Ethernet splitter vs. switcher!?!?! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I currently own a Samsung LN46A950 and am absolutely loving it!! I have been holding out for the Samsung HT-BD8200 Sound Bar to arrive and it looks like it should be in my local Best Buy soon (I have yet to see one in person). I can't believe I haven't watched a Bluray on this Uber-TV as of yet!!!!The wife doesn't want me to turn our living room into a Man Cave by setting up a standard surround system with multiple components and speakersso this seems like a great compromise. Plus I think I have her sold on the idea. I do have a few questions I was hoping you someone might be able to help me out with:

I have the TV hardwired to my Wi-Fi router via an Ethernet-LAN cable in order to access the info link service and access pictures and video located on a 2 TB NAS Server/hard drive. I'd like to take advantage of the Ethernet-LAN capabilities (Netflix, Pandora, Home Media....etc)of the Sound Bar as well, but really don't want to snake another cable 2 floors. Can I simply use an Ethernet Splitter ($1.99 @ Radio Shack), in order to split the current Ethernet cable behind the TV and connect both the TV and the Sound Bar to my Wi-Fi router.....will it work? I realize I could use the Wi-Fi dongle and go wireless for either the TV or Sound Bar, but would prefer to hardwire if possible and if it would only cost me a few bucks for the splitter and short cableswhy not!?!?! Not sure if what I'm looking for is a switcher instead? If a switcher is what is required, I prefer not to go that route because the term "switcher" means I'll manually have to "switch" from one source to another which would requre me to turn some sort of knob. I want to keep everything behind the TV which is monted on the wall...so space is limited. If it won't work, I may just "dongle" the TV for infolink and hardwire the Sound Bar for everything else considering the data needs for streaming video, music....etc


Thanks!!!!
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post #2 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 07:11 AM
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What you need is a switch. I found the terminology a little strange when I was researching this myself, but I bought a switch. An ethernet switch is to ethernet as a USB hub is to USB. If more ethernet ports are what you want then you need a switch. There aren't any knobs or actual switches involved, it's all done automatically just like a USB hub, except for ethernet. Routers have multiple ports on the back because they have switches built in. If you were to get an ethernet "splitter" or "hub" it would cause issues between all the devices connected to said splitter or hub; if two computers were connected to a splitter or hub, for example, and both were downloading something (two different things) from the internet at the same time, something called a collision would occur, and you would get data loss and corruption, not to mention fairly substantial speed decrease, because both computers would basically just be having the same data sent to both even though they didn't necessarily request that data. I'm not very good at explaining it so I hope this makes sense to you or someone else can do a better job.

Long story short, get a switch!
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post #3 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 07:59 AM
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An ethernet splitter will just cause you headaches. Get a 4-port ethernet switch for best results. The switch is automatic, you don't have to do anything. All the switch is doing is checking out the data packets and determing which port to send the packet on through.
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post #4 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 10:16 AM
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First...yes, get a switch.

But for further clarification, the splitter mentioned is NOT equivalent to a switch or even a hub. Also the analogy of comparing a switch to a USB hub is not correct either. First, the splitter mentioned allows a single 8 wire Cat5/6 bundle to be split into two INDEPENDENT cable runs. This splitter is leveraging the fact that only 4 of the wires are used for 10/100 Mb operation. Because the bundle has 8 wires, you can have two 10/100 circuits in a single Cat5/6 bundle. A hub is a network device which DOES split the network circuit much like a coax splitter. You have multiple devices sharing the same network circuit and therefore sharing bandwidth. There are other issues with hubs which are outside the scope of this discussion.

A switch is a device that allows multiple devices to talk over the same layer 2 network. Where as a hub only operates at a layer 1 level per the OSI model, a switch is a layer 2 device. The short summary of why a switch is better is that it allows maximum available bandwidth to each device connected to the switch as opposed to only a portion based on the number of shared devices. It also allows devices to connect at full duplex. To get into further details about switch operation and how it compares to a hub is also outside the scope of this discussion.

