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How to network my home.

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April 15, 2011 4:32:39 PM

Hi Guys....

I'm going to sound like a complete novice, but that because I am.

Ok.. so here is what I would like to do.
Essentially, I would like to be able to have my router upstairs (bedroom), but have a hard wire connection down to my living room and my dining room. (prefer hard wired as house in under renovation, and hence have a good chance to get it wired, instead of relying on wifi)

Now... (here is the novice bit), I know that one can connect an external hard drive to a computer upstairs, and share the content with the rest of the house (i.e. music, video, documents, etc...), but is there a router or a device that would allow me to connect an external hard drive directly to the router, so that I wouldn't need to keep the computer upstairs on in order to share content?

Now, people have said it can be done. NAS was mentioned, but hey,... we are talking big money!
I also heard that Belkin did a usb hub, but... on reading the comments, its suggested that the through put is very slow, and that HD movies would struggle. Others have suggested using 'power plugs', but I have heard that they cause interference, and that you it take up the socket, preventing you from using an extension cable. As a final solution, I would consider wifi... however my issues are security... and obviously strong enough of a signal to transmit HD movies.

So... what are my options? I haven't got money to burn, but at the same time, I want something that does the job.

Another side question, one way of doing the networking from upstairs is to bring 2 cables from the router upstairs, downstairs, so that both my living room and dining room have a connection. But someone suggested, bring one cable, and split it downstairs with a HUB. Now is that a good idea? Are there any disadvantages, i.e. weaker signal, etc...?

Now my final final question. (Now... all the techies... please try not to laff!). Ultimatley, I want to to have a media centre, where I can play all my catalogued mp3 files. For this, I love the Windows Media Centre interface. However, is the quality of the mp3 poorer when it is streamed over say, a wifi connection, or is it better to have the hard drive connected directly to the equipment thats going to play the mp3/music???

Thanks in advance for the answers!


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April 15, 2011 5:18:02 PM

1) This router should do what ever you need it to do. N-wireless is fast enough to do streaming as long you you have a connection 100+ Mbps.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) Personally I would pull one cable form upstairs to the downstairs and use a switch. It will not negatively effect your streaming.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) streaming mp3s over the network will be fine

using WiFi is save as long as you password protect it with a wireless password. I like to use the WPA2 wireless mode.

make sure you backup regularly the USB drive so you don't loose your data.

is there a reason why the router cannot be in the Living room?



April 18, 2011 7:45:57 PM

either leave your computer (content server) on upstairs or you'll need a NAS

I would hardwire. And while you are running wires you might as well do both rooms separately. You'll need a spool of cable, several connectors that you can easily wire yourself following the instructions, and some wall outlets and boxes to properly mount them on the walls.
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April 19, 2011 11:56:41 AM

The only reason I don't want my router downstairs is because its not the most attractive looking things you've ever seen. Yes, could hide it, but I tend to work upstairs more, and hence would rather have it upstairs. out of the way of little hands that may get curious.

Just found XBMC interface as a download, and it comes close to matching the Windows Media Centre, though the latter is a more polished affair.

I found a NAS on Amazon for £65 (no hard drives) with two bays, so at the moment, that looks like the way that I'm going to go. Unless you have any more cheaper options.

One last question, is a Gigabit Ethernet or USB 3.0 faster?
April 19, 2011 3:29:01 PM

sandavsin said:
The only reason I don't want my router downstairs is because its not the most attractive looking things you've ever seen. Yes, could hide it, but I tend to work upstairs more, and hence would rather have it upstairs. out of the way of little hands that may get curious.

Just found XBMC interface as a download, and it comes close to matching the Windows Media Centre, though the latter is a more polished affair.

I found a NAS on Amazon for £65 (no hard drives) with two bays, so at the moment, that looks like the way that I'm going to go. Unless you have any more cheaper options.

One last question, is a Gigabit Ethernet or USB 3.0 faster?



You want something like this
http://www.amazon.com/Cirago-NUS1000-Network-Storage-Li...

You want a Gigabit wired network for transferring movies for a few reasons.

1. Its the fastest way to transfer information and lets face it HD movies are prob the most bandwidth intensive things you will ever do.

2. With a faster throughput on your network, other users are less likely to feel the slug of moving that 4gig hd movie.

3. Wireless access is terrible (for large file transfers) unless your running at least 3 antennas. Each device you connect using wifi(webcam, phone, computer, laptop, network printer, ect..) severely dampens your Wireless throughput. This can be off set by having multiple antennas on a router, but it doesn't help enough if you have many wireless devices. Also wireless require more security then ethernet. Yet another problem with wireless is unreliable connection. You may not get the optimal connection rate, something may cause interference, and it can randomly drop and have to reconnect.

Just some thoughts..


Ohh and i know this sounds dumb, but run two cables to each room. Why? You never know when you need a extra plug in that room down teh road and if cable goes down you already got one ran instead of tearing your home apart to run another.

April 19, 2011 3:46:34 PM

I believe gigabit ethernet is faster but you'd most likely be limited by the read/write speeds of the source or destination drives.

but if you went usb external drive it would need to be connected to a rig that's powered up. a nas would be connected to your router/switch and powered that way. meaning your pc/server wouldn't need to be on
April 19, 2011 4:08:34 PM

Gigabit i think transfers about 1Gb per second, a USB 3.0 transfers up to 5Gb per second. The thing is for this to be shared on your network is has to be connected via wifi or ethernet. so the USB part doesn't matter.

Also USB has a much slower time writing to a drive (saving files) then it does reading (playing/viewing files).

Your options are..

1. USB drive to PC to Network

or

2. USB drive to NAS to Network.

Fastest solution is a NAS with a gigabit port that plugs directly into your network and instead of a usb hook up it has a enclosure for a full size hard drive say a Sata 7200 rpm.

Thats the ideal solution, but being the ideal solution it requires much more $$$.





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