Switch -vs- Router

Linkskey / Lks-sg8p
January 11, 2010 at 10:20:47
Specs: Windows 7
I want to upgrade my home network from 10/100 to 1000. I am planning to replace my cable modem with a motorola sb6120. The router I currently have is a 6+ yr old dlink 4 port.I want to replace it with a wired gigabit router with 8 ports. All the wired routers I'm finding are 10/100 and I don't want to go wireless due to my neighbors. My question is... do I have to have a router coming off the cable modem or can I use a switch?

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January 11, 2010 at 11:02:37
A router is a gateway bridge. It is used to connect two networks. A switch will expand your network. Seeing that your bridging the WWW and your LAN. I would say you need a router. A router is also a switch.

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January 11, 2010 at 11:58:24
Thanks! I'll continue my search for a inexpensive super fast wired router.

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January 11, 2010 at 18:28:43
Ahh... just like Holmes & Watson... you have to follow the evidence. I am leaning towards a D-Link DGL-4100 Gigabit 4 port Router and connecting a really cheap 10/100/1000 Linkskey LKS-SG4P switch to the router. Total ports = 8.

As far as coming to live with me... I don't recommend it. I am told (daily) I am a very difficult person to live with. <I disagree>


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January 11, 2010 at 18:58:59
pardon the intrusion here, Is the description of the switch you are looking at a typographical error?

Just so you know, If you marry up a 4 port router with a 4 port switch you get only 6 or at most 7 available ports for client systems ( 6 if the switch has no separate uplink port, 7 if it does)

Taking into account possible future expansion of your network, I would recommend you consider getting a router with wireless capability, and an 8 or 10 port gigabit switch.

I understand you have some trepidation regarding neighbors accessing your network if you have wireless but there are plenty of security measures you can take to keep them out.Wireless is normally disabled by default and you do not need to activate it until you have researched security issues and have a need for wireless, eg you get a laptop etc.

Goin' Fishin' (Some day)

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January 11, 2010 at 20:04:17
Thank you for correcting my math on available ports... as my name / handle says, I am a networknovice.<sigh> I know I should be looking at a wireless N device... BUT... for me, technology is best served in small doses. When the need for wireless comes... I envision connecting the wireless device into the router. My goal right now is to build a super fast wired pipeline to the Internet and migrate to wireless later.

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January 11, 2010 at 22:46:33
lol you obses with the speed. for using LAn it is ok. but for internet use. no matter how much your speed. but sll will drop to same internet speed. thank you.

internet for life, not life for internet.


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January 11, 2010 at 22:47:03
My goal right now is to build a super fast wired pipeline to the Internet and migrate to wireless later.

Why? As stated previously, the Internet is going to be considerably slower that a gigabyte network. As soon as you hit the Internet you are going to be down to less than 20Mbs, probably a lot less.

The advantage of a high speed gigabyte network is if you have a large Local Area Network with lots of computers trying to communicate with each other or you are in the habit of transfer huge video files, but not over the Internet.

If you have more than one computer to connect to the Internet a router is essential. Even if you only have one computer a router is desirable as it puts a wall between your computer and the Internet.


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January 12, 2010 at 03:46:40
internet for life, not life for internet.

What?! This is the first time I am hearing this!!! LOL

Seriously tho, I get your point... my bosses (wife & daughter) don't. They are constantly complaining... this is too slow... why doesn't this work... etc. When I look into their problem, I find they have so much CRAP loaded onto their computer... its a miracle the poor thing boots up at all. VISTA is NO help either. But, they want to download movies from NetFlix... Games etc and to get any kind of reasonable performance I need to upgrade my equipment.

So my plan is for a new modem, new router, switch for extra ports, replace all cables with cat 6, new 10/100/1000 nic cards. Did I miss anything? (besides a fat wallet)

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January 12, 2010 at 07:04:23
If you're doing this as a means to increase your Internet download speed, you're wasting your time and money. You need to talk with your ISP and purchase a higher speed connection. Maybe even a fiber connection.

fiber internet service

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January 12, 2010 at 08:14:54
Did I miss anything?

Yes, as Fishmonger says, it isn't going to do a thing for your Internet speed. It wont even speed up the Local Area Network if the computers are clogged up with garbage.


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January 12, 2010 at 09:19:05
So my plan is for a new modem, new router, switch for extra ports, replace all cables with cat 6, new 10/100/1000 nic cards. Did I miss anything? (besides a fat wallet)

Pretty much all unnecessary!

You don't need a new modem or SOHO router. As has been stated previously by others, this will not improve your internet bandwidth.

You can however improve LAN bandwidth by purchasing a 1000 Mbps switch and plugging it into one of the LAN ports of your existing router and then, plugging all your client computers into said switch. Once all clients have 1000 Mbps interface plugged into a 1000 Mbps switch, they will communicate with each other at 1000 Mbps

Save yourself some money and keep your existing modem and router. If you're already using Cat5e network cables, you don't need to go to the expense of purchasing Cat6 since Cat5e can, and does, carry 1000 Mbps.

So to repeat, all you really need to buy is a 1000 Mbps switch and 1000 Mbps network cards for any/all PC's that don't already have 1000 Mbps interfaces.

As StuartS pointed out above, if your PC's are clogged with crap, that will slow them down. Simply downloading and installing a good antispyware application (like Malwarbytes) and running it every day or two, will help resolve that issue.

Keep in mind also that even if you did upgrade to a higher bandwidth internet package (assuming it's available to you) that still doesn't guarantee faster downloads as you are still victim of the servers you download from. If the server is real busy, it will be slow.

I have a 30 Mbps (enterprise level) fibre optic connection to the internet here at work. I tried to download a couple drivers the other day for a computer and the mirror site I first connected to told me it would take over 3 hours to download the one file. A file which should have taken about 2 minutes to download. The problem was the mirror site was totally busy. I tried another mirror and voila! I had the file in under 5 minutes.

As for your bosses whining about how slow it is, tell them to stop whining. They're not on dialup using a 1200 baud modem! They should feel lucky the have what they have.

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January 12, 2010 at 10:28:47
I have Time Warner Cable as my ISP. I am paying them $54.99 per month for (supposedly) their fastest service. Therefore, I was of the opinion that the problem was with my old network equipment.

After reading all your comments, I see that I need to rethink my plan. I really appreciate ALL your comments... you have saved me from wasting a lot of money for very little improvement in throughput.

BTW... Thanks to you guys, I now know the difference between a switch and a router. <grin>

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