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Gigabit network for new house

Last response: in Networking
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July 17, 2011 10:16:27 PM

So, I have been planning a new gigabit network for my new house (need to stream a lot of media, wired and wirelessly), and here is what I have come up with. It will have 22 ports throughout the house

Router: Cisco Linksis E4200 simultaneous dual-band gigabit lan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Switch: Cisco 24-port gigabit switch
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Couple more questions:
1. Do I just plug the switch into the first port on the router? Is that how I connect it? I figured the router would do ip and dns and stuff and the switch would be some sort of port multiplier... I really don't know much about switches
2. Any other recommendations for hardware? I know that stuff is expensive but I want a very reliable system.
3. Where can I get a few cheap 4-port switches for use near TVs? Can I just use a 100mb switch for those locations? Or would something like this work:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

P.S. all cat6

More about : gigabit network house

July 18, 2011 1:43:55 AM

you can daisy chain switches all you want and plug any speed switches into each other(unless you're talking about 10gb or specialized switches)

Just take your 22port switch and plug it into where your normally would plug in a computer for your router. There you go.
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July 18, 2011 1:23:56 PM

No for your setup there is no benefit of using anything Cisco branded. Your home simply won't be anywhere near complicated enough. Your not evening planning on using the console commands on it and thus 90%+ of it's value is moot.

Just get a Netgear or D-link switch with the number of ports you need +10% (expansion), put the switch where ever your data room will be, don't use your office or you'll hate yourself later. Run all the drops to that room, make sure you label and crimp / connect them all properly.

The uplink from the Switch to the router isn't special anymore, traditional use would be the last port on the switch to local port on the router.

And BTW, that router isn't even a real router, its a SOHO gateway device. And being a Cisco "linksys" router, the chances of you running DD-WRT are severely crimped. I'd suggest getting a regular D-LINK or Belkin SOHO router and flashing it with DD-WRT for your project, it'll work better in the long run. Wireless functionality is moot as the router will be in a closer somewhere or a utility room. Plan to use a separate wireless access point.
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July 18, 2011 5:34:24 PM

I realized the difference between managed and unmanaged switches, finally.

I found another cisco switch that I think will be much better for my needs.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I just didn't like that netgear one; many negative reviews, and this one is nearly the same price.

What does smart management mean anyway?

What is the benefit of DD-WRT vs default firmware?
I have had several d-link and such routers before and was not impressed.
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July 18, 2011 6:09:25 PM

So I think maybe I will do what palladin said and put a cheap wired router in the av room and then have a cat6 going to the office for the wireless router, which is in a much more open location. Another port on the wired router would go to the switch, which would connect to the rest of the ethernet ports in the house. Then would the wired router would do ip and dns and stuffs, right? How would that work? Would I have to do anything special for the wireless network? How do I set that up?
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July 18, 2011 9:02:45 PM

Just make sure the wireless router can function as an Access Point... by default it will want to be the head of its own network. If your wired router is doing the DHCP (ip) and DNS, etc then you dont want the wifi doing it too. Something that is just an AP (access point) may be what you want. Something like the dlink DAP-1522
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July 19, 2011 7:13:32 AM

All wire-less routers can function as an access point. You need to read the documentation on it though. And again I highly suggest you put DD-WRT on everything possible. The difference is simple, most vendors sell the software options as part of the base model, similar to what cell phone manufactures do. Modern routers are just mini-PC's with an ARM CPU. Most SOHO router manufactures use a customized Linux OS for their router then hide it all behind that web gui. What DD-WRT has done is great a Linux build that can go on just about any SOHO router and expose full software functionality. You get VLANing, / OSPF / RIP / BGP router, OpenVPN / IPSEC VPN, DHCP Server, DHCP Forwarding, DNS forwarding, several bridging and routing modes and a stateful packet inspection firewall. It puts many options that are only found on the professional routers onto your $80 SOHO router, and the router manufacturers really don't like that. Cisco went so far as to switch to VMS and proprietary hardware to prevent the DD-WRT from working on their SOHO routers (Linksys series).

Do not get that switch lol, your taking cash and burning it. You do not need a managed switch, you won't have multiple distribution layers with Spanning Tree Protocol and VLAN / Port Trunking. I don't see you using Jumbo frames or network management and monitoring software.

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

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

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

All three of those will do what you want but at a substantial reduction in cost. A managed switch needs a processor, memory and some form of OS running on it, this increase's the cost but allows you to integrate it into a switched fabric in the network distribution layer. Your distribution layer consists of one to three switch's and one subnet, absolutely no need for the expensive stuff.
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July 19, 2011 4:11:56 PM

But I'm talking signal strength, and you can't deny that the e4200 will have a signal better than any $80 soho available.

Another question: If I wanted to have a cheapo dd-wrt router in the a/v room and use that for managing dhcp and dns, could I add a couple less-powerful routers in less isolated places for wlan? Do you think I could even cover the whole house (about 100ft in a couple directions) with a single e4200?
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July 20, 2011 10:17:43 AM

Umm no.

"Signal Strength" is limited by the FCC not your router. The radio's on my older Linksys (before cisco) WRT5G v2.0 can be set to 2x it's default transmission strength and still be clear. People have used this to setup very long wireless links using parabolic disk's or other specialized antenna's. That e4200 would have the EXACT same signal reach as the $80 bargin bin 5-year old D-Link.

