What I want to do: buy an unmanaged 8-port switch like the TrendNET, hook it up to my 2wire dsl modem, and get internet acces on all computers connected to the switch.
Now, up until today, I thought that would be easy and entirely possible, but I have been reading about limited IPs supplied by the ISP and what not and am now worried. I have 4 PCs connected to the 2wire without issues (except for blazingly shitty internet speeds, read: at&t). I don't want to spend $35 for a paper weight.
Is it possible? I thought I just had to go into my 2wire settings and make it stop being a router and then problem solved...is it that easy?
You will still need the router function from the AT&T modem even with the TrendNET switch since switches do NOT handle DHCP addressing. Since you already have 4 pcs hooked up to the AT&T unit you shouldn't have any problems with another 4, other than slower speeds if all 8 are active at once on the internet.
When all four computers are accessing the internet through the AT&T modem, they all get the maximum ~320kb/s simultaneously. With a switch, would all 8 connected devices be sharing just one stream of 320kb/s?
Depends on what they are accessing. If one pc starts pulling the max, say a large download, and then the other 7 start downloading a large file they can all slow down or the first will slow down just a little and the rest will be painfully slow. All depends on how the router handles the connections. Without setting QoS, beyond this discussion, you can't really do much about it. If all you have is a 320kb/s line then ideally the 8 computers would be limited to 40kb/s if all were maxed out at the same time say, downloading torrents. Unfortunately equal speed like that doesn't happen in real life. Gameing shouldn't be a big problem, but could be. Too many variables to go through. Only thing you can do is hook them up and see how things go.
Thanks, it seems I'm going to have to buy an 8-port router (after checking with my ISP to make sure I can get 8 IPs) to do anything with my available bandwidth.
I did buy a cheap gigabit switch and I actually tested what you said. The speeds split the connection, but did not split it evenly, even though they were downloading the same 700mb file. I now understand the use of switches a bit better. I'm going to buy a small switch to hook up all my home theatre equipment, since ideally only one item will be accessing the internet at any given time.