Best way to make ethernet connections with multiple devices

I’m getting ready to run Ethernet cables from my router back to a MacMini (where the Roon Core is) and to two endpoints (both Oppo DVD players). My questions are around how best to make these connections. I can pull and attach the cables but I don’t really understand how best to optimize these connections, especially when switches are involved. Among other things, I’m not sure if it is better to avoid switches altogether or whether it is a no-no to put two switches in the same “circuit” (as described as one option in #3 and #4).

Here are some options I’ve been thinking about. Are any of these ways of going about this better than the others?

  1. Connect ethernet cables from MacMini and the two Oppos directly to a Fios Router/Modem.
  2. Connect ethernet cables from MacMini and the two Oppos to an unmanaged switch near the Fios Router/Modem and connect the switch to the Fios Router/modem.
  3. Put a switch near the Mac Mini and connect ethernet cables from Fios Modem/router (or switch connected to the Fios Modem/router) to the MacMini and the two Oppos .
  4. Put a switch in a central location roughly equidistant from Fios/Modem Router, Mac Mini, and the two Oppos (roughly 20-30 feet from each of these things) and run ethernet cables from the Fios Modem/router (or switch connected to the Fios Modem/Router) to this centrally located switch.

Of the four options, #4 probably be easier to do (in terms of pulling cable) .

Generally speaking, it’s better to use the ports on a switch rather than on the router. So, I would suggest you connect your switch to the router and then all your devices off the switch. If you need multiple switches, for some reason, don’t hang them all off the router, but daisy chain them off each other.

It doesn’t matter whether your switch is near the Mini, near the router or centrally located. Put it wherever it’s convenient.

You don’t need the expense of a managed switch and you certainly don’t need these uber audiophile switches.

I have 4 or 5 (?) switches in my network. None of which cost more than $25 and most of which are at least 5 years old.

I fish all my Ethernet cables thru the wall and then connect using keystone outlets.

As usual on this forum, there will probably be disagreement, but this is what has worked for me.


I have a Fios router that sends ethernet to two Netgear GS108 unmanaged switches. The audio system in my house gets ethernet from the router into a Netgear GS108 and it feeds a Synology NAS, my Nuc/ROCK, and ethernet to my DAC. The Fios router also sends ethernet to my outdoor workshop that has another Netgear GS108, a bunch of other electronic doodads and a Devialet Phantom running on Airplay.
The Netgear is cheap, featureless, reliable, fast, and dead simple to use. Plus there are a zillion of them with many Roon users.

Slim, I’ve not heard this. I have three house zones. My router is “the hub” and I run 3 6E cables to three unmanaged switches, each of which services the kit for that particular room.

My set sounds at odds with your recommendation. Comment?

  1. A point of contention, but I have seen opinions that router ports are of a lesser quality. Be that as it may.
  2. Most network traffic can be accomplished within a switch rather than constantly going back to the router.
  3. Recently, I have read something to the effect that the router will use CPU cycles from the connected computer to perform some network processing. Can’t find that reference.

Does it matter, in a life or death sort of way? No, probably not.

Since the OP is setting up a network, it seems from scratch, then I’m giving the best, or most fiddlely, case.

Also, it just seems more convenient, from a cable fishing standpoint, to hang all the connections off a switch.


Hi James. Keep in mind if you attach multiple devices directly to your Fios router, said router is actually functioning as a switch which allows them to communicate with each other. With that said I think both option 1 and 4 would accomplish what you want. The only advantage I see to using option 4 is that you would only have to run 1 cable from switch back to Fios router vs. option 1 where all 4 devices run back to the router. In option 4 I’d find a central location equidistant from the Mac and the 2 Oppos and disregard distance to router as this will save you some cable length.

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I would generally disagree with daisy chaining switches. Funneling X ports into 1, and then again and again, when we’re worrying about pops and clicks? Let switches switch and routers route! If you run out of switch ports, buy a bigger switch, don’t daisy chain.

  1. Most network traffic can be accomplished within a switch rather than constantly going back to the router.

Very true. Try and have your music server and renderer on the same switch. Roon needs to call home, and have a control point, so access to a gateway/router is required.

