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Help with new 8 port switch


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#1 chaostoday

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 12:11 AM

I am not a computer expert but manage to get by fairly easy.
When it comes to networking I'm a little behind the times.
My home is wired and wireless. I have runs of Cat 5e in every room but don't use most of them. I'm mainly using wireless N. I use the wired to network my home theater, Blu ray, game systems etc.
I want to purchase a new 8 port switch and was wondering if I should do the gigabit for the future. Will it work now with my existing home network? Are there benefits today?
I currently have 5Mbps cable and I'm upgrading to 10Mbps in March.
I was just wondering what the difference would be between my standard Netgear GS108 and one of the new gigabit units.

Thanks for all your help.

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#2 smax013

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 12:47 AM

I am not a computer expert but manage to get by fairly easy.
When it comes to networking I'm a little behind the times.
My home is wired and wireless. I have runs of Cat 5e in every room but don't use most of them. I'm mainly using wireless N. I use the wired to network my home theater, Blu ray, game systems etc.
I want to purchase a new 8 port switch and was wondering if I should do the gigabit for the future. Will it work now with my existing home network?


Yes, it should work fine with any existing ethernet network. The only thing to be aware of is that you will be limited by the weakest (aka slowest) link of your network. In other words, if you want Gigabit speeds, then just getting a Gigabit switch is not enough…all the network cabling as well and computers/devices that you want to get Gigabit speeds on would also need to be Gigabit compatible (see below for more).

Are there benefits today?
I currently have 5Mbps cable and I'm upgrading to 10Mbps in March.


With that level of an Internet connection (as well as most broadband connections in the US), Gigabit with have no effect on your Internet connection for any of your devices. For the Internet connection, the "bottleneck" will be your Internet connection speed, not any of your local network cabling or devices.

Now, IF you make use of your local network to transfer files between computers or even a NAS device, then you can get benefit of Gigabit now. Since you used Cat 5e cables, you can get Gigabit speeds with your ethernet network. Now, this would require both computers (or network device) that you are transferring from and transferring to have a Gigabit network card and obviously the switch that both computers connect to would need to be a Gigabit switch.

For example, my two main computers and my NAS all support Gigabit. I also use all Gigabit switches (two GS108s) that connect to an Airport Extreme router that has Gigabit LAN ports. All cables are either Cat 5e or 6. So, when I transfer files from either my Windows computer or my Mac to my NAS, I can get about 600 to 700 Mbps throughput for those file transfers (you can essentially NEVER get the full 1 Gbps…that is the theoretical max, but there are losses that prevent you from getting that). It has ZERO effect on my Internet connection on either computer as my Internet connection is typically at about 35 Mbps, so so-called Fast Ethernet (aka 100 Mbps max theoretical throughput) would be enough for my Internet connection.

The point is that you will only gain some benefit with a Gigabit network locally.

I was just wondering what the difference would be between my standard Netgear GS108 and one of the new gigabit units.

Thanks for all your help.


Are you saying you already have a Netgear GS108? If so, then you already have a Gigabit switch as the GS108 is Gigabit. It is an "unmanaged" switch, but that should be fine for a home network.

#3 CaveDweller2

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 12:43 PM

smax gave you all the advice you'd need =)

 

my question is more curiosity, where do all the wires terminate? and can you post a picture? again just curious so feel free to say "no! you freak" lol


Hope this helps thumbup.gif

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#4 chaostoday

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 06:19 PM

 

I am not a computer expert but manage to get by fairly easy.
When it comes to networking I'm a little behind the times.
My home is wired and wireless. I have runs of Cat 5e in every room but don't use most of them. I'm mainly using wireless N. I use the wired to network my home theater, Blu ray, game systems etc.
I want to purchase a new 8 port switch and was wondering if I should do the gigabit for the future. Will it work now with my existing home network?


Yes, it should work fine with any existing ethernet network. The only thing to be aware of is that you will be limited by the weakest (aka slowest) link of your network. In other words, if you want Gigabit speeds, then just getting a Gigabit switch is not enough…all the network cabling as well and computers/devices that you want to get Gigabit speeds on would also need to be Gigabit compatible (see below for more).

Are there benefits today?
I currently have 5Mbps cable and I'm upgrading to 10Mbps in March.


