Every time I have added a smart home component to my house they have come with another bridge that requires connecting to my network. Philips Hue Bridge, Sonos Bridge, Hive Home the list goes on and they all want to be plugged into my router which is rapidly running out of ports. The solution is a network switch like the Netgear GS108E I am reviewing, at £24.99 it’s not an expensive component but not only does it give you 8 Gigabit network ports it has some useful management functionality.
The switch is very well made with a metal case and external power supply. The great thing about the switch is you can plug a cable from your router into the switch and then you have 7 network ports to play with, there is no configuration needed just plug it in and away you go. There is no fan so it’s silent, it has auto sensing ports and has a web based management interface if you want to configure any of the options.
Via the web interface you can setup multiple VLANs, so you can create separate virtual networks giving you additional security options, for example you could have your smart home devices on a separate virtual network so other devices like phones and laptops can’t access them. It gives you a level of protection that you can’t have when you directly connect all your devices into a home router. Other options include QoS (Quality of service) for traffic prioritisation and auto prevention of denial-of-service. From the web interface you can view the speed of devices that are connected and how much traffic is flowing through the ports.
The switch is available for £24.99 on Amazon and here is my hands on video: