Ethernet Splitter 101: All You Need To Know

  • Last modified: December 28, 2023

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Let’s start with a question: Which Ethernet cable do you use? Is it Cat5e or Cat6? Cat6a perhaps? Well, whichever you are using, you might find it hard sometimes to have enough connections for all your devices.

And that is where Ethernet splitters come in. They provide a solution to this problem by allowing you to expand the number of connections available on your network.

In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about Ethernet splitters. This includes the different types available, how to choose the right one for your needs, and tips for installation and maintenance. Read on.

What are Ethernet Splitters and How Do They Work?

Ethernet splitters are also known as network splitters or LAN splitters. These are devices that split, meaning divide a single Ethernet connection into multiple connections.

They work by taking a single incoming Ethernet cable and distributing the signal to multiple outgoing Ethernet cables. This allows you to connect multiple devices to a single Ethernet port, such as on a router or switch.

The purpose of using ethernet splitters is simple. It allows you to use more than one connection with only one port. This can be especially useful in situations where you have more devices than Ethernet ports.

Additionally, Ethernet splitters can also extend the distance between devices by using different types of cables to connect them.

Must read: How to Buy an Ethernet Splitter: Boost Your Network Connections

Types of Ethernet Splitters

There are three main types of ethernet splitters: passive, active, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) splitters.

Passive Ethernet Splitters

Passive ethernet splitters are the most basic type. They work by simply dividing the incoming Ethernet signal into multiple outgoing signals. Power is not a requirement for them, which is super handy.

But they also don’t provide any additional functionality as Active Ethernet splitters do. Ideally, they are used best in basic networks with limited distance and speed requirements.

Active Ethernet Splitters

Active ethernet splitters are a more advanced type. They work by amplifying the incoming Ethernet signal. This allows for a stronger and more stable connection to be distributed to multiple devices.

Moreover, these devices do require power and thus tend to be more expensive. However, they are ideal for long-distance transmissions despite being expensive.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) Splitters

Power over Ethernet (PoE) splitters are a specialized type of ethernet splitter that also provide power to connected devices.

For example, if you are using PoE on a Cat6 plenum 1000ft, you will use this type of tool to split the connection into two or more.

These tools work by combining both data and power into a single cable. PoE splitters are ideal for devices such as IP cameras. You can also use these with wireless access points that require both data and power.

Choosing the Right Ethernet Splitter

Consider the below-given factors before buying your next ethernet splitter.

Number of Connections Needed

Make sure to choose a splitter that has the appropriate number of ports for the devices you need to connect.

Type of Devices to be Connected

Consider the devices that need to be connected and their specific network requirements. For example, if you’re connecting high-bandwidth devices such as gaming consoles, you’ll need one that can handle those speeds.

Speed and Bandwidth

Make sure to choose a splitter that is compatible with the network speeds and bandwidths you need. If you are using a Cat6a Cable 1000ft, you need to buy one that supports 10 GBit/s speeds.

Distance Between Devices

If you’re connecting devices that are located far apart, you’ll need an ethernet splitter with a higher transmission distance. Most likely, you will need to buy an active device.

Compatible with Different Bulk Ethernet Cable Standards

Make sure to choose an ethernet splitter that is compatible with the Ethernet standards used by your devices. Such as Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a.

Consider these factors and you will be sure to get the right bulk ethernet cable splitter.

Ethernet Splitter vs Switch

These devices are about expanding LAN networks. And to put it simply, there are more than one ways to do so. In addition to ethernet splitters, you can also use ethernet switches. But which one is the best and more importantly, which one do you need? Also, what is the difference between a switch and a splitter? Find out next.

An ethernet splitter allows you to divide a single incoming Ethernet connection into multiple connections. On the other hand, an ethernet switch allows you to expand the number of ports available on your network.

It connects multiple devices and directs data to the correct device using packet-switching technology. Therefore, if you want to connect multiple devices to a single port, you should go for an Ethernet splitter. But if you want to add more ports to your network in order to connect more devices, consider an ethernet switch.

Installation and Maintenance

Setting up an ethernet splitter is a relatively simple process. Once you have chosen the right splitter for your needs, you can follow the included instructions to connect the splitter to your devices and network.

The hardest part is most probably choosing the right one. Once you decide on the one you need, the installation and maintenance are quite straightforward.

Power Management

For Active and PoE splitters, it’s important to manage power consumption as these splitters require external power sources. You can do this by turning off devices or ports that are not in use. You can also use a power management system to control the splitter’s power consumption.

Best Way to Split Ethernet

The best way to split an Ethernet connection will depend on your specific needs. But generally, there are a few things to keep in mind when splitting an Ethernet connection.

Quality of the splitter

Make sure to choose a high-quality ethernet splitter. It should be capable of handling the speeds of your network. This will help ensure that you don’t experience any loss of signal quality or speed.

Active vs. Passive splitters

Use an active splitter if you want to boost the strength of your signals. Use a passive one if you are fine with the performance of your connection.

Number of connections

Choose a splitter that has enough ports to accommodate all of the devices that you need to connect. A good rule is to get one that has a couple of extra ports than your requirement. Just to future-proof yourself.

Final Thoughts

Ethernet splitters are a great way to expand the number of connections available on your network. They come in a variety of types, such as passive, active, and Power over Ethernet (PoE) splitters. Each of these offers different features and benefits. When choosing an ethernet splitter, consider the number of connections needed, the type of devices to be connected, network speed and bandwidth requirements, the distance between devices, and compatibility with different Ethernet standards.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do splitters work for Ethernet?

Yes, ethernet splitters are specifically designed to work with Ethernet cables and networks. They are used to split a single incoming Ethernet connection into multiple connections.

Do Ethernet splitters decrease speed?

Using an Ethernet splitter can decrease the speed of the connection as it divides the bandwidth among multiple devices.

What is the difference between an Ethernet switch and an Ethernet splitter?

Ethernet switches expand the number of ports on a network by allowing multiple devices to connect to the switch. This allows devices to communicate with one another. However, Ethernet splitters take incoming Ethernet connections and divide them into multiple connections only.

What is better? Ethernet splitter or switch

If you want to expand the number of ports on a network and improve network performance, an Ethernet switch is the better option. Whereas, if you need to connect multiple devices to a single port, an Ethernet splitter is the better option.

Specification Cat5e Cat6 Cat6a
Cable Jacket Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum & Riser
Wire Gauge 24-AWG 23-AWG 23-AWG Highly Twisted
Frequencies 350 MHZ 550 MHZ 750 MHZ
Installation Temp 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C
Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs
Package Easy Pull Box Easy Pull Box Wood Spool
Colors Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow
Luke Emerson

Luke Emerson, our accessory expert, crafts seamless solutions for optimal connectivity. His blogs merge technology with user-friendly design for a superior networking experience.

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