With that level of an Internet connection (as well as most broadband connections in the US), Gigabit with have no effect on your Internet connection for any of your devices. For the Internet connection, the "bottleneck" will be your Internet connection speed, not any of your local network cabling or devices.

Now, IF you make use of your local network to transfer files between computers or even a NAS device, then you can get benefit of Gigabit now. Since you used Cat 5e cables, you can get Gigabit speeds with your ethernet network. Now, this would require both computers (or network device) that you are transferring from and transferring to have a Gigabit network card and obviously the switch that both computers connect to would need to be a Gigabit switch.

For example, my two main computers and my NAS all support Gigabit. I also use all Gigabit switches (two GS108s) that connect to an Airport Extreme router that has Gigabit LAN ports. All cables are either Cat 5e or 6. So, when I transfer files from either my Windows computer or my Mac to my NAS, I can get about 600 to 700 Mbps throughput for those file transfers (you can essentially NEVER get the full 1 Gbps…that is the theoretical max, but there are losses that prevent you from getting that). It has ZERO effect on my Internet connection on either computer as my Internet connection is typically at about 35 Mbps, so so-called Fast Ethernet (aka 100 Mbps max theoretical throughput) would be enough for my Internet connection.

The point is that you will only gain some benefit with a Gigabit network locally.

I was just wondering what the difference would be between my standard Netgear GS108 and one of the new gigabit units.

Thanks for all your help.


Are you saying you already have a Netgear GS108? If so, then you already have a Gigabit switch as the GS108 is Gigabit. It is an "unmanaged" switch, but that should be fine for a home network.

 

Thanks for all the excellent advice. I can always count on the forums to guide me correctly. I apologize. I made an error in typing with my current router.... It is a Netgear FS108. I have been looking at something simple again like the GS108 as I have had good luck with the switch. I just want to be ready for the future. Wireless is great but when you are streaming large amounts of data, music, video a wired connection is best in my opinion.

Which brings me to your other great comment. Understanding that everything does bottleneck into a broadband connection and a switch that is slower my system will not be performing top notch as of the router purchase. I am planning on upgrading my NIC's and even the modem. New lines will be Cat 6 even though I'm told the 5e can handle the faster connections. I just want to start upgrading for the future.

Thanks again



#5 chaostoday

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 06:29 PM

smax gave you all the advice you'd need =)

 

my question is more curiosity, where do all the wires terminate? and can you post a picture? again just curious so feel free to say "no! you freak" lol

Hey. I thought I was always the curious one....lol

 You have always been helpful to me in the past so sure!

It's no big deal. All the wiring was done in wall while construction happened several years ago. All runs lead to the den where my office used to be.... My son got the den as a bedroom and he's now in college. I moved my office to another room downstairs and now I run a Cat 5e cable to the switch from my 4 port Linksys E1200 wireless N router. It's not perfect but I had to move all my equipment to the other room and the network cables that I ran through the walls to all the rooms terminate there in the corner of the den. I can send you a picture in a couple days when I have the switch exposed again. Currently it's behind a large entertainment unit and can't be seen without moving it which means taking it apart first.



#6 smax013

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 07:37 PM

Keep in mind that a E1200 router uses "Fast Ethernet" ports (aka 100 Mbps) for it 4 switch ports. So, if any traffic is passing through it as you transfer a file from one computer on your local network to another computer on your local network, then it would need to be upgraded as well.

#7 chaostoday

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 07:47 PM

Keep in mind that a E1200 router uses "Fast Ethernet" ports (aka 100 Mbps) for it 4 switch ports. So, if any traffic is passing through it as you transfer a file from one computer on your local network to another computer on your local network, then it would need to be upgraded as well.

This is where I wish I had more networking experience. I don't really understand what you said. I know you said they were 100Mbps ports. The ports on the Gigabit are much faster than that so I think you are saying that my wireless router would need upgraded if I wanted to transfer from PC to PC at the faster speeds above 100Mbps???? I'm also under the impression that until I upgrade the wireless router that any info passed through the gigabit would be limited to 100 Mbps since it is where the cable originates that connects the gigabit.... Let me know if I'm even close on that.......



#8 smax013

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 08:10 PM

Keep in mind that a E1200 router uses "Fast Ethernet" ports (aka 100 Mbps) for it 4 switch ports. So, if any traffic is passing through it as you transfer a file from one computer on your local network to another computer on your local network, then it would need to be upgraded as well.

