Table of Contents
- What is a network switch?
- Top network switches
- Monitoring your network switches with MetricFire
When you set up on-premise digital infrastructure, it is crucial to enable your devices to communicate with each other. The devices on your network should be able to send and receive data packets to handle requests and send responses back to callers. One of the components that allow data transmission to the proper destination is the network switch.
The network switch plays an important role in distributing data packets to devices. Because of the importance, organizations desire to ensure clear visibility on switch devices. In this article, we will learn about network switches and top network switches in the industry. Also, we will discuss what the best option is to monitor your network switches.
What is a network switch?
A network switch is a device that handles data packets sent by devices that are connected to its physical ports. The switch then forwards the data to the destination devices that the packet is requested to reach. Network switches are a shared component of networks based on Ethernet, Fibre Channels, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), and more. The majority of the switches today use Ethernet.
How does a network switch work?
When a device is linked to a network switch, the switch perceives the MAC address. The address is a code that is embedded into the device. The switch uses the MAC address to identify which device sends packets and where to deliver incoming packets. The MAC address is permanent, which means the address does not change.
In contrast, the network layer IP address can be dynamically assigned to a device and can be changed. When a packet goes into the switch, the device reads its header that stores the destination address or addresses. Then, it sends the packet through the ports that travel to the destination devices.
Top network switches
There are numerous network switches in the market and their specifications and prices vary. Let’s learn what top network switches are out there and their characteristics.
1. NETGEAR Gigabit Ethernet Unmanged Switch (GS108)
This NETGEAR Gigabit Ethernet Switch has 8 ports and it can handle heavy traffic in a home or office. It has a sturdy metal chassis. It offers a plug-and-play, internet splitter, sturdy metal case, easy monitoring, gigabit ethernet, and lifetime warranty. The manufacturer claims that it can switch at 16Gbps from the device. This switch comes with utility software that detects other switches on the network.
2. TP-Link 16-Port Fast Ethernet Unmanaged Switch
TP-Link is also a brand known for network devices. This 16-port network switch is operated efficiently. It has power-saving technology, a non-blocking switching design, 3.2Gbps switching speed, and a 9k jumbo frame. The device supports MCAC address auto-learning and auto-aging, auto-negotiation ports, fanless design, and plug-and-play. TP-Link promotes that it can save power up to 70%. Since the switch does not have a fan, it does not generate noise. Also, this model is affordable compared to other models that have similar specifications.
3. TP-Link TL-SG105-M2
TL-SG105-M2 has a relatively affordable price tag and provides high-speed performance. The 5-port switch is easy to set up and has a fanless design. It is an ultra-fast 2.5 GbE switch that you may not need to buy new cabling if you are already using Cat 5e cabling in your network. This TP-Link model offers a generous lifetime warranty which is not usual among the same class switches. The device has an electric plug-in outlet on the opposite side of the ports, which can be inconvenient for cabling. You also need to mind that this switch has a lack of loop detection.
4. Ubiquiti Unifi USW-Flex
Ubiquiti is an American technology company founded in 2003. The firm is specialized in manufacturing wireless data communication and wired products for enterprises and homes. This Ubiquiti switch provides 802.3af PoE power, weather resistance, and Gigabit speed and has 5 ports. This device works well as a network edge device to support other devices such as IP cameras or sensors that you may want to avoid much wiring. When you initially use it without configuration, you can still enjoy solid speed and perform well. However, this device can be heated hovering easily over 100 degrees Fahrenheit at idle and it can go up around 118 degrees even in a cool room.
5. Zyxel XGS1010-12 (Unmanaged)
Zyxel is a Taiwanese multinational broadband access solution company. The broadband solution provider produces mobile and fixed-line broadband access products and end-to-end solutions using the latest technologies such as 5G NR, WiFi 6, and 10G fiber. Zyxel’s XGS1010-12 switch provides options for both 2.5Gb and 10Gb connections. The device follows a fanless design and has great all-around performance. With 8 gigabit ports and 4 bonus ports, it offers a decent connection capacity. Its warranty terms are not described clearly if you try to find out. You need to do some research until you find it has a 5-year warranty. The device can run a little hot.
6. TP-Link TL-SG116
TL-SG116 is one of the best budget 16-port switches. It provides great features such as plug-and-play, a fanless design, and a great warranty. With an affordable price tag, people can set up home or office networks without much cost burden. It was proven to provide near gigabit speeds with perf and normal file transfers, streaming, and gaming. If you have simple network needs, this device can be a good starter.
7. Netgear 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch (GS316)
The Netgear GS316 model can be conveniently set up with a plug-and-play option needing no configuration and no software installation. It operates with an energy-saving feature and a fanless design. This 16-port switch is a good option for a home or small office. With this device, you can secure and monitor your network at an affordable price. However, the switch lacks support for the Power over Ethernet and rack mounting option.
Monitoring your network switches with MetricFire
We learned that network switches play a central role in enabling communication across the devices on the network. For reliable operation of all your hardware resources, we need to monitor network switches. One of the easiest ways to monitor is by hosting Graphite with MetricFire.
What is MetricFire?
MetricFire is a full-scale platform that provides infrastructure, system, and application monitoring using a suite of open-source monitoring tools. We enable you to use Hosted Graphite and aesthetic custom dashboards to visualize your metrics so you can understand what is happening.
What is Graphite?
Graphite is an open-source time-series database. You can use it to store, query, and visualize time-series monitoring data from systems, websites, devices, servers, or all of them together at the same time. Since it is open-source, it is free to use. However, with open-source software, there are maintenance, scalability, and team-sharing burdens. Installing and operating Graphite reliably can be a challenge.
Hosted Graphite is offered by MetricFire. MetricFire's Hosted Graphite is maintained, updated, and hosted for ultimate ease of use. This means setup is convenient and quick, while it also addresses the scalability and team sharing issues found with open-source Graphite. Graphite is great for its high performance, simple architecture, and easy-to-use features. It has proven its usage among the top organizations in the corporate world.
Hosted Graphite preserves all the benefits of open-source Graphite and further enhances the monitoring software with the built-in agent, team accounts, granular dashboard permissions, and integrations to other major platforms and services such as AWS, logging tools, and more.
In addition to these major features mentioned above, there are more benefits for users.
- Hosted Graphite backs up your user data and dashboard every hour.
- You will be fully supported by MetricFire's technical experts.
- MetricFire offers an extensive range of options for users of all sizes with plans and customization to meet your needs.
- MetricFire’s on-call team is ready 24/7. Our team keeps watching your hosted Graphite from around the world using an automated monitoring system.
- We have been ingesting billions of data points per day since 2012. Our mature metric processing and storage capabilities are trusted by thousands of engineers.
- You can directly send metrics from your application without additional dependencies or aggregation services.
Integrate network switches and Graphite
To integrate network switches and Graphite with your monitoring stack, sign up for a free trial with MetricFire. Talk with the MetricFire engineers about how to integrate network switch hardware and Graphite and make network switches and Graphite integrated with your MetricFire dashboards easily.
In this post, we learned about network switches and their importance. When the devices experience trouble, all the relying devices can also be affected. This can mean an unreliable service by your business to customers and damage to your bottom line. To prevent these disruptions, you need to build monitoring capabilities. With MetricFire, you can easily and swiftly start monitoring your network switches.