Our homes are filled with more devices that connect to the internet – and each other – than ever before. Many, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and printers, can live by wireless alone; but there are also devices that greatly benefit from (or even require) a direct, wired Ethernet connection: smart TVs, game consoles, streaming video players (Apple TV, Roku, etc.) NAS storage drives, VoIP telephone adapters and home security systems.
Problem is, most wireless routers – the gizmos that share a modem’s internet connection with both wireless and wired devices – usually have only four onboard Ethernet ports (those highlighted in yellow in the image above). Connect a desktop, game console, TV and VoIP adapter, and you’re slap out of ports. If this is a problem you’ve run into, you may be asking yourself if it’s time to buy a new router with more ports.
Answer: probably not. If you’re happy with your router’s wireless performance, all you need for additional ports is an Ethernet Switch.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to Ethernet Switches, show you how to use them to expand a LAN, help you choose the right model for your needs, and give a brief overview of how to best configure your network with a switch.