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Ethernet Switches

Ethernet switches deliver reliable wired connectivity and offer a broad range of network optimization and management features. Small unmanaged switches with five to eight ports are ideal for home offices or small businesses with a few devices. Managed products give IT staff the tools they need to configure complex, multilayer networks that support multiple protocols. Explore the networking and Wi-Fi® products available at Staples® and find the right ethernet switch for any home or office.

Ethernet Switches Are Versatile Networking Solutions
Households and businesses have different networking needs. Switches typically have five to 48 ports and easily handle small to large networks. Choose a standalone device that sits on a desk or shelf for a small office or a rack-mounted switch for a server room or data center. Many ethernet switches have auto-sensing ports that support 10/100/1000 gigabit connections. Select models offer 2.5- and 10-gigabit ports optimized for 802.11ac access point deployment. Many switches are also compatible with the 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) standard. Using these products can reduce data center energy costs.

Advanced Networking Features
Most of these products support Quality of Service (QoS) protocols that enhance the reliability of streaming media. Many models also have Power over Ethernet (PoE/PoE+) connections and handle jumbo frames that can improve network throughput. Gaming switches have ports configured to provide low-latency links, which helps reduce network lag during intense gaming sessions. Some models also include media ports that maximize streaming video performance. Most switches support IP4 and IP6 networking protocols, ensuring compatibility with current and future networking protocols.

Why Use Ethernet Switches Instead of Hubs?
Hubs and switches both transmit data packets across multiple connections. While hubs broadcast received data to all ports, switches only send information to the physical connections linked to the devices addressed by the data packets. This behavior reduces congestion, improves transfer speeds, and helps isolate data, which may enhance network security. Hubs work well for small, isolated networks. Switches are ideal for networks with many devices and complex topographies.

What Are PoE Ethernet Switches?
Most computers, routers, and hubs have built-in power supplies. Wireless access points, security cameras, and Voice over IP (VoIP) phones receive electricity via their PoE network connection. PoE switches have network ports that conform to energy transmission standards, ensuring the proper operation of connected equipment. Switches with both PoE and non-PoE ports support a broad range of devices, making them ideal for offices with a mix of equipment types.

What Are the Differences Between Managed and Unmanaged Ethernet Switches?
Unmanaged switches are simpler than managed devices and usually have fewer features. They offer plug-and-play installation and are excellent options for small offices or households with straightforward networking needs. Managed network switches provide advanced features such as virtual local area network (LAN) controls that streamline video data optimization and IP phone configuration. Some also offer enhanced routing features that reduce network congestion. Support for access control lists (ACLs), guest LANs, trusted MAC address management, and HTTPS/SSL encryption protocols improves network security. Administrators can access management features using a web-based interface or a serial console.
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