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The Networking Devices Handbook: Everything Connected

Ever wonder what's behind the technology that lets you stream your favorite shows, video chat with friends across the world, and get work done from anywhere? Networking devices are the unsung heroes that make connectivity possible. Routers, switches, and access points—these are the devices that form the infrastructure of networks and ensure all your smart gadgets, appliances, and systems can communicate. 

In this handbook, we'll give you the lowdown on the most common networking devices, how they work, and the latest models worth investing in for fast, reliable, and secure connectivity in your home or office. Whether you're building a network from scratch or just want to boost your Wi-Fi signal, you'll find everything you need to know to untangle the networking web and get all your tech talking. The future is connected—let's plug in and power up your network. 

What Are Networking Devices and Why Are They Essential? 

Networking devices are essential to connect all the tech in your home or office. Without them, your computers, phones, tablets, and other smart gadgets wouldn't be able to communicate with each other. 

The most common types of networking devices are: 

  • Switches 
  • Routers 
  • Wireless access points 
  • Modems 
  • Hubs 

These networking basics get all your tech talking. Simply put, a network switch shuttles data between devices on your network at lightning speeds, networking router routes information between networks and also blocks unwanted access. Wireless access points provide Wi-Fi connectivity so you can take your laptop or phone wherever you like. And modems are the bridge between your network and the World Wide Web. 

With the right combination of networking hardware devices, you'll have a fast, secure network to keep you connected at home or the office. The future is interconnected, so make sure you have the essential networking hardware devices to link all your tech together.  

Types of Networking Devices: Hubs, Switches, Routers, and More 

Networking devices are essential hardware components that connect all your tech devices. Without them, your Wi-Fi wouldn’t work, your computers couldn’t share files, and your smart home gadgets couldn’t communicate. The main types of networking devices are: 

  • Switches: Switches connect multiple devices on a network and transmit data between them. They’re great for setting up a fast, reliable network in your home or office. Some of the best switches come from brands like Netgear, TP-Link, and Cisco. 
  • Routers: Routers connect networks and direct traffic between them. They’re what enable you to access the internet from your network. Routers also come from Netgear, TP-Link, and Cisco, but if you want a high-performance gaming router, also check out models from Asus or Linksys. 
  • Access points: Access points, or APs, create a wireless network and connect Wi-Fi devices. They work with your router and switch to provide internet access to phones, tablets, laptops, and more. Popular access point brands are the same as routers and switches. 
  • Hubs: Hubs are basic networking devices that simply retransmit signals to all connected devices. They’re rarely used today since switches are faster, smarter, and more secure. 

To build a solid network, you’ll want quality networking components like a switch, router, and access point. Do some research on the latest models to find options with the speed, coverage, and features you need. And if you’re not tech-savvy, don’t hesitate to ask an expert for guidance. With the right networking devices powering your connectivity, you’ll enjoy faster downloads, lag-free gaming, and a smarter home. 

The Best Networking Devices to Buy in 2023: Our Top Picks 

TP-Link Deco X20 AX1800 

Our top budget pick for 2023 is the TP-Link Deco X20 AX1800 mesh Wi-Fi system. For under $300, you get a 2-pack of Wi-Fi 6 routers that blanket up to 5,500 square feet of your home with fast, seamless coverage. 

  • Wi-Fi 6 technology provides faster speeds, greater bandwidth, and connectivity for more devices at once 

  • Covers up to 5,500 square feet, ideal for most medium to large homes 

  • Easy to set up through the Deco app with no technical networking knowledge required 

  • Parental controls, network security, and mesh Wi-Fi features at an affordable price point 

Asus ROG Rapture GT-6 

Gamers will love the Asus ROG Rapture GT-6, a high-performance mesh Wi-Fi system optimized for low-latency online gaming. Expect blazing-fast speeds, uninterrupted connectivity, and maximum bandwidth for up to 25+ devices at once. 

  • Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 with 802.11ax technology delivers up to 11,000 Mbps of throughput 

  • Gaming port prioritizes game data for optimized online gameplay 

  • Connects to Asus routers for an even wider mesh network 

  • A bit pricey, but it is a top choice if fast speeds and minimal lag for gaming are a priority 

NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch 

For expanding your wired network connections, the NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch is a great, budget-friendly option. 

  • Provides 8 gigabit Ethernet ports to connect devices like desktop PCs, laptops, network storage, printers, and gaming consoles 

  • Plug-and-play setup, no configuration required 

  • A compact, sturdy metal case can be placed on a desk or mounted on a wall 

  • Very affordable, with speeds up to 10 times faster than standard Ethernet 

This covers some of the best networking devices to consider for 2023 based on performance, value, and overall satisfaction according to recent reviews and customer ratings. Be sure to evaluate your own connectivity needs and budget when choosing new networking hardware for your home or office. 


You now have a solid overview of the most common networking devices used today and why they're so important in connecting everything in your home and office. Routers, switches, access points, and modems are the foundation of networking and allow all your smart devices, computers, and other equipment to communicate with each other. As new networking technologies emerge, these devices will only become more advanced and integral to how we live and work. If you're looking to upgrade your network, the options reviewed here are among the best networking devices to consider buying this year. Your connectivity will be faster, your range will be wider, and you'll have greater control over your network. The future is connected, so make sure you have the right networking devices to link to it.