Best managed switches for small business is what this list is all about.
If you’re on this list, you’re definitely not a complete newbie when it comes to switches or networking. If you were, you’d be searching just for switches, not for “managed” switches, right?
Hence, I’d not waste your time by explaining what switches are, or why you need one. I’m sure you already have answers to both the questions.
However, even among managed switches, there’s a lot of confusion. To help you out, I’d list some of the primary features you may look at when finalizing your managed switch.
Table of Contents
- How to choose the best managed switches for small business?
- Here are the best managed switches for small business in 2023.
- L3 switches/ PoE/ DHCP/ QoS/ VLAN/ SNMP (explained for beginners)
- Which is the best managed switches for small business in 2023?
How to choose the best managed switches for small business?
Before I give you a name for the best small business managed switch, isn’t it better we talk about “why” it’s the best?
How exactly have I picked this list? How do you find the managed switch that suits your small business and its needs the best?
Well, there are a couple major points you can look out for:
- No. of ports: This obviously matters as the no. of ports decide how many employees/systems can be connected to the switch.
- Hardware mount: Not a major decisive factor, however, you need to choose if you need the traditional wall mount, or rack mounts (mostly for larger commercial operations).
- Speed: Never choose a router that’s just “fast enough” for you. Always choose something with spare mileage. This is because as a business ,you expect to grow. Changing switches every quarter isn’t the right move. While Gigabit Ethernet speeds are acceptable, faster-than-Ethernet speeds may be worth a peek.
- Cost: This obviously is a factor. However, do not go for a cheap managed switch simply because it’s cheap. Consider all the factors above first, and only then choose a switch for your business.
- Warranty: Most Netgear routers will give you lifetime warranty. Depending on your business size, budget, and how long you wish to use your routers, war
Here are the best managed switches for small business in 2023.
Do note that this isn’t a “ranked list” of best managed switches for small business.
Hence, the #1 switch isn’t necessarily the best all-around and the last isn’t the worst.
- TP-Link TL-SG1016PE V3 16 Port
- Ubiquiti UniFi Switch – 24 Ports
- NETGEAR 52-Port PoE Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch (GS752TP)
- NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch (GS105Ev2)
1. TP-Link TL-SG1016PE V3 16 Port
- Buy from: Amazon
- 16 ports (8 POE)
- Wall/desktop mount + rack mount
- Web-based management
- Auto power management
- Auto recovery
- Lifetime warranty
- Metal body
This is a small business managed switch that offers you nearly everything you want, or need without breaking your pocket.
For starters, you’re covered on the “ports”. As many as 16 of them are offered. Out of these 8 support POE. Your small business can now install cameras and other devices without requiring expensive wiring and power outlets.
The POE outlets do support auto restart and recovery for devices as well. Not all managed switches do that.
It’s power-efficient and auto-disables lower priority ports when total power consumption is >150W.
It’s both desktop + rack mountable. Very friendly QoS, secure VLAN and a full metal body are some other reasons why I love this one.
It can be managed from your browser and offers a plug & play setup.
You get lifetime warranty making your decision a bit easier.
On Amazon, it has a whooping 4.7 rating, from nearly 4000 users! That further asserts the fact that it probably is a good option, doesn’t it?
What you may not like:
- Doesn’t support SNMP.
2. Ubiquiti UniFi Switch – 24 Ports
- Buy from: Amazon
- 24 ports
- POE to passive 24v conversion
- Extreme control and customization
- 52Gbps switching capacity
This managed switch is on the more expensive end of things. It’s also a more commercial-grade switch than most other options mentioned on this list.
With 24 ports, it’s clearly a solution for your small business. All its ports have a feature that lets you convert them from POE to passive 24v.
It offers immense control by offering individual settings for every single port. You can configure the VLAN, 802.1X Authentication and almost everything else.
Obviously the ports support PoE+, 1Gbps transfer rate and a total switching capacity of 52 Gbps.
It’s not perfect though. For starters, it’s one of the loudest managed switches on this list. Also, the management panel doesn’t show me the real-time data being transferred through the ports.
It also doesn’t show the MAC address for each individual port.
