Have you ever looked at the back of your router and asked yourself “WHY!?!?” There are only four Ethernet ports there. Four. How can anyone live and prosper with such a meager amount of wired network connections? Well, my friend, this article is for you and anyone else who has run out of Ethernet ports on their router.
The solution to this is surprisingly simple: you need a network switch.
Without getting bogged down in too much detail, a network switch is a box that you connect to your router. On this box are a range of Ethernet ports. And you can plug more stuff into these Ethernet ports. It looks like this:
And that’s absolute magic.
The other week I ran out of Ethernet ports and had a few days seriously wondering what to do. There is a range of equipment in my house (NAS player, Apple TV, Bluesound audio streaming equipment, Xbox Series X, etc.) that requires plugged into the router for optimal performance – and I didn’t feel like logging in wireless.
But that’s no longer a problem – and it all depends on the network switch.
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Running out of Ethernet ports? So a network switch is your best friend
Important note here: make sure you have a network switch and not a network splitter.
A network splitter (also known as an Ethernet splitter) does not allow you to increase the number of wired connections that you can make on your router. A network switch does this.
All you need to do is plug the network switch into your router and connect more devices to it. Suddenly you have access to a whole load of additional wired connections in your home or office. It is that simple.
The two types of network switches
Okay, you have no more Ethernet ports and you want a switch. The point is, you keep seeing mentions of “managed” and “unmanaged” network switches. Which one do you choose?
In short, a managed switch allows you to change parameters, such as quality of service, traffic levels, channel prioritization. An unmanaged switch does not.
After some thought, I chose a managed switch. Both types let you plug in and play (I just plugged mine in and it all worked perfectly), but I found the idea of paying a little more just in case I needed more options. of personalization in the future too attractive to pass up.
The other decision you need to make is how many more Ethernet ports you want your network switch to have. Been there for eight – because you never know what’s going to happen in the future. I suggest you do the same.
So… you want a managed network switch with eight Ethernet ports. This is clear. But which one?
Well, there are a range of reputable companies that manufacture network switches. I got mine from Netgear (the model is the GS308E) and I’m incredibly happy with it, but I guess most major networking hardware manufacturers would make solid switches for the home.
Either way, are you running out of Ethernet ports on your router? So get yourself a network switch, my friend.
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Published March 29, 2021 – 09:23 UTC