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Router or Switch?

 
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:31 am    Post subject: Router or Switch? Reply with quote

I'm a bit confused here. I need to set up a wired network to share my cable modem. Until now, I've been completely wireless. So I've been doing (very little) research and seem to have gotten confused. Here's the question:

Can I just buy an ethernet switch, connect it to my modem and Macs and everything play nice or do I need an ethernet router? Is there any advantages/disadvantages to either one? Brands?

I'll be connecting 2 Macs and 1 PC Sad . I will most likely be adding a NAS unit as well.

Any insight would be outta sight...
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Chris..S
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does your cable modem provide any routing functionality?

You'll need something to do the routing. Most likely your ISPs help/support pages will explain what you need for a home network.

My guess is you'll need a router & hub/switch. Plenty of devices have both together, usually with four LAN ports + WAN port. What you are doing is pretty standard, so its likely any device out there is good enough. Just like the posts here about disk drives, I'm sure some people will have had bad experiences with each brand.

If you are likely to transfer large files - several GB - or stream videos over your LAN try for a gigabit switch.

What I did was buy a second hand (or refurbished) business class firewall router off ebay. You should be able to get one for about the same cost as a new residential router and most likely they will have a better firewall and be more robust. Unfortunately, gigabit is not so common yet, however a netgear FVS124G would do the trick.
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Bobaloo
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can get a router to set up your wired network. Most routers have 4 inputs, so if you wanted to use the 4th for your airport base, you could do that. Easy to set up, just download Bonjour for the Windows box to be able to share printers. I've got a router I'm not using, it's a Belkin 802.11b wireless that can be used wired. I was using it wired but I used it for maybe a week since it wouldn't work right with my Linksys when I had Vonage. Vonage phone system was in a 3 port router, didn't help me with 4 computers on the network, so I used my original 4 port Linksys router to connect the computers to the network from the Vonage Linksys router. With Verizon fios, the modem and router are combined.
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walkoflea
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want the "best" performance from your network you want a switch. I use a cable modem to a 4 port router with a built in switch for the each port.
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

walkoflea wrote:
If you want the "best" performance from your network you want a switch. I use a cable modem to a 4 port router with a built in switch for the each port.


So how about this one? It's just a switch, no router.

So I can go from my modem into this, then to my machines etc.? I was under the assumption that this was to be used to extend your wired network when using a router.

Still confused....
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NidStyles
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems you don't understand the difference.

A Switch allocates all of the bandwidth of the network to one device at a time, and switch's back and forth if there's multiple devices running through that network.

A Router does what's called load balancing. It takes the sum of the bandwidth and allocates it for the most part evenly through the whole range of devices requesting access to the network it's "routing" for.

For smaller home networks, a switch is faster. Especially if there's only going to be one device accessing the network resources most of the time.
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

o.k. I found a "network for dummies" tutorial, it seems I was right. I have to get a router and expand it, if needed, with a switch. . .

Thanks for all your input. . .
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NidStyles wrote:
It seems you don't understand the difference.

A Switch allocates all of the bandwidth of the network to one device at a time, and switch's back and forth if there's multiple devices running through that network.

A Router does what's called load balancing. It takes the sum of the bandwidth and allocates it for the most part evenly through the whole range of devices requesting access to the network it's "routing" for.

For smaller home networks, a switch is faster. Especially if there's only going to be one device accessing the network resources most of the time.

This also is not correct, as it ignores the largest reason people put in home gateway routers: to connect two different subnets (usually the internet (WAN) and their home network). It also ignores the fact that most home gateway routers have a built in switch. Load balancing is also a rare feature on home gateway routers, but some high end ones have it.

There's a lot of complicated concepts going on in what and how various networking devices work, particularly if you start delving in to how they interact with the OSI model to provide different services.
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walkoflea
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hackersmovie wrote:

So how about this one? It's just a switch, no router.

So I can go from my modem into this, then to my machines etc.? I was under the assumption that this was to be used to extend your wired network when using a router.

Still confused....

If you have just a modem, then you need a router as ClunkClunk is mentioning. Most routers today have a 4 port switch included.

Not a big fan of D-link, I prefer Linksys, but this is what you would need D-Link 4-Port Ethernet Broadband Router.
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herbg
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Router or Switch? Reply with quote

hackersmovie wrote:
Until now, I've been completely wireless.


Wait, what are you doing to get wireless? Are you just sharing it out via one of your Macs? If it's an Wireless Router or Airport Base Station then all you need is a switch.
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Router or Switch? Reply with quote

herbg wrote:
hackersmovie wrote:
Until now, I've been completely wireless.


Wait, what are you doing to get wireless? Are you just sharing it out via one of your Macs? If it's an Wireless Router or Airport Base Station then all you need is a switch.




Cable Modem to an Airport Express, no wired networking
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herbg
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Router or Switch? Reply with quote

hackersmovie wrote:
Cable Modem to an Airport Express, no wired networking


Oh ok....then your best bet would be to get a wireless router to replace the Airport Express. You can then use the Express to extend your wireless. The AirPort Extreme Base Station is very nice, but a Linksys will be just fine.

Your AirPort Express is a small router, it just doesn't have a switch built in. The AirPort Extreme Base Station or Linksys Wireless router have a built in switch. If you need more ports than the router has, then add a switch to the router to add more.

I recommend this router: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124010&Tpk=wrt54g It's funny...a router without wireless is the same price or more expensive.
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walkoflea
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that is a good wireless router. I have an earlier version of the same and it works great and I can access the signal all over my house.
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