How to Connect a Router to an Ethernet Switch

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How to Connect a Router to an Ethernet Switch
The Uplink port on the left connects this switch to a router. (uplink image by martini from

A router is a device that can selectively forward network traffic between two networks. In home and office settings, they are most commonly used to forward traffic originating on local computers to the Internet. If extra ports are required on a router beyond what is available on the device itself, a switch can be connected to it with a standard Cat5 Ethernet cable. This will allow additional computers to share the Internet connection provided by the router.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cat5 Ethernet cable

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  1. 1

    Place the router and the switch in their final positions. Choose these positions for their proximity to the computers or other devices that will be connected to them.

  2. 2

    Power the switch and the router on. Verify that their power indicator LEDs indicate normal functioning.

  3. 3

    Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into the port labelled "Uplink" on the switch. The uplink port is used to connect a switch to another switch or router, rather than to a terminal computer.

  4. 4

    Plug the other end of the cable into one of the ordinary numbered Ethernet ports on the router (not the uplink port). Note that from the perspective of the router, the switch is just another device that needs network access.

Tips and warnings

  • If the connection indicator LEDs do not light up on the router and the switch when they are connected together, try a different Cat5 cable. Cat5 cable is fragile and can become damaged and inoperable easily if it is bent sharply or stepped on.

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