How to add ethernet ports to a router

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My office has a static IP and I wanted to set up another one. After calling up my ISP and getting another static address, I tried to plug a second router into my NetVanta 838T modem, but could not connect to the internet. I tried the new router in the first plug and it worked, so I think the settings are correct.

I called up my ISP and they told me it was not possible to do this with the hardware I have. Is this true, and if so, what is the purpose of having 4 ethernet ports on that modem?

Edit: Added in a switch between the routers and the modem and it accomplishes what we wanted, but I still don’t understand the purpose of the extra ethernet ports on the modem. How to add ethernet ports to a router

How to add ethernet ports to a router

How to add ethernet ports to a router

1 Answer 1

The ethernet ports are for connecting multiple devices within your LOCAL network so they can communicate with each other. The modem, assumingly, from your ISP provides ROUTING functions to the ISP from your network but only on the specific port that’s allowed to do that.

The other ethernet ports would allow you to plug in say a PC, laptop and printer and them be all on the same subnet and be able to “talk” to each other. Basically it becomes a “dumb” switch for you to have a local network without having an additional switch.


Straight from the NetVanta documentation:

The NetVanta 838T is a Carrier Ethernet Network Termination Unit (NTU) that terminates up to eight e.SHDSL copper pairs. Four 10/100 Ethernet ports are provided for customer use.

So to reiterate what I said, they are for creating a LOCAL network (LAN) as opposed to adding an additional switch.

How to add ethernet ports to a router

Windows comes pre-configured for Internet access via Ethernet. If your computer includes an Ethernet adapter as many do, connecting your computer to the Internet is as simple as connecting a cable. However, the setup procedure can become more complicated if you want to network multiple computers at your business together or the Ethernet settings on your computer aren’t set to their defaults. In any case, connecting a new computer to the Internet is a quick procedure that you can complete in minutes.

Shut your computer down and disconnect the power cable from the back of your broadband modem. If you have an Ethernet or wireless router, disconnect the power cable from it as well.

Connect an Ethernet cable to the back of the broadband modem and to your computer’s Ethernet port. If you’re using a router, you’ll need a second Ethernet cable. Connect one cable to the broadband modem and to the port marked “WAN” or “Internet” on the router. Connect the second cable to one of the router’s numbered ports and to your computer’s Ethernet port.

Connect the power cable to the broadband modem and wait for it to connect to the Internet Service Provider. This usually takes less than one minute. The indicator lights on the front of the modem should turn solid when the modem is connected. Connect the power cable to the router, if applicable, and wait several seconds for it to establish communication with the modem.

Turn on your computer and launch a Web browser when Windows finishes loading. If your computer is able to browse the Web, stop here. If not, continue.

Open the “Start” menu, click “Control Panel” and select the “Network and Internet” heading. In the new window, click the “Network and Sharing Center” heading and then click the “Change Adapter Settings” link in the left column. The “Network Connections” window appears.

Examine the “Local Area Connection” icon. If it displays the message “Network cable unplugged,” remove and re-seat the Ethernet cable between your computer and router or modem. If you continue to see the message, replace the Ethernet cable.

Right-click the “Local Area Connection” icon and select “Properties” from the popup menu. In the new window, double-click “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP).” Click the “Obtain an IP address automatically” and “Obtain DNS server address automatically” radio buttons, click “OK” in every window and restart the computer. When the computer finishes restarting, the Internet connection should work properly.

  • Earthlink Support Center: How to Setup/Configure Your Cable or DSL Modem for Ethernet Home Networking
  • VirginiaTech: Setting Up a DHCP Ethernet Connection in Windows Vista/7
  • A router protects your computer from unauthorized access attempts by discarding all data that you did not request. You lose this benefit if you connect your computer directly to a cable or broadband modem and could face potential security risks. To minimize these risks, install an Internet Security program and make sure that the Windows Firewall is enabled.

Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.

Learn what Ethernet ports are and where they are used

How to add ethernet ports to a router

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An Ethernet port (also called a jack or socket) is an opening on computer network equipment that Ethernet cables plug into. Their purpose is to connect wired network hardware in an Ethernet LAN, metropolitan area network (MAN), or wide area network (WAN).

Ethernet is pronounced with a long "e" as in the word eat. Ethernet ports go by other names also, such as LAN ports, Ethernet connections, Ethernet jacks, LAN sockets, and network ports.

Everything You Need to Know About Ethernet Ports

What Ethernet Ports Look Like

Ethernet connections are found on the back of a computer or the back or side of a laptop. A router may have several Ethernet ports to accommodate multiple wired devices on a network. The same is true for other network hardware like hubs and modems.