This is where I wish I had more networking experience. I don't really understand what you said. I know you said they were 100Mbps ports. The ports on the Gigabit are much faster than that so I think you are saying that my wireless router would need upgraded if I wanted to transfer from PC to PC at the faster speeds above 100Mbps???? I'm also under the impression that until I upgrade the wireless router that any info passed through the gigabit would be limited to 100 Mbps since it is where the cable originates that connects the gigabit.... Let me know if I'm even close on that.......


Let's ignore your Internet connection for the moment.

With that being the case, let's say that you want to transfer a file from computer A to computer B. So, let's assume your "network map" looks something like this:
computer A <===> ethernet cable 1 <===> network switch (not built into the router) <===> ethernet cable 2 <===> computer B

In this example, both computer A and B would need Gigabit switches, both ethernet cable 1 and 2 would need to be at least Cat 5e, and the switch would have to be a Gigabit switch in order for you to get full Gigabit "speeds" for the file transfer. In this example, the network traffic DOES NOT pass through your router (i.e. both computers connect directly to your existing FS108 or new GS108 even that FS/GS108 does connect to the router). In this scenario, if you disconnected the stand alone switch from the router, you would still be able to transfer files between the two computers.

The variation on this would be this network map:

computer A <===> ethernet cable 1 <===> network switch (not built into the router) <===> ethernet cable 2 <===> router <===> ethernet cable 3 <===> computer B

In this example, the traffic from computer A would have to travel to the switch and THEN to the router to get to computer B as computer B is directly connected to the router, not the stand alone switch. Again, all the devices & cables in this path would need to capable of Gigabit "speeds" for you to get Gigabit "speeds".

It might also help to realize (which you might already) that a "router" is more or less a combination of several devices. For example, your E1200 is in a way a combination of a NAS router, a network switch, and a wireless access point. The actual "router" function on really serves the purpose of "routing" network traffic from several computers to the Internet (i.e. allows multiple computers to use your ONE Internet connection). It "works" with the built-in switch to do this. Back in the "old days" when home broadband routers first came out (in the 90s), they would only have one LAN port so you would have to buy your own switch or hub to actually be able to connect multiple computers. Not long after, they started to include built-in switches. And later when WiFi came around, they eventually added the WiFi access point into the router rather than having to buy a separate WiFi access point.

Does that help?

#9 chaostoday

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 09:40 PM

 

 

Keep in mind that a E1200 router uses "Fast Ethernet" ports (aka 100 Mbps) for it 4 switch ports. So, if any traffic is passing through it as you transfer a file from one computer on your local network to another computer on your local network, then it would need to be upgraded as well.

This is where I wish I had more networking experience. I don't really understand what you said. I know you said they were 100Mbps ports. The ports on the Gigabit are much faster than that so I think you are saying that my wireless router would need upgraded if I wanted to transfer from PC to PC at the faster speeds above 100Mbps???? I'm also under the impression that until I upgrade the wireless router that any info passed through the gigabit would be limited to 100 Mbps since it is where the cable originates that connects the gigabit.... Let me know if I'm even close on that.......

 


Let's ignore your Internet connection for the moment.

With that being the case, let's say that you want to transfer a file from computer A to computer B. So, let's assume your "network map" looks something like this:
computer A <===> ethernet cable 1 <===> network switch (not built into the router) <===> ethernet cable 2 <===> computer B

In this example, both computer A and B would need Gigabit switches, both ethernet cable 1 and 2 would need to be at least Cat 5e, and the switch would have to be a Gigabit switch in order for you to get full Gigabit "speeds" for the file transfer. In this example, the network traffic DOES NOT pass through your router (i.e. both computers connect directly to your existing FS108 or new GS108 even that FS/GS108 does connect to the router). In this scenario, if you disconnected the stand alone switch from the router, you would still be able to transfer files between the two computers.

The variation on this would be this network map:

computer A <===> ethernet cable 1 <===> network switch (not built into the router) <===> ethernet cable 2 <===> router <===> ethernet cable 3 <===> computer B

In this example, the traffic from computer A would have to travel to the switch and THEN to the router to get to computer B as computer B is directly connected to the router, not the stand alone switch. Again, all the devices & cables in this path would need to capable of Gigabit "speeds" for you to get Gigabit "speeds".

