Bear with me on this one. I have two Airport Extremes at home linked via a long gigabit ethernet cable. I wanted to improve the control over the network by connecting all my devices via smart gigabit switches to enable QOS, priority, aggregated links on some devices etc.

Now what I was wondering is - in this scenario, all the heavy lifting would be done by the switches but the Airports would still be the DHCP server giving out LAN addresses. If I have one of the airports and two computers connected to a switch, so they're both on the network with their own IP addresses now and i send a file between both. Would the switch send the data directly between the two computers as if they were wired together by the gigabit cable or would it feed the data through the Airport as its the DHCP device first?

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    DHCP servers only handout IP information to hosts; they don't broker/mediate information exchange between hosts. – Larssend Oct 29 '15 at 13:08

DHCP only hands out IP network configuration (addresses, subnet mask, gateway, DNS servers, etc.) and that's it -- that's what its job is. :)

Once the devices have IP addresses (etc.) DHCP is out of the scenario, and data will be sent via the shortest/cheapest known route to the target device. Each device in the path decides the route to take for the next hop.

So in your scenario (assuming everything is wired) data would flow from the device, to the switch, and then to the other device. The airport would not be involved.

Perhaps check out this other SU question for some related info:

  • Perfectly put, thanks buddy, thats exactly what I wanted confirming :) – realdannys Oct 29 '15 at 13:19

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