I have 3 PCs and a networked harddrive connected to the 4 ports on my router. I'd like to add a networked printer (rather than having it run from 1 of the PCs which means that PC has to be on to print). Whats the easiest/best way to expand my network. Can I daisy chain off the router or external HD, or do I need a router? with more ports. Wireless is not feasible due to the layout of my house.
Yes, a "network switch" is what you need to provide additional ethernet ports. These will generally be 100Mbps devices and, as you'll be plugging into a router, there is no merit in getting a "Gigabit" (1000Mbps) switch.
You *MAY* have to connect a switch to your router using a "crossover" ethernet cable unless the switch has either an "uplink" port or autosensing ports. Often switches have one "uplink" port which can be toggled between a "straight-wired" connection or a "crossover" one, eliminating the need to use a crossover ethernet cable.
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