The term “Layer 2” is being accepted from the Open System Interconnect (OSI) model (a reference model used for describing network communications). It denotes the procedure of using MAC addresses and devices over a LAN to segment a network. The layer 2 switch interconnects network at Layer 2, usually at the MAC sub-layer, and functions as bridges.

Layer 2 switches are responsible for switching and transferring data to the MAC address of every network node. Compared to routers, layer 2 ethernet switches are faster because they don’t need much time for the assessment of the network layer header information. Furthermore, this layer transfers data between neighboring network nodes in a WAN or amongst nodes on a similar LAN segment. If your network requires layer 2 switching then you can fulfill that need by choosing the best layer 2 switch in 2023 from the following selection.

List of The Best Layer 2 Switch

Check out the thorough reviews of the best layer 2 switch in 2023 below.

1. TRENDnet 16-Port Industrial Managed DIN-Rail Layer 2 Switch

Best Layer 2 Switch In 2023: Buyer’s Guide-10TechPro

This TRENDnet industrial layer 2 switch with 16 Gigabit ports ensures safe and efficient switching of data packets on each port. The efficient switching process, safety features, and support for delivering advanced management features make it the best layer 2 switch on this list. With the switch, you can connect up to 16 devices for high-speed gigabit network connections

The redundant power inputs along with overload current protection guarantee safe operation. When a power failure occurs, the users are intimated through an alarm. Efficient bandwidth control takes place on each port. The inclusion of cutting-edge traffic management controls, SNMP monitoring and troubleshooting makes this switch a powerful solution for the SMB networks. For a hassle-free installation, DIN rail mounting bracket is included.

Key Features

  • The switching capacity is 32 Gbps.
  • This Layer 2 switch is rated for shock (EN 60068-2-27), vibration (EN 60068-2-6), and free-fall (EN 60068-2-32).
  • The key management features include IGMP snooping, VLAN, RMON, QoS, SNMP trap, and Syslog.
  • For enhanced performance, this switch can end bigger packets or Jumbo Frames (up to 10KB).
  • Features accountable for traffic management are Private VLAN, 802.3ad link aggregation, 802. 1Q VLAN, Loopback Detection, RTSP, 802. 1p Class of Service (CoS), QoS queue scheduling, and port bandwidth management.
  • Access Control features include MAC/port filtering, ACL, 802. 1X, and RADIUS. These features make the switch compatible with layered access controls.
  • Monitoring RMON, SNMP, SNMP Trap, and Port Mirroring support administrator monitoring solutions.
  • Other features supported are STP/RSTP, LACP, and IGMP, and IEEE 802.1P QoS with queue programming support.
  • Through an IP30-rated metal housing (available on the bracket), this switch can operate within a broad temperature range i.e. -40° to 167.0°F.
  • The grounding point resists damage due to external electrical surges.
  • The product dimensions are 6.3 inches x 4.72 inches x 1.97 inches and the weight is 1.94 pounds.
  • This switch supports IP30 International Protection Qualification.

Pros And Cons

  • Designed to withstand a high degree of vibration and shock
  • Redundant power inputs with overload current protection
  • Can operate in a wide range of temperature
  • Easy setup with DIN Rail Mount bracket
  • Backed by Trendnet Protection
  • The network connectivity speed is not so fast

2. Ubiquiti Networks UniFi 16 Port PoE Gen 2 Switch

Best Layer 2 Switch In 2023: Buyer’s Guide-10TechPro

UniFi USW-16-POE model is a configurable PoE layer 2 switch equipped with 16 gigabit ethernet ports. It contains 2 SFP ports and 8 autosensing 802.3at PoE+ ports. It delivers Gigabit PoE links to RJ45 Ethernet devices and the Gigabit fiber uplink options to an enterprise network.

Being managed and configured through the UniFi network controller and UniFi mobile application support, this PoE switch provides a broad range of cutting-edge layer 2 switching protocols and functions. Moreover, the mobile app and UniFi network controller allow administrators to configure and supervise all switching functions within the GUI, from anywhere. With a depth of 7.9 inches, a compact fanless design can be effortlessly set up in a SOHO shelf cabinet. You can get all the status information on the 1.3-inch touch LCD screen.

Key Features

  • 8 Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ and 8 Gigabit Ethernet Network slots are included.
  • Implemented network technology is 10/100/1000Base-T.
  • Installation is simplified with the 1U compatible rack unit.
  • The actuator type is the push button.
  • The product dimensions are 16.71 inches (L) x 7.87 inches (W) x 1.72 inches (H) and the weight is 4.4 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Easy to configure
  • Supports a broad range of advanced Layer 2 switching protocols and functions
  • Seamless integration with the rest of the UniFi line of products
  • Bright latest LCD screen
  • Stays quiet and cool throughout the operation
  • Doesn’t include 10Gb STP+ port
  • Absence of temperature sensor

3. D-Link 5 Port Smart Managed Layer 2 PoE Switch

Best Layer 2 Switch In 2023: Buyer’s Guide-10TechPro

When it comes to accessing plenty of management features and efficient switching, this D-Link PoE switch can be the best layer 2 switch. It is basically a 5 port smart managed Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2 PoE switch. Moreover, it can transmit PoE power to downstream devices.