It might also help to realize (which you might already) that a "router" is more or less a combination of several devices. For example, your E1200 is in a way a combination of a NAS router, a network switch, and a wireless access point. The actual "router" function on really serves the purpose of "routing" network traffic from several computers to the Internet (i.e. allows multiple computers to use your ONE Internet connection). It "works" with the built-in switch to do this. Back in the "old days" when home broadband routers first came out (in the 90s), they would only have one LAN port so you would have to buy your own switch or hub to actually be able to connect multiple computers. Not long after, they started to include built-in switches. And later when WiFi came around, they eventually added the WiFi access point into the router rather than having to buy a separate WiFi access point.

Does that help?

 

Got it. Yes it does help. Thank you for all the details and taking the time to explain.

I believe I understand most of that. I especially understand the mechanics of both scenarios.

A couple of months ago DJBPace07 helped me build a new desktop. The motherboard has an onboard Realtek 8111E with a Max LAN Speed of 10/100/1000Mbps. I'm assuming that this is a gigabit. So I thought since I upgraded my PC why not start upgrading the Network. I started by verifying my wired network. I have the Cat 5e so I moved to the switch. That was the first issue. I thought I would upgrade that then go after the increased broadband connection (No bearing.. I know) and then look at the wi-fi router. I knew my E1200 wasn't great to begin with and I wanted to save money for a much nicer, more powerful wireless router.

The next issue was figuring out how to make my two Dell XPS laptops work on the faster network since they only have 10/100 cards built in. I still don't know the answer there but also know there is a new laptop in my near future.

Admittedly most of the wired devices are TV's, Blu Ray players and Xbox360.

Am I on track so far?



#10 smax013

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 09:59 PM

Got it. Yes it does help. Thank you for all the details and taking the time to explain.
I believe I understand most of that. I especially understand the mechanics of both scenarios.
A couple of months ago DJBPace07 helped me build a new desktop. The motherboard has an onboard Realtek 8111E with a Max LAN Speed of 10/100/1000Mbps. I'm assuming that this is a gigabit. So I thought since I upgraded my PC why not start upgrading the Network. I started by verifying my wired network. I have the Cat 5e so I moved to the switch. That was the first issue. I thought I would upgrade that then go after the increased broadband connection (No bearing.. I know) and then look at the wi-fi router. I knew my E1200 wasn't great to begin with and I wanted to save money for a much nicer, more powerful wireless router.
The next issue was figuring out how to make my two Dell XPS laptops work on the faster network since they only have 10/100 cards built in. I still don't know the answer there but also know there is a new laptop in my near future.
Admittedly most of the wired devices are TV's, Blu Ray players and Xbox360.
Am I on track so far?


Always glad to help.

Yes, seem to be on track.

Yes, your desktop does have Gigabit if it has a 10/100/1000 Mbps ethernet port.

1000 Mbps = 1 Gbps (aka Gigabit).

100 Mbps = "Fast Ethernet"

For the two laptops, do they have an ExpressCard slot? If so, then you can get a Gigabit ethernet ExpressCard. Otherwise, you would have to go with a USB adapter, but if you don't have USB 3.0 ports, you will not get full Gigabit speeds, but they will be better than Fast Ethernet (aka 100 Mbps).

SmartTVs, BluRay players and the Xbox likely will gain no benefit from Gigabit.

So, unless you are transferring files between computers on a regular basis, you really won't gain anything with Gigabit. In my case, since I use a NAS (network attached storage) device, I am regularly transferring LARGE amounts of data across my local network between my computers and the NAS. So, I gain a HUGE advantage with Gigabit compared to Fast Ethernet.

#11 chaostoday

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:08 PM

 

Got it. Yes it does help. Thank you for all the details and taking the time to explain.
I believe I understand most of that. I especially understand the mechanics of both scenarios.
A couple of months ago DJBPace07 helped me build a new desktop. The motherboard has an onboard Realtek 8111E with a Max LAN Speed of 10/100/1000Mbps. I'm assuming that this is a gigabit. So I thought since I upgraded my PC why not start upgrading the Network. I started by verifying my wired network. I have the Cat 5e so I moved to the switch. That was the first issue. I thought I would upgrade that then go after the increased broadband connection (No bearing.. I know) and then look at the wi-fi router. I knew my E1200 wasn't great to begin with and I wanted to save money for a much nicer, more powerful wireless router.
The next issue was figuring out how to make my two Dell XPS laptops work on the faster network since they only have 10/100 cards built in. I still don't know the answer there but also know there is a new laptop in my near future.
Admittedly most of the wired devices are TV's, Blu Ray players and Xbox360.
Am I on track so far?


