Do Wireless Routers Support Ethernet and Hybrid Networks?

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A hybrid network is a local area network (LAN), which contains a mix of both wired and wireless client devices. In-home networks, wired computers, and other devices generally connect with Ethernet cables while wireless devices normally use Wi-Fi technology to do this. Consumer wireless routers obviously support Wi-Fi clients, but do they also support the wired Ethernet ones, and if so, how do they go about this?

Verify Your Router

Most (but not all) consumer Wi-Fi wireless routers support hybrid networks that include Ethernet clients. Traditional broadband routers that lack Wi-Fi capability, however, do not.

To verify whether a particular model of wireless router supports a hybrid network, look for the following specifications on these products:

  • "10/100 Ethernet ports"
  • "[N]-port Ethernet switch" (where N is a number such as "4" or "5")
  • "Wired LAN ports"

Mention of any of the above specs (and slight variations on these) indicate hybrid network capability.

Connecting Devices

The majority of hybrid network routers allow connection of up to 4 wired devices. These can be 4 computers or any combination of computers and other Ethernet devices. Connecting an Ethernet hub to one of the router's ports allow more than 4 wired devices to be joined to the LAN through the method of daisy-chaining.

Note that wireless routers offering only one Ethernet port are generally incapable of hybrid networking. This one port will typically be reserved for use by the broadband modem and connection to the wide area network (WAN).