Do I actually need a switch?

Hi all. I’ve got a QNAP NAS next to my computer and router in a bedroom which is then hard wired to an NDX in my lounge. I’m connected directly into the back of the router to the NDX. Would I benefit from adding a switch and where would I put this ?
Many thanks

IME, it depends on the ‘router’ (I assume this is a wireless hub)
Old ISP supplied hubs had poor switch application, I had one that got so hot the plastic changed shape, a switch fixed that. I believe modern ones have full duplex switch sets & are as good as any commercial unmanaged switch. I once hooked up my NDX-NAS directly through the BT HH6 & could not hear much difference, but I’m back to the switch as it means the visible ethernet wires into the back is just the one, & maybe it does sound better.

But the question of which switch, pro/con of one over the other will all lead to fine tuning & thats a whole other thread, multiple threads to be honest & a forum search will keep you busy in reading for a week or more

I have a BT Ultrafast Smart Hub, which is supposed to one of the better bundled modem/router/switches and it certainly didn’t make the ND555 sound shabby when used to connect the QNAP NAS I previously had to it. That said, a switch did improve the sound in my system, steadily improving as I made my way from Netgear GS105 to Cisco Catalyst 2960 and then Uptone EtherRegen. I found these improvements readily audible as did others with no interest in Hi-Fi or awareness of their price etc., but they do need to be kept in perspective: we’re talking very nice icing on the cake and no more.


Some industry insider perspective, the routers supplied by your ISP are purchased by them to tight costs, that goes right down to the component level in the router itself as well as the PSU and even the supplied Ethernet and access network facing cables. Even operators like BT who have very stringent design and interoperability criteria are working to defined capex limits when they specify the supply of a new router product for residential use.
Typically a router supplied for xDSL or Cable DOCSIS access will be supplied around the $40 US price point.
They are specified and designed around target MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) limits as well as having to comply to the various regulations for safety and interference.
Your best route if you want to improve the quality of your equipment within your home that you have direct control over, is to reduce to a minimum the functionality designated to your router and make it act as just a modem and bridge between your providers network and your own private home network, then add a dedicated router and to this add a dedicated Ethernet switch. Which ones you choose is a personal choice but in simple terms, routers and switches designed for use in commercial or enterprise environments are built to a higher quality and designed to operate continuously in challenging environments. They’ll certainly be using higher quality components and more efficient power supplies and have a number of features that would typically not be available or exposed to consumers in an all in one integrated gateway as would be supplied by your ISP.
The benefits here don’t just apply to listening to music either of course.

Assuming your router is a fairly recent design, it’s switch ports will be fine and so there will be no need of a switch. Most modern ISP routers from quality ISPs in the UK such as BT use appropriate chipsets given some of the complexities they need to handle these days, and will most likely perform better than many cheap consumer unmanaged switches; ie IGMP snooping,
The other good thing is that powersupplies and noise is typically far better controlled in current ISP routers, because shortcomings here would compromise VDSL speed performance and Wi-fi performance which is not in the ISPs interest. This hasn’t been always the case.
Whether you find there is a SQ benefit introducing a switch between your router switchport and streamer…is a different matter entirely… but you don’t need it.

This is very debatable!

Sorry but that’s arrant nonsense! You may have found something different in your system. I am reporting in good faith and honestly what I and others have found in mine. There’s nothing debatable about it all.

Cheers up, Mike! I am not saying anything whether it works or it does not work, I am just curious! I am a turntable guy, streaming is just some background music for my wife.

But it is fair to say that from what I can see the Uptone product doesn’t support more capable Ethernet protocols that could affect SQ in connected devices on some home networks, therefore depending on what sort of network traffic is on your home network, you may find that it’s less of an improvement over the more capable switches like the 2960.
Specifically I am referring to IGMP snooping, but there are probably other examples as well… it’s application can reduce processing noise in certain networks on attached streamers.

How does it impact the SQ? I am new to streaming, so it is an education for me.

What a great word. Arrant. I’ve never heard it before. What an ignorant pleb I am. I shall deploy it ASAP and see if anyone else has heard of it.

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Poppycock is my current favourite, feel free to reuse as deemed appropriate.

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That is a bit like saying how long is a piece of string.
Some switches better manage certain TCP/IP protocols to avoid unnecessary processing and noise in devices like streamers.
Some switches reduce the instances of common mode noise travelling along Ethernet leads, some switches introduce less noise into the mains, some switches are physically designed with special chipsets to reduce network related physical noise, and some switches use tighter clocks to drive the physical layer and cause less FM noise sidebands in the physical serial voltage signal in the Ethernet lead.

I normally simply say ‘that’s complete bollocks’. Bollocks is a great word. There is an awful lot of the Forum.

I’m with Mr M, Poppycock is a favourite of mine… and have used it over the years on this and it’s earlier incarnation forums when I felt it appropriate… I do usually follow with ‘in my opinion’ to attempt to guard against any undue sensitivity or offence.

Its. Not it’s. Come on. It’s poppycock to get it wrong.

Yep guilty as charged.

Can you say that out loud without pausing, hesitating or taking a breath between words though?

I usually take a breath with a comma … what about you?

Comma, for sure…