A few months ago I switched all my Internet and TV stuff over to my local Cable company. My new network speed is blazing fast which is really cool. I connect all kinds of devices to the cable router including the TV set. After everything was installed and running properly I realized there was a problem. The old cable router had 4 Ethernet Ports, the new router only has 2 Ethernet Ports. I need a minimum of 4 ports to run my workflow. So, what to do?
Bring On The Switch
After a couple of months of running my iMac network on WiFi I decided to fix my Ethernet Port problem. I ordered something called an Ethernet Switch. Ethernet Switches have been around forever. They are old technology, but it is so basic and fundamental to the whole Ethernet workflow it still is used my many people.
An Ethernet Switch works very simply. It is just a pass through device for the network signal to pass through to other devices. Those other devices are connected into the extra Ethernet Ports provided by the Switch.
After doing some research online I bought this Linksys Ethernet Switch with 4 ports from Amazon for $25:
If you look at the front of this thing you will see a port light for 5 items. Item number 1 is the incoming cable from your Router. Once that is plugged in you are essentially sharing that Ethernet Port on your Router with the 4 extra ports on the Switch. So, now if you plug something into one of the ports on the Switch, it is using that shared router port. Here is how that looks from the back:
Again, the cable from the Router is plugged into the #1 port on the Switch. Then you plug your devices into the other 4 ports (some Switches come with 8 ports). The various devices use the Ethernet network of the router via its connection to the Switch.
Ethernet Switches have been around for years. The Linksys Switch I got is Gigabit Ethernet which is consistent with most network speeds on Macs today. It also means fast. There was quite a network speedup on my iMac after connecting to Ethernet. The Switch just sits there as a pass through, you really do not have to do anything to it. It is just plug n play for sure.
I wish my main Cable Router had more Ethernet Ports. However, adding additional ports is quite easy and inexpensive.