Plug devices into router or switch?

Astraeus

Well-known Member
Folks

My setup has an Asus DSL-AC68u modem and a Netgear switch with eight ports.

I am trying to cure daily dropouts which may be related to my Sky service but, before I lay blame at their door, I want to ensure my hardware is operating at peak efficiency.

I have six devices which need to be hardwired (two PoE IP cameras, a PS4, an amp, a PC and a NAS - both of which are connected from a different room by Cat5e). Should I fill the four outputs on the back of the router first and then have recourse to the switch or should I leave just the switch connected to the router and then have everything else come off the switch?

Cheers

A.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
As with so many things "it depends" - on what your traffic patterns are. However, in a lightly loaded SOHO network, it'll make practically no difference, especially if your router---switch link is Gigabit, unless you are frequently moving huge mounts of data around. In a lightly loaded SOHO LAN, you'd be hard pushed to "notice" any difference, let alone measure it.

Data travels around ethernet (and Wi-Fi) networks in discrete little units called packets like letters in the post. The switches and routers are like postal sorting offices. Each packet hops from device to device until is gets where it need to go. Each lobe (cable with something either end) in the network has a finite capacity for moving traffic. Traffic generally "hops" along the shortest pathway from source to sink (it doesn't all have to travel "via the router.")

So for optimum performance, one would endeavour to have the device pairs that carry the most traffic connected to the same switch/router thereby avoiding an extra "hop" from switch to router (or vice versa.)

BTW - the LAN ports in your router are a built-in ethernet switch.

For example, you've probably got three principal traffic flows: 1) stuff going to/from your NAS 2) stuff going to/from the Internet and 3) stuff traveling to/from ethernet--Wi-Fi which has to travel through the Wi-Fi Access Point built in to your router.

If NAS traffic is mostly ethernet, then you could cable NAS and it's clients to the switch. But equally, if most of your NAS traffic is to/from your Wi-Fi devices, you could argue that the NAS would be best connected to your router.

However, if your switch is "only" 10/100 capable, then you'd want to favour the Gigabit ports in your router, especially for your NAS, then leave the low usage devices (e.g. printers, webcams) in such a 10/100 switch.

Incidentally, none of this is likely to have any bearing on why your ISP link is dropping.
 
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Astraeus

Well-known Member
That, Mick, is possibly the most helpful post I've ever had on this forum. Thank you! [emoji4] [emoji106]

The router and switch are both Gigabit so there is no issue there. Very little traffic uses Wi-Fi as most of it goes through cables to the TV, PC or NAS. On that basis it sounds as though I am better off putting it all into my switch for the simple reason that the switch can live in the cabinet and out of sight whereas the router cannot.

Interesting to note that it is entirely unconnected (no pun intended) with the dropouts. I don't have any faith in Sky to resolve it or be particularly given their insistence that everyone use their own router and what I have read previously about their customer services! It may be a dynamic IP issue as it tends to go down for a 5-minute period every evening which could coincide with when Sky is refreshing my IP.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
The router and switch are both Gigabit so there is no issue there. Very little traffic uses Wi-Fi as most of it goes through cables to the TV, PC or NAS. On that basis it sounds as though I am better off putting it all into my switch for the simple reason that the switch can live in the cabinet and out of sight whereas the router cannot.

There's nothing wrong with that logic.

Interesting to note that it is entirely unconnected (no pun intended) with the dropouts. I don't have any faith in Sky to resolve it or be particularly given their insistence that everyone use their own router and what I have read previously about their customer services! It may be a dynamic IP issue as it tends to go down for a 5-minute period every evening which could coincide with when Sky is refreshing my IP.

One of the "problems" with HelpDesks is that a lot of the staff employed to man them tend to be either early in their career and/or not particularly proficient. Sadly, (from a customer perspective,) the smart ones move on to better things quite quickly.

The ISP link is established by your router, so unless something is killing your router entirely, it will be unlikely that anything happening inside your LAN would affect the ISP link unless you've created an IP addressing conflict with the router's LAN (default gateway) IP address.
 
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Astraeus

Well-known Member
I don't think anything is taking out the router because my NAS stays alive during the blackout but nothing, wired or wireless, has a DSL connection. AFAIK, everything is on a static IP to prevent conflicts and nothing has touched 192.168.1.1 which is the router's default gateway.

I'll call Sky and see what their system data shows about the connection. Thanks for your help.
 

BrianC1

Active Member
I'm not entirely clear what the problem is. It sounds as though Sky might be your ISP but you're not using their hardware. But you might be referring to a satellite box as well. And what exactly do you mean by dropouts? Are you losing internet connectivity or is something else dropping out? Is your router rebooting at random? Do you get a new IP address after each dropout? What sort of internet service do you have and what are your router stats like? What sort of speed are you getting and how does it compare with BT or Sky predictions? So many questions! But they may lead to answers. If Sky is your ISP it might be worth trying out their router. I have found over the years that routers and modems are not terribly reliable and often develop faults that are only cured by buying new bits of kit.
 

BrianC1

Active Member
I don't think anything is taking out the router because my NAS stays alive during the blackout but nothing, wired or wireless, has a DSL connection. AFAIK, everything is on a static IP to prevent conflicts and nothing has touched 192.168.1.1 which is the router's default gateway.

I'll call Sky and see what their system data shows about the connection. Thanks for your help.
Have you fixed the LAN IP addresses yourself? The NAS and cameras often benefit from a fixed address but the other stuff should be happy enough without. Or are you referring to a static IP address from your ISP?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Incidentally, it shouldn't take 5 minutes to do an IP refresh, even if the address changes. It's only 2-4 very small packets, so should happen pretty quickly.

I don't know your router, but it is reputed to be a good bit of kit. It may be worth checking out whether it has some logs that give an indication of what's happening.

If you get into battle with your ISP, it may be worth maintaining a diary of dates/times when you have problems.
 

MarcoDB

Active Member
It is possible that your Sky Router is crashing due to the network traffic that you are routing through it. What model is it and how old is it?

Have you checked that all your networking cables are OK. You could have a duff cable that works OK most of the time, but causes problems when it's disturbed; are you running any cabling under carpets or through door ways?

Do the drop outs occur at the same time that the boiler / heating, microwave, fridge-freezer or other electrical equipment is being operated?

I have a Sky Q Router (latest model, recent firmware), but use a separate switch for networking my PC in the study/office to the SteamLink hooked up to the big TV in the living room as I was getting network dropouts / stuttering when routing the traffic through the Sky Q Router using Ethernet.

You could try testing different combinations of devices connected to your network and/or tweaking their configuration. You may find that some of your devices don't play nice with other devices and/or your router and/or your switch.

Of course there is no guarantee that your switch is less buggy than your router, so it might be a case of trial and error with different switches.
 

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