How to Add Ethernet Ports to the Network - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Soon you may discover that you need more ports on your router to plug in your Ethernet cables to the Network. Plugged in is your computer, another computer, perhaps a network hard drive, a printer, and then — oops — you are out of Ethernet ports.

The solution is to add more Ethernet jacks. You do that by buying something called a switch, which allows you to plug in more Ethernet cables and attach that switch to the router.


The operation is simple: First, buy a switch that matches the speed of the router and your PC’s NIC cards. For example, if they’re 1-gigabit Ethernet cards, buy a 1-gigabit Ethernet switch.

Second, plug in the switch. All switches need a power supply.

Third, connect the switch to the router. Some switches have a special jack for this task, labeled an Uplink connector. Quite a few switches, however, are “smart switches” that feature automatic uplink abilities — you can connect them to the router by using any available Ethernet socket.

Finally, plug the Ethernet cables from the various PCs on the network into the switch.

The result is that you can connect all the network gizmos you need to connect.

  • Don’t worry about order or sequence or anything; the switch is smart, but the router is smarter. All computers connected to either the router or the switch are on the same network.

  • If the switch loses power, the computers connected to the switch lose their network connections.

  • Buy a switch with many more Ethernet ports than you need.