Two devices using one ethernet cable

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AAA
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Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by AAA »

My laptop has wifi but almost always it sits on a desk and shares a monitor with a desktop computer that uses an ethernet connection to my internet provider's router via a long cable coming up from the basement. I would like to be able to conveniently use ethernet with the laptop also. I only use one or the other computer at a time but don't want to have to move the long cable between the two each time.

In looking for a solution, I quickly got mired in discussions of switches vs. hubs vs. spitters etc. with the usual accompanying jargon. The switch looked like the simplest solution - one female input and two female outputs so I would plug the long cable into one end and use two short cables to go to the computers, but apparently it requires a switch at the other end etc. So it's not my concept of a switch.

Can someone recommend the simplest solution for what I want to do?

Thank you.
nordsteve
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by nordsteve »

1. Buy a 5 port switch like https://www.bestbuy.com/site/linksys-5- ... Id=4833500
2. Buy two ethernet cables
3. Plug together
bob60014
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by bob60014 »

Technically they call it a switch but it's a splitter!
I've used this to split my tv and wired laptop, no issues for years. I just plugged in, no setup required. In the link below when Amazon opens, look at the second picture, it shows how easy the connection is.

NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S98YLHM
Juice3
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by Juice3 »

bob60014 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:36 pm Technically they call it a switch but it's a splitter!
I've used this to split my tv and wired laptop, no issues for years. I just plugged in, no setup required. In the link below when Amazon opens, look at the second picture, it shows how easy the connection is.

NETGEAR 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S98YLHM
You can by a splitter also
https://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Splitte ... ads.org-20

No power required for splitter. Generally the switch will be more flexible.
123
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by 123 »

The simplest most trouble-free solution is to install an unmanaged ethernet switch to connect both computers to the same ethernet cable coming from the router. Cost is under $20 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A128S24 The use of this kind of switch allow both computers to be used simultaneously so its far less of a hassle.

There are other gizmos sold that have a mechanical switch you have to change and devices that supposedly allow two devices to be connected simultaneously as long as "both are not in use". These alternatives are still likely to cost maybe $10 each. So for a few dollars more you get a solution that will always work.

When you use an unmanaged ethernet switch you only need one. You don't need to have one at each end of cable from the router, in fact that won't help at all.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
dukeblue219
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by dukeblue219 »

AAA wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:30 pm The switch looked like the simplest solution - one female input and two female outputs so I would plug the long cable into one end and use two short cables to go to the computers, but apparently it requires a switch at the other end etc. So it's not my concept of a switch.
That sounds more like a KVM switch, like only one computer is actively "switched" onto the cable at a time. A real ethernet switch (an "unmanaged" switch) would only be a single box and is dirt cheap.

You don't want a hub and I don't see those much anymore - a switch is the correct device and it does more than just split the signal. Please don't call it an ethernet splitter because that's not what it does. It passes traffic to whichever device it's intended for and needs to be downstream of your router that assigns IP addresses.
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wander
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by wander »

AAA wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:30 pm but apparently it requires a switch at the other end etc.
Why does a switch require a switch at the other end? You lost me there. My setup is similar: 1 cable from modem/router to switch (unmanaged) and 2 cables to computers. Problem solved.
nordsteve
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by nordsteve »

Juice3 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:41 pm
You can by a splitter also
https://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Splitte ... B099341WP3

No power required for splitter. Generally the switch will be more flexible.
The splitter above will work fine if you only have one computer on at a time. Otherwise you're going to want to use a switch like the one I proposed earlier in the thread. I think splitters are a poor value when you can buy a decent switch for not much more.

"Switch" here is a term of art in the networking world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_switch. It is "the thing you use to connect ethernet devices together."
iamlucky13
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by iamlucky13 »

An unmanaged ethernet switch is definitely what you want. These are common, cheap, and for the most part, they just work without any hassle.

No changes should be necessary at the other end - plug the ethernet switch into the cable that goes back to the router. Plug both computers into the switch.

The "switching" on an ethernet happens invisibly to the user, with the controller in the switch directing packets to the appropriate port depending which computer is the intended recipient.
Last edited by iamlucky13 on Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
nordsteve
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by nordsteve »

123 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:41 pm Cost is under $20 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A128S24 The use of this kind of switch allow both computers to be used simultaneously so its far less of a hassle.
^^ This is also a good switch, and is cheaper than the one I proposed at Best Buy.
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AAA
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by AAA »

Thanks all. I ordered a Netgear 5 port ethernet unmanaged switch (just because I'm more familiar with the brand) and some Cat 6 patch cables.
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AAA
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by AAA »

wander wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:54 pm Why does a switch require a switch at the other end?
My mistake. That was for a simple splitter.
killjoy2012
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by killjoy2012 »

OP: All you need is a cheap gigabit, unmanaged Ethernet switch. Such as this.
helloeveryone
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by helloeveryone »

nordsteve wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:35 pm 1. Buy a 5 port switch like https://www.bestbuy.com/site/linksys-5- ... Id=4833500
2. Buy two ethernet cables
3. Plug together
this is what we do...but for the "smart" TV and the internet phone box that sit next to each other
nordsteve
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Re: Two devices using one ethernet cable

Post by nordsteve »

AAA wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:40 pm Thanks all. I ordered a Netgear 5 port ethernet unmanaged switch (just because I'm more familiar with the brand) and some Cat 6 patch cables.
Those are good. They're what our IT recommends at work and I have two of them.
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