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I'm renovating my house and, in addition to all the other infrastructure put behind drywall, i am also adding a wired home network. Every room will have at least one cat5 jack and the command center is together with the cable and phone hub in the utility room. I want to support ethernet connection from every room and maybe a network printer.

Currently, I have:

  • Comcast cable internet and an associated modem
  • A Linksys Wi-Fi router that has 4 ethernet jacks in the back
  • An unpacked Netgear 5 port switch.

So my questions are:

  1. In the simplest scenario in which different computers on the network do not access one another for file sharing or apps but they all do access the printer, do I need to use the switch or even a separate router?
    In other words, the network would be used only for wired internet connection and the printer.

  2. In the above scenario, do I need a computer that will act as the domain controller?

  3. if the answers above are NO, when do I need a separate switch beside the Wi-Fi router built-in one or a domain controller?

share|improve this question
Disable file sharing, or block all network access by other PC's on the network in the OS for each PC, then use a network printer connected to the router or switch. – Moab May 16 '12 at 20:17

You can always use a switch to extend access to a router. Basically:

You don't need to use it though if the four Ethernet ports of your router suffice for all clients in your home. Otherwise, just connect the switch to one of the Ethernet ports and you'll have four ports from the switch left for additional clients.

You could even do this with multiple switches, branching off from your main router or other switches, in case you need more ports. Or buy a bigger switch.

You also don't need a domain controller if you're not planning to use Windows Server and clients that join a domain. All clients in the network will be visible to each other, even if there's no dedicated server running. Your router will ensure they'll get an IP address and thus be able to communicate on the same network.

If you later want to let a "real" Linux or Windows machine act as a DHCP server that leases IP addresses to your machines, you can also do that by disabling the router's built-in DHCP.

share|improve this answer
thanks a lot. yes, i think i may want a 5th and 6th connection, so i may use the switch i have. no, I am not using the Win server. my primary laptop's OS is Fedora 16 and, while i may want to experiment with Linux networking in the future, it is not a current requirement. – amphibient May 16 '12 at 20:15
Also, make sure to use high-quality cabling since it won't be easy to replace. If you're wanting to future-proof the installation for gigabit networking or 10gigE networking, use Cat6 or Cat6A cabling. – Darth Android May 16 '12 at 20:21
You can always add that to your setup in the future. Just ensure your cables are properly laid out, and use "good" enough cables like @Darth said. That way you'll be future proof. – slhck May 16 '12 at 20:22
I am using the regularly priced Cat5 cable from Home Depot that costs something like $17 for 100 ft. i understand that is not the best. oh well... – amphibient May 16 '12 at 23:00

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