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Set Up Small Network - Router Or Switch?

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I need to set up a small network with 6 PCs and a network printer in my office but I am confused between using switch and router. Earlier, I had only 2 PCs and a network printer so I used a linksys wireless router to do the job and it worked just fine. Now, I need to setup 4 more PCs in the office but I could not find any wireless router with more than 4 Ethernet ports. Basically, I would need to have a network that can support 6 PCs and a network printer, and any computers connected to the wireless network can also access the printer. I was thinking about combining a switch that has 8-10 ports and a wireless router but I don't know how to configure the system. I would very much appreciate any ideas/recommendations you have in mind and thanks for your help.

 

Tim.

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Welcome to the forums Tim :lol2:

 

I have done one similar. A wireless router and ethernet hub. The hub plugs into one of the ethernet ports of the router expanding the number of ports.

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Here's another thought. You have a wireless router, why not put wireless cards in the other machines eliminating the wires.

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Thanks everybody! I feel like being home here :-D

 

Bruce, I actually thought about doing wireless for all the computer but then I was afraid that they would not be stable. I currently use wireless for my laptop only. All the other PCs use ethernet cables. However, I lose the connection or get slow internet quite often, probably every 3-4 hrs. So if I let all the PCs use wireless, it may get worse. I think I'd like the idea with the wireless router connected to the hub better, but if I configure the network like that, would my laptop be able to find the printer? (my laptop uses wireless and the printer is plugged directly to the hub).

 

By the way, can I use a switch instead of a hub? If I can, would it make a better performance with a switch?

 

Tim.

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As long as all the machines are in the same workgroup you should be able to see all your shares.

 

As for going wireless, they would be no less stable than ethernet for networking purposes. Your internet connection is separate from the network.

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By the way, can I use a switch instead of a hub?

 

Yes

 

If I can, would it make a better performance with a switch?

 

Possibly, yes. Possibly no. Depends on the Network and how complicated you get with the hub and router or switch.

 

A hub is a dumb switch and a switch is smart, a hub is cheaper than a switch for this reason.

 

A hub allows you multiple connections with no attempt at configuration or direction. You send a signal to the hub and it broadcasts the signal out of all of its ports that have a connection. When it receives a return signal it sends it out to all again...it doesn't care who its going to, since its sending everywhere and its bound to get it to the right place. Now being a single pipe device it can only send or receive one at a time and there is usually "collisions" which have to be resent and this causes a slowdown. But if you only have one or two devices on each end this is not a big deal.

 

A switch on the other hand is configured with all the locations for all devices attached to it. When you send a signal it reads the header of the packet and sends it only in the direction of that device. There is less collisions and less traffic traveling around the network so the performance is usually better then a hub.

 

The downsides are the cost and being able to configure the switch.

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Wired will be much more reliable and faster than wireless. I wouldn't recommend connecting workstations wirelessly in an office environment.

 

As far as hub vs switch, I don't think either one should require any configuration. As stated previously, a switch gives better performance, though with only 6 PCs on the network, congestion shouldn't be a big issue. A switch will also increase security by preventing someone at one PC from using a packet sniffer to see traffic destined for another PC on the network (emails, password, etc) if you're concerned about something like that.

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