Network Switches For Home

Buying the right switch!

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Network Switches For Home

Network Switches For Home your it and tech mates

How to choose the best switch for your home network?

Learning with Expert – Jukka Aho.

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 If you’re looking for a smart gigabit network switch for your home, consider one with 16 ports. There is no fundamental difference in speed between managed (smart) and unmanaged gigabit network ethernet switches. The managed (smart) gigabit network switch, however, provides significantly better overall network performance, which tends to improve speed over time. Furthermore, a smart or managed, VLAN-capable gigabit switch allows a lot of flexibility when configuring and securing your network. Your IT and Tech Mates


In addition to “dumb”, unmanaged switches (which most consumers are familiar with) and pricey enterprise-level “managed” switches, there’s now a third product category that sits in-between them: inexpensive “smart” switches — basically managed switches as far as their capabilities go, but deliberately crippled with a simpler firmware that only offers a subset of the management functionality found in the “traditional” managed switches.


A “smart” switch typically offers an “easy” web-based management UI but may not have a command-line interface, or SNMP, or other forms of centralized management tools that a network engineer responsible for a big LAN or WAN would want, and may have less configuration options altogether. Some of the “smart” switches have now been gaining more central management features, though, but still, they’re not exactly running IOS.


Although less “professional” in their firmware design, the “smart” switches are perfectly capable of doing the usual things managed switches do — especially dealing with IEEE 802.1Q VLANs and trunking. They may also offer functions such as port-based rate-limiting, locking a port to a particular speed, QoS, the possibility to observe the MAC addresses and activity found in each port, the possibility to snoop traffic from a chosen port, etc.


If you have a wired home (there’s a central patch panel and Ethernet cable runs from the panel to wall jacks in each room), being able to configure switch ports to different VLANs and VLAN trunking are easily the most interesting and useful features of smart/managed switches.


More so if you also have lots of networked appliances or remote-controlled home automation hardware, or sensors, or, say, security cameras (e.g. Ethernet runs via the attic to the eaves), and want to tightly control which device is let to which network.


For instance, you generally would not want outdoor IP cameras to connect to the internal Ethernet LAN of your house but keep them in a separate “perimeter” or “yard” LAN. Otherwise, someone could just enter your yard, unplug the Ethernet cable from behind a camera, connect it to their laptop and gain immediate access to your internal network.


Similarly, you may not want an untrusted indoor device, such as Google Chromecast equipped with a wired Ethernet adapter, or a networked “smart TV”, to access your internal network (with, say, your PCs and a NAS) but keep such things in a separate VLAN reserved for untrusted devices.


A “smart” or managed, VLAN-capable switch allows a lot of flexibility when configuring your network. For instance, a device that needs straight Internet access could be moved to the WAN side of your router by just configuring the relevant switch ports into the correct VLANs. Or if you have a bigger switch near the patch panel, you can extend the different VLANs to some particular room (which does not have enough separate Ethernet runs to cover all the different networks you need in there) by purchasing a smaller “smart” switch for the room and using VLAN trunking between the switches, fanning out the networks to the different ports of the smaller switch.


The GigE “smart” switches I’m currently using in my home (I purchased them some years back) are from the D-Link DGS-1100 series, which ranges from 5-port models to 26-port models.


Network Switches For Home your it and tech mates

Courtesy of Quora and Jukka.


While the web-based UI is a bit clumsy and not spectacular from an enterprise network management viewpoint, it is fairly sufficient for private home networking and allows configuring VLANs just the way I want, separating the networks from each other.


I have also installed these same switches in my parent’s house – my parents have several CCTV IP cameras and some other devices which are maybe a bit iffy from a security perspective, so it is best to isolate them from the “actual” indoor network and only allow access to them through a router/firewall configuration which does not let them establish connections back to the manufacturer, or any other “mothership”.


My current router in both networks is a Linux box that routes through a single VLAN-trunked physical interface (getting the relevant tagged VLAN traffic which it splits into virtual Ethernet adapters), but you could of course do this with a dedicated router as well… as long as it understands VLANs and lets you configure tagged ports / VLAN trunking. Of course, having many different VLANs does not help if you don’t have a router that can route or firewall traffic between them… in the absence of such a router, they’re just isolated LANs and the devices placed in them cannot talk to each other.

Network switches for home

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Network switches for home

Network switches for home

Reference: Jukka Aho ( Technology Enthusiast ) – “Would a managed switch be useful for a normal home network versus a basic switch?”  originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.



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