Best home network setup

Hi guys, apologies if these are rather basic questions but I cannot find the answers to them anywhere, so would greatly appreciate answrrs to any of them please.

Basically, I am setting up a home network consisting of cat6 networking cable terminating in seven different locations around my house (not all of these will be connected to anything at the start but I wanted the option of attaching something at a later date and needed to put all the wires in before i decorated). Also, I will have a gigabit ethernet network drive with all the data on it that i would like to be shared around the house on, and a network printer. I also need wireless internet access. The main purpose of this network is to share the data on the nas (music/videos etc) to every location of the house (including wireless) and I just need to know the most effective way of doing this. I am planning on buying a gigabit router

Firstly, am i right in thinking it will be better to have a seperate router and seperate wireless access point rather than a combined one?

Secondly, as i have so many locations I am going to need at least one switch, I just need to know the best place to connect each device - to the switch or the router; and will it make a difference if I have two smaller gigabit switches or one large gigabit switch?

My original idea was to buy a large gigabit switch with enough ports to connect everyuthing into it (all the computers, nas, printer, access point etc) and then have one lead going from this to the router then out to to the internet via my cable modem. By doing this, to my mind it means every device can talk to each other without any bottlenecks forming as each device has its own cable. The only bottleneck is the lead from the switch to the router, but as this is only needed to access the internet, this would not matter as the internet connection is slower than the cable anyway.

All I need is for someone to let me know of any flaws in this plan as I also have the option of connecting some of the devices straight to the router, or even using two smaller switches (with some devices on each) both connected to the router. As i have already said, the most important aspect of this network is to allow the data on the NAS to be shared to every connection (including wireless) as effectively as possible, any thoughts?
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  1. Hmmm, no one seems to want to answer this question. So, i guess it's either a stupid question or too vague. Just in case it was the latter let me condense my rather waffly post into a few questions:

    1. it it better to get a seperate wireless acess point instead of a combined router/acess point? If so, does it make a difference whether I connect it to the router or the switch.

    2. Would it be better to buy one large switch or two smaller ones? The way I see it, having two switches connected to the router would create a bottleneck at the router whereas one switch would eliminate this, is this correct?

    3. Will it make a difference where I connect my NAS, to the router or to the switch?

    Hopefully someone can help me out with this, I have looked everywhere on the internet and these forums for answers to these (probably) basic question but haven't been able to them.

  2. Don't bother with a gigabit router, get a gig switch instead. Like you said, the Internet isn't anywhere near 100mbps anyway, so it's just wasted money. It's better to get a single larger gig switch than two smaller ones because the backplane inside the switch is a lot faster than 1000mbps. If you have two smaller switches, the connection between them is limited to 1000mbps. If you have a couple computers on each switch talking to each other, then you could technically saturate the uplink between the two switches. With a LAN so small, it's not really an issue but it's better to do it right from the beginning.

    Regarding the AP, I would get a separate AP rather than relying on a wireless router. I guess it depends on your needs, if you need advanced features or high power then a separate AP is the way to go. If all you need is basic wireless then the router would probably be ok.

    Connect the NAS to the switch, not the router. Same deal as above, the last part of my 1st paragraph. Keeping everything on one device allows everything to use the fast backplane inside the switch instead of having to go out on the wire to get between switches.
  3. Spot on mate, thats exactly the information i needed!

    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply :)
  4. Your lay out will work with out any problems.

    A YES on the Seperate Ap & Router. :D

    When you do your connection you may find it better to connect the printer directly to the router. You may even want to do the same with your AP. Since it will not need the big pipeline.

    Using a unmanaged switch, set the router up so the lan leases will not expire.
  5. Quote:
    Using a unmanaged switch, set the router up so the lan leases will not expire.

    Hey Blue, what's your line of reasoning behind this?
  6. If your lease does not expire. PC's will always be on the same IP addresss.

    I have seen connection problems related to switchs retaining ip/mac info. The router lease expire, then assigns a new IP address, the switch did not update, retains the old info. It is rare, in commercial switches, but the low end residential another story. As long as no equipment is droped, no problem. If can be easly cleared by resetting/cycling the power, does the same thing.

    Since he is setting up a gaming lan, you do not need the lease expiring. Almost like you loose a connection for 1 sec, which may get you killed.
  7. Well... since the client will try to renew when half the lease time has elapsed, the connection shouldn't drop out, but thanks for explaining.
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