An Ethernet port accepts a cable that has an RJ-45 connector. The alternative to using such a cable with an Ethernet port is Wi-Fi, which eliminates the need for both the cable and the port.

An Ethernet port is a little wider than a phone jack. Because of this shape, it's impossible to neatly fit an Ethernet cable into a phone jack, which makes it a little easier when plugging in cables.

This is what an Ethernet port looks like. It's a square with a couple of rigid areas at the bottom.

How to add ethernet ports to a router

The Ethernet cable is built the same way, usually with a clip to hold the cable in the Ethernet port.

How to add ethernet ports to a router

Ethernet Ports on Computers

Most desktop computers include one built-in Ethernet port that is used to connect the device to a wired network. A computer’s built-in Ethernet port is connected to its internal Ethernet network adapter, called an Ethernet card, which is attached to the motherboard.

Laptops usually have an Ethernet port, too, to connect to a network that doesn’t have wireless capabilities. An exception is the MacBook Air, which doesn’t have an Ethernet port but does support connecting an Ethernet dongle to a USB port on the computer.

Troubleshoot Ethernet Port Issues

If your computer experiences internet connectivity issues, the Ethernet port is the first place to look.

Here are three reasons for connectivity issues:

  • The network cable is unplugged. This condition often results in a network cable is unplugged error. This error message appears when a computer or laptop is moved, which can knock the cable out of the Ethernet port.
  • The network card is unseated. If the computer has been moved around, the Ethernet card may come unseated from the expansion slot on the motherboard.
  • Network card drivers are corrupt or missing. Something else related to the Ethernet port is the network driver for the network card, which can become outdated, corrupt, or missing. One of the easiest ways to install a network driver is with a free driver updater tool.

Ethernet Ports on Routers

All popular broadband routers feature one or more Ethernet ports. With this setup, multiple wired computers in a network can reach the internet and the other connected devices on the network.

An uplink port (also called a WAN port) is a special Ethernet jack on a router that connects to a broadband modem. Wireless routers include a WAN port and typically four additional Ethernet ports for wired connections.

Ethernet Ports on Consumer Electronics

Other types of consumer gadgets (such as video game consoles, digital video recorders, and televisions) include Ethernet ports for home networking. Another example is Google Chromecast, for which you can buy an Ethernet adapter so that you can use Chromecast without Wi-Fi.

How to add ethernet ports to a router

Problems I didn’t think I’d have in the wireless utopia of 2019: running out of Ethernet ports on my router. But, like many others, four simply isn’t enough when everything from games consoles to television set-top boxes to streaming devices work best when you actually plug in a cable. So how do you add more Ethernet ports to a router without replacing the router itself?

Add more Ethernet ports with a switch!

Luckily, the answer to adding more ports to a router is simple and won’t cost you a couple of limbs. The device you’re looking for is called a switch, and it shouldn’t cost you much more than £20.

Think of a switch as one of those multi-plug adaptors that you’ve doubtless got behind the telly. It turns one port on your router into four, five, eight or more Ethernet ports.

If you’re ordering a switch, you might as well get one from a reputable networking company, as they are not expensive devices in the first place.

I’ve not tested it myself, although I’ve got one on order and will update this blog in due course, but something such as the Netgear GS308 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Network Switch should do the job, and it costs a shade under £20 on Amazon at the time of writing.

TP-Link and D-Link are other reliable networking brands. Just make sure any switch you order these days is Gigabit Ethernet capable, to make sure speeds don’t suffer.

Switches such as the Netgear one are plug-and-play – you simply plug them into the router and you’re away. There’s no software to install or anything fiddly like that.

The one irritation with switches is that most of them need external power, which means you’ll need to find another plug socket near your router. If your house is anything like mine, finding spare sockets in adaptors is as much of a pain as finding spare Ethernet ports in the back of the router.

How to add ethernet ports to a router

People can’t get enough Internet these days–and neither can some devices. Many now depend on an Internet connection to offer full functionality. In addition to TVs, various 4K-capable streaming devices, gaming consoles, and computers, there’s probably at least one can opener for sale that has an Internet port.

Lots of devices offer enhanced functionality when connected to the Internet, but sometimes a Wi-Fi signal just isn’t strong enough in some areas of your home. In some cases, the devices don’t even have Wi-Fi as an option. Even if Wi-Fi is available and functioning, wired Internet connectivity is still more reliable, faster, and more secure. So, it’s clear that wired Internet connections can still be quite useful.

Installing a wired Internet port is a task that can range from difficult to impossible, and it’s always expensive if you can’t do it yourself. But Powerline Networking, such as TP-Link’s Powerline AV Network Adapter Kits, can save the day. They let you set up wired Internet ports in just minutes without having to run cables or cut through walls—you can use your home’s electrical wiring.

