LAN Switches

LAN Switches Overview

LAN (Local Area Network) switches that are most commonly implemented as Ethernet switches connect multiple network devices (computers, servers, routers, printers) to send and receive data. They use MAC (Media Access Control) addresses that are unique identifiers to send data packets to destination ports. They efficiently manage high-volume network traffic.

These switches can be fully managed, unmanaged, or smart.

Managed switches require administration to take advantage of their features. These switches control the traffic accessing the network and provide the ability to configure each port and device on the network to maximize the efficiency of network traffic. Managed switches support device bandwidth limiting and port mirroring to optimize network capabilities. Administrators use management switches to create VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) and can access the switches remotely for maintenance and tuning.

Unmanaged switches function as plug-and-play devices that are easy to install. They have fixed default configurations. They automatically switch between full-duplex mode (bidirectional traffic) and half-duplex mode (unidirectional traffic) regulating network data rates.

Smart switches also referred to as intelligent switches, offer a reduced set of switch management features when compared with managed switches but offer more network controls than unmanaged switches. They can be limited to a few options such as setting up VLANs or duplex modes.

PoE devices are switches that provide network functionality along with power sources for connected devices.

Cloud-managed switches configure switch ports for devices over your entire network using the web.

Switches can be used to offload and examine traffic. A switch can be deployed between a WAN router and a LAN for this purpose. In larger networks this approach along with port mirroring is used to enhance security, aid in intrusion detection, firewalling, diagnostics, and performance analytics.

Top Rated LAN Switches Products

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2021

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

LAN Switches Products

(1-25 of 38) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.
Cisco Catalyst Switches

Cisco Catalyst Switches

Customer Verified
Top Rated
TRUE

Cisco's Catalyst is one of that company's brand of network switches.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X/XR Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 2960-X and XR series of campus LAN switches.

Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 3850 series of stackable network switches.

Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 9300 series of stackable LAN switches.

Cisco Catalyst 9200 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 9200 series of campus LAN switches.

Cisco Catalyst 3650 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 3650 Series of campus LAN switches.

Cisco Nexus

Cisco Nexus

Customer Verified
Top Rated

Cisco Nexus is a series of network switches.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-L Series Switches

Cisco Catalyst 2960-L Series Switches are fixed and smart-managed Gigabit Ethernet switches that provide enterprise-class access switching for branch offices, out-of-the-wiring-closet applications, and critical Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, as well as small and medium-sized…

Cisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 9500 series of campus LAN switches.

Cisco Catalyst 6800 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 6800 series of campus LAN switches.

Cisco Catalyst 9600 Series Switches

Cisco Catalyst 9600 Series switches are described by the vendor as purpose-built for resiliency at scale, providing comprehensive security and helping organizations grow at low total operational cost. Built on the foundation of Catalyst 9000, the Catalyst 9600 Series is designed…

Cisco Catalyst 3560-CX Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 3560-CX series of campus LAN switches.

Cisco Catalyst 1000 Series Switches

Cisco Catalyst 1000 Series switches are designed to provide simplicity, flexibility, and security for smaller networks preparing for growth. With a wide range of Power over Ethernet (PoE) and port combinations, these switches are built to fit the needs of networks with up to 250…

Cisco Catalyst 9400 Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst 9400 enterprise series of LAN switches.

HPE Networking Switches

HPE Networking Switches (formerly branded HP ProCurve) is Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's network / LAN switching option.

Dell PowerConnect Switches

Dell PowerConnect is a series of networking switches.

Ruckus ICX Switches (formerly Brocade ICX Switches)

Ruckus acquired the ICX series of campus switches, and in turn Ruckus was acquired by ARRIS in December 2017.

Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches

Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches are designed to help businesses connect the data center and network to achieve optimal application performance in any type of cloud environment.

Cisco Nexus Dashboard

Cisco Nexus Dashboard provides a simplified, centralized data center dashboard that enables businesses to manage their hybrid cloud network operations.

NETGEAR ProSafe Managed Switches

NETGEAR ProSafe Managed Switches is San Jose headquartered NETGEAR's line of LAN switch technology.

Cisco Catalyst Digital Building Series Switches

Cisco offers the Catalyst Digital Building Series of campus LAN switches.

Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch

Alcatel-Lucent provides the OmniSwitch family of switches, providing data center switching, Ethernet & LAN switches, support for IoT and edge solutions, SDN, ruggedization and industrial-grade solutions, and WebSmart switches.

Cisco FabricPath

Cisco's FabricPath is a brand of LAN switch.