It is powered through the network cable through an upstream PoE power source or PoE switch that can be situated up to 100 meters away. This switch is designed for those applications where a tiny 5-port Gigabit switch is needed but AC power is not nearby. The upstream PoE source might support 802.3af or 802.3at which makes this switch perfect for use in hard-to-reach places.

Since this PoE switch is smart-managed, an administrator can control different PoE functions via the user interface. For example, it can control access points or remotely reboot cameras from any place on the network. You can mount this switch on a wall or place it on a desktop. The absence of fans makes sure it runs silently.

Key Features

  • From the 5 available ports, one switch port is dedicated for the power input whereas the remaining four ports are accessible as standard 10/100/1000 ports for the networked devices like printers, PCs, etc.
  • PoE can be extended on ports 1 and 2.
  • Management features are accessible through the web-based GUI.
  • The MTBF is approx. 2,346,941 hours.
  • There is support for 8021Q VLANs to provide secure traffic or network segmentation.
  • Advanced features are QoS, link aggregation, bandwidth throttling, and IGMP repeat.
  • PoE pass-through ability makes this switch perfect for IP Surveillance networks when cameras are situated farther than 100 meters from the main PoE switch.
  • Being compliant with IEEE 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE), the energy consumption is less. Power consumption is decreased when the port utilization is low.
  • The mode of operation is OFF-NONE-ON.
  • The contact material is steel and the contact type is normally closed.
  • The switch passes the International Protection Qualification IP100.
  • The product dimensions are 3.9 inches (L) x 5.9 inches (W) x 1.06 inches (H) and the weight is 13.6 ounces.

Pros And Cons

  • Quick and easy installation
  • Snappy UI compared to others
  • Plenty of management features implemented
  • Equipped in a compact metal enclosure for safety
  • Reduced energy consumption contributes to a boost in efficiency
  • Easy setup when you install the software
  • You can communicate with the switch only using a web browser

4. Ubiquiti UniFi USW-24-PoE Gen2 Switch

Best Layer 2 Switch In 2023: Buyer’s Guide-10TechPro

Now you can expand and power on your network through this UniFi 24 port PoE switch with 2 SFP ports. Due to the compact form factor, the setup process is easy. With a mere depth of 7.9 inches, this switch is suitable for easy rackmount installation within a SOHO enclosure located on a desktop. The fanless design suggests silent cooling. So, it can be placed in a workspace. This UniFi PoE switch offers the forwarding ability to concurrently process traffic on every port at line speed; no packet loss is involved.

Key Features

  • A total of 24 ports is categorized as 16 Gigabit Ethernet PoE+ ports and 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
  • The maximum uplink speed is up to 1 Gbps.
  • Implemented network technology is 10/100/1000Base-T.
  • 2 expansion slots are included.
  • The setup is simplified with the 1U rackmount form factor.
  • The support for PoE 802.3af/at streamlines network infrastructure and cabling.
  • PoE ports provide 802.3af/at to power your PoE devices like UniFi cameras and access points.
  • The actuator type is the push button.
  • The product dimensions are 17.42 inches (L) x 7.87 inches (W) x 1.72 inches (H) and the weight is 4.4 ounces.

Pros And Cons

  • Implemented with the latest Ethernet technology
  • Simultaneously processing of traffic on all ports without packet loss
  • No overheating issues
  • Quick and painless rack mount setup
  • The fanless design requires enough spacing between other rack-mounted devices for cooling

5. EnGenius PoE+ Layer 2 Managed Switch with 48 Gigabit Ports

Best Layer 2 Switch In 2023: Buyer’s Guide-10TechPro

Are you looking for connecting plenty of devices to your network for efficient switching? If yes then this EnGenius 48 port switch is the best layer 2 switch for you. It is a managed gigabit 410W layer 2 PoE+ switch. It supports integrated network management, troubleshooting, and visibility.

It can efficiently power every device on every port through a PoE+ budget of 410W. With the assistance of integrated web interface tools, this switch accomplishes visibility, management, and troubleshooting. Through the topology view, you can check device connections across the infrastructure. Furthermore, you can conveniently set up event-based email alerts for notification of default activities. Accessories in the pack are an XJ45 console cable, a power cable, a rack mount kit, and a quick installation guide.

