If you have ever noticed, almost all current network cards support 10/100/1000 ethernet, but very few routers actually support the /1000. The last /1000 is actually called gigabit networking, allowing you to transfer 1 gigabit per second – which is the same as 1000 megabits per second or 125 megabytes per second – over your network. This increase in speed is significant, especially if you need to transfer large files between computers on your network.

Gigabit routers are available, but they are usually pretty pricey. I have a solution that can work with your current setup for under $50. It can definitely be worth the extra money if you intend to do any file transfers. Time is money, you know. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Check out your favorite computer warehouse – I will use Newegg for sample prices – to find a simple gigabit switch that has 4 ports or more.
  • Dlink and Linksys both have switches available for under $35 at Newegg which can be used for this purpose
  • When you get the switch, you will want to shut off your router and modem
  • Unplug all the ethernet cables on your router except the one that goes to your modem
  • Plug the switch into the router with an Ethernet cable
  • Plug all computers and other networked devices directly into the switch

Using this process allows all the computers on your home network (assuming they are all wired into this switch) to communicate at gigabit speeds, without investing in a gigabit router.
In my house, I have Ethernet wired in the walls to a few different locations. All the drops lead to the furnace room where they are mounted in the wall. I have it set up so that there is a gigabit switch in the furnace room supplying signal to two of the locations, and the other lead goes to my room, where I have it go into another gigabit switch with my equipment plugged in there. Then, from there, that switch goes into the router.

My overall network speed has seen a very noticeable increase since the switch to gigabit. For me, it was well worth my time. I hope it can be worth yours too!