How easy is it to set it up so that I have my modem plugged into a router, then my router plugged into a switch, and then have PCs on that switch that can use the internet?
Also, if the switch was 10/100/1000, and all my cables were cat6 gigabit, as well as my NICs, would the router still bottleneck the network even if two PCs were to file share / LAN and they were on the switch?
Should be simple to do what you want. A lot of routers should just have an input port, plug in from your modem, then you can probably tell it to clone the MAC address of your pc. So that way the router looks like it is just your pc online. So your machines are really hidden behind the router. A lot of routers have switch/hub functionality, so you shouldn't need to worry on that end of it. Maybe save some green. Also, get a decent router you should not have too much bottleneck your talking cat 6 and all, wanting gigabit ethernet, even 10/100 ethernet is quick. But for your internet connection there's almost no way you will get 1000mb per second so don't worry about file transfers on that end. If you get a decent quality router and decent cabling you should be good as long as you don't try to overload it all.
very easy to do, basically connecting the one device to another. I have a cable modem, connected to router (wireless) then connected to a switch that has a couple PCs on it.
So far so good, but I might be noticing some performance loss. could be that all 3 PCs are using some heavy bandwith all at the same time but I'll investigate. When needed keep it simple, so if you dont need the router, cut it out and just have the cable modem to a switch and attahed needed PCs to that.