Why a USB hub is not the same as a switch is because USB operates under a shared bandwidth principle. Each device you add will share in the 480 Mb/s (or whatever the theoretical max throughput is) of the USB bus. So the more accurate comparison is a USB hub operates exactly like a network hub.

Also, keep in mind any out of switch communication will be limited to the bandwidth supplied by the single cable you use to link up to the rest of your home network. In the current situation described, I don't see this as a limiting factor.
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post #5 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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Quote:
An ethernet switch is to ethernet as a USB hub is to USB.

No it's not.
A switch is similar to a router, a USB hub is similar to an ethernet hub, no packet inspection at all.
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post #6 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 11:44 AM
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Radio Shack sells a $1.99 Ethernet Splitter? Ya hear something new everyday.
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post #7 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I had a feeling a simple plastic eternet adapter/splitter wouldn't do the trick. Can anyone reccomend an extremely small switch?....I only need 2 "out" ports. I may try and velcro it on the back of the TV. Also, do these switches need to be powered?....I have a feeling they do

thanks again
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post #8 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duvetyne View Post

No it's not.
A switch is similar to a router, ...................... no packet inspection at all.

This is not correct either. A switch is a layer 2 device. Routers operate in layer 3. Many people confuse this because all consumer routers come with an integrated switch. Also in the business world, the line gets blurry too as there are layer 3 switches which also do routing and will participate in routing protocols. But what makes a router a router in this world is the ability to have interface cards that can mate to WAN connections like T1/E1s...OC3s....etc. Layer 3 switches don't have this capability.

Packet inspection has nothing to do with layer 2 switching or layer 3 routing. Packet inspection is a function of higher layer network devices such a firewalls.
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post #9 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by putz2009 View Post

I had a feeling a simple plastic eternet adapter/splitter wouldn't do the trick. Can anyone reccomend an extremely small switch?....I only need 2 "out" ports. I may try and velcro it on the back of the TV. Also, do these switches need to be powered?....I have a feeling they do

thanks again

Yes, switches need to have a power source. I bought this....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833124257

I'm using this switch in my A/V rack. I like this switch as it's small and doesn't require a power supply. The catch is you need a PoE injector or a switch on the other end that this one connects to which has PoE capability. I have a Netgear GS748TP switch that does PoE over all 48 ports. The other nice thing about the Linksys/Cisco switch is that it's managed.

I would just buy a small 5 port switch from what ever manufacturer. Linksys as one as well as Netgear.
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post #10 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post

Yes, switches need to have a power source. I bought this....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833124257

I'm using this switch in my A/V rack. I like this switch as it's small and doesn't require a power supply. The catch is you need a PoE injector or a switch on the other end that this one connects to which has PoE capability. I have a Netgear GS748TP switch that does PoE over all 48 ports. The other nice thing about the Linksys/Cisco switch is that it's managed.

I would just buy a small 5 port switch from what ever manufacturer. Linksys as one as well as Netgear.

That link is dead. Can you cite the make/model of the switch?
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post #11 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AceCannon View Post

That link is dead. Can you cite the make/model of the switch?

It's a Linksys/Cisco SLM2005 5 port GigE Web Managed switch.
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post #12 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by putz2009 View Post

I had a feeling a simple plastic eternet adapter/splitter wouldn't do the trick. Can anyone reccomend an extremely small switch?....I only need 2 "out" ports. I may try and velcro it on the back of the TV. Also, do these switches need to be powered?....I have a feeling they do

thanks again

Anything cheap will be powered, and yes, you can get one small enough to velco behind the TV. I've done exactly that more than once... These are readily available for ~$15-30. Don't pay more than that. Adding 'Cicso' to that will add a zero :-) Completely unnecessary for your purposes...

