About a month ago, I looked at my little four-port router and said, “I’m going to have to buy a switch. I’m out of ports.” Between my roommates’ computers and my WAP, I had one port remaining, and I had at least four things I could attach to the network at any time [three computers and a TiVo].
I originally bought an 8-port switch, but then I got to thinking about it, and I bought two 5-ports to supplement that. Yes, 18 ports—but really, it makes sense. The area of computers will soak up one of those 5-port switches, and the other switch is in the entertainment center. With a TiVo, a PlayStation2, and perhaps a Squeezebox in the future, running one long bit of Cat6 from the router to a switch over there made sense. [It makes more sense if I put a TiVo in my bedroom, since the entertainment center is on a common wall with my bedroom, so I can tap into that switch to run back to my room.
After fixing all this last night, I pointed it out to my roommates. Randy said, “Man, I guess I have to get you to show me what’s wrong with the setup in my room, then.” Turns out he had a router jacked into the 100-ft piece of Cat5e running to his room. No wonder his performance can best be described as “spotty”. I told him to go buy a 5-port switch.
The 8-port switch is up by the router, which leaves room if people in the living room ever need a hardwire port–plenty available.
Now I just need to tack some wires down before some midnight-snacking roommate doesn’t do a header coming out of the kitchen …