Review: Cisco, Linksys lead the way in smart switches

best smart switches under 500 intro

Smart switches offer functionality found in managed switches, such as VLANs, port mirroring, and link aggregation. However, smart switches are typically targeted towards small and midsized networks that don’t need the complete management capabilities and fine-tuning offered in fully managed switches.

We looked at switches from six vendors, the same vendors from our recent small business router review. So if you’re building an SMB network, reference both reviews to find a matching router and switch that meets your needs. Vendors include the big-name Cisco, popular home and business brands D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear, and also lesser-known names DrayTek and UTT Technologies. We setup and evaluated each switch and in this review we compare products in regard to price, features and user-friendliness.

If you’re looking for a solid switch and can afford a higher price, check out the Cisco or Linksys units. Both offer very similar features and functionality. UTT Technologies is a more economical option but lacks PoE and some advanced features, such as auto VLAN functionality, RMON, and 802.1X authentication support. However, UTT offers remote management of other switches, which could be useful if you’re planning on having multiple switches. The DrayTek VigorSwitch is also another low-cost option, but lacks PoE, SFP ports and advanced features, such as RMON and 802.1X authentication support.

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