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Ethernet selector between 4 different sources Answered


I'm trying to design a switch box to switch between 4 different ethernet sources and output to one cable. I've checked around and believe I have developed a way to do it, but I am unable to find a switch that uses 4 smaller independent switches. The concept seems pretty straight forward but I don't want to use 16 switches. Please let me know if there is a switch which controls 4 independent connections or if there is a better way that I'm over looking. I look forward to your input!

Best Regards,
Zach G


there's not a scenario where your idea seems reasonable to me (a network guy). if you're wanting to segregate network traffic, then what you're looking for are VLANS. if you get a layer 2 or layer 3 switch you can accommodate VLANS with VLAN routing to facilitate controlled communication between each VLAN.

even ignoring all of that....if you've got 4 (or more) different subnets all plugged in to the same switch, there won't be any reasonable conflict between any of those networks. all switches are designed to handle collisions and segregation of broadcast domains so you're not really going to see any kind of problems unless you're talking about some huge networks....which, if you're talking about HUGE networks here.....a physical light switch isn't going to do what you want either.


4 years ago

You could probably simplify this using a network hub instead of a switch (but it may not be secure enough depending on where the incoming cables come from)

Maybe I'm not understanding correctly. I have 4 different networks. Currently, to switch between each networks by unplugging the ethernet cable and plugging in the other one. If I used a hub all 4 networks would connect together and interfere with each other. I have found what I believe would work. If I used a 4PST switch. Has anyone ever tried to do this?

To put it in simpler terms, we have to understand the "network topology" or what you are trying to do. Some routers and managed switches are designed to be configured to handle multiple networks. Are you trying to get an xbox, smart TV, and computer connected to one internet connection? Are your 4 different networks just different devices or feeds from real separate networks? You want the combined 4 networks to connect to where or what device?

oh, hot switching or just using a mechanical switch to "plug and unplug" your ethernet connection invites a chance of damage to devices on the network.

Yes an ethernet selector would be more accurate. And I do understand risks involved. As long as one is disabled before the other is enabled there shouldn't be any issues. Ideally, a set of 4 4PST switches that one would disable when another is activated. I know they make switches that only one to be selected but I'm not sure if they make it in a 4PST version.

I guess we still don't know what you are trying to do. Properly configured devices on a network play nice with each other. If your goal is internet sharing from one ethernet connection to the router or you are using the term "different networks" wrongly, it's hard to help. Sure, you can wire, splice, solder and cut in a switch with the ethernet cables together but that is not how it works.

Good point. Hubs are worthless. Need to make an ip map of proposed networks for each nic,

It should work. You would have four switches and as long as you only have one on at a time it will work. On one side you would connect your four data lines to the terminals on every switch. Then you would have the outputs go to different networks. I would use something like a coupler so you have nice connections to plug into. You can cut an Ethernet cord to do the wiring inside your box. I used two couplers and wired them into a project I did in school to make a tester.

example switch




If your running 1g cable then you will have 32 lines eight at a time to switch otherwise it would be 16 and four at a time to switch. You can switch the lines electronically with something like 4066 chips or the like and using an arduino or the parallel port to control the chips.

Then again you could use four nics (even usb) with different network settings and then switch line usage via software.