When setting up a home network for the first time, many people feel that their internet connection should work like their TV signal. You can split cable over and over to hook up as many TVs as you want. When it comes to ethernet, people often don't know how to take their one cable and hook up multiple computers. Read on to learn how.
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Use a router. This is probably the most common method of splitting ethernet. A simple ethernet router can allow several machines to connect to it and then it will connect to your cable modem, DSL receiver, or other internet device. When looking at a router, the number of physical connections that it can possess is listed as "ports." So a 4-port router (which is quite common) can allow up to 4 wired connections (computers) at a time.
Look into buying a wireless router. Even if you don't have any wireless devices, you can always have the wireless disabled until such time as you get one. Wireless connections don't take up a port on your router so a 4-port router can have 4 physical connections and a limitless number of wireless ones.
Buy an ethernet hub. Hubs are different than routers for many reasons but, for simplicities sake, we can say that hubs should connect several computers together (like a pod of workstations) that all connect to a router through one port. Hubs are most common in offices or classrooms where nobody will be using high bandwidth applications such as games. Several computers connect to one hub, that hub then has a single out cable that connects to the router. By doing this you can have many computers on a small and relatively inexpensive system.
Tips and warnings
- There is no way to simply split ethernet like you can with coaxial cable. The system simply doesn't allow for it.