Always glad to help.

Yes, seem to be on track.

Yes, your desktop does have Gigabit if it has a 10/100/1000 Mbps ethernet port.

1000 Mbps = 1 Gbps (aka Gigabit).

100 Mbps = "Fast Ethernet"

For the two laptops, do they have an ExpressCard slot? If so, then you can get a Gigabit ethernet ExpressCard. Otherwise, you would have to go with a USB adapter, but if you don't have USB 3.0 ports, you will not get full Gigabit speeds, but they will be better than Fast Ethernet (aka 100 Mbps).

SmartTVs, BluRay players and the Xbox likely will gain no benefit from Gigabit.

So, unless you are transferring files between computers on a regular basis, you really won't gain anything with Gigabit. In my case, since I use a NAS (network attached storage) device, I am regularly transferring LARGE amounts of data across my local network between my computers and the NAS. So, I gain a HUGE advantage with Gigabit compared to Fast Ethernet.

 

I agree and knew the devices wouldn't gain from that which is why I thought it important to mention.

I guess my biggest query now is do I still upgrade knowing that newer computers and NAS is certainly in my future or do I just wait?

If I was asking all of this and had no switch currently, all the wires run and just a 100Mbps router what would you recommend?



#12 smax013

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:31 PM

I agree and knew the devices wouldn't gain from that which is why I thought it important to mention.
I guess my biggest query now is do I still upgrade knowing that newer computers and NAS is certainly in my future or do I just wait?


That is really a personal call. I can see arguments for either way.

The main argument for starting to do it now is that you spread the cost out over time rather than kind of all at once.

The main argument for waiting is why spend money now that you don't need to spend and potentially never need (even if you get a new laptop, if you don't have a need to transfer files between the new laptop and the desktop, then you don't really gain any benefit of a Gigabit network…same if you never decide to get a Gigabit capable NAS). So, unless you KNOW that you will get another computer AND need to transfer a significant number of files between it and the existing desktop AND/OR get a NAS, I would say wait until you really will benefit from the Gigabit network…or until your existing switch dies of "nature causes".

Of course, if you are itching to by a "new toy" (even if you can fully play with that "toy"), then who am I to begrudge a guy to buy a new toy! :wink:

If I was asking all of this and had no switch currently, all the wires run and just a 100Mbps router what would you recommend?


Assuming that you could not just connect everything directly to the ports on the router, then I would certainly suggest getting a Gigabit switch (such as a GS108) over a Fast Ethernet switch…unless price was REALLY factor (the GS108 is only about $15 more than a FS108 on Newegg).

#13 chaostoday

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 10:49 AM

 

I agree and knew the devices wouldn't gain from that which is why I thought it important to mention.
I guess my biggest query now is do I still upgrade knowing that newer computers and NAS is certainly in my future or do I just wait?


That is really a personal call. I can see arguments for either way.

The main argument for starting to do it now is that you spread the cost out over time rather than kind of all at once.

The main argument for waiting is why spend money now that you don't need to spend and potentially never need (even if you get a new laptop, if you don't have a need to transfer files between the new laptop and the desktop, then you don't really gain any benefit of a Gigabit network…same if you never decide to get a Gigabit capable NAS). So, unless you KNOW that you will get another computer AND need to transfer a significant number of files between it and the existing desktop AND/OR get a NAS, I would say wait until you really will benefit from the Gigabit network…or until your existing switch dies of "nature causes".

Of course, if you are itching to by a "new toy" (even if you can fully play with that "toy"), then who am I to begrudge a guy to buy a new toy! :wink:

If I was asking all of this and had no switch currently, all the wires run and just a 100Mbps router what would you recommend?


Assuming that you could not just connect everything directly to the ports on the router, then I would certainly suggest getting a Gigabit switch (such as a GS108) over a Fast Ethernet switch…unless price was REALLY factor (the GS108 is only about $15 more than a FS108 on Newegg).