I'm very happy with the Dlink I've used more than once:

http://www.buy.com/prod/d-link-des-1...202958383.html

After rebate about $16...

Jeff

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post #13 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Anything cheap will be powered, and yes, you can get one small enough to velco behind the TV. I've done exactly that more than once... These are readily available for ~$15-30. Don't pay more than that. Adding 'Cicso' to that will add a zero :-) Completely unnecessary for your purposes...

I'm very happy with the Dlink I've used more than once:

http://www.buy.com/prod/d-link-des-1...202958383.html

After rebate about $16...

Jeff

Actually, even the most expensive chassis based switches are powered. Cost has nothing to do with whether a switch is powered or not. All switches require some sort of power.

I'm also guessing the reference to "Cicso" errr "Cisco" was to the switch I linked to. This switch is the cheapest and smallest switch I could find which can operate on PoE (power over ethernet.) What this means is the switch does not require a power brick or wall wart. I have enough clutter with wiring and power cords where I didn't want to have to deal with adding another wall wart to the mix. This switch fit the bill for me. The fact that it is a GigE switch along with being managed was just icing on the cake.

Incidentally, the switch is really a Linksys SMB switch but has the Cisco name on it due to the buy out.
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post #14 of 30 Old 09-24-2009, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post

Actually, even the most expensive chassis based switches are powered. Cost has nothing to do with whether a switch is powered or not. All switches require some sort of power.

Incidentally, the switch is really a Linksys SMB switch but has the Cisco name on it due to the buy out.

Of course it has to be powered somewhere - it doesn't get power from the Aether, now, does it? But a networking novice / layman is going to refer to 'powered' == wall wart.

And again, the CISCO switch you pointed to is ~$85. Still 4x the price for what he needs for a simple, residential install.

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post #15 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Of course it has to be powered somewhere - it doesn't get power from the Aether, now, does it? But a networking novice / layman is going to refer to 'powered' == wall wart.

And again, the CISCO switch you pointed to is ~$85. Still 4x the price for what he needs for a simple, residential install.

Jeff

Not to be picky but that's not how you put it in your post....

"Anything cheap will be powered,..."

I only linked to that switch as what I used in my setup. You seemed to miss the part in my post where I said this....

"I would just buy a small 5 port switch from what ever manufacturer. Linksys as one as well as Netgear."

But if you want to compare what the extra money will get you with the switch I linked to (which still is a Linksys switch) over the Dlink you linked to, the Linksys switch has GigE and PoE which doesn't require any configuration....ignoring the managed capabilities of the switch for comparison.
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post #16 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Kpalsm View Post

An ethernet switch is to ethernet as a USB hub is to USB.

What I meant by this was to try and explain as simply as possible that for all intents and purposes, both do basically the same thing; add more ports in an efficient way, and I couldn't think of a better comparison off the top of my head. Of course you can get into things like layer 2/3, full duplex, managed/unmanaged etc. but not many people fully understand those concepts, and I was just trying to be understandable. Anyways, the switch I own is a "D-Link GigaExpress 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch", works great, but was also $60 CDN. That was the cheapest one available in any local store that I could find. If you don't need Gigabit you can get a Fast Ethernet switch for less I imagine, but I didn't look for any of those, I'm a speed demon
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post #17 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 06:36 AM
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Even though 10/100 switches will do the job for many people now, I wouldn't even bother with purchasing one. Especially since the price differential between a 10/100 switch and a GigE switch is pretty small now.
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post #18 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post

Even though 10/100 switches will do the job for many people now, I wouldn't even bother with purchasing one. Especially since the price differential between a 10/100 switch and a GigE switch is pretty small now.

Yeah, better to buy current hardware and/or future proof, all that stuff. Quite a jump from a $2 Radio Shack splitter to a $60 switch though
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post #19 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kpalsm View Post

Yeah, better to buy current hardware and/or future proof, all that stuff. Quite a jump from a $2 Radio Shack splitter to a $60 switch though

Always hard to compare to something that wouldln't have worked, though!

