Got a question about ethernet capacity that I'm unsure of.

Moving into a new office, and a problem I phase is that there is only 1 ethernet wall plug on the complete floor.

So only way would be to put a router/wifi network there and then have 30 workstations run on that ( add printers, mobile phones, etc etc ).

My first question is a noob : one single ethernet plug can handle with no problem almost a complete (almost) network? ( maybe 100 IP addresses out of 255 ).

I guess I'm doing the same at home where I also only have 1 plug, but a bit more units here that are why I'm interested in what the problems are with this, maybe what ways to consider making a stable network based on this single socketor floor.

And since I probably have to do wifi, is there any units that can go from wifi-> ethernet? For the places on the floor where I would need an extra physical ethernet slot.

I could put up an access point and use the slots in that I guess, but am so afraid of creating a networking monster that becomes unreliable.

  • Guess it has to be done with wiress bridges if i want to extend the physical part.
    – logrvn
    Aug 2, 2015 at 8:21
  • 2
    What are you connecting back to? Where does that one port go?
    – wlraider70
    Aug 2, 2015 at 12:40

2 Answers 2


You can add a 32 port switch. 1 port connects to the cable from the wall, the other ports connect to your devices.
By adding the switch in your office space instead of connecting back to larger building switch, you would be creating your own network that simply connects to another via the Ethernet cable. The fact remains that you are in the same logical space/IP address range, so everything should talk to each other without causing any problem.

The drawback is everything talks back to the rest of the network over one wire, limited to the port speed, instead of the switch speed, so your devices will share a gigabit cable back to your router. So in order to connect to space outside office in reliable manner you have to have really fast Ethernet connection coming into your office.

  • 1
    Where and how do you intend for the cabling back to this switch to be run? Across the floor? For anything over five meters, it should be solid core cable which can't handle much movement. You need proper cable pathways that have the correct (plenum/non-plenum) cable. The sort of arrangement you propose really needs to have a data closet and proper horizontal cabling installed. Remember, there are laws that cover cabling, and improperly installed cabling can get a building closed until it is corrected.
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 2, 2015 at 12:53
  • Sure there are laws, but if not this @logrvn might have to ask the building manager to provide cabling for 30 devices, which would I think be more troublesome task.
    – Yohana k
    Aug 2, 2015 at 13:23
  • 1
    Is it more troublesome than having the building fined and closed after a fire inspection?
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 2, 2015 at 13:27
  • Well I'm not expert in cabling or something. I gave mine on Question of Networking. :) <br/> You give your opinion on cabling.
    – Yohana k
    Aug 2, 2015 at 13:45
  • Layer-1 is integral to networking. Incorrect or damaged cabling can cause bizarre network results. For instance, in a scenario such as the one you suggest, one workstation could run all applications except MS Word. The desktop guys worked on it for weeks before it was turned over to the network guys. It turned out to be a bad cable that was damaged because it was run across the floor.
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 3, 2015 at 22:38

I think this is a situation where you need to get someone who knows what they are doing in to advise.

One ethernet port can have plenty of capacity, that isn't a problem per-se but there are many things that need to be thought about in a situation like this and your question makes me suspect you are in over your head.

First off what does that "one port" connect to? is it connected to a network that hands out public IPs and is open to the internet or is it behind some sort of firewall/nat? Is this in a building where you already have offices? if so is the port routed back to your existing network or to somewhere else? is the network open to anyone else you don't trust? Depending on the answers to your questions you may or may not want to put your own firewall/NAT between the port and your device. If the port is a new (to you) connection to the internet how much bandwidth to the internet is actually available? is it sufficient for your needs or do you need to order a new connection to the building from an ISP? if so how cooperative will the building owners be with you doing that?

Secondly once you've figured that out you need to figure out how you are going to distribute your network around the office. I would reccomend against a purely wireless setup, while it can work if the radio spectrum is queit and load is low there are no gaurantees. Clearly for a wired soloution you will need an ethernet switch (possiblly behind a router or firewall of some sort as per the previous paragraph) but you also need to think about how you are going to get cables from that switch to your devices. Are you buying this office or renting it? If the former will the landlord let you install cabling round the office? Do the cables need to pass through any fire barriers? if so do you know what the local regulations are for such barriers?

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