  1. Recently, I have read something to the effect that the router will use CPU cycles from the connected computer to perform some network processing. Can’t find that reference.

Layer 3 is more intense, routing uses layer 3.

Does it matter, in a life or death sort of way? No, probably not.

Only if you’re experiencing networking problems. Who wants the music to stutter when the kids stream Netflix in 4k? But, a cobbler has the worse shoes! I use 5Ghz wifi, and/or just plug everything into my ISP supplied router, which works fine! :grin:

Agreed in principle, but highly unlikely you’re going to saturate a port in the average household. Also, wiring all devices to a single switch isn’t always achievable within the constraints of a typical home that hasn’t been network provisioned from the outset.

A router with multiple ports is a switch.

I don’t believe that switches add clicks and/or pops and unless you want to proclaim the benefits of these ridiculous audiophile switches then you probably don’t believe that either.:expressionless:

I have >25 network connections, some in out of the way places, daisy chaining is the solution. Going back to the router or even a central switch with 48 ports (e.g) is not practical.

Still, this isn’t worth ‘arguing’ about. :slightly_smiling_face:

As far as I can see, the only negative effect daisy chaining could have on the typical home user is that when a switch is lost then all downstream switches are lost. Then again, I’ve never had any of my $25 switches fail.

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Nope. Do whatever works best, given the location and physical constraints. It’s often noted that a simple unmanaged switch works better than one full of bells and whistles with Roon :slight_smile:


Thanks Scott. There seem to be several versions of the GS108 out there. I ended up buying this one. Presumably it will be fine.

And thanks to everyone for their input. I’ve been running ethernet to various locations about the house (which has been a pain) but I’m almost done with that.

Just for fun I tried connecting the Verizon Fios ethernet cable directly to my Linksys Velop router’s “parent node” (removing the Fios router entirely). I would not have thought this would work at all but it did. And the wireless network now seems to have improved significantly (to the point where Roon is even running pretty well over the wireless network). Sometime over the next week I should be in a postion to hook up the newly wired jacks.

FWIW, all of the Velop devices have two ethernet ports built into them which makes something called “ethernet backhaul” possible. I don’t know what that is but i gather it’s something positive :slight_smile:

Each Velop ‘node’ communicates with the ‘master’ and/or each other either via a hidden, dedicated wireless link or via the Ethernet backhaul link. Nice to have both options. I would encourage the use of wired whenever possible for network stability and consistency.

So…had to reconnect the Verizon router because certain configurations would bring the whole network down. Speed testing on my mac-mini over the wired network (via is showing speeds roughly 7% SLOWER on downloads and about 45% SLOWER on uploads. FWIW, this is also true of wireless speeds as well (via my laptop). Not exactly the result I was looking for :upside_down_face:.

To state the obvious, I’m not exactly technically savvy, so I’m not sure where to begin trouble shooting. Any suggestions welcome.

FWIW, current configuration right now is: Verizon Router >Velop Parent Node (running in “bridge mode”)>Netgear GS108 ethernet switch. The Mac Mini [where Roon is installed] and 2 [Roon ready] Oppo DVDs are connected to (three) separate switches elsewhere in the house (Netgear GS108, Linksys SE2008V2, TP Link TL-SG1008D, respectively) . These switches are, in turn, connected (hardwired) to the switch that the Velop parent node connects to. The two “child” nodes of the Velop system are connected to two of these switches as well (one to a Netgear GS108 and one to the TP Link swtich), which means (I think) that the Velop nodes are all hardwired to one another.

Update: reconfigured the connections a bit and things seem much improved. By moving some devices around I was able to connect most of the Roon related gear to the Velop parent and child nodes (so all Roon related gear is more or less hardwired together). I suppose doing this may have also improved wireless connection to other devices. In any event, the speed of the system is back to what it was before undertaking this project and Roon is performing much, much , much better that it was before.

One huge regret I have is using CAT 6a (a version of Belden’s 10GX32) for this project. Big mistake. The stuff is a huge PITA to work with, especially for a novice like me. It’s also (relatively) expensive and will likely never be a (real world) performance improvement over CAT5e. Things are running quite well over my 100Mbps FIOS service. I don’t think I’ll need 10G speeds in my lifetime!