As people read this thread, they should understand that adding gigabit doesn't magically make their DVRs and game console connections to the Internet any faster. Yes, the prices of Gbit equipment are much, much cheaper than even a year ago, but the bargain basement 10/100 pricing shouldn't be ignored. If you are connecting PCs to servers (and they have Gbit NICs), by all means make sure those are on Gbit ports. Game consoles, DVRs, etc. are geneally 100Mbit, and are eventually connecting to the Internet through a 1-8Mb pipe. Practically speaking for a 'normal' residential user, Gbit wouldn't make any difference. Get into a large network, commercial usage, or a whole bunch of simultaneous streaming, and well, you probably shouldn't be asking those questions in an A/V forum!

The other end of the 'current hardware and/of future proof' sword is that you probably shouldn't buy computer/networking technology (at a premium) you don't have an immediate use for, because the cost to upgrade in the future (if it even becomes necessary) will very likely be significantly less... Plus add on the likelyhood of failures, configuration changes, etc...

(Although the worse example I know of is a guy that got a 'good deal' on a projector, but didn't have a place to use it - it sat in the box for 12-18 months!)

Now, a $20 delta on a switch probably isn't worth arguing about, but I see too often people being told (not on this forum, mind you!) to overbuild their home networks - and it kinda grates on me in a "Monster Cable" kinda way. I'd rather they spend that money on better speakers!


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post #20 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The other end of the 'current hardware and/of future proof' sword is that you probably shouldn't buy computer/networking technology (at a premium) you don't have an immediate use for, because the cost to upgrade in the future (if it even becomes necessary) will very likely be significantly less... Plus add on the likelyhood of failures, configuration changes, etc...

Agreed. I picked up a 24 port fanless 10/100 Netgear switch on Ebay for $20. Rack mount. This thing works just fine.

At present, my home network has no use for GigE. When my LAN gets to the point it needs it, I'll get a rack-mount GigE switch and replace the 10/100.
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post #21 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 11:51 AM
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I agree with the principle of not over building. But as I've stated, the price differential for going into GigE is small enough where one should take a serious look into stepping into this. Yes, GigE isn't going to solve slow internet speeds from your ISP or may not even make an impact on a person's current usage of their current network. But I personally wouldn't want to have to swap out gear when I could have purchased something early on for very little extra cost that would have worked for me well into the future.

Without looking at manufacturer's MTBF ratings for their gear, only generalizations can be made on how long a particular piece of electronics would last. Switches are pretty basic where a simple unmanaged layer 2 switch doesn't do much processing....hence low heat. I have switches and hubs which are 9 or so years old that are still working.

I see that many people are starting to do quite a bit with their home networks as they discover what they can do with available technologies. HTPCs, media servers, NAS', etc in the home environment hasn't been around all that long. I also seem to recall the saying a while back...who would ever need more than 640KB of base memory?

But what ever you feel is your priority.
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post #22 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 12:39 PM
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Agreed. When we're talking about a $30 device vs. $10, not a big deal.

But to take your 640K analogy, buying 16MB of RAM for 'future proofing' would not have been a good investment in those days either. By the time it would have been useful/necessary, the price was probably discounted 99%...

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post #23 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Agreed. When we're talking about a $30 device vs. $10, not a big deal.

But to take your 640K analogy, buying 16MB of RAM for 'future proofing' would not have been a good investment in those days either. By the time it would have been useful/necessary, the price was probably discounted 99%...

