Home Networking - Star, Router/Switch/Cat5 Any Suggestions?


Old 01-31-05, 01:34 AM
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Home Networking - Star, Router/Switch/Cat5 Any Suggestions?

With a projected Star topology, I was planning on getting a router/gateway/firewall and then a 7 or 8 eight port switch to support 4 desktops and a patched wireless connection with room for future growth.

Should I or shouldn't I worry about the ports found on the router? - it will be directly connected to the switch and there will only be one network total, or, is the standard 4 port router/firewall common? I can't seem to find one port routers...

From the switch, I will connect a wireless connection from DLink for laptop/wireless options, two patched ethernet cables connecting directly to two desktops, then two patched ethernet cables connecting to wall outlets supporting two Cat5's traveling to two other desktops which have patched cables on their end.

From the above information, am I about to do anything wrong? What can you suggest or recommend?

Thank you!
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Old 01-31-05, 03:45 AM
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That should work fine. Whether or not the ports are on the router or hub or switch, properly connected there is no difference. They can all be configured to work together properly.

Hope this helps.
Old 01-31-05, 04:27 AM
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Routers designed for home use often come with four LAN ports to make it easier on homeowners. Four ports is usually enough for most homeowners' needs, so they avoid the need for a hub or switch.

If you need more than four LAN ports, then you will need hub or a switch, as you have already determined. Whether you connect to the switch or use the ports on the router is not a big deal. yes, there is a slight delay through the switch, but you won't really notice that.

I'm not sure why you would "worry" about the other ports on the router. There is nothing to worry about.
Old 01-31-05, 05:00 PM
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Don't spend the $$ for a switch

Like the previous poster mentioned, there's no reason to buy a switch AND a firewall unless you have more computers than you have LAN ports on the firewall.

Technically, the SOHO firewalls they are selling are not really routers, they are layer 3 switches. Real routers would have a separate network address for each ethernet port (which would be a real hassle for a home network). The SOHO firewalls don't look at IP addresses unless the packet is destined for the WAN port (they are only stripping the frame to look at MAC addresses on the LAN side).

Anyway, a hub will be cheaper than a switch and the connections will be the same, just keep in mind that a hub shares the bandwidth among all the ports while a switch doubles the bandwidth at each port (full duplex), so a hub will be much slower. You won't notice this using the internet but you would notice it if your transferring large files between computers.

ie.. if your NICs are 100Mbs and you use a five port hub - each port would effectively have a 20MBs throughput (which is fine for a standard 1Mbs internet pipe), using a switch would give you an effective 200 MBs at each port.
Old 01-31-05, 05:43 PM
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Thank you all for your insight.

I will be going with a 7-8 port switch since the speed for transferring data between computers is important and the possibility of more than 5 computers on the network is high.

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