Ethernet splitters have gained popularity as a seemingly simple solution to connect multiple devices to a single Ethernet port. However, many people are sceptical about their effectiveness and whether they are a scam. In this article, we will delve into the world of Ethernet splitters, exploring why most commercially available ones don’t work and how you can make your own functional splitter.
Understanding Traditional Splitters:
At first glance, it may seem logical that an Ethernet splitter should work similarly to other types of splitters, like headphones or coax video splitters. These analogue signal-based devices simply divide the signal without any loss in quality. However, network connections operate differently as they involve digital signals flowing bi-directionally between connected devices.
The Problem with Commercially Available Splitters:
Commercially available ethernet splitters often advertise the ability to split one cable into two separate physical connections on both ends. This could be useful when you have only one ethernet cable connecting two distant rooms but want connectivity for multiple devices at each end.
However, if we take a closer look at how ethernet cables function, we realize that these traditional commercial splitters won’t work as intended. A network connection requires bidirectional communication between connected devices – transmitting data packets and receiving confirmation that they arrived safely.
Exploring DIY Solutions:
While most marketed ethernet splitters fail to deliver on their promises, there is still hope for those looking for a reliable solution to connect multiple devices using a single port. By understanding the internal wiring structure of ethernet cables and employing some creativity, you can create your own functioning DIY splitter.
Ethernet Cable Wiring Basics:
Ethernet cables come in different categories like CAT5 or CAT6, but what matters in this context is that they contain eight individual wires twisted together into four pairs. Older standards, such as 100 Base-TX, use only two pairs (four wires) out of these eight wires.
Creating a Functional DIY Splitter:
To create your own working splitter, you need to utilize the available twisted pairs effectively. Using a basic understanding of wiring and colour coding, you can wire up your ethernet ends or connectors accordingly.
For instance, for a 100 Base-T network connection that uses pins one and two to transmit and pins three and six to receive data, you can assign different wire pairs (blue pair for transmitting on one end and green pair for receiving on the other) while following the t568b colour coding scheme. It is crucial to pay attention to the labelling on your connectors as they may not necessarily follow numerical order.
Testing Your DIY Splitter:
Once you have wired up your DIY splitter according to the specifications mentioned above, it’s time to put it into action. Remove any existing useless adapter from your setup and connect both ends of the cable with devices at each end.
Upon testing, if everything is done correctly, you should now have two reliable 100 Base-T connections between your garage (or any other distant room) and living room without experiencing any loss in speed or connectivity.
Considerations Before Using a DIY Splitter:
While creating a functional DIY splitter might seem like an attractive option due to its cost-saving benefits compared to buying switches, there are some considerations before implementing this solution:
1. Limited Speed: The 100 megabit per second connection achieved through this method might be sufficient for basic internet usage but may fall short when transferring large files across devices.
2. Power over Ethernet (PoE): If you rely on PoE equipment in your setup, note that only Mode A PoE will work with this method, while Mode B or four-pair PoE will not function properly and could potentially damage connected devices. Hence, if using PoE equipment extensively in your network setup, it’s best to invest in proper switches instead of relying solely on splitters.
Ethernet splitters sold commercially may not offer the expected functionality due to the bidirectional nature of network connections. However, with a little DIY effort and understanding of Ethernet cable wiring, it is