The 640KB analogy was applied here as shortly after these statements were made, there was marked increase in applications which quickly made 640KB obsolete. Just perusing through this sub forum and other sites, you're finding an ever increasing utilization of networks in day to day life. Wireless now makes many things network able without the need for cables, optical players such as the current crop of Blu Ray players are now utilizing network access for content enhancements, DVRs, VoIP, home automation, local file storage (NAS)....the list goes on. So my comment about 640KB was more in line with how there's been an ever growing utilization of network technology.
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post #24 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 04:46 PM
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There are six people living in this house, one of them has two computers, all have at least one, and they all need internet. Then we have three PS3s and three Xbox360s that need to be networked as well. I figured getting Gigabit networking components would not only help to speed up the internal network but help reduce any bottlenecking (not sure how much of a valid point the 2nd one is).
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post #25 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kpalsm View Post

There are six people living in this house, one of them has two computers, all have at least one, and they all need internet. Then we have three PS3s and three Xbox360s that need to be networked as well. I figured getting Gigabit networking components would not only help to speed up the internal network but help reduce any bottlenecking (not sure how much of a valid point the 2nd one is).

Unless you are streaming HD video between devices or accessing large files between devices, you likely won't see any improvement as the bottle neck is still your <5Mb internet connection.
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post #26 of 30 Old 09-25-2009, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by robertmee View Post

Unless you are streaming HD video between devices or accessing large files between devices, you likely won't see any improvement as the bottle neck is still your <5Mb internet connection.

Actually I've got 20meg here, but yes we do stream HD and transfer large files as well. I already realize that just using Gigabit Ethernet components doesn't speed internet access up, I was mainly talking about internal networking
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post #27 of 30 Old 09-26-2009, 05:43 AM
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The other limitations you'll run into is if your GigE capable devices can actually saturate the connection bandwidth they are given. Variables like whether the GigE NIC for each device is sitting on a PCI or PCI Express bus and the type of physical disk sub system you are using. There are additional considerations which need to be taken into account when you talk about performance optimizations for GigE networking.
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post #28 of 30 Old 09-26-2009, 05:45 AM
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I realize this as well, but I try to avoid bottlenecks where I can. If I can make my ethernet network as fast as I can at least I know I've done that just in case at some point I incorporate some devices that would be too much for a lesser setup. I like future-proofing.
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post #29 of 30 Old 10-03-2009, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by putz2009 View Post

I had a feeling a simple plastic eternet adapter/splitter wouldn't do the trick. Can anyone reccomend an extremely small switch?....I only need 2 "out" ports. I may try and velcro it on the back of the TV. Also, do these switches need to be powered?....I have a feeling they do

thanks again

If you're concerned about space or power to put a switch behind the TV, and you have an open port at your router, you should consider just using a passive splitter like you originally mentioned. With a pair of these (one at the router, one at the TV), as Kpalsm explained, you can use the existing single Cat5 run for two Ethernet connections. I don't know about the $1.99 Radio Shack splitter you mentioned, but you could use these from Monoprice for about the same price:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/se...litter&x=0&y=0

The only caveat in using these is no GigE, since that requires all 4 pairs of the Cat5, but that shouldn't be an issue with your setup.
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post #30 of 30 Old 10-03-2009, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post

Actually, even the most expensive chassis based switches are powered. Cost has nothing to do with whether a switch is powered or not. All switches require some sort of power.

I'm also guessing the reference to "Cicso" errr "Cisco" was to the switch I linked to. This switch is the cheapest and smallest switch I could find which can operate on PoE (power over ethernet.) What this means is the switch does not require a power brick or wall wart. I have enough clutter with wiring and power cords where I didn't want to have to deal with adding another wall wart to the mix. This switch fit the bill for me. The fact that it is a GigE switch along with being managed was just icing on the cake.

Incidentally, the switch is really a Linksys SMB switch but has the Cisco name on it due to the buy out.

Either I'm misunderstanding your post or you have a misunderstanding of PoE. PoE ports on a switch enable you to power devices connected to that switch over ethernet. Not the switch itself. For example, a wireless access point connected to the switch.

To the OP - You should be able to find a Netgear GS105 for about $40 if you look around. I use these all the time with good success.
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