I have one Ethernet port that is wired directly to the router on another level. However, I want to run a desktop and a server both off this one Ethernet port. Can anyone tell me the difference between an Ethernet splitter and a switch?
An Ethernet splitter takes advantage of the fact that 10MBit and 100Mbit Ethernet , even though the cable (almost certainly) contains 8 wires. The splitter consists of two pieces (see picture): one is connected to each end of the existing cable, providing the appearance of two ports at each end. Each link has 4 dedicated wires, so there is no risk of packet collisions. Gigabit Ethernet does require all 8 wires, so 100MBit (full duplex) is the limit through a splitter; a Gigabit switch would be required to increase the bandwidth. Also, if your router only has one Ethernet port, then using a splitter is not an option.
Simply remove the cable from the corresponding port on the patch panel and connect the ethernet splitter. Then connect both ports of the ethernet splitter to the switch/hub via 2 short as shown.
In these cases you must connect the splitter to the end of the network cable using an , then connect the 2 ports of the ethernet splitter to the switch like this: