How about using actual switches?

I have a TP-Link T1600G-28PS

Is there any way of absorbing that hardware into OpenWrt?

Goal is to have a single OPenWrt VM that rules all of the network.

I mean TP-Link, for this specific model, is not very security minded.

Like installing OpenWrt on that device. That would at least give me some peace of mind

If not feasable then I am open to suggestions regarding other POE switches that can run OpenWrt

That would be Support for RTL838x based managed switches

Open your tp-link, see if you can figure out the chipset.

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OpenWrt does not provide a common 'dashboard' for independent devices, but you can install it on some managed switches.

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