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The way packets get routed, it's unlikely that you would see any real benefit from that connection; and it's possible that could end up confusing things.

I have AT&T two-wire DSL router. It has four output Ethernet plugs. Now I have like eight devices that need to talk to the two-wire modem. If I want all the devices to get the most bandwidth available, would I take all the outputs from the two-wire and put them into a 16-port switch? Will I get better bandwidth with that configuration or does the number of outputs inputting into the switch matter?

In this excerpt from Answercast #18, I look at a few ways to connect through a 16-port switch to a router and a possible small increase in speed from connecting directly.

Plug four router wires into my switch?

No, the short answer is no. It's not what you want to do.

It sounds interesting. I've never actually thought of doing that. But the way packets get routed, it's unlikely that you would see any real benefit from that connection. And it's possible that could end up confusing things.

Use one connection from the router

My recommendation is that you take your 16-port switch, or whatever, and run one cable from it to one of those four outputs from the modem.

You can (I mean I've done this myself) if you like, pick a couple of what you might consider to be higher priority devices and rather than connecting them to the switch, connect them to one of those three remaining ports on the router.

Things should work just fine. They will still be able to talk to each other and to machines that happen to be out on the switch: if that's what you need.

You're just removing one little hop from those computers. That theoretically would speed up their ability to communicate to each other, and to the internet, by a very small amount.

A tiny speed increase

It's very possible that you would never, ever notice. You would be just fine connecting all of your machines to the 16-port switch and then simply connecting that switch with a single cable to the router. That's up to you.

Connecting four cables between the router and the switch is not something I would recommend.

Article C5354 - May 17, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

May 18, 2012 9:05 AM

Considering that your Internet connection through your ISP is likely well under 100mbit/sec, you won't really gain anything from a faster connection between the switch and the router.

May 18, 2012 1:11 PM

If you hook everything from your side into the switch, and run one cable from the switch to the router, you will speed up communications between all the devices in your local system. Switches are smart hubs. When you communicate between devices on your local system, it doesn't even mess with your modem/router - leaving its bandwidth open to transmissions that need to go to the outside (depends on how smart your modem/router is). Some devices are smart enough to know the address of whatever device you want to talk to and sends the data there, other devices are dumb and broadcast the data on all lines saying "hey - someone grab this packet" so you use up bandwidth if you need to or not.

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