The TP-Link Powerline Network Adapter Kits let you transfer Ethernet traffic through your home’s electrical wiring. The kits contain two modules that plug into outlets in your home and can then pass Ethernet traffic between them. One module plugs into an AC outlet somewhere near your router, and then an Ethernet cable makes the data connection between the module and the router. The other module plugs into an AC outlet in the room where you want to add an Internet port. You then plug your TV, Blu-ray player or gaming console into this module’s RJ45 jack. The modules are powered by the outlets into which they’e plugged, so there’s no need for power cords or batteries.

The TP-Link adapter kits provide Gigabit connectivity with speeds up to 2000 Mb/s. That’s fast enough to transfer large files or to stream video quickly to your 4K HDTV. The kits must plug into walls outlets and will connect to any device with an Ethernet port. All modules must be paired and the connection is secured with 128-bit encryption, so you don’t have to worry about anyone in your building freeloading off your Internet by plugging in their own powerline adapter.

TP-Link offers two Powerline Network Adapter Kits. The TP-Link AV1000 Gigabit Ethernet Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit adds a single Ethernet port to any room in your home, transfers data at up to 1000 Mb/s, and will automatically switch to Power-Saving Mode during low-usage hours. Alternatively, the TP-Link AV2000 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit is designed with two Gigabit Ethernet ports and delivers speeds of up to 2000 Mb/s. The AV2000 kit also uses 2 x 2 MIMO and Beamforming technologies to help maintain stable connections between the modules over long distances. Use either kit to wire up your computer, TV, Blu-ray player, gaming console, and can opener for fast and reliable Internet connections. Each kit comes with Ethernet cables.

TP-Link AV1000 TP-Link AV2000
Standards HomePlug AV2 1000 Mbps HomePlug AV2 2000 Mbps
Ethernet Speed 10/100/1000 10/100/1000
Ports 1 2
Buttons Pair/Reset Pair
Indicator Lights Power, Powerline, Ethernet Power, Powerline, Ethernet
Includes 1 x Ethernet Cable 2 x Ethernet Cable
Minimum System Requirements PC or other device with an Ethernet network port and two electrical power outlets PC or other device with an Ethernet network port and two electrical power outlets

Do you have experience with your own Powerline system? Any more questions? Please stop by the Comments section, below, and leave a message!

I took an older router and turned off wireless & dchp, and gave it a static IP address. I plugged this older router physically into one of the LAN ports on the ATT 4Port Wireless router, and plugged my laptop into the older router, and I was able to access the internet, as well as the routers admin setup with no issue. I covered the WAN port of the older router, since it will not be used.

So this works, and I can access the internet:

(outside) Cloud -> Optical Modem -> Netgear 8 port Unmanaged Switch -> (indside) ATT 4Port Wireless Router -> plug in older router -> Plug in Laptop into older router


(outside) Cloud -> Optical Modem -> Netgear 8 port Unmanaged Switch -> (indside) Office ethernet port -> plug in older router -> Plug in Laptop into older router

I assumed that since the switch was now outside, that I could now access the office ethernet connection by plugging in the older router to the ethernet port in the office, and then plugging in the laptop into the older router, but this did not work, I cant access the internet, or any of the router admin pages. I know that the signal can be passed successfully through the switch because of my line testing. But unless the older router is directly connected to the ATT 4Port, I am unable to get to the internet.

It looks like there is some setting that I need to include in the 4Port Wireless ATT BGW210 700 router? All devices are on the same switch, how do I get the 4Port Wireless to acknowlege a device that is not directly connected to its lan ports?

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I’ve run out of router ports on my Virgin Media Super Hub 3, and I need to add one more.

The joy of having a “connected home” means the router’s ethernet ports are currently full with connections to wonderful gadgets like the Hive hub, our powerline system, and a couple of other wonderful gadgets I won’t bore you with, but need to stay plugged in.

We’re also using a Western Digital My Cloud for remote access storage and backups. This has been fine until recently, when it suddenly decided it was only going to work when plugged into the router, and not the powerline system. Western Digital’s customer service has been useless, and unable to offer a solution other than “Plug it into the router and disconnect something temporarily”, which is what we’ve been doing. Given that the router is not easily accessible, this is not the easy task they seem to think.

There has to be an easier way to keep everything plugged in, but I have no knowledge of network hardware. Do I need a splitter? Do I need a switch? I’m out of my depth here.