 

As far as the wireless router goes. My current E1200 is not really doing the job. It is downstairs and has problems getting strong signal upstairs to the corners of the house. So we rely on wired connections and I also invested in a Netgear WN3000 extender. Not happy with it because it's always having issues with good connection. It needs to be rebooted at least once a week. It does get the signal everywhere we need it but we have issues with devices that are currently wired to the router. When we want to use them we need to make sure the device we are using to control them is using the correct Wi-Fi. For example. My Yamaha HT receiver is connected via wired cable to the E1200. When we use it upstairs via an iPod, iPhone or iPad we need to ensure we are connected to the E1200 and not the wireless extender. The issue is that when upstairs most of our wireless devices are connected to the extender for best signal strength. We then have to change settings just so we can run the HT receiver. If we walk into an area while listening to music through Airplay that doesn't get good signal we lose connection to the receiver since the E1200 doesn't get everywhere in the home.

 

We don't have a large home but the wireless extender has been necessary to keep us and other devices connected.

I would love to have a wireless router that was strong enough to do the job without the range extender making things much simpler on the Wi-Fi end. If I do a complete Gigabit upgrade in the future I need a Gigabit wireless router anyway. What are your thoughts?

My house is a Bi-Level (Raised rancher) and has two furnished floors. A downstairs that has a family room and Den (This is where all the connections and main computer are) and a main level that has a living room, kitchen, dining and bedrooms. The main level is the issue. The lower level is partially underground but is exposed on 2 sides and half exposed on the third side. I know signal travels better from the upper to the lower level but I can't do anything about that currently unless there are any economical solutions.



#14 smax013

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 02:37 PM

As far as the wireless router goes. My current E1200 is not really doing the job. It is downstairs and has problems getting strong signal upstairs to the corners of the house. So we rely on wired connections and I also invested in a Netgear WN3000 extender. Not happy with it because it's always having issues with good connection. It needs to be rebooted at least once a week. It does get the signal everywhere we need it but we have issues with devices that are currently wired to the router. When we want to use them we need to make sure the device we are using to control them is using the correct Wi-Fi. For example. My Yamaha HT receiver is connected via wired cable to the E1200. When we use it upstairs via an iPod, iPhone or iPad we need to ensure we are connected to the E1200 and not the wireless extender. The issue is that when upstairs most of our wireless devices are connected to the extender for best signal strength. We then have to change settings just so we can run the HT receiver. If we walk into an area while listening to music through Airplay that doesn't get good signal we lose connection to the receiver since the E1200 doesn't get everywhere in the home.
 
We don't have a large home but the wireless extender has been necessary to keep us and other devices connected.
I would love to have a wireless router that was strong enough to do the job without the range extender making things much simpler on the Wi-Fi end. If I do a complete Gigabit upgrade in the future I need a Gigabit wireless router anyway. What are your thoughts?
My house is a Bi-Level (Raised rancher) and has two furnished floors. A downstairs that has a family room and Den (This is where all the connections and main computer are) and a main level that has a living room, kitchen, dining and bedrooms. The main level is the issue. The lower level is partially underground but is exposed on 2 sides and half exposed on the third side. I know signal travels better from the upper to the lower level but I can't do anything about that currently unless there are any economical solutions.


I see two basic options:

1) A single router with a better signal or
2) A main router that connects to at least one other router in bridge mode and that can use the same WiFi SSID as the main router (or an access point instead of the second router).

For the first option, I would not be able to recommend a specific router because a) I have no read/seen any tests that really compare WiFi range and B) even if I had, the same router will perform differently in every different house due location in the house, objects in the house that might block/interfere with the signal, etc.

What I can suggest for option 1 is to get a router with external antennas (i.e. antennas that you can see one the router and adjust on the router) and that use a "standard" connector. This would allow you to replace antenna(s) with higher gain/more power antenna(s) if you wanted. This then might allow you to reach all areas of the house.

An example of this might be an Asus RT-N66U or even a RT-AC66U or RTAC68U. They all have Gigabit ports for the LAN (and the WAN, but with a 5 Mbps or 10 Mbps Internet connection, it does not really matter). The first is 802.11n, while the latter two are 802.11ac if you want to "future proof"…but all three are "dual band". All three have USB ports that would allow you to either attach an external USB drive to create a NAS or hook up a printer that all computers could print to over the network. And I have seen good reviews of the ASUS routers (in particular the RT-N66U). And most important all three have detachable antennas that you could replace with more power antennas if you wanted.

