Split Ethernet cable into two

February 10, 2019
Picture of dobbel Ethernet

An Ethernet splitter takes advantage of the fact that 10MBit and 100Mbit Ethernet only use 4 wires, even though the cable (almost certainly) contains 8 wires. The splitter consists of two pieces (see picture): one is connected to each end of the existing cable, providing the appearance of two ports at each end. Each link has 4 dedicated wires, so there is no risk of packet collisions. Gigabit Ethernet does require all 8 wires, so 100MBit (full duplex) is the limit through a splitter; a Gigabit switch would be required to increase the bandwidth. Also, if your router only has one Ethernet port, then using a splitter is not an option.

Ethernet splitter

  • + Ought to be cheapest
  • + Passive; doesn't require a power supply
  • - Limited to providing one extra port, at 100MBit/s
  • - Destination switch/router must have two free Ethernet ports

100MBit/s switch

  • + Potential for many extra Ethernet ports
  • - Requires some set-up

Gigabit switch

  • + Higher bandwidth
  • - Most expensive
  • - Requires the rest of the network (LAN) to support Gigabit to benefit

Hub

  • + Relatively cheap, but...
  • - ...not significantly cheaper than switches
  • - Very poor performance, especially as network load increases (due to collisions)

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