Title says it: My four-port (4 wired, 4 wireless) router’s Ethernet ports are all taken, but I need to add another computer. I recently switched two wireless connected computers from wireless G to Ethernet. About time! What an improvement. But now all the Ethernet ports occupied, with one PC still in the wilderness on pathetic wireless.

There is another computer still on wireless that I want on the network, wired. Can I just get a cheapo router off of Craigslist and daisy chain? Or does that have to be a dedicated switch?

Network: Simple home network/work group, all computers running WinXP SP3. Hardware (router) firewall, and all computers AntiVir AV, Malwarebytes, and SuperAntiSpyware.

  • 2nd floor/Main floor (communications deck) = two computers, DSL modem, router, both PCs are cabled directly to the router
  • 3nd floor, my office (command deck) + three computers, two wired directly to the mothership router (via clever, hidden hole drilled in floor, via laundry room, via cable jack outlet into operations deck. ), one wireless.
  • 1st floor/”downstairs” (enlisted berth) = one laptop, wireless (SOL, will not be routing cable down there. Too many engineering obstacles, only overcome by significant ugliness.)

— can I use a garden variety, consumer router?
— if so, what, if any settings do I need make with that second router/switch?
— what, if any settings changes to the primary router do I need to make?
— am I smoking whacky weed?
— sometimes I run static IPs, would it be difficult switch back and forth to DHCP?

I have successfully connected an HP Office Jet 6310 to the Airport Extreme Base Station, after downloading the latest software from HP. It is printing wirelessly, and it is great so far.
The only problem is that the cable modem connected to ADSL has only one Ethernet port, and the Airport Extreme Base Station also has one Ethernet port. However, I need one more port to connect a phone (Vonage Telephone Adapter = VTA).
What is the easiest way to achieve this? I saw several other messages discussing hubs and routers, but the answer is not clear yet. If I purchase an additional router, should it be connected between the cable modem and the Airport Extreme Base Station, or the other way round?
Any help or advice would be appreciated!
Thank you in advance for your time.

MacBook Pro with 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo Mac OS X (10.4.7)

Posted on Aug 22, 2006 7:18 AM

All replies

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Aug 22, 2006 7:29 AM

Aug 22, 2006 8:59 AM

The USB port on the AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBS) is designed, specifically, to support sharing an USB printer. (ref:

You would use the AirPort Admin Utility to set up the USB printer.

Ethernet Port Security > USB Printer

Aug 22, 2006 9:06 AM

Thanks for this helpful suggestion.
May I ask for more details about where to purchase such a switch, and which model to choose?
I really appreciate your support.

Aug 22, 2006 9:09 AM

There are numerous vendors to choose from. The most popular are Linksys, D-Link, or Netgear.

You would be looking for, at least, a 5-port 10/100/1000 Mbps unmanaged switch.

Aug 22, 2006 10:42 AM

Aug 22, 2006 3:48 PM

Aug 22, 2006 3:56 PM

One more important piece of information, based on the reply I just received from the HP support:

The Officejet 6310 does not support USB via Airport Extreme. The USB has to be connected directly from the printer to the computer. If you want to network the printer, you will have to purchase a router with more than one Ethernet port.

They should state this clearly in the manual to spare users vain hours of research! I encourage voting for makers who demonstrate their understanding that “time is precious.”

Good luck to all in the maze of wireless networking.

Aug 22, 2006 3:59 PM

One final vital piece of information, which should be my conclusion on this topic.

Following the advice received, I purchased a Switch from Linksys. Since the device didn’t work for my purpose (dividing the Ethernet connexion into an Ethernet line for the HP printer and the Vonage phone), I called the Linksys support.
I was told that what I needed was not a switch, but a router. I thus had to get reimbursed for the switch and hunt for the proper router.

Finally, today, I have been able to find the item corresponding to my needs:
A Belkin Wireless G Router F5D7230-4
It costs less than 50 US$ and has all the necessary Ethernet ports. The setup is very simple, and I got it operational within a couple of minutes, despite some small problems getting the setup Wizard to work. It is Mac OS X compatible.

Thus, at the end, I have got the HP 6310 Office printer and the Vonage VTA phone working together, with a robust Wireless network including WPA security. I would recommend this type of setting.

The only trouble is that the AirMac Extreme Base Station has become completely useless! I will perhaps keep it as a souvenir, or as a decoration in the living room. This wouldn’t have happened if the creators of this nice object, which is extremely expensive for what it provides, would have thought of including at least two Ethernet ports!

The unexpected reply to my query could thus be ironically formulated by saying: “replace the Airport Extreme Base Station with a cheaper an more efficient device.” Sorry for that!

With my best regards to those who took the trouble to read this thread to the end.