Ethernet Splitters: The ultimate guide

What is an Ethernet?

Networking computers and other devices in a localized environment like a home or office began with the development of Ethernet in the early 1980s. LAN (Local Area Network) is such a local environment for creating, storing, and sharing information with other devices on this location. As a wired network, Ethernet began with coaxial cable and is now based on both copper wiring and fiber optics.

 A diverse variety of Ethernet devices is available in the market now so it’s not uncommon to get overwhelmed by the types of Ethernet devices and what are their use. Ethernet devices basically consist of computers, routers, switches, or any other device satisfying the only condition that it has Network Interface Card (NIC) embedded either internally or externally. 

What is an Ethernet Splitter and what are the types of Ethernet Splitter?

Ethernet Splitter is one among many Ethernet devices available. Don’t confuse Ethernet Splitters with Ethernet switches as they are non-identical/unalike. They accomplish totally different tasks so they can’t be treated as similar products.

As there are two types of Ethernet Splitter, often it becomes difficult for us to clearly differentiate between the two and generally, people are not aware of the exact role this Splitter has to offer. 

Hence, it’s important for us to understand what are the types of Ethernet Splitter and what’s the difference between them.

There are two kinds of Ethernet Splitter:

  1. Line Ethernet Splitter
  2. POE (Power Over Ethernet) Splitter

Let’s briefly know about each type of Ethernet Splitter.

Line Ethernet Splitter

Through the use of an Ethernet Splitter, users can run one cable rather than two through floors, ceilings, and walls. However, users will still require two cables at the location where the equipment is located. In order to achieve this, Ethernet Splitters need to be used in pairs. By using this Ethernet Splitter, Ethernet cables required in the network can be reduced. The two signals are sent on the same cable.

How Does Ethernet Splitter Work?


One Ethernet connection can be split into two by an Ethernet Splitter. The Ethernet signal can be shared by multiple devices if an Ethernet Splitter is used. You can also split Ethernet connections using Ethernet switches and hubs though they do so in different ways.

Ethernet Splitters are available in mainly two formats:

  1. The following components are included in the small module: one Ethernet port, two Ethernet sockets, and one short RJ45 plug cable: There is a wide selection of Ethernet Splitters of this format on the market. This comes in handy when connecting an Ethernet cable to an RJ45 socket, for instance, when wall-plates have an RJ45 socket in them.
  2. A tri-port RJ45 adapter: If you want to connect using standard Ethernet cables, an Ethernet Splitter will be more convenient.


Do Ethernet Splitters Reduce Speed?

The federal question arising in the mind while deciding to use Ethernet Splitters is “Do Ethernet Splitters affect the performance of the connected Ethernet device?”.

Well, the answer to this question is 100%/entirely depends on the types of networks you are using in your local environment where Splitters operate. Below is an illustration explaining the above argument:

Splitting Ethernet cables is not a perfect solution because their presence can affect the speed of network traffic. A professional survey found that Ethernet Splitters reduce data speeds from 1000Mbps to 100Mbps. As a result, it is safe to use Ethernet Splitter with 10Mbps and 100Mbps Ethernet because Local area networks that use Gigabit Ethernet experience a significant reduction in speed when using a Splitter. 

Your Ethernet-connected devices may perform worse due to the slower speed. It is here where the problem lies. Furthermore, Ethernet Splitters limit the number of devices per cable to two. So, the quantity of devices you can connect through an Ethernet Splitter is not that much higher than before. Line Ethernet Splitters can be used in pairs only. One of the two Ethernet Splitter is used to combine two cables into one and another one is used to split them again into two cables.

Unlike regular Ethernet, 10 and 100 Mbps Ethernets uses only four of the eight wires in the Ethernet cable. Therefore, it is possible to almost double the use of the Ethernet cable by running two separate links through it. 

Power Over Ethernet (POE) Splitter

The second type of Ethernet Splitter available is Power Over Ethernet (POE) Splitter.

Through a PoE Splitter, power is delivered to devices that aren’t PoE compatible by splitting data from power. The concept of power over Ethernet involves transporting power using an Ethernet connection for remote devices. Considering that the power is DC, while the data is at high speed, it is possible to transfer both simultaneously without really causing a problem. Typically, Splitters are used on low-power devices, such as IP cameras, VoIP phones, RFID readers, to separate the power from the data signal and assist in converting to a lower voltage needed.

POE is also called POL (Power Over LAN)

Small devices without an external power supply can be powered over Ethernet cables to simplify installation considerably. When the power is not readily accessible or when additional wiring would be an inconvenience in less accessible areas, power over Ethernet is an ideal solution. 

Power is supplied to PoE systems primarily through Ethernet switches. There is also the option of using what is known as a Power over Ethernet injector. Thousands of regular “non-PoE” Ethernet switches are already in use, despite the availability of switches with PoE capability. Power over Ethernet injectors is neatly inserted between the Ethernet switch and the device to be powered, and supply the power which can be conveyed along the cable.

Advantages and disadvantages of Ethernet Splitter:

Pros of Ethernet Splitter:

  • The quantity of cables needed while connecting two networks is not much.
  • If you only have one or two long Ethernet cables, you may need an Ethernet Splitter if you don’t have enough Ethernet cables.
  • Using Ethernet Splitters is a relatively cheap and efficient method for splitting a network.
  • They are simple to set up and don’t require any fancy equipment.
  • Ethernet Splitters can be configured without any software which makes them stand out from most other network equipment.

As a result, Ethernet Splitters are the best solution for home networks with a limited number of connected devices – normally, no more than two devices are connected to one router. Without any doubt, you should use Ethernet Splitters if you only need two devices to connect over a 100Mpbs connection.

Cons of Ethernet Splitter:

  • Ethernet Splitters can only be used with two devices connected at a time, so if you want to connect more than two devices, this option may not be the most suitable.
  • In spite of requiring fewer cables to connect two networks, two Splitters are still needed for the setup to function properly.
  • You cannot use the Splitters if your router has only one Ethernet port left. Boom!
  • Due to their limited bandwidth, each Ethernet port is capable of providing only 100Mbps.
  • As a result, the resources in networks that are able to provide more than 100Mbps will not be completely improved.

To conclude

Accordingly, Ethernet Splitters are a valuable option in certain limited scenarios. Despite being so old, Ethernet Splitters aren’t much improved, and their problems remain. While they have their advantages, they are still neither a feasible nor a viable alternative for a majority of instances. Taking a look at the future of Ethernet Splitters in light of today’s technological advances, there remains much optimism.

In summary, this post defines what Ethernet Splitter is and summarizes its functionality, pros, and cons, and how it may be used. As a result of this tutorial on Ethernet Splitters, you will understand the subject in more depth.

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