No spare ports on your router? Our Helproom expert explains how to use a switch to add additional wired ports to a broadband router.

QUESTION Virgin Media supplied me with a Netgear router when I signed up to its internet package. I use its four ethernet ports for hooking up three PCs, laptopsand a TV, but require three more for adding other TVs and a games console. I require a wired rather than wireless connection, so can I use a switch to add more ports? Ron Williams

HELPROOM ANSWER Yes, you can – provided that your router hasn't been configured to prevent the use of a switch. A switch can simply be plugged into one of the router's ethernet ports.

Any modern switch should automatically detect that it's hooked up to another switch rather than a computer or TV and configure itself accordingly. All you'll have to do is plug in the required cables.

Remember that you'll need to use two ethernet ports for the switch and router to communicate with each other. With this in mind, Lindy's 8-Port Gigabit Desktop Switch provides six additional ports. It's an unmanaged switch, for a plug-and-play installation.

If the TVs are distributed around your home, HomePlug adaptors are a good alternative to wiring long runs of cable from room to room. HomePlug (or powerline) enables your mains wiring system to carry network data between adaptors. It's also possible to combine a switch with HomePlug, allowing you to provide multiple ethernet ports in a different room. A good example is Devolo's dLAN 500 AVplus Starter Kit.

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