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Old 12-27-2014, 03:15 PM   #1
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Router, switch, or both ???


I need additional Ethernet ports. (At least one more port for my new smart-TV). Currently I have a cable modem with one RJ45 output. I read that all I needed was an Ethernet switch. So I was in the process of buying a 5-port Ethernet switch when I noticed the diagram on the back of the box showing modem-router-switch-computers. The kid at the store asked their tech who said that I need the router too.

Somebody please explain to me what is needed here. I am trying to have two (or three) devices have independent access to the internet.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:35 PM   #2
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Most of the cable modems with a single port are simple bridge-mode devices. If you want to put more than one computer behind them, you will indeed need a router.
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:56 PM   #3
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The router is nice in that it will also be a firewall. It can also additional Lan connections so you won't need a switch.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:28 PM   #4
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OK then, seems I need a router, not a switch. I am inclined to go wired, rather than wifi, as I understand that a wired connection is more robust and secure. For my application, would I need anything more than what TPLink calls their SOHO routers? Or perhaps a better question is if there are relevant advantages to going with something beyond the simple SOHO routers?
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:11 PM   #5
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Your cable modem is the router. You don't need another. If you did you would have to run the second router in bridge mode. If you are only interested in hard wire, then you only need a switch. The uplink port of your switch plugs into the Ethernet jack on your cable modem. The router in your cable modem acts as the router/gateway and the DHCP server for assigning IP addresses on your local network. All. Of your hard wired devices plug into the Ethernet switch. Done and simple.

There are cases where you might have to routers. The secondary one needs to be disabled. For example on my home network my cable modem only provides 811 g . I have faster computer that use 811 n . So I have an Apple extreme router that supports 811 n . However as I can't have tow routers , I use the apple extreme in bridge mode which means it acts as switch with a wireless access point . The cable modem is still the router.

If you are also using wireless from your cable modem make sure you are using WPA encryption and not WEP. Use an encryption pass phrase with a number of characters divisible by 13. Best to pick a key of 26 characters of random upper and lower case letters and numbers. No one In your neighborhood has a computer powerful enough to crack that key in less than a few years.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:25 PM   #6
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Had just as many people tell me "switch" as "router", but I ended up buying the a router (Dlink-820L) and it seems to work (got 2 computers plugged in right now). It has both wireless and Ethernet on it. One thing I learned during this experience is that I can disable the wireless on it, and it has 4 Ethernet ports on it. But to tell you the truth, after this ordeal of trying to figure out what I need, I may just try the wifi to my TV and if connection is stable, leave it at that (the new OLED TV does not get delivered till next week, so I can't test wireless until then --- would save me needing to run cat-6 to living room. The router does have WPA encryption.

I initially called my ISPs tech line, and the guy tells me I need a switch. The cable modem belongs to my ISP, so you would think they should know. Then a few suggestions, including here, that say I need a router. So I call my ISP's tech line again to see if two techs end up telling me the same thing. Well, this one assures me that I need "something", and asks ME what a switch is --- end of that conversation. I call one more time, and the next tech tells me I need a router, but then seems to back-track and say a router is "better". Just to make things more interesting, the router I bought must have been previously returned, and it already had an ADMIN password assigned ----- errrrrrrrr ---- put all my connections back how they were, go to DLink support, where they advise me how to do a reset on the router. Second time, the configure goes much better. I know this is a bit of a rant, but I feel a little better now.

Thanks to all for the input.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:53 PM   #7
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A router is a few things combined into one box. It contains a switch. It contains hardware/software to hand out and manage ip addresses, and also a wireless section to address wireless devices.

If your cable modem at minimum, contains a method of managing ip addresses (and most do), or you're handling them through a computer then all you need is a switch.

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 12-28-2014 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 12-28-2014, 06:55 PM   #8
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jimn01, the OP has only a Cable Modem. They need a router, which will have four Ethernet ports. If they need more than that, they will need a Switch.

I use the Netgear GS-108 switch with my setup, that I have posted in this part of the forum. The list of my gear is kept updated at http://www.eightforums.com/member.ph...P_tab#EPFP_tab Updated picture of my setup at http://www.eightforums.com/album.php?albumid=161

Yes, that is a business grade router in the picture next to the U-Verse gateway.



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