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Windows 7: getting multiple computers, do I need a switch or a router?


03 Jun 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
getting multiple computers, do I need a switch or a router?

I just bought a used refurbished Dell PC with XP installed, and am also considering a Raspberry Pi. Provided I would want to hook all 3(well, 2- I have 2 monitors and can only run 2 at a time at most) to the internet so I'm not using one at a time, would I need a switch or a router for this? We'll assume I'm not setting up a LAN for the devices to communicate direct to each other, I just want them online together.

Switches cost less but I don't want to buy it and find it's not what I need.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jun 2013   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Hello Diosoth,

Most home use routers come with 4 available ports for connectivity, so as long as you have 4 or less devices to connect via hard line, you don't need a switch.

Also if you prefer to avoid using a switch you can purchase a WiFi router and use WiFi adapters on any piece of equipment beyond the 4 hard lined devices.

At the bare minimum you will still need to set up the router to be a DHCP server, and all devices to be DHCP.

Finally, you could have all 3 devices on the internet at the same time if you wanted to with only the 2 monitors by using a cheap KVM and attaching 2 of the devices to 1 Keyboard Video Mouse setup; or you could do all 3 devices to 1 monitor using a 4 port KVM.

Good Luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I think for my needs, if I get a Pi I may want my Windows 7 PC and Pi with XBMC for video streaming on at all times. The XP PC won't need to be connected at all times since, at best, it's a backup/older game computer that I'll only go online with if I need to, and I probably won't be using it full time anyway.

I prefer to go wired. Wireless anything seems iffy indoors in my house, even cell phones have issues.

Should mention my current ISP-supplied modem is a Comtrend CT-5072T
http://www.speedguide.net/routers/co...ort-router-975


My area is also getting upgraded to fiber optic phone and internet "eventually". No actual time frame though the phone company has been installing the fiber optic lines all over for months. I'm not sure if this will be fiber to the home or not so... assuming the do fiber to the home, would a switch or router be obsolete in a few months if I buy one? I'm not entirely certain how this arrangement will work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jun 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

That router looks like a 1 port 100mbps device. I'd say get a gigabit switch ie

router - switch - all the pcs

even though you say you're not bothered about devices talking to each other, if in the future you need this facility eg copy files, this is done via the switch and a gigabit switch is 10X faster than a 10/100 box. Also networking is a useful skill to learn. When deciding how many ports you need, remember one is taken up by the router connection. I have an 8 port gigabit switch for my home network - only cost about 25.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Going by that suggestion, my best choices for a price I like are a Dynex DX-GB5PRT, a TP-LINK TL-SG1005D, a NetGear GS605 or a D-Link DGS-1005G. Each is $20 shipped.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 ; Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
 
 

In order to connect all devices together whether it be wireless or wired you will need a switch or hub but I would strongly recommend a switch for performance. Based on what you have said you would like to do I would look for an unmanaged switch since you do not need to change any settings for it. All you need to do is just power the switch and connect all your devices to it using a crossover Ethernet cable, then you sir have a nice peer to peer LAN.

To enable internet connectivity you will need to have router (A router is used to transfer information from one network to another). Most commercial routers will have switching capabilities within them however are normally limited to 4 devices at a time [wired] therefore the need to have an 8 port or larger switch connected. Typically, commercial routers will also have DHCP enabled for connected clients otherwise you will need to manually set an ip address for each computer or device connected to the network whether it be wired or wireless. Managed switches normally offer a DHCP service however are much more expensive than unmanaged ones.

Next to consider when purchasing switches and routers are the speed. Typically for cheaper unmanaged switches you there will be 100Mbps between each port. This shouldn't be an issue unless your internet download speed is over 100Mbps.

In conclusion I would get an unmanaged switch and a router, using a crossover Ethernet cable connect the router to the switch and then any wired devices to the switch. Normally routers will have wireless capabilities and therefore can join the network that way if not you will need an adapter to add to one of the ports on the switch.

Hope this helps,
Josh!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

@shadowjk - I think you are wrong re crossover cables. A crossover cable is only needed when you connect pc to pc directly. It hooks up i/p to o/p. With a switch, router etc only regular cables are needed. Anyhow modern switches, routers and indeed nic cards auto detect straight or crossover so in general you can use either.

The OP said he may be going fiber. With any luck, his ISP will supply a new modem router, hopefully wireless enabled. That is my setup -

FTTC - copper to house - wireless router - 8 port switch

the wifi is handy when someone comes round with a laptop
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #8

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 ; Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
 
 

You are correct mate however I always suggest crossover cables to end users since I do not fully know their knowledge and a crossover cable would allow them to use it in cases such as connecting pc-pc in future if need be. Was just thinking on return of investment that's all
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

the TP-Link model I'm looking at says it automatically detects the connection type so it doesn't need crossover cables.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2013   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Crossover cables are just for pc to pc using just a cable and nothing else. The Rx and Tx are switched at one end so 1 pc sends and the other pc receives. If you connect pc - switch - pc you need straight cables. So in a home network, you only need straight cables, although because of auto detection you can substitute the 'wrong' type if necessary.

BTW my switch is also TP-Link and works ok.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 getting multiple computers, do I need a switch or a router?




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