Originally Posted by dmusoke
Can i connect the low speed devices such as power conditioner into the router ports and free up some ports on the 8-port switch or is it better to have all E-connections on the switch. I'd hate to have the 4 GbE ports empty on the router if i could use them for something useful.
The "port multiplier" effect of the switch really has just increased the number of wired ports available through your router (just the same as if they were additional wired ports actually on your router), subject to the one obvious consideration that the net sum total traffic from the total of all the real downstream devices connected to the other ports on the switch are all going to have to be communicated (in both directions) over the one Ethernet cable connecting the switch to one true LAN port on the router.
And since that one LAN port is limited to one gigabit speeds, so must the net sum total of all your downstream devices through the switch not simultaneously exceed that total one gigabit bandwidth limit possible over the one connector cable from the switch to the router. This is actually very unlikely in the current situation, since these devices are all potentially talking through the Internet to some web-based server, and thus everything is really being limited to your Internet ISP download/upload speed which is the total max that can really be happening through all of this equipment and cabling.
Other than that, each switch port might just as well have been a real additional port on your router or on the switch... no effective difference.
Given choices and options, I'd reserve the other router ports (which are individually gigabit pathways) to other home computers on your LAN (laptops or desktops), which themselves have built-in gigabit-speed NIC adapters in them so they can really talk to each other through the router at true internal LAN gigabit speeds (e.g. when you do a file transfer from one PC to another across your home network). Of course this might not always reach such speeds, e.g. if you don't have CAT5e or CAT6 cable in your home LAN, or if the nature of the file transfer involves "block transfers" and software running in both machines that just brings down the maximum theoretically possible speed to something more realistic in the real world.
In other words, use the switch for "ordinary devices", especially those that talk to the Internet, since they could never possibly see gigabit speeds anyway... although they still are not really limited because you do have a gigabit-capable switch.
Your home LAN is all based off that one router which is connected through its WAN port to the cable modem, and through its LAN ports (and wirelessly as well) to everything in your house. The switch provides the "port multiplier" effect so that you can have more wired devices connected to the router than just the four ports actually on the router.
The router provides "hardware firewall" protection for everything inside on your home LAN, so that no unsolicited outside access is possible to the inside devices unless you configure the router (and related software on the target devices) to allow that. That's why you really only normally want one router (and thus only this one firewall) in your home LAN. All internal devices can connect directly to the router or to switches connected to the router, and receive the common firewall protections afforded by the one router. If you had multiple routers then all devices behind the downstream routers would be "hidden" by the firewall in that downstream router, something that is very likely not a good thing for your LAN design. Hence: use switches internally, not routers.
The router assigns IP addresses (via DHCP, i.e. dynamically assigned IP addresses as each new device gets connected/disconnected... subject to optional "individual static IP address reservation by individual hardware MAC address" if you need or want it for some reason) to all devices on your LAN, including those seen through the switch. But the assigned IP addresses are for internal use only, within the LAN itself. These addresses are not known or seen outside the router (i.e. from the Internet), by virtue of the firewall and its purpose. The internal IP address assignment is so that the router can talk to each device as necessary, and so that each device can also talk to every other device on the LAN if desired.
And the router also provides itself as a general "gateway" to the outside Internet world, for all devices on your internal home LAN to be able to share Internet access through the cable modem to the world outside. The switch simply provides a "collection point" for multiple downstream devices to each gain wired access to the router through one cable connecting each device to the switch, and then through the one master cable connecting the switch to the router (and to everything in the Internet beyond, through the cable modem and service from your ISP... which of course is part of still larger networks and routers out there and beyond).
(I know... a bit OT. Sorry.)Edited by DSperber - 1/30/13 at 2:03pm