Basic question on house ethernet design

Hello all,

Although I'm a software developer, I am not so familiar with networking technologies, and I would like a sanity check on this before I purchase anything:

In my living room now, I have cable internet coming into a Motorola Surfboard cable modem, and out of that into a Linksys WRT54G wireless/

4 port router. All is fine. I want to keep the wireless on this level of the house.

However, in the basement, the last owner installed a small hub with ethernet going into 8 rooms (nice!). I want to purchase a new switch (8 or 16 port), install it in the basement with all the ethernet lines branching out from there.

Question 1: What would be an appropriate switch here? I like Linksys, and the basement setup is a rack mount system. Not sure which model to buy.

Question 2: Can I simply run an ethernet cable up from on of the ports on this new switch to my WRT54G upstairs?

Thanks immensely!


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run the cables: Modem to router to switch to individual device (computer)

You can also add anotherWireless Access Point (AP) at any of your 8 wired locations if your wireless range needs better coverage.

Any L>Hello all,

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Doesn't really matter much. I needed to do something like this a few months ago, and the only rack mount "consumer level" gear I could find in local stores was Netgear. I thought it was overpriced, and ended up getting a SynOptics switch from a company which I used to do business with, that was surplus to their needs.

A better description would be running an Ethernet cable DOWN from a LAN port on the router to the switch . There should be at least one port on the switch that can either be Normal or Uplink. You want to use it in Uplink mode. The "mode switch" may be manual or automatic, depending on the sophistication of the particular switch you get. John Jones, Detroit

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John Jones

Thanks John, Alan.

Are you saying that only a router can connect directly to a modem's ethernet port, and a switch cannot do this?

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I was considering this switch: SLM224P

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The reason being that I want to connect up cameras that can use PoE (power over ethernet), and this seems to be the cheapest one that does that.

Any comments before I slap down the $371.33?

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DeanB hath wroth:

Wireless has been known to cause insanity. Or, perhaps one needs to be insane to get involved in wireless. My brain is too far gone to decide which is true.

Check your cabling. Does it say CAT5 or CAT5e on the cable jacket? If not, you may have a performance or data corruption problem. The small hub might be 10baseT (10 Mbit/sec) only, which means that the previous owner may have been cheap and used CAT3 cable. That's fine for

10Mbits/sec but will not work at 100BaseT or gigabit.

I hate to admit to random behavior (a sure sign of insanity), but I tend to use whatever switch I can find. Sometimes, it's the cheap piece of junk that the big box store has on sale. Other times, it's some surplus rack mounted managed (SNMP) devices that I picked up cheap on eBay. I don't recall ever making an attempt to optimize my switch purchase by any feature other than price.

The major features that should be considered are:

  1. Number of ports (there's never enough)
  2. Speed. Do you need or want gigabit? I would because it seems that almost everything these daze is going gigabit ethernet.
  3. Management. Do you plan to monitor or control traffic with SNMP? If so, you need a "managed" switch. I don't think you need this.
  4. VLAN. Are you planning to seperate broadcast domains? With a system as small as yours, probably not.

Rack mounting is nice, but not really necessary for a small switch. I have 4 racks in my house, which function as storage than as an equipment mounting. For small odd size boxes, I have several shelves full of junk. Works well.

I guess I do have a favored ethernet rack mounted switch. Netgear FS524 (24 port 100/10base-T). About $45 including shipping used on eBay. Make sure you get the weird looking rack ears. The bad news is that it has a small fan inside, which might be a problem if you don't like noise. It also doesn't do gigabit ethernet or SNMP management. However, it is cheap.

Yep. You can daisy chain ethernet switches until you hit some timing limit (at about 1500 ft end to end). Each segment must also be less than 300ft. You can't do that with ethernet hubs. Also, there are many types of "ethernet cable". Methinks CAT5e is what you want.

Drivel: I was bored one day and needed some entertainment. So, I dug out a mess of ethernet crossover cables, and ran them between adjacent ethernet ports on a pile of 3ea 24 port ethernet switches. I think there were about 30 patch cables involved. It worked just fine and I had no problem browsing the network through that mess. I guess that means you can daisy chain at least 32 ethernet switches.

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Jeff Liebermann

Methinks you need to refresh on IP. :')

That'd make it crystal clear wrt IP what the differences are between switching and routing. A modem per-se has no IP address; rather, a network interface does.

OTOH interfaces connected to a switch can communicate at "layer 2" with other such interfaces, with it implicit that their IPs are on the "same subnet".

Lots of other considerations, e.g. how local host interfaces get their IP, how the cable-connected interface gets its IP. Hint: totally independent, and thus totally non-interoperable on the LAN that is a set of switch ports.


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Thanks for that! I didn't even consider a used switch, I will look into it though.

Unfortunately the FS524 does not have PoE. I'm going to set up cameras that use this, so that I don't need to run power cables up to them.

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DeanB hath wroth:

It's not like just after the dot.bomb meltdown, when I could pickup used switches at the local recyclers by the pound, but they're still quite available.

Well, try a Netgear FS116PNA 16 port 802.11af ethernet switch for about $200+. I don't know how many cameras you're considering, but only 8 ports on this switch do PoE. If you only plan on one or two cameras, you also might find it cheaper just to use PoE adapters.

Ummm... Incidentally, your questions have nothing to do with wireless internet.

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Jeff Liebermann

It has everything to do with wireless! I am fixing up wireless cameras and need a decent storage and archival backbone:) I lookaed at the FS116PNA and it looks pretty good. Thanks for all the help.


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DeanB hath wroth:

I hate to be a PITA, but why do you need PoE for wireless cameras? Only wired cameras use PoE. Were you planning on using wireless power to run the cameras? If so, rectifying the few milliwatts produced by the WRT54G is not going to run the pilot light, much less the whole camera. Also NAS (network attached storage) drives don't use PoE as they require much more horsepower. So, what are you going to run with PoE?

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Jeff Liebermann

Ok I'm sorry for the confusion - I want to wire some cameras on the ethernet and use PoE to simplifiy the installation. For some other cameras, where I don't have a convenient ethernet jack, I want to use wireless.

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