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I have a network with a dead slow 10/100 router. The router cannot be replaced, and I wish to speed up transfers between two, or possibly three computers on the network.

If I plug an unmanaged gigabit switch into one of the router's ports, then plug the two computers into the spare ports on the switch, will the speeds between the computers still be bottlenecked by the router?


[10/100 Router]
  \-> [Laptop (slow)]
  \-> [*Unmanaged* 10/100/1000 switch]
        \-> My PC      <== ¬
        \-> Storage PC <== Gigabit possible between these two?
  \-> [Tablet (slow)]

Side note

After testing with a laptop and realizing the wire must be fine, I changed the speeds/duplex setting on my computer's NIC from "auto negotiation" to 100Mb Full Duplex. The issue of speeds being slower than 100Mb is now fixed.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You are correct. Any connections between devices connected to the gigabit switch will operate at gigabit speeds (assuming they both have gigabit NICs).

In your example, My PC will be able to communicate with Storage PC at gigabit speeds (again, assuming they both have gigabit NICs).

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Yes, both PCs have gigabit NICs. The main point though was that the switch is unmanaged. I was worried you would need a managed switch in order to do this. – Fela Maslen Jul 31 '12 at 23:30
A properly punched CAT5 cable will more than likely operate just as fast as a properly punched CAT5e/CAT6 cable (assuming extremely long distances or poor cable quality isn't a problem). I have a device on my home network that is hooked up with CAT5 and it operates perfectly fine. That said, don't just purchase CAT5 cable on the assumption that it will operate at gigabit speeds. Try it with CAT5 if you only have CAT5, then purchase some CAT5e/CAT6 if needed. – Rain Jul 31 '12 at 23:50
@Logman The IEEE designed and tested 1000BASE-T for up to 100 meter runs (including 2 patches) of plain old CAT5, with bit error rates of less than 10^-10. Getting full gigabit speed on CAT5 is easy. I do it all the time. See IEEE 802.3-2008, clause 40.1. If you can't get gigabit speeds over CAT5, then you either have noncompliant equipment or noncompliant cables. – Spiff Aug 1 '12 at 1:17
@Logman 1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet is designed for plain old CAT5, and getting gigabit speeds on CAT5 is the norm, as I pointed out yesterday. Please go re-read my comment above, download the standard I cited, read it for yourself, and stop lying about this. You can download it for free here: It's so big it's in 5 parts, and Clause 40 (1000BASE-T) is in part 3. – Spiff Aug 2 '12 at 21:23
@Rain just noticed your question. It's a DGND3300 ADSL modem and router combined. However, as you can see from the edit on the OP, I've narrowed down the problem to a device setting. I now get speeds of about 12MB/s [96Mb/s] on contiguous files, which is damn near the theoretical maximum. Gigabit can wait for now :) – Fela Maslen Aug 2 '12 at 22:05

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