I'm planning a rather expansive network. I'll have one 24port switch with a LAN cable to each room in my house. Three wireless routers setup as access points: 1 for the barn, one for the basement, and one for the upstairs (separating the basement and upstairs is lots of metal ductwork that seems to impede signals from reaching the second floor).
I know that running each of those wireless routers together can cause problems, hence why I'd run them as access points instead: just one network for devices to reach out onto.
My question is, what kind of router should I use to power all this? Just turn on one of the wireless routers and leave the other two as access points, or is there a brand, make or model of router that is built more for this kind of task, where it could be managing several wireless devices (two wireless printers and at least 4 laptops, and two desktops) not to mention all the networked devices I could be spreading out in the house?
You can run multiple wireless routers without any issues. I run 3 in my house. Not because of range issues. I started with a G. I added an N for better speed for some of my computers and then I switched to fios and they gave me another G router. I can connect to any of them from any of my laptops.
You just need to make sure they all have different ip addresses and only one can have dhcp turned on. I suggest the one with the WAN connection.
You can use any router, but I would suggest getting N routers with 1gp ports. Not because it will work better than G and/or 100mbps ports. Because you may as well get the fastest you can get within a reasonable price range. Also, make sure they all support the security you want to use. It makes life easier if they all use the same password and WPA-SDK or whatever you choose.
How much actual traffic will you have? Are the 24 ports & 3 wireless zones just for flexibility, or will you have a lot of computers sending a lot of traffic?
What type of internet connection do you have?
Internet connection is 20/5 business class (its a local cable outfit, but I'm pretty sure they just resell TWC).
Mostly the setup is for flexibility, I don't want to move around my xbox 360s and tvs and then need to set the up wirelessly (for gaming, I just always do wired).
At most during normal usage I'd have two laptops running on the network, with two xbox 360's taking streams from my computers or using netflix.
However, when friends/family come over there'd be up to twelve laptops running that I can think of, and we do Halo 3 LAN parties, hence all the wired connectivity.
I wouldn't run each router individually because then you'd have to connect to each router individually, right? If I just ran the routers as access points using one router, then if someone were to walk from the range of one of the wireless access points to the next they wouldn't need to log in because essentially there is just one network right?
Instead of creating a ton of different wireless networks why don't you just get access points that don't require you to create a new wireless network each time. I know the Apple Airports will let you use them to extend the range of your existing wireless, I'm sure others do as well. That way you don't have to worry about changing settings / networks all the time and don't have to worry about firewalling / routing between them.
I like the Watchguard Firebox series of Routers. I use them in businesses with upwards of 100 users and they handle my access points and wired connections without complaint. It might be a bit pricey for a home network though, usually running at $600.00 and up.
That being said, we have Unreal Tournament matches every Sunday night at my place and we are using a cheap SMC Gigabit Router without problem