Coming into my home, have a modem connected to an allegedly 20mb broadband connection. The modem has a single ethernet output. At present, I have it wired into a WRT54G 1.1 10/100 router with 4 ports and 2.4 Gb wireless transmission and that works fine.
In various rooms of the house, I have 8 x RJ45 sockets. Each socket has an individual CAT7 cable, all terminating as raw cut cables beside the modem (roughly 5-15 meters each) - i.e., just lopped off, no plugs on them etc.
On the consuming devices side, I have:
a laptop with an integrated Marvell Yukon 88E8040 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller which I believe is 100MBit (which currently talks WiFi unless I can be bothered to go to the room with the router and do a direct connection - I want it to continue to talk over WiFi but obviously connecting up more rooms will give me more opportunities to connect directly where speed is critical, i.e., skype)
a Linux-based Set Top Box which attaches to a dish (which has a Fast ethernet card but has never seen the internet would be nice to link up). (Its a linux based Vu+ Duo which can potentially stream over HTTP e.g. to boxes on the LAN). Not envisaging doing any real network use from it, though in some hands I'm sure one could find multiple ways to drench a network with it.
a crummy desktop PC which is currently wired directly into one of the ports of the router
So, getting to the actual question: What networking hardware is most appropriate for me to use to connect 8 x unterminated CAT7 cables to a modem given
- my consuming devices are all (only) 100Mbps capable
- I have a 100MBit router with wireless
- I want to retain my wireless capability
- I only have 4 ports
- I have 8 chopped CAT7 cables
My non-convincing ideas leading to this post:
A basic 5+ port hub would seem to do the trick. Would one feed from the modem into it, stick 4 of the CAT7s + the connection to the router into it and the remaining 4 CAT7s into the router? Am I right in seeing no real reason to have a switch or anything fancy?
I believe my traffic is sufficiently low that a switch is overkill (relative to a hub)
Is there a form of patch panel or combination of straightforward passive devices that can connect up 8 cables, a wireless router and a modem on a simple single segment LAN?
could one just connect all 8 wires of each colour together into one RJ45 plug and stick that into the back of the router? (Only half joking... is there simply no way that this can work? Do you need an active device the minute you go over 2 nodes?) :P
As can be inferred from the above, hardware and networking definitely aint my strong suit, so feel free to use as patronising language as necessary and make no assumptions of competence - I'm definitely not FizzBinning here!
Despite the rambling and unresearched feel, you'll have to take my word for having done an embarassing number of hours research beforehand. I know if I order an 8 port switch I'll probably be safe enough but I'd like to understand the options (and not end up with a patch panel to go onto ebay and/or find myself having to order a patch panel and/or 8 cables connecting from it into a switch sitting beside it for no reason etc.)