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I was hoping to find a way to increase bandwidth between two desktop switches I have, and I wondered if connecting them with two cables (or perhaps three) instead of just one might increase theoretical bandwidth (which I am currently not in danger of saturating yet anyways)

From this question (2 ethernet connections between two Switches), I kind of assume I can't do what I hope to do, but I would love specific confirmation.

I assume typical cheap desktop switches would be unmanaged and thus useless and/or self-defeating when connecting them with more than one cable and trying to create a little more bandwidth between them.

Is this one of the differences between managed and unmanaged switches? And if I had managed switches, would it work (connect them with two cables to essentially double the bandwidth)?

Most likely not - in fact, if this switch is capable of the same speed as the router ports and all devices connect to it it is likely beneficial as the switching in most SOHO routers uses the CPU and bridging and this can seriously slow performance - something not typically an issue on a switch.

It's more likely likely the Internet connection is congested and that is the cause of the slowdown.

Note that if there are multiple active ports/paths between routers and switches and they are not configured correctly this can cause serious routing issues, since that may be worth checking as well.

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It actually looks like the 1810 was EOL before the 2510, and though I am not a fan of NetGear if this were me I would likely make the NG the core of my network.  If you run out of ports on the NG I'd then use the 2510, and leave the 1810 for printers and other user devices. The 2510 does seem to have more features and a full management suite, i.e.  CLI, SNMP, Web, Telnet, SSH whereas the 1810 looks to only be web managed.

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An unmanaged switch won't have the feature you're looking for and connecting two ports between both switches will create a switch loop, which will effectively render the switches and the network unusable.

A managed switch should have the feature that you're looking for, which is called Link Aggregation (LAG). Before purchasing a managed switch make sure to verify that it does indeed support LAG.

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