How Many Ports Switches Do I need?

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Are you confused about how many ports you would need within your network infrastructure? Don’t stress over it. You are not alone in it. There are a few factors that are dominant over everyone’s decision. This article will help you pick the right Ethernet Switch that matches your needs.

First and foremost is the number of devices within the infrastructure. If not exact, at least a rough estimate. State the least and the maximum number of devices that would be required to be connected. Second is the budget that is limiting you to opt for your choice of Ethernet Switch.

Ethernet Switches

Ethernet switches, widely known as Network Switches, are the PoE Devices. These Switches are used to connect multiple wired devices over a network. The network that these devices form is a local area network, which you know to be abbreviated as LAN.

All thanks to Power Over Ethernet – PoE, these Ethernet Switches allow you to power up the connected devices. Not only that, but it also allows these devices to communicate within the network. You can share by sending and receiving data in the form of packages from one another.

Ethernet Switches have been widely used since the advent of PoE. And now, almost every space of ours has increased efficiency and rapidity of data transfer. The efficiency is only possible due to the domination of these switches and the networks they have formed.

The application areas of Ethernet Switches

In whichever spaces you go, you see multiple devices that are powered and connected. These devices are connected to share resources and to communicate with each other simply. They are usually powered by Ethernet Switches. Some of the common areas of application of these Switches include;

Home: In a household today, where almost every device of ours is connected to a central router that works as an Ethernet Switch to enable us to use the Internet. The Ethernet Switch powers up all our wired devices, including our PCs, TVs, and much more.

Offices and Firms: Just like our homes, offices, and firms usually have an increased need for single to multiple Ethernet Switches and Extenders. It is so important to have a robust infrastructure. Small offices use them to connect devices and share information.

More prominent firms with floors and floors of departments use a central Ethernet Switch with increased ports. These ports enable them to connect over hundreds of devices to share information promptly. This LAN also allows them to share resources.

Educational Organizations: You might have witnessed a small box with almost hundreds of cables extending out of it. Those cables are then wired to PCs across the labs. That is an Ethernet Switch. It is widely used at educational organizations to grant access to central libraries and shared folders, and simply to communicate with each other simultaneously and use resources.

Gaming Zones: When you see multiple devices in a zone using a single source to power up and share information, you can presume them to be Ethernet Switches. Even gaming zones use them for organizing tournaments that require multiple players on the same local area network.

Managed and Unmanaged Ethernet Switches

However, when shopping for the correct Ethernet Switch, you are most likely to come across the options. These options would ask you to consider buying either a Managed Switch or an Unmanaged Switch. And, of course, evaluate your decision based on your requirements and budget for these Ethernet Switches.

Managed Switches

Managed Switches are known to be a more secure option and, therefore, comparatively expensive. For the term driven, these Switches grant you the option of setting individual security management of each port. You have access to data and can control the data flow throughout the networks due to these Switches.

Unmanaged Ethernet Switches

Whereas; the Unmanaged Switches are economical but provide mild to no security features for each port. However, there are hybrid switches under the category. They allow a little bit of tracking functions for you.

A simple Unmanaged Ethernet Switch allows the mapping of a MAC address. It does so only to monitor changes in the infrastructure. You are well-informed and can manage almost all collisions that take place with the network.

The significant differences between the two have been extensively elaborated on “Managed Switch or Unmanaged Switch.” However, on a lighter piece of advice, you can pick an unmanaged switch if you are to form a smaller network. A network infrastructure where security is not an issue and budget is compromised. They work best under these types of scenarios.

Suppose you aim for a secure infrastructure where you need to grant access to shareholders, too; go for Managed Switches. It would allow you to watch over the topology. Where data is fundamental, it is better to invest in a better option to benefit in the long run.

How Many Ports Do I Need?

By now, you have driven your way through every pre-requisite you should have had for making an informed decision. So now is the most crucial question. How Many Ports Do You Need?

There is quite an extensive range of Switches available. You can find switches ranging from a minimum of two ports to four ports, eight, and so forth. And do not worry, you can find these numbers of the port under both types. Managed and unmanaged Switches.

But, it depends upon the area of application where you want to install an Ethernet Switch.

 If you are setting up a Switch at your home, look around. See and calculate how many devices you would connect to the Switch. A PC? Maybe a television in the lounge. A laptop, maybe? You do not need a Switch with more than four ports. You can opt for a slightly increased ported Switch, like an eight-port Switch but not more. Less is good unless you are setting the Switch up in an office environment.

The firms and offices are the spaces where more is beneficial. You are never sure of the devices that are to be connected. And even if you are confident in the start, there is a high possibility that the scenario will change in the future.

Offices have some increased requirements for connecting consoles, PCs, and resources like printers and faxes. All these devices require cables to power up and transmit data over the network. Office and big-scale firms have information that is crucial and not shareable with anyone. Under scenarios like these, opt for more ports and manage Switch.

Educational institutions and gaming environments usually need a higher number of ports. Though there are specific requirements for security, unmanaged switches are to perform well under the scenario. However, the number of the port is to be higher. Educational institutions and gaming zones have hundreds of wired devices that need to be connected over a network.

A note of foremost importance is that; It is essential to select the Switch carefully and not buy more than you need. But it is also to be considered that; You do not underbuy it. When picking your Switch, count the ports minus 1 of the total ports.

Did it drive you confused? Let me break it simply.

In case you have four devices that need to be connected to a Switch. And you might be thinking that overbuying is not a good option, which is true. But, four ported Switches would only allow you to connect three devices. What about the 4th one? It is for the Ethernet cable. An Ethernet Cable also requires running back to its router. So if you need to connect four devices, go for a ported or, for a maximum, an eight-ported Switch.


Concluding it, the number of ports depends upon the application of the area. If you are sure how many devices you have to connect to form a network. Buy a switch with ports 1+ for those devices. Let’s suppose that you are not sure. But you know as the fact that the number of devices is going to cross the specified numbers that the company manufactures. Buy the next increased ported Switch.

Most of the leading manufacturers that dive into networking devices possess a wide variety of Ethernet switches. One of the top Networking device manufacturers is HoweVision from China. We offer a quiet and extensive range of both, Managed and unmanaged devices for you. We have ports ranging from 2 to 24 and even beyond to best suit your requirements.  

Still have a query or confusion? Contact us to have all your confusion cleared by the representatives.

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Hi, I'm Mr. Hua, The funder of HoweVision technology, I'v been woking industrial communication equipment for 8 years now, and the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to industrial communication from a China supplier's perspective.

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