Is it damaging to keep unpluging an ethernet connection?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by yellow bear, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. yellow bear macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2006
    I'd like to use two different computers with the internet (one an ibook the other a g4 mirror doors model) I don't want to use them both at the same time, therefore if I don't want to go wireless i'd have to keep passing the ethernet cable between the two computers, is this damaging?
    I think I read somewhere that you are supposed to keep the cable and modem power adapter plugged in at all times for cable broadband, is this right? If thats the case then I guess I'll have to go wireless.

    It's just that I like to keep the laptop mainly for internet and the other pute for serious stuff (editing, photoshop etc) but I can't see myself keeping the ethernet cable plugged in all the time on a laptop!

    Any advice would be great, I am aware this may not be the best place to ask but as a mac user i'm not sure where else to go (though I guess the answer would be the same for pc's in this case?)


    What do you think?


    C x
  2. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
  3. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    Why don't you just switch the ethernet cable between the computers without switching off the power?

    And what's wrong with having the ethernet cable plugged in a laptop all the time?

  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    I second Compile 'em all's recommendation of an ethernet switch. However, to answer your original question, unplugging cables should NOT cause any damage. However, I suspect that the recommendation to leave the Ethernet cable plugged in was because that is the way to take full advantage of a broadband connection (for things like Dashboard widgets, notifiers, etc.).
  5. yellow bear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2006
    Well a laptop is generally used as a portable computer? no? well I take mine away from the house!
  6. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816


    Jul 26, 2005
    Get a switch/router. You also might really like going wireless.
  7. yellow bear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2006
    thanks for your advice,
    what is an ethernet switch? and would it be cheap and easy to install/connect/whatever you do with it?

    sorry couldnt help a dig at the laptop answer.

    So it wouldnt actually damage the ethernet cable or make the internet connection do something funny by just moving the cable between the two computers?

    Im afraid i'm so skint that wireless isn't an option......i'd love to but can't.

    Is that the way to do it then? does that mean you always have to keep the power on?
  8. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    I doubt there will be damage to the port. The plastic bit that you press down to remove the cable will eventually break.

    I have a powerbook that's probably had the ethernet cable plugged in and removed over a 1000 times.

    Port still works fine.

    You should consider an ethernet switch. They're easy to setup and relatively cheap. Like $20 if you look in the circulars.

    [Edit] You could also use internet sharing over firewire if the two computers are usually close to each other.
  9. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    You don't do any damage to the computer or modem if you leave the power on by unplugging and plugging the ethernet cable.
  10. ftaok macrumors 601


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned.

    If the original poster does not have a router or switch, he likely has the modem connected directly to one of the Macs. Since the IP address lease is tied to a particular device, when switching from one Mac to another, he has to renew the lease. The easiest way to do that is to unplug the modem, wait x seconds, and plug it back in.

    Depending on his set-up, this could be a pain in the butt.

    If you put in a router between the computer(s) and the modem, then it solves the problem of the IP address lease. The router would be tied to the modem and each Mac would have their own separate ethernet cable to the router.

    Routers are cheap. I've seen them for $10 after rebates many times.

  11. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    A cheap wired router would definitely be the best option. Wireless would probably be even nicer, but it sounds like the OP would like to spend as little as possible.

    Does the MDD G4 have an Airport card? You could use it to wirelessly share the internet connection with the iBook.
  12. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    To answer the question: an Ethernet switch (or Ethernet hub) is a small device typically with 4 -5 ports on it. It allows you to create a small network between your 2 machines and your ADSL or Cable modem. An Ethernet Router (or Gateway) is the same thing, with the addition of Internet sharing capability.

    These are available for $30 - $60 - brands are D-Link, Linksys, Netgear and others. Its the easiest way to set this up.
  13. jtown macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2003
    While it's not going to cause any immediate harm, constantly unplugging and replugging the cable will eventually cause the jack to break. Just like, eventually, every other item subjected to mechanical force will break. It may take a few thousand cycles to happen but it will certainly happen faster than normal if you're moving the cable back and forth several times a day.

    Go get a wireless router. Fry's has a refurbished netgear on their website for $16 and 5 other routers between $30 and $40.
  14. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2007

    Theres no damage to the computers doing this. Maybe eventually the cable plastic bit as was mentioned before. The ports are designed to undergo this kind of usage

    Setting up a small router/switch/hub or whatever takes time and a little bit of money. Don't let these guys over tech you if you are perfectly happy with your current set up up. No offence, but as computer enthusiasts in general we all love the more complex solutions that required.

    If however that sounds nice to you and you've got say the $20 (think cheap and old on ebay) - I could have sent you a 10mps one but I just chucked it out- do it as that sounds like a bit of a pain. Arrgh and I hate not recycling. You don't need anything above 10 mbps unless you have a very fast internet connection. You can find a few tutorial on how to set it up on the internet. And if you have any problems I'm sure the wonderfully helpful people on this forum will give you a hand.

    You could also phone your ISP and see if they offer a router and modem combined, this would make for very easy set up by you as they could guide you through it.

    Permit me if I'm underestimating your computer know-how but I'm guessing you don't want to muck about with IP addresses and NAT tables if you haven't unplugged and replugged enough ethernet cables to know its hard to brake the cards that way. I myself have been messing around with networks for years and despite leaps and bounds in technology, theres a lot of overly complex things you have to work with and I'm often flummoxed as to why the bloody things wont work!
  15. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    how about THIS for $19.95 and free shipping. wired, wireless, and cheap. :)
  16. yellow bear thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2006
    Wow thanks for all your responses!

    I must add though, I'm in the uk so links to buy from u.s. may not be a good idea.

    I'm not sure about buying from ebay, don't really trust that I know what I'm looking for so could get ripped off.

    Thanks for being realistic Tarkovsky, great name by the way!

    No I don't have much computer know-how with technical hardware stuff but i'm fine with softwear usually.

    I think I'm going to stick to switching the cable from computer to computer, it's not that often that I use the home computer for internet, I like to keep it safe! (it's got very precious things on it). I asked my isp installer chaps that came in to connect me and they said i just need to install the softwear they gave me on both computers and it will be fine.

    Thankyou for all your help and I may come back if it all goes wrong, you people really are very helpful here!

    C x

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