A 16 port switch is an extremely useful tool for a business, or a large home. As with any computer hardware, there are a variety of brand and service options that will be laid before you, and navigating what’s best for you can be difficult.
If you weren’t aware, a 16 port ethernet switch is a piece of hardware that allows you to plug 16 different devices into the ports available, and set up your own connected network. Through ethernet cables, you can connect computers, printers, and more on the same network, so that they can be used anywhere in your house or building. This is extremely useful, as you’ll be able to sync every computer to one another, easily transferring files and media to any PC on the network.
There are three major brands to choose from when you’re purchasing a 16 port switch. One of the most popular brands is Linksys. Linksys hardware isn’t as sturdy, and doesn’t necessarily last as long as other brands do, but they do provide really good value for money. In most cases a Linksys 16 port switch will be much cheaper than other brands, and should still hold up without a problem for a number of years, as long as you take good care of your device. Linksys also offers a variety of ethernet and gigabit switches that focus on either networking, or providing fast internet access. All of which usually fall into the price range of $60-$100.
NETGEAR is another 16 port switch brand that tends to be more expensive than Linksys. But where Linksys is better designed for home environments, NETGEAR provides higher speeds and even power over Ethernet (PoE) for certain devices, making them perfect for a small business. PoE refers to electrical current than can be transmitted through an Ethernet cable, to power certain devices. This is extremely useful for devices like IP telephones, cameras, remote ethernet switches, etc. All require an ethernet power source, and only a PoE optimized 16 port switch will suffice. For a NETGEAR 16 port switch you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to over $200 for the top models.
Belkin is the third of the most popular brands, and also tends to be the most expensive. Belkin is probably only reserved for business use, given the price, but has a variety of customization options for running your network. With Belkin, you’re able to identify one computer as the network administrator, allowing you to run and control anything attached to the 16 port switch from one console. This is useful for business owners that would like to have total control under the other devices on the network. A Belkin 16 port switch will cost you anywhere from $300 to upwards of $600 depending upon the options you select.
To purchase your own 16 port switches, a computer oriented store is the best choice. Chains like Best Buy, or computer specific stores like OfficeMax have a wide variety that can be targeted to specifically serve your needs. So beforehand, consider whether you’ll be using this for home or office use. At home, an easier networking switch like Linksys will be more wallet-friendly, and perfectly adaptable. For the office, you’ll need a 16 port switch that can offer a little more like NETGEAR and Belkin.