I have just installed a Motorola SURFboard SBG901 cable modem, and I can connect two computers I have to the Internet via Wifi. I'd like to distribute the Internet connection among some other machines through Ethernet instead, in an inexpensive way.

I've done some research on the Web, but I have found the answer for this in random forums, which seem to contradict each other. In one of them, I read that the simplest is a network switch, while in others I read that a switch will require me to maintain a central server, and then I should purchase a router instead. The Wikipedia articles on Network switch and Router have left my head spinning!

I have noticed that in the SURFboard there is no way to change the DNS servers, and it also doesn't seem to hold a DNS cache. Is it possible to have these without a central server?

Also, does a switch, hub, or router generally have some kind of bandwidth control?

The most important for me is to know what should I purchase just to share access via Ethernet with these machines. Regarding the DNS and bandwidth control, they would be desirable, but not a priority, so a small comparison between how a switch, hub, or a router would apply in my case would be highly appreciated.


Forget a Hub as it's like the technology before switches. It has a use for packet sniffing but you don't want it for that. Switches are often called intelligent hubs. They're both equally easy to use (plug in and use) so get the switch.

If you already have 2 computers running on your motorola then that device is a NAT Router, but if there is only one socket for attaching a wired device then you should get a switch, which you plug into the one wired socket and it will give you more sockets.

  • Thanks for your answer! Yes, the Motorola has only one socket. The DNS thing I don't think it would... but would a switch provide some kind of bandwidth control? – Teresa e Junior Jul 2 '14 at 14:08
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    @TeresaeJunior i'm no expert on bandwidth control.The switch I use is cheap so nope.A Router might be more likely to offer bandwidth control but ones i've bought have been too cheap to,maybe an expensive one will.u could also consider some bandwidth control via software on the potentially offending computer itself i've heard of softperfect bandwidth manager which i've seen used for another purpose but looked simple to configure.I haven't really tried bandwidth control so cant advise much on good ways of doing it. Maybe DDWRT or Tomato can. They r firmware upgrades compatible with some routers. – barlop Jul 2 '14 at 14:14
  • @TeresaeJunior If you have a router that supports DDWRT. (the router is basically a little linux machine as so many consumer devices are), but one that supports it. This is a video that shows how to do bandwidth control "Using DD-WRT for Bandwidth Control" youtube.com/watch?v=EjCb5P302Ms Flicking through the video it looks like he tests it neatly. – barlop Jul 2 '14 at 14:16
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    @slow_excellence So basically just for sharing the connection in an inexpensive way, I need a switch. If I want more features, I need to buy a router or install a new firmware on the modem/router, right? – Teresa e Junior Jul 2 '14 at 14:51
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    @TeresaeJunior Thats pretty much the gist of it. You don't HAVE to install 3rd party firmware onto the new router, but it's highly recommended since the developers usually have their s**t together. I'm also biased against the Motorola SURFboard modem/router combos which is why I recommended a separate router (ATT provided modem/router was a POS and would drop the connection to the ISP if more than 5 devices were using the internet at once). A switch will be much cheaper but won't have the features you're looking for. – slow_excellence Jul 2 '14 at 14:59

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