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Expanding my Home Network

Last response: in Networking
May 9, 2006 8:27:40 PM

I recently installed a Linksys WRT54GX wireless router (with SRX) in the basement of my family's vacation property. I have two issues I need to address:

1. I need to add more wired LAN ports.

2. The wireless signal is very weak on the top floor of the house.

I was thinking about moving the WRT54GX to a more central location in the house to address the second issue. The problem I have is that the cable modem and pre-wired CAT-5 runs are in the basement. So I was hoping to add a router/switch in the basement and use one of the pre-wired CAT-5 connections to hook it up to the WRT54GX on the second floor. In other words, the new router/switch would be between the cable modem and the WRT54GX.

It's not imperative that all wired and wireless connections be on the same network; guests just need to have internet access via the cable modem.

After a lengthy conversation with Linksys Tech Support, they finally recommended a Linksys SR224 switch for this. However, my conversation with them was less than confidence-inspiring, and I later noticed that the SR224 manual (Linksys Product Page) shows a router being used between it and the cable/DSL modem. So I found Tom's Networking and started doing a bit of my own research.

I did find the post at Although the referenced article seems somewhat similar to what I'm trying to accomplish, it's not exactly the same and I really didn't completely understand the article (or the related forum posts).

I'd really appreciate it if one of you gurus would confirm that the SR224 switch would best meet my needs. Would I really not need a router in front of it? Please note that I have only a very elementary understanding of networking, so don't hesitate to "speak down" to me!

Also, the SR224 manual says the maximum length from switch to switch/hub would be 100m (ok) whereas the max length from hub to hub is only 5m (not ok if this refers to the length between the SR224 and WRT54GX). Given my proposed network configuration, I'm not sure what constitutes a switch vs. a hub, so any advice on maximum cable length would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

More about : expanding home network

May 11, 2006 12:01:19 AM

Moving the WRT54GX more centrally will be about the best option for improved wireless signal.
How many wired ports do you need? Only get the SR224 if you really need 24 ports. Otherwise it is sort of a waste. I am a pretty big fan of the buisness line netgear equipment (blue metal). Go for one of those switches with enough ports to fit your needs.

Just get another router for the basement, connect the cable modem to its wan port, hook it into the switch, send all wired connections to the switch, disable the dhcp server in the WRT54GX, make its IP different from the other router, and connect the cable going to it into the switch portion instead of the wan port. Then all the computers wireless or not will be able to see eachother just fine.