Do I need a gigabit switch for my home network

This article explains with real time scenarios where you may want to buy a Gigabit switch for your home network. As with a normal switch, gigabit switches comes in 16, 24 and 48 port options.

But it provides gigabit speeds (1000 Mbps) on each of its ports making it faster than Fast ethernet switches which suports only 100 Mbps per port.

The following are the scenarios where you may need to buy a Gigabit switch for your home network.

Home network with Server

In this scenario, there is a server which is connected to a fast ethernet switch. The server is hosting some application which is being accessed by users on the network. All the users are connected to the fast ethernet switch.

Users are complaining that the network is slow at peak times and they are unable to access the application resources on the server. This is a typical scenario where both the server and the systems which are connected to the switch are operating at 100 Mbps.

This would create bandwidth congestion since the server can work at a maximum network capicity of 100 Mbps.

The solution here would be to replace the fast ethernet switch and purchase a Gigabit switch . With a gigabit switch, the server can operate at 1000 Mbps. This would significantly improve the speed and performance of the systems and the network.

It should be noted that an upgrade to gigabit switch should always be combined with a gigabit network card. If the server is using a fast ethernet gigabit card, then it has to be upgraded to a gigabit network card for the best performance.

Network with gigabit internet connection speeds.

If your home internet connection is gigabit and your wired systems are connected to a fast ethernet switch, then it is highly recommended you upgrade to a Gigabit switch

By having a gigabit switch, the gigabit internet speed can be fully leveraged as there would be gigabit speed across the network.

When a fast ethernet switch is used, you would not get gigabit speeds on your local network and this would decrease your effective internet speed when compared a gigabit switch.

FAQ

1. Should I buy a managed or an unamnaged gigabit switch.

This is dependent on your requirement. If all your systems are on one single network and is configured with a 1 subnet, then an unmanaged gigabit switch would suffice. But if your network needs multiple subnets with vlans and you would want it to be managed through a web interface or console, then a managed gigabit switch would be required.

2. Which gigabit switch should I buy.

Gigabit switches are available from different vendors like D-LINK, netgear, Cisco etc. You could purchase the switches based on your budget. They are also available in 16 , 24, 48 port options. Based on the number of systems which need connectivity and considering future expansion plans, you could buy it accordingly.

3. Should I upgrade my network card of the PC’s after purchasing a gigabit switch

Yes. you should definitely upgrade your network card to a gigabit network card. If the PC is using a fast ethernet card, the maximum speed which can be leveraged would be 100 Mbps even though the gigabit switch supports 1000 Mbps on each port.

4. I have some security cameras which are powered through the switch. What type of gigabit switches should I buy for this .

You should purchase a POE gigabit switch. These switches would power your security cameras through the network port.

So the answer to the question ‘Do I need a gigabit switch for my home network’ would vary based on you requirement as explained in the above scenarios.

Check out our – Home Networking Guide. The ebook explains different case studies and solutions which can be used to setup and configure your home network.