Moving to Gigabit Network, is it worth it?

I currently have a Linksys 54b/g router which the wired ports are only 10/100. Wired to the router is a second identical router for the extra ports (routing turned off).

Connected by wire are a DLink DNS-323 NAS (10/100/1000) an HTPC (10/100/1000), 2 laptops at G speed, an XBOX 360 (10/100), HD Homerun (10/100), and a vonage adapter (not sure the speed).

1. Can I increase the speed for the NAS and HTPC communication by adding a 10/100/1000 switch (and plugging everything into that) even though the router is 10/100?

2. Would the NAS and HTPC communicate at gig speed even though there are other things connected at 100 speed?

3. Do I need cat 5e or cat 6 cabling?

4. Is it worth to increase? Would there be an overall benefit for everything?

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More about moving gigabit network worth
  1. 1. Yes. Anything supporting Gigabit placed on the Gigabit switch will run at Gigabit speed between other Gigabit devices. But of course it won’t help for any traffic that leaves the Gigabit switch and has to traverse the 10/100mbps switch (if that’s part of your plan).

    2. Yes.

    3. Cat5e is fine, although at this point I personally would invest in CAT6 if I was headed down the Gigabit path.

    4. Assuming you keep the Gigabit devices on the Gigabit switch, and 10/100mbps devices on the router’s switch, probably not. For streaming content (even HD), 100mbps over wire is plenty, even for 2-3 concurrent streams, although I assume you’ll likely only have one at any given time. And anything downloaded/streamed from say Netflix or Amazon is not only going to be limited by the 10/100mbps switch, but the Internet itself (iirc, about the most Netflix reaches is ~4mbps). So the Gigabit switch is really only going to help file transfers between the NAS and HTPC, but I have no idea how often that occurs, if at all (not counting streaming). And even if it did, it’s confined to the Gigabit switch, so who cares.
  2. thanks, eibgrad. very appreciated. probably not worth it overall.
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