Split single network cable so that two network printers can be connected

Posted on 2007-04-04
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I have recently purchased two very nice printers (HP LaserJet 4350n and HP Color LaserJet 3800n).
These printers both come with built-in network print servers.

We have an existing network in the building with a file server running Windows 2000 Server software.
I believe that we run the network at only 10 MBit/s.

The problem I have is that there is only ONE ethernet cable running from the server and the room where the printers will be. Distance between server and printer room is approximately 15 meters. I don't want to run a new cable from the server room to the printer room if it can be avoided. How can we connect both printers to the network throught this single cable?

My idea is to use an old, simple 8 port 10 Mbit/s D-Link hub which I have. Would it be possible to plug the network cable to port 1 of the hub and connect the printers' short network cables to ports 2 and 3?

I'm not very good at networking, so please be gentle with me.

Best regards,
Ture Magnusson
Karlstad, Sweden
Question by:ture
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LVL 62

Assisted Solution

by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 200 total points
ID: 18849826
Yes, a powered hub would be a perfect solution. Put the main cable into port 1. use this on uplink and all the other ports will share that one cable.

Accepted Solution

Bobby_Thekkekandam earned 300 total points
ID: 18849845
Hi Ture,

You can definitely use the hub to get both printers on the network. If the other end of the existing cable is a switch, you'll need to also get a coupler and a short crossover cable to connect the hub to the switch. Also,If this is in a corporate LAN, you may want to check with your IT department to ensure this does not violate any policies.

Other than that, the only other possible issue is that since a hub operates in half duplex, each subsequent device added to the ethernet segment reduces the available bandwidth as only one device can transmit or receive at a time. For a printer, this shouldn't be a big problem. The data will get to the printer faster than the printer can print it, even allowing for half duplex and a typical rate of collisions.

Hope that helps,

LVL 22

Author Comment

ID: 18849934
Thank you both for your comments! It seems as if my hub-using-idea wasn't completely off.

I'm not sure that I understand a couple of things in your suggestions, Bobby...
1) What is a coupler?
2) I can't see how I could use a "short crossover cable". The switch (if there is one) and the hub are 15 meters apart. The whole idea is to use the existing network cable between the server room and the printer room.
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Expert Comment

ID: 18850060
you will have to either cross the cable running from the server room or get hold of a hub with a cross over port.

Expert Comment

ID: 18850222
Hi Ture,

To clarify my statements, assuming that the existing cable connects to a network switch, if you try to connect a hub to that cable, it will not establish link because the transmit and receive pairs on each end are the same. A crossover cable will reverse the mapping such that the transmit on one end will match up with the receive on the other end and vice versa. Any time you connect like ethernet devices (PC to PC, Router to Router, Switch/Hub to Switch/Hub), you need to use a crossover cable.

So operating with the previous assumption, in order to establish a link between the hub and switch using the existing cable, we need to reverse the transmit/receive pairs on one end. One way to doe this is to use a coupler (more on that in a second) to mate the existing cable with a crossover cable so that the hub can connect to the switch. A coupler is a simply a small device that has two female RJ-45 ends.

here's a picture of one:

There are also "crossover couplers" which have one male end and one female end that eliminate the need for a separate crossover cable:

Also, some hubs have a feature called Auto-MDIX which can automatically detect if a crossover is needed, and the interface will effectively cross itself over.

Another feature i've seen is a toggle switch that are found on some hubs and network switches, where one can manually change the pinout orientation by toggling the switch.

Check to see if you hub has any of the built-in features, and if so, you can use the existing cable as is.



Expert Comment

ID: 18850782
You can try Cool Ports  - It splits 1 x cat5 into 2  .. they also do one to split into 3 so you can add telephones too   have a look at   

LVL 22

Author Comment

ID: 18851136
Thank you. I split the points split between MASQUERAID and Bobby.
MASQUERAID was quick with a confirmation that my intended solution was an acceptable way to go.
Bobby provided extended information and a good follow-up.

Southie and Daniel - thanks to you also. But you get no points this time.

Actually, I didn't find my old hub when rummaging through a bunch of dusty boxes with mixed computer stuff. So I bought a cheap Netgear switch (FS605), which has MDI-MDIX capability. So I guess I'm all set now. I plan to connect the thingies within a couple of days.
LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 18851180
>> I plan to connect the thingies
LOL!  Thanks :)
LVL 22

Author Comment

ID: 18854186
The switch and the printers are now installed. Everything worked just fine. Thanks again all!

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