Best Network Switches 2021: Add Ports, Speed and Versatility to Your Network

As home networks become more complicated — and more wireless — it can seem like wired networking is old hat. Who needs a hard-wired connection from one of the best network switches when you can get Gigabit speeds or better from a shiny new Wi-Fi 6E router? Then again, a wireless connection can introduce many variables. Protocol compatibility, wireless interference, signal-obliterating wall materials, or just poorly-designed radios/antennas can all slow a speedy gigabit connection to a comparative crawl.

Conversely, a good, solid wired connection can cut out these and other shortcomings of an over-the-air signal, while providing higher speeds and a reliable, stable connection. With typical routers only offering no more than 4 Ethernet ports — or sometimes fewer — the best network switches step in to fill the gap, giving you more ports to plug your wired devices into. Not only that, but they can also spread out some of the load on your network, freeing your router up to carry out its primary mission of getting internet service to all the wireless devices on your network that need it.

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