I have two units (a computer and a nas) connected to the same switch, both with external ips. Why are connections between them routed through the external gateway? Shouldn't the switch route them directly?
What are the IP addresses and netmasks? Are both hosts in the same subnet? Are the machines dual-homed
A switch does not route, it forwards packets. If the IP of one of the client interfaces is on the same IP as the IP of the NAS interface that you used to connect, then it should not touch your router/gateway. If your devices have multiple addresses you could be using an address that is not common to both hosts forcing it to go through the router. If the 2 hosts are not on the same subnet then the traffic will have to go through the router.
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Assuming that the external gateway is a router and you have a setup like this
the pc, nas, and router interface facing the switch will all need to be on the same subnet. When you say external IPs do you mean public IPs?