Key Features

  • Speed on all the 48 GbE ports is 10/100/1000 Mbps.
  • PoE+ 802.3at/af PoE+ powers devices on every port.
  • The EWS7952P switch can manage and deliver power for PoE-enabled devices like IP cameras, APs, and VoIP phones within 328.1 feet of distance. The power delivery takes place directly from the switch through an Ethernet cable.
  • Power consumption per port is up to 30W.
  • Up to 50 Neutron devices are locally managed.
  • Neutron EWS access points, IP cameras, and switches are managed via the ezMaster network management software. So, plenty of EWS devices are remotely managed across the network or across different sites, irrespective of the location of location or size. No subscription or license fees are involved.
  • The product dimensions are 10.23 inches (L) x 17.32 inches (W) x 1.73 inches (H) and the weight is 12.3 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Supports network troubleshooting, monitoring, and email alerts
  • Configuring Linux is easy
  • Built-in network management tools
  • Lightweight and portable design
  • Reduced power consumption on each port
  • Pay attention that the interface is not compatible with Firefox or private browsing

How To Pick The Best Layer 2 Switch?

End up with the best layer 2 switch conforming to your needs with the assistance of the following key factors.

1. Number of switch ports

Before choosing any network switch, one of the most vital aspects to consider is the inclusion of the right number of ports. A Layer 2 switch with an inadequate number of ports will be useless. For instance, if there are 4 devices to be connected then you need to look for a Layer 2 switch with at least 5 ports. Try to choose the one with more ports because the additional ports will work as backup ports for unforeseeable crashes. Conversely, the inclusion of a few extra ports helps you to add other devices to the network in the future.

2. PoE support

PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology essential relates to a system that transmits power accompanied by network data on an Ethernet cable. Using this technology decreases costs because you don’t have to install any additional power cord. With exceptional safety, your devices stay protected from low or high voltage.

Certainly, PoE support is a benefit but Layer 2 switches with PoE support are more expensive. Hence, if you can afford the high price then it is recommended to buy a Layer 2 switch with PoE support.

3. Safety features

For safe data transmission and overall safe operation, look for a Layer 2 switch with safety features. You may find overload current protection in many of the best and reliable Layer 2 switches. This safety feature makes sure that even though the network is subjected to excess current, it stays protected. Moreover, a grounding point is available in some Layer 2 switches. It defends equipment against external electrical surges

Layer 2 Switch VS Layer 3 Switch

Layer 2Layer 3
Switching packets are rerouted from the source to the destination portSwitches take some time to assess data packets before discovering the best available route to transmit data packets to the destination port
Uses the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to discover MAC addresses of other devicesUses IP addresses for routing in the Virtual LANs (VLANs)
Used to decrease traffic on the local networkTypically used to implement VLAN
Only performs switching by discovering and maintaining a table of MAC addressesAlong with discovering and maintaining a table of MAC addresses, Layer 3 switches facilitate routing of data packets via IP addresses
Has some tendency of switching packets from one port to anotherAlso assists devices to communicate outside the networks

FAQs When Picking The Best Layer 2 Switch

1. What are the benefits of using a Layer 2 switch?

The best layer 2 switch assists to forward packets depending on unique MAC addresses. You can rapidly deploy it at a reduced cost. Improved security and low latency are also prominent benefits.

2. What are the disadvantages of using Layer 3 switches?

Usually, the expense of the L3 switches is significantly high when compared to the Layer 2 switch. These switches don’t offer WAN functionality. Also, they lack virtualization and multiple tenants.

3. What it means by Layer 2 devices?

The Layer 2 network devices utilized on a Layer 2 Ethernet network contain network interface cards, bridges, hubs, and switches. These Ethernet devices utilize “burned in” MAC addresses to recognize each host.

4. Why is a Layer 2 switch used?

A Layer 2 switch is chiefly accountable for transmitting data over a physical layer. It carries out an error check on every transmitted and received frame. Furthermore, it flawlessly transmits data because it just needs the MAC address of NIC on every network node.

5. From Layer 2 devices and Layer 3 switches, which one should you use?

A Layer 2 domain is the one in which the hosts are connected. Hence, in that case, a Layer 2 switch works well. Usually, it is known as the access layer in a network topology. But if you want the switch to combine multiple access switches as well as perform inter-VLAN routing, then you should use a Layer 3 switch.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to segmenting a network, layer 2 switches are useful. They help forward packets depending on the unique MAC addresses. For efficient data packet transmission and reduction of traffic on the local network, it is recommended to choose the best layer 2 switch in 2023. Those switches carry out the switching function to re-arrange the data frames from the source to the destination network. One of the finest attributes is that these switches detect or correct errors encountered in the physical layer.

Enjoyed this layer 2 switch review? Then be sure to check out our other guides.