Home networking Q: Can the router be placed behind a switch?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by eji, May 16, 2010.

  1. eji macrumors 6502

    eji

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #1
    I've recently moved into a house that was wired throughout with CAT-6 cable. But it looks like the previous owner laid it out according to his very specific needs, and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to network it according to my own very specific needs.

    The background: There's a room in the back that holds the cable connection to the Internet. This, naturally, is where the cable modem is. All the individual Ethernet connections in the house also terminate in this room, which means there are about 15 separate Ethernet cables with male connectors sprouting out of a hole in the wall.

    Right now, my DrayTek 2110Vn Wi-Fi router (responsible for DHCP provisioning for the entire home network, VoIP, and firewall) is also in this room and plugged into the cable modem. Things would be easy if I wanted to leave it there. But I want to move the router into another, more centrally located room, which would mean treating one of these individual Ethernet cables like a massive extension cord. I'd plug that into the cable modem and then plug it into the WAN port of my Wi-Fi router on the other end.

    The only problem is, that leaves the remaining 14 Ethernet cables without anything to plug them into. There's no way I'd be able to run a second cable from the LAN1 port on the DrayTek through the house to the back room to accommodate all the cables that terminate there.

    So my question is, Could I install a Netgear FS116 (or similar) unmanaged switch between the modem and the router, and still have the router function as the brains of the operation? Or am I going to run into all sorts of networking issues due to the mixed WAN/LAN environment and various subnets?

    A quick and dirty visual aid of my intended setup:

    INTERNET
    |
    |
    Cable modem
    |
    |
    FS116NA Unmanaged Switch (LAN cables to TV, bedroom, kitchen)
    |
    |
    DrayTek 2110Vn Wi-Fi router --- (LAN cables to Blu-ray player, ReadyNAS server, printer; Wi-Fi to laptops, desktops, iPods, etc.)

    Thanks everyone in advance for your help.
     
  2. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #2
    The only way that could work is if the router and the cable modem were the only things plugged into the switch, otherwise any computers plugged into the switch will be fighting with the router to grab the DHCP lease from your ISP, and if your computer wins, then the router won't be able to get online.

    What you could do is place the router in that room and plug all those ethernet cables into the router's LAN ports (you'll probably need another basic switch for all 14 cat6 cables), and then if you want a more centrally located router, stick another switch or wireless access point where you planned on having the router. That way, the router is in the closet where it needs to be, but if you wanted some ethernet ports at your desk or whatever, you'll have them.

    I have a similar, but smaller setup with my Uverse service; I have the modem/router by a phone jack where my service comes in, but since that's not near where I want ethernet ports, I have Cat5 going out to a switch by my entertainment center for my Xbox 360 and Blu-Ray player and another Cat5 going to a switch near my desk for my computer and printer.

    On second thought, what you're thinking of, with the switch before the router, could work if you bought an expensive, VLAN capable switch, put the port from the cable modem and the port to a router on their own separate VLAN, say VLAN1, and left the remaining ports on VLAN2, and then ran a cable back from the router's LAN ports into a VLAN2 port on the switch (basically, 2 ethernet cables would connect the router and the switch), but a switch that can do that is pricey.
     
  3. eji thread starter macrumors 6502

    eji

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #3
    Thanks for the super-quick reply. So what you're suggesting is this:

    INTERNET
    |
    |
    Cable modem
    |
    |
    DrayTek 2110Vn router, which has:

    -- LAN cable to FS116NA Unmanaged Switch, which in turn has:

    1. LAN cables to TV, bedroom, kitchen, and new Wi-Fi router in the centrally located room, which in turn has:

    i. LAN cables to Blu-ray player, ReadyNAS server, printer
    ii. Wi-Fi to laptops, desktops, iPods, etc.

    I'm trying to keep costs low, so buying lots more gear, or expensive gear, isn't an option at the moment. But the reason I didn't pencil in a (cheaper) wired router for the back room is that the DrayTek handles VoIP and has a brilliant firewall, so I'd prefer to keep it where it is and just get a new Wi-Fi-enabled router.
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #4
    Buy another router. They are cheap. Is your goal better WiFi?
     
  5. eji thread starter macrumors 6502

    eji

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #5
    Yes. But more than that.

    The VoIP landline is attached to the DrayTek out of necessity. Moving it from the back room would make it more accessible, in addition to giving us better Wi-Fi coverage.

    Right now, I'm looking at forking out for the switch, an extra phone, and another WiFi router. I was hoping to work with the stuff I had rather than buying more.
     
  6. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #6
    Buy another cheap router and go...

    Cable modem...

    Cheap router... Dishing out dhcp lease.

    Unmanaged switch... Connected to first LAN port of cheap router.

    Your voip router in the room you require set as access point.
     
  7. danielcox macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    #7
    Make sure you set your router (in the other room) to be a switch also, you don't want that dishing out addresses with the other one too otherwise you'll get some double nat problems.

    For reference my network goes like this:
    Internet
    Server (with DHCP)
    Wired switch
    PCs Switch Wireless
    PC Wireless
     
  8. 4JNA macrumors 68000

    4JNA

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    looking for trash files
    #8
    had a customer with a similar situation, and what we came up with was running an additional cable to the basement from the upstairs office.

    cable internet modem >
    -
    new cable running upstairs to wireless router >
    -
    old cable back downstairs to switch >
    -
    everything else.

    no new hardware or reconfiguration needed.


    cable is cheap, but pulling through can be a pain. if they didn't tack the original cable down, you could tape two new to the end of the old, and use the old a a pull. just a thought. best of luck.
     
  9. eji thread starter macrumors 6502

    eji

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    Inland Empire
    #9
    This, I'm afraid, was all for nought.

    I found a second ethernet outlet in the room I wanted to move the router into. I initially thought it was dead, but there was a female outlet tucked away in the "terminal" room that, through some trial and error (plugging a MacBook in at the destination and then seeing if it received an ethernet connection, which is how I've tested all the unlabeled connections so far) turned out to be the opposite end of this second outlet. So I've now got the WAN and LAN connections I need to keep the router as the primary DHCP device and then connect it the switch in the "terminal" room. This is a gala day in my personal annals of home networking.

    Thanks, everyone, for all your help.
     

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