Packet path on wireless switch

June 27, 2010 at 16:38:41
Specs: Windows 7, 3.5GB Ram
I have a wireless router in one room which does DHCP, DNS, NAT, and routing. In another room, I have a wireless switch with 4 Ethernet ports. This wireless switch is connected to the wireless router over Wi-Fi.

If Computer A and Computer B are connected to the wireless switch (with Ethernet cables), will data being sent between them go to the router (over Wi-Fi) and then back (effectively using the Wi-Fi link twice), or will the packets only go to the wireless switch and then to the other computer?

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#1
June 27, 2010 at 17:36:06
Everything should go through the router, AFAIK.

How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is moving.


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#2
June 27, 2010 at 18:09:05
You could unplug (power off) the router to test. I believe some
switches are intelligent enough to know that the MAC
addresses are attached via it's ports and control traffic that
way (if on the same network where the upper layers
don't have to get involved with subnetting rules that would
prevent hosts on different networks from communicating).

My Netgear GS108 is one such switch that will allow
communication with other hosts connected to the same switch
when my router is disconnected. No Internet connection of
course, but some of the LAN hosts are still reachable...

Insomniac at large


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#3
June 28, 2010 at 05:21:10
Technically speaking, the data should stay on the switch once communication between the two clients has been established. The switch may send the data back to the router at the begining of the communication, it wouldn't surprise me with SOHO level equipment, but since it has a MAC to port table, the data really shouldn't ever leave the switch.

As Orangeboy said, you could simply shut the router down while transferring data to test.

Orangeboy

The difference between a hub and a switch is that a hub broadcasts to all ports and a switch keeps a table of what is plugged in to which port (by MAC address) so there's no "some switches are intelligent enough to know that the MAC addresses are attached via it's ports and control traffic that way All switches should intelligently manage traffic this way. If it doesn't, it's not a switch.

All a SOHO Router is, is a switch with NAT, DHCP and a firewall added on to it.


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