Problems I didn’t think I’d have in the wireless utopia of 2019: running out of Ethernet ports on my router. But, like many others, four simply isn’t enough when everything from games consoles to television set-top boxes to streaming devices work best when you actually plug in a cable. So how do you add more Ethernet ports to a router without replacing the router itself?
Add more Ethernet ports with a switch!
Luckily, the answer to adding more ports to a router is simple and won’t cost you a couple of limbs. The device you’re looking for is called a switch, and it shouldn’t cost you much more than £20.
Think of a switch as one of those multi-plug adaptors that you’ve doubtless got behind the telly. It turns one port on your router into four, five, eight or more Ethernet ports.
If you’re ordering a switch, you might as well get one from a reputable networking company, as they are not expensive devices in the first place.
I’ve not tested it myself, although I’ve got one on order and will update this blog in due course, but something such as the Netgear GS308 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Network Switch should do the job, and it costs a shade under £20 on Amazon at the time of writing.
TP-Link and D-Link are other reliable networking brands. Just make sure any switch you order these days is Gigabit Ethernet capable, to make sure speeds don’t suffer.
Switches such as the Netgear one are plug-and-play – you simply plug them into the router and you’re away. There’s no software to install or anything fiddly like that.
The one irritation with switches is that most of them need external power, which means you’ll need to find another plug socket near your router. If your house is anything like mine, finding spare sockets in adaptors is as much of a pain as finding spare Ethernet ports in the back of the router.
Isn’t the wireless world wonderful, eh?
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