IBM BNT

IBM acquired Blade Network Technologies in 2010, bringing that company's LAN switch brands into the fold.

NEC Campus Switches

Global, Japan-headquartered company NEC offers LAN / networking switches.

Learn More About LAN Switches

What are LAN Switches?

LAN (Local Area Network) switches that are most commonly implemented as Ethernet switches connect multiple network devices (computers, servers, routers, printers) to send and receive data. They use MAC (Media Access Control) addresses that are unique identifiers to send data packets to destination ports. They efficiently manage high-volume network traffic.

These switches can be fully managed, unmanaged, or smart.

Managed switches require administration to take advantage of their features. These switches control the traffic accessing the network and provide the ability to configure each port and device on the network to maximize the efficiency of network traffic. Managed switches support device bandwidth limiting and port mirroring to optimize network capabilities. Administrators use management switches to create VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) and can access the switches remotely for maintenance and tuning.

Unmanaged switches function as plug-and-play devices that are easy to install. They have fixed default configurations. They automatically switch between full-duplex mode (bidirectional traffic) and half-duplex mode (unidirectional traffic) regulating network data rates.

Smart switches also referred to as intelligent switches, offer a reduced set of switch management features when compared with managed switches but offer more network controls than unmanaged switches. They can be limited to a few options such as setting up VLANs or duplex modes.

PoE devices are switches that provide network functionality along with power sources for connected devices.

Cloud-managed switches configure switch ports for devices over your entire network using the web.

Switches can be used to offload and examine traffic. A switch can be deployed between a WAN router and a LAN for this purpose. In larger networks this approach along with port mirroring is used to enhance security, aid in intrusion detection, firewalling, diagnostics, and performance analytics.

LAN Switches Features

Depending on the type of LAN switch, they will include the following features.

  • Connect multiple devices
  • Port configuration, traffic prioritization, set QoS (quality of service) levels for individual ports
  • Network access controls, traffic controls, traffic filtering
  • Bandwidth controls, limiting
  • Network monitoring
  • Device monitoring
  • Port mirroring
  • VLAN support
  • Security
  • Redundancy
  • Scalability
  • Remote access and management

LAN Switches Comparison

Consider the following when purchasing LAN switches.

Managed vs Unmanaged vs Smart Switches: Managed switches offer customization options that enable networks to operate at peak efficiency. If network management, traffic prioritization, and enhanced security are required, a managed switch is the best solution. They come with a higher price tag than unmanaged or smart switches and are best suited for enterprise installations. If your switch only needs to perform the basic functions of networking without customization, which would be appropriate for a small business or the home, then unmanaged switches that have a lower price would be the most cost-effective. Smart switches occupy a middle ground offering some basic customization options while being more affordable than managed switches.

Specifications: Ensure that the device you select will support the speed configurations and the number of ports you require. Vendors offer switches with a wide range of speed and port options, supporting multi-Gbps speeds and dozens of ports. If you require that your devices need to be powered by your switch, select a PoE switch.

Stackable Switches: To readily support network growth, stackable switches offer a rapid setup. They can be configured as a single switch, avoiding having to monitor individual switches. Stackable switches automate workarounds for power failures and port problems. After deploying stackable switches you are committed to using the same product line for future expansion in order to take advantage of its features. In some situations adding additional switches, along with increasing speeds can lead to increased latency and some performance degradation.

New vs. Refurbished Equipment: Budget-conscious individuals and small to medium-sized businesses may wish to consider purchasing refurbished LAN switches that cost significantly less and usually offer warranties. Enterprise scale organizations would encounter issues related to limited warranties and lack of tech support that would take this option off the table when supporting mission critical applications and services. Additional complications will arise if your organization used an OEM to build your network.

Pricing Information

Vendors offer a wide range of LAN switches. Depending on their type, features, speed, and the number of ports, prices can begin under $100 and range into the tens of thousands of dollars.

LAN Switches Best Of Awards

The following LAN Switches offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Best Of Awards methodology here.

Best LAN Switches

Frequently Asked Questions

What do LAN switches do?

LAN (Local Area Network) switches connect devices on a network allowing them to share data and communicate. They configure ports, secure, control, and prioritize network traffic, and help optimize network efficiency.

What are the benefits of using LAN switches?

LAN switches improve network performance, maximize available network bandwidth, prioritize important network traffic, reduce downtime, and help secure network data.

How much do LAN switches cost?

Basic LAN switches can be purchased for less than $100, switches that support enterprise operations run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Their cost is driven by the switch type, features provided and the speed and number of ports that are supported.