Those are just an example…there are other similar routers…the ASUS routers I have just read some recent reviews about them, but I don't have personal experience. I will note that the Asus routers are on the expensive side, especially if you go with one of the 802.11ac routers…but then they tend to have features that most routers don't have.

The other option is to buy a primary router that you then supplement with additional bridged routers or access points. This is similar in nature to what you are running now. You can do this since you have ethernet wired to most of your upstairs room…at least as I understand it.

For this my recommendation would likely be an Apple Airport Extreme for the primary router and then an Apple Airport Express for any secondary routers. This is because I have direct experience with them in general, but also for this specific type of purpose. Personally, my main router is an Airport Extreme and then I use an Airport Express that WIRELESSLY connects to the Extreme and extends my wireless network (meaning it uses the same SSID/network name through the house). In your case, you would be able to connect the two by ethernet, something that I cannot do as of yet (I need to find a good way to run ethernet to the other side of the house without major hassle). I would assume there are other routers that can do similar, but I have direct experience with the Apple routers.

I will note that the like the Asus routers above, the Airport Extreme does come with Gigabit LAN ports (only three compared to the 4 on the ASUS routers), dual band 802.11ac WiFi, and a USB port for an external hard drive and/or a printer (you would need to get and use a USB hub if you wanted to use both). It does not have external an antenna(s), so that is why I did not recommend it for the first option. It is definitely on the expensive side (i.e. $200…so the ASUS routers and others are cheaper). The big advantage that I have found it that it will work seamlessly with an Airport Express to extend a wireless network…and the Airport Express is only $100. I am sure there are other routers that might be able to work as seamlessly, but you might have to buy two of the same router.

The added benefit of using an Airport Extreme with one or more Airport Expresses is that you can then also attach speakers to any Airport Expresses that you have AirPlay music to those speakers in other rooms of the house. It is essentially a "poor man's" way of doing what Sonos devices can do. Since you are already using AirPlay with your receiver, you could then stream music from different devices to each room or stream music from one computer running iTunes to all the AirPlay speakers (to my knowledge, you cannot stream from an iOS device to multiple AirPlay speakers…you can only do this from iTunes running on a computer…BUT you can then use the Apple Remote app to control what the computer is playing). I use this on a regular basis. I have a tri-level house (technically a quad-level when you count the basement). I have the Airport Express hooked to speakers on the mid-level in the living room and then an Apple TV hooked to my receiver on the lower-level in the family room. When I combine that with the computer itself (and its speakers) on the upper-level in my office (one of the bedrooms), I can get the same music streamed from my computer to all three levels of the house…or could have the computer playing one thing in the upper-level while streaming different music from an iPhone and iPad to the mid and lower levels.

And the other added benefit is that the Airport Express has a USB port that you can use for a printer (going with other routers could also give this option), so you could put a "network" printer in another location upstairs if you wanted.

Edit: I should note that controlling your computer running iTunes with the Apple Remote app might also be a solution with your current router. If you have the desktop using ethernet as well as the receiver, then the music streamed from the desktop would never stop as you move from the main WiFi network to the "extended" WiFi network of your current setup. You might temporarily have some control issues, but the music would continue to play.

Edited by smax013, 02 March 2014 - 02:40 PM.


#15 CaveDweller2

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 03:34 PM

I wanted to ask, where does your wireless router sit now? on a table or desk? Have you tried putting it up on shelf? It might help with signal strength. 

 

Well you've figured out you need the GB switch and for $49 that seems like a no brainer. 

 

As far as the routers, I know a 2 router set up would cover your house but do you need it? I'd have a gander at Wal-Mart or Best Buy or somewhere local and see if they have a dual band with 3 antennae wireless GB beast of a router, Just plug it in and put it where you'd want it. Just to test if it covers your house. Download inSSIDer for your phone or ipadod <--new word lol. And walk around your house looking at the signal. If it works well enough see if it's cheaper somewhere online and take it back, if it's not cheaper and works...BAM done.

 

If it doesn't work then you need to look into 2 routers and although I have no personal experience with Apple routers, there other products are amazing so I'd have to guess their routers would be also.


Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College





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