Wi-Fi technology has changed significantly in the last ten years, but Ethernet-based networking has changed very little. As such, a Wi-Fi router with 2006-era guts is lagging significantly behind current Wi-Fi router technology, but the Ethernet networking component of the device is just as useful as ever; aside from potentially being only 100Mbs instead of 1000Mbs capable (which for 99% of home applications is irrelevant), Ethernet is Ethernet.
What does this matter to you, the consumer? It means that even though your old router doesn’t hack it for your Wi-Fi needs any longer, the device is still a perfectly serviceable (and high quality) network switch. When do you need a network switch? Any time you want to share an Ethernet cable among multiple devices, you need a switch.
For example, let’s say you have a single Ethernet wall jack behind your entertainment center. Unfortunately you have four devices that you want to link to your local network via hardline including your smart HDTV, DVR, Xbox, and a little Raspberry Pi running XBMC.
Instead of spending -30 to purchase a brand new switch of comparable build quality to your old Wi-Fi router, it makes financial sense (and is environmentally friendly) to invest five minutes of your time tweaking the settings on the old router to turn it from a Wi-Fi access point and routing tool into a network switch–perfect for dropping behind your entertainment center so that your DVR, Xbox, and media center computer can all share an Ethernet connection.
Read more: Switch Network Installer