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Switches – PriceGrabber.com. I have a single router at home, but upstairs, I have two printers and a notebook. The issue is that wireless networking is just unreliable I’m finding. I constantly find that the connection is broken, so I’m back to wired networking for now. Fortunately there is an ethernet jack upthere, so off to find a cheap hub that I can plug things in.

Low and behold, I’m amazed at how pricing has changed. It used to be $10/port for a hub was a good price. Now I find that you can get a switch (this technically means that you get lots more bandwidth when you have lots of transfers, instead of everyone sharing say 100Mbps, each computer gets a full 100Mbps) and you now get gigabit Ethernet that is theoretically 10x faster than 100Mbps and way faster than any Wifi network at 54Mbps (where you rarely get even half that effectively). In practical use, you need to get a better cable, called the Cat-5E and can realistically see 350Mbps or 3x faster than the typical speed of 100Mbps Ethernet which is more like 86Mbps. You don’t get 10x faster mainly because at these network speeds, the PCs themselves end up being bottlenecks.

Looking at Pricegrabber, you can see that the prices are very low. For the top three in terms of popularity, the choices are:

* “Netgear GS108”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=631325/sort_type=bottomline . This has 8-ports for $63 (wow!) and you get 1Gbps. The only issue is that in the past, I’ve found that my other Netgear devices blew their power supplies in a year. OTOH for $63 who cares 🙂
* “D-Link DGS1008D”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=1025184 . This is the D-link equivalent of the above at $61 from netwegg. It looks smaller but is more plastic looking. Good reviews though from “PC World”:http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,117619,00.asp.
* “Netgear GS605”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2970005/sort_type=bottomline. This is a 5 port model that you can get for $39 with a $10 rebate, so the price scales at about $5/port.

Net, net, I’ll probalby get the $30 model as I don’t need the 8 ports and it is smaller, plus if it breaks in a year I won’t feel bad.

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