How to Add More Ethernet Ports to a Router

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Updated August 9, 2022

If you are experimenting with both wired and wireless network connections, you may wonder how to add more Ethernet ports to a router. The best routers, after all, may still be hampered by a minimal number of Ethernet ports and you may want more. Keep reading to learn about some options to increase the number of Internet ports.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Most modern routers ship with four Ethernet ports, though some may include five or more.
  • To get more ports, purchase and install a network switch, otherwise known as an Ethernet hub or Ethernet switch. Make sure you have the needed Ethernet cables and network cables at the ready.
  • You can also simply replace the router if you find one that offers a greater number of ports for a wired connection.

Adding More Ethernet Ports to a Router

Generally speaking, a standard wireless router includes four Ethernet ports, though some newer models may feature five or more ports to choose from. This is in addition to however many USB ports are included with the device. You may not be able to use a router without a modem, but you can easily run of ports. What happens then? Luckily, you have some options.

Insider Tip

Use a wired Ethernet connection for online gaming or for streaming ultra-high-definition video content.

Get a New Router

An easy way to add more ports to your Internet experience is to simply replace the router with a new one that has more ports. Generally speaking, any router provided to you via your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will be relatively free of modern features, including additional Ethernet ports. If you buy one of the latest and greatest wireless routes available, you will almost certainly have access to a greater number of ports than you would with the rental unit from the ISP. Of course, read the fine print ahead of time to ensure the router you purchase integrates with your modem and that it does indeed boast more Ethernet ports.

Ethernet Switches

Ethernet switches, otherwise known as Ethernet hubs, are accessories that have been purpose-built to add ports to a pre-existing wireless router. They are inexpensive and simple to use. All you have to do is plug it into one of the available Ethernet ports and marvel at all of the new ports at the ready. Ethernet switches can allow as many as eight additional ports, all splitting the same Ethernet signal. This may not be as convenient as, say, learning how mesh wifi works, but it is close. These accessories may also be called a network switch if you are on the hunt.

Use Wi-Fi

Another simple way to free up Ethernet ports is to connect devices wirelessly, thus making more ports available for gadgets that absolutely need them. Save your ports for gaming consoles, PCs, and the like. You can learn how to do this with our other helpful guides that include using a WiFi router as a switch and how to connect a router and switch.

F.A.Q.S

Does adding a switch to my router slow it down?

It should not slow it down if you are looking to add ports to form a larger network. Larger switches tend to operate as quickly as smaller switches.


Can I reuse an old router as a switch?

Some routers can be repurposed as a switch, though these unmanaged switches can occasionally cause network glitches and problems with Ethernet devices.


How long can cables between switches be?

100 meters is the maximum here, but in general, the shorter the better. This will ensure you get an uninterrupted Internet connection as you access gigabit Ethernet.


How long can cables between switches be?

Some routers can be repurposed as a switch, though these unmanaged switches can occasionally cause network glitches and problems with Ethernet devices.


STAT: If your ISP offers VOIP telephone service, their gateway is likely to also include telephone jacks, making it a 3-in-1 device (source)

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