I'm about to lay Gigabit network cabling in my new house. I want a wired network in almost every room of the house and some with several cables (i.e. living room with LAN for xbox/ps, video LAN cable for STB and possibly additional LAN for media server i.e. Boxee).

House has three floors. Instead of leading all LAN cables to a single point in a house (meaning there would be quite a few cables coming out of the wall), I was thinking of installing:

  • 8 port switch in basement connected to ground floor router
  • 4 port router on ground floor + additional 8 port switch connected to router
  • 8 port switch in 1st floor connected to ground floor router

This creates a simplified cabling topology so that each floor is only connected to ground floor by a single cable.

I'm pretty sure this should be fine. But the devil's always in the details.


What if I need to extend number of LAN clients on any floor later in life and the switch doesn't have the sufficient number of available ports? I know I could buy a switch with more ports but what if I decide to equip a home office in one room. It would make sense to add an additional switch and just lead one cable to floor switch, wouldn't it?


  1. Can a subsequent switch be connected to existing switch without any particular downgrade? This means that all its connected clients would go through 2 switches to hit the router?
  2. Will I see network issues due to increased traffic collision?
  3. Should I be careful when buying switches to keep maximum Gigabit throughput
  4. Do Layer-2 switches (that do bridging) provide better network traffic control (more directed traffic without flooding) and is it still possible to buy Layer-1 switches at all in Gigabit times?

1 Answer 1


Taking your questions in order:

  1. Yes. Clients on the switch further from the router will see their traffic go through two switches before it reaches the router, but assuming at least decent equipment this will not noticeably impair performance.

  2. No. Switches, unlike hubs, route traffic between ports such that only the device for which a given packet is destined sees it at all. Again, assuming at least decent equipment, you will not see significant collision issues.

  3. Yes, if you intend to get gigabit-scale performance out of your network. However, using a 10/100 switch will not impair performance save for those clients actually connected to that switch.

  4. I am not very familiar with the "layer" terminology you use; however, it appears a "Layer 1 switch" is simply a hub. Assuming that's the case, a "Layer 2 switch" (i.e., a switch proper) will certainly do a better job of traffic management, in that they do traffic management at all rather than simply broadcasting every incoming packet to every one of their downstream ports. It may be possible to find a gigabit Ethernet hub, as opposed to a switch, but why would you want to?

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