Why Do Some Ethernet Switches Cost So Much? (Managed vs Unmanaged, PoE, etc)

if you've ever run out of Ethernet ports

on your router or you have several

different Ethernet devices you need to

hardwire in a room that only has one

Ethernet port on the wall then you

probably had to go out and buy an

Ethernet switch and you probably

realized there's tons of different

options for these that come in every

shape size color and of course price tag

and it's easy to imagine why a switch

for example with 24 ports might cost

more than switch with five ports but

there are other situations where a

switch might look exactly the same as

another one but costs several times more

so what's the deal with that for example

here's a 48 port switch from Netgear

it's gigabit and it costs around $250

whereas this is the one I actually have

in my home it's from unify different

brand but it also has 48 ports and this

one costs around $800 but that's not

even the most expensive model because

there's one that costs over $1,000 even

though it looks exactly the same as the

one that I have clearly there's a lot

more going on than meets the eye and

these expensive switches do in fact have

most of the time a lot more features

than the cheaper ones but for most

average people these features are going

to be completely irrelevant but to some

they are worth the extra price so let's

go over what are some of the most common

reasons why a switch might be more

expensive a lot more expensive than

another one the first criteria is

whether or not the switch is managed or

unmanaged now an unmanaged switch is

basically just a dumb switch where you

plug everything in everything's

automatic it just routes traffic you

don't have to configure it or you can't

configure it even if you wanted to at

all you plug something in immediately

the entire rest of the network and see

it it's pretty simple and

straightforward and for 99.9% of people

an unmanaged switch like this is all you

will ever need but there's another type

of switch called a managed switch that

gives you a lot of control over the

traffic and the device is connected to

it in a way that you simply can't get

with an unmanaged switch for example you

can set up things like VLANs or virtual

LANs that will separate and isolate

certain devices into virtual networks so

they can't be seen by other VLANs this

might be useful if you have different I

don't know IOT devices Internet of

Things devices which are known to be not

very secure maybe you want to put them

their own little virtual network so they

can still connect to the internet and

stuff like that but they can't access

the rest of your network if they get

compromised or something you can

configure it that way if you wanted to

with a manager switch you might also

have the ability to do quality of

service control so you can control which

devices can have how much bandwidth that

sort of thing you can also see these

statistics of different devices on that

switch a lot of these might also be

available in a router but you can get it

with the switch itself too and then

typically if you're using a managed

switch these will have some sort of web

interface to configure it with similar

like you would get with a router you

simply type in the IP address of the

switch and it'll get into that settings

menu and then you can control it however

you want through there and again for a

vast majority of people these settings

you might not even know what they do

they're not going to be useful to you at

all and they are very advanced so even

if you wanted to do something it'd

probably take quite a bit of research to

figure it out now one thing I will point

out is if you do go and buy a managed

switch it's not like you have to

configure it usually these are just

gonna work out of the box like an

unmanaged switch but if you want to do

all the extra stuff you can go in there

and do it if you want but it's not like

if you accidentally buy a managed switch

then you're not gonna be able to use it

it'll work the same and you probably

wouldn't even realize there's a

difference and let's go in and try to

change everything all right next up the

next reason why a switch might be

significantly more expensive than

another one is the port speeds on there

now these days pretty much every single

switch is gonna at least have gigabit

ports on there even though really

affordable ones with lots of ports

they're probably gonna all be gigabit

but there are some that have 10 gigabit

but for the most part instead of seeing

a switch that is all 10 gigabit usually

you're gonna see one that has a lot of

one gigabit ports and then a few 10

gigabit extra ports on there for example

on my switch it's 48 one gigabit rj45

connections regular Ethernet ports and

then there are four additional SFP type

ports on there two of which are a

regular SFP one gigabit and then there's

two sfp+ 10 gigabit ports on there now

when there's this kind of configuration

where there's a couple ports that are


a faster and the other ones that's

usually called an uplink and the reason

for that is if you have maybe one or two

devices on your network that are capable

of supporting way faster speeds and then

you want all the other devices which are

a little bit slower that want to be able

to connect to that really fast device

all at once and in a case of for example

like an ad server where there's lots of

files maybe has a 10 gigabit uplink to

the switch then each individual device

might only pull a maximum of one gigabit

from it but this way if you have a 10

gigabit uplink to the switch you can

have maybe 10 devices all at once

connecting at 10 gigabits so you can

still use that 10 gigabits speed of the

main server even though every other port

on there is in 10 gigabit you can still

take advantage of it but then there are

of course other switches out there that

might have fewer numbers of ports but

they're all 10 gigabit for example I

have another Netgear switch which is

simply for rj45 ports and an sfp+ port

however every single one of these ports

all five of them are 10 gig and this one

is a lot more expensive than what you

might see here with other five port

switches obviously this one was like

four hundred dollars and it's not even

