Ethernet switch is also commonly called a network switch. We can think of it with the same function as a USB hub, just it's for the network here. Briefly speaking, it's a switch for you to connect with the home router to gain more Ethernet ports for other devices.
At home or office, Ethernet switches play the role of a central station that connects computers, IP phones, printers and all other wired devices to each other. On the other side, it also wires itself with the router and modem in the network to gain Internet signals. Common stand-along network switches are with 4/8/16/24 or even up to 48 ports.
Ethernet Switches Can Be Cascaded:
Ethernet switches can be connected and cascaded with each other; each switch can be split off to other switches.
Data or Data + Power：
Normal Ethernet switches' function in the network is on data transmission only; However, there are also POE versions that also enables the power supply to the ending equipment. In this way, network administrators do not have to worry about extra power supply installation at all.
10/100 Ethernet Switches (Fast Ethernet Switches)：
Fast Ethernet switches support 10Mbps and 100Mbps auto-adaptive data transmission rates. On the other side, the 10 100 ethernet hub requires connected devices to be also 100M, otherwise, it would not be able to communicate.
10/100/1000 Ethernet Switches (Gigabit Ethernet Switches)：
Gigabit Ethernet switches support 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1,000 Mbps. The Gigabit standard allows full-duplex data transmission; it also supports auto-adaptive according to the data transmission rate of the connected devices. The 1G Ethernet switch is faster than the 100Mbps Ethernet switch.
Unmanaged Ethernet Switch vs. Managed Ethernet Switch：
A basic unmanaged Ethernet switch is just plug-and-play, no configuration is needed at all. There is simply nothing to do except cable plugging in and power on. As for managed Ethernet switches, different tasks can be fulfilled by certain configurations.