Finally, you need to manage it using the UniFi controller which isn’t as flexible as what you’ll get with Netgear or some other brands.
What I didn’t like:
- No real-time data transfer information.
3. NETGEAR 52-Port PoE Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch (GS752TP)
- Buy From: Amazon
- 48 ports (PoE+ support)
- Low heat despite the no. of ports
- Desktop + rack mountable
- Full 802.1q VLAN tagging, static routing and other advanced features
When we talk about a small business, this one offers nearly everything a business switch should. This includes total 802.1q VLAN tagging L3 lite management layer, static routing, advanced VLAN, IPv6 aggression and other advanced features.
It obviously has a 48 port version. However, if that’s not what you need, It has 10/18/26 and 28 port versions as well. POE+ as expected is obviously there.
You get 4 SFPs with 28+ ports and 2 SFPs with >28port versions.
It can be mounted both on a desktop, as well as a rack. Mounting hardware is provided in the box.
You get lifetime warranty and SNMP management.
I know what you’re thinking, too many ports= too much heat. Surprisingly, the heat output is impressively low on this one.
It also can be managed from the web without any needing any CLI (command line interface).
Sure, the UI can be improved and the learning curve can be reduced. However, the control that the web interface offers in terms of security and other customizations is worth the initial clunk you may feel.
What I didn’t like:
- Doesn’t support split DHCP (it still can be achieved if you relay using your router).
- Management IP only accessible on single VLAN.
4. NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch (GS105Ev2)
- Buy from: Amazon
- 5 ports
- Wall/desktop mount
- Software + web control
- Low electricity consumption
- Decent speed
- Lifetime warranty
- Cheap managed switch
As the name suggests, the switch obviously offers you 5 ports. It’s a wall/desktop mount. You get lifetime warranty with the switch as is common for most Netgear managed switches out there.
It can be controlled using a native Windows application as well as browser. Do note though that I personally feel the UI needs an update.
The speed is pretty decent (not impressive, decent) for its price.
There’s also an 8-port version you can go with if that’s what you truly need. It’s one of the cheapest routers offering 802.1q VLAN tagging support.
Electricity consumption is extremely low, often lower than 3W. Almost silent operations are another one of its prime selling points.
On the down side, you don’t get CLI management.
Do note that it’s not the most feature-rich switch for your business. However, if you’re looking for a cheap managed switch, this one’s it.
What I didn’t like:
- No CLI management
- No SNMP
L3 switches/ PoE/ DHCP/ QoS/ VLAN/ SNMP (explained for beginners)
Throughout this article, I’ve used many terms which may not be familiar to some of you.
Why do those matter? Do you even need them? Let’s see:
- Layer3 switches: These are also called multilayer switches. These switches are basically a router as well as a switch. They’re capable of IP routing, inspecting elements, and other router-features.
- PoE: It’s an abbreviation for “Power over Ethernet”. In simpler words, PoE capable switches can act as a power source. This eliminates the need for new wiring/power sockets for your devices.
- QoS: Quality of Service is a feature that lets you prioritize your network and control the bulk of it. Almost every switch has it, however, the features offered by the QoS are what make one better than the other.
- VLANs: Virtual LANs help you group together multiple systems together and let them act as if they’re one system. Or as if they’re connected to a single LAN even if they’re not. It basically isolates systems, prevents collision and increases security. You only need it if you’re a rather large network.
- SNMP: Simple Network Management Protocol. In simpler words, lets you monitor your network movement, bandwidth utilization, configure alerts and so on.
Which is the best managed switches for small business in 2023?
There isn’t one absolute best managed switch for every single business.
However, you may go with the Ubiquiti UniFi Switch – 24 Ports if you need the most features, and if budget isn’t an issue.
If budget is indeed an issue and you still do not wish to sacrifice any good features, the TP-Link TL-SG1016PE V3 16 Port wouldn’t disappoint.
Finally, if budget is the primary concern, you can go with the Neatgear 5-port switch mentioned on this list. Note that you’ll be giving up a lot of ports and features, however, it’s one of the cheapest managed switches in the industry.