managed it's unmanaged but the reason

it's so expensive is because it's all

ten gig so when it comes to port speed

in price usually these days everything

is going to be one gigabit it's gonna be

hard to find something that's only 100

megabit these days but you might

occasionally pay up more for a couple

ports that are higher than one gig they

might be five gig or even 10 gig and

that's what you're paying for usually

they're all right now the third main

reason you'll typically see for a higher

price which is so called power over

ethernet or Pio II this is a really cool

technology that allows you to send not

only data but power over the Ethernet

cable so this is really useful for

devices where it might be really

inconvenient to run a power cable for

example a wireless access point that

you're mounting on the wall this way if

your Ethernet port supports power over

it then it just goes right to the cable

and then you only have to run one cable

and it's low enough voltage where it's

not going to be dangerous or anything

running through the wall and you also

might see this with eye

P cameras so internet cameras that

connect through Ethernet and then that

way again you don't have to run a

separate power cable it's much easier

now there are different levels of p OE

power the most common one that's pretty

high power is p OE plus and that's about

30 watts of power per port and p OE as a

feature can affect the price of the

switch in several different ways first

of all if the switch supports it at all

of course that's gonna be a premium

price and also how many ports on the

switch all of the total amount support p

OE so you might have I don't know 48

port switch and then maybe only 10 of

them support p OE that's gonna be

cheaper than one that supports all the

ports have a few e and then also the

total maximum wattage that the switch

can support across all of the ports for

example with my switch it is 48 ports

and every single port on there can

deliver the 30 watts of p OE

individually however it has a 500 watt

maximum so assuming every device I plug

into it pulls the maximum wattage of 30

Watts which is not gonna happen usually

they don't pull the maximum that means I

could support up to 16 devices all of

them pulling the max but of course if

they're doing fewer than the 30 Watts

then it could support more than that up

with the 500 total and also if you

remember that thousand-dollar switch I

remembered from earlier in the video

that looked the same as mine the reason

that one is a thousand dollars versus

mine at like 800 is because that one

supports 750 watts total of p OE power

whereas mine is only 500 Watts so for

that extra couple hundred bucks you get

like 50 percent more power now for me

that's completely unnecessary because

I'm not gonna plug in that many devices

probably the support p OE but if you are

someone who is running a bunch of

cameras and access points that sort of

thing it might be necessary so when

you're in the main consumer to prosumer

range of products which i think most of

you guys are going to be in i would say

that those are the three biggest

differentiators in price so that's gonna

be whether it's a manage your unmanaged

switch the speed of the ports and power

over ethernet support of course those

aren't the only reasons why one might be

more expensive than the other

of course brandings and be part of it

and of course when you get into higher

enterprise-grade switches I mean things

can go really crazy and there's a lot

more features that might go into

enterprise switches for example you

might have redundant power supplies so

even if one power supply on the switch

fails then the switch will stay up and

running this is for things like

businesses where it's absolutely

critical that the network stay up

obviously you can have redundancy there

there's also features that are kind of

tangentially related to the products

such as service contracts warranties

24/7 support so the contract might say

oh if something happens to the switch

then the company like Cisco or whatever

will come out and service it for you

that sort of thing and then of course

when it comes to like super high end

stuff just the reliability and general

quality is going to contribute to the

price I mean when you're buying a

super-high in business switch

enterprise-grade it's gonna go in a

datacenter or something you might need

this thing to have a hundred percent

uptime for a decade right you're not

gonna ever get that with consumers and

also another thing to keep in mind is a

lot of times if you're going with

enterprise stuff usually you go to a

company like Cisco that might have

end-to-end it solutions so you're not

just buying the switch from them you're

also buying the firewall servers the

router that sort of thing they might set

it up for you for your specific business

you know custom-made configurations all

that sort of stuff is gonna be built

into the price and because it's all

configured together and made by the same

company it all just works perfectly

together but of course when you get into

that super high-end like tens of

thousands of dollars for a switch I'm

sure you can get then that sort of thing

is something that those features even

the most advanced home user is not even

gonna think about or care about at all

because you wouldn't even be able to use

that sort of support it's just not

necessary but hopefully now at least for

those of you in the actual regular

market for like consumer prosumer

switches now you can know why something

might cost more than the other and you

can actually differentiate the features

and say well you know this one actually

does have the same exact features it

doesn't just look the same I can tell

what these features are this one's way

cheaper maybe go for that one and know

you didn't just get the cheapo one so

that's all I have to say here but if you

want to keep

watching another video I'd recommend

watching next is a video where I talked

about consumer versus enterprise-grade

Wi-Fi so that should be pretty

interesting I'll put the link right here

you can just click on so I'm looking

forward to hearing what you guys think

down the comments and also I'll see you

in the next video