This isn't a question of the radio's, its the FCC setting a transmission power limit on the 2.4 and 5.0 Ghz ranges. Custom router flash's like DD-WRT let you manually set the transmission power higher then what the FCC limit is, but then your technically breaking the law and could be disrupting transmissions of other people nearby. Hell technically speaking my ancient WRT54G has a higher signal strength then your e4200 by virtue that I can set it to transmit higher then legally allowed, while a factory locked e4200 would not let you set it beyond the legal threshold. And honestly, if you needed a further reach then buy a better antenna, the rubber-duck's that come with SOHO routers suck in general. The older 54G's had standard antenna connectors so it was child's play to plug in a commercial grade antenna and get 250+ feet outdoors from a flat directional antenna. Newer Cisco branded models went to a propitiatory connector, they didn't want you doing that with their home models.

DD-WRT is a software load, not a router type. It's a flash image that overwrites the routers OEM software with one that has more functions and features. It's not necessarily "cheapo" in any way shape or form. Just that SOHO router manufactures tend to use software features to justify their "upper end" routers, its mostly the same hardware but with more "software" and $50~$100 more in the price tag.

Anyhow your going to have to map out where you want wireless signal and plan to put AP's in different locations. Usually AP's have a wired connection back to the LAN but you can use WDS to link multiple AP's in a wireless mesh to extend their range.
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July 20, 2011 2:43:46 PM

But it has three antennas and does simultaneous dual-band...

Although, if I was to use cheap $80 dd-wrts for the APs, how are they set up? How is the lan router in the a/v room set up? Is there some guide I can use?
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July 20, 2011 3:04:24 PM

Quote:
But it has three antennas and does simultaneous dual-band...


Makes absolutely no difference once so ever. "Dual-band" just means it has two radios inside, one for 2.4Ghz and the other for 5.0Ghz. The three antennas are for directional transmissions and multiple path transmission / reception. It doesn't increase the signal strength but rather allows the radio to pick out a better signal path and to reduce background noise.

Quote:
Although, if I was to use cheap $80 dd-wrts for the APs, how are they set up? How is the lan router in the a/v room set up? Is there some guide I can use?


AP's are just AP's. You configure them as "Wireless Access Point" and they drop the whole routing / firewall / NAT thing. Then you plug one LAN cable into one of their switch ports. Give it a LAN IP address and configure it for DHCP relay to your central DHCP server, or in your case the house router.

As an example here is what I do, although I'm a bit different as I built my own router.

Via-C7 Mini-ITX Router
Eth0 -> WAN Internet Connection
Eth1 -> Local Gigabit Switch

Local Gigabit Switch
Port0 -> Router
Port1 ~ 4 -> PC's inside my office
Port5 -> Netgear Wireless Access Point (Dual Band), was a router but I loaded DD-WRT onto it and configured routing due to me having multiple subnets.
Port7 -> Wall Socket going to apartment LAN distribution.

Living Room LAN DROP -> Linksys WRT-54G Wireless Access Point, loaded with DD-WRT configured for 2.4Ghz

The apartment is already wired with LAN drops in every room, they converge at a single switch inside the wiring panel.

Also I've configured each wireless device to have it's own IP range to prevent packet's from spilling over. Do not do this unless your very comfortable with configuring subnets and OSPF.
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July 20, 2011 3:37:32 PM

But doesn't simultaneous dual-band mean that more devices can connect at faster speeds? If not, what band is best?

Can you recommend any good routers for dd-wrt? Only requirement is wireless n and gigabit ethernet

Do you think this is a good switch?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BTW, thanks a ton for the help!
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July 22, 2011 4:41:23 AM

"But doesn't simultaneous dual-band mean that more devices can connect at faster speeds? If not, what band is best?"

No, that's marketing talk. Every "dual band" wireless access point must be "simultaneous" due to physics. It's simply not possible to have a single radio listen / transmit on both 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz at the same time. Instead what you have is two radio's, one working on 2.4Ghz and the other on 5.0Ghz. The router software bridge's them with your LAN interface to make it look like their all one network, but its three different physical interfaces.

I'd suggest going with 5.0Ghz whenever your devices support it, there is less crowding and less chance of signal disruption. Really you don't need to choose one or the other, their both used at the same time and with different Wifi names.

You can lookup router compatibility on

http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index

Try to find routers with the hardware you want, because DD-WRT replaces the software.
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July 29, 2011 1:26:13 AM

Rly? Insulting the OP without reading any of the thread? Please learn some manners.

1. I already have two WRT320n and they are the best routers I've ever had.
2. Just because one person had a bad experience doesn't mean everyone will. I trust cnet reviews much more than one poster on toms.
3. I kindly asked for recommendations on good routers for dd-wrt, not to be flamed.
4. I never said the e4200 was my last choice. I suggested it based on reviews I have read and asked for advice.
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July 29, 2011 1:48:18 AM

jryan388 said:
Rly? Insulting the OP without reading any of the thread? Please learn some manners.

1. I already have two WRT320n and they are the best routers I've ever had.
2. Just because one person had a bad experience doesn't mean everyone will. I trust cnet reviews much more than one poster on toms.
3. I kindly asked for recommendations on good routers for dd-wrt, not to be flamed.
4. I never said the e4200 was my last choice. I suggested it based on reviews I have read and asked for advice.


You can look at the DD-WRT database to get an idea of what will and won't work. Mostly the hardware had to be supported and the manufacturer can't of been sneaky and tried to lock out the firmware. The only manufacture I know of that actively tries to make their stuff not work with DD-WRT is Cisco. From their point of view putting DD-WRT on their hardware is giving you access to features you didn't pay them for. Knowing how they treat their enterprise products, this attitude doesn't surprise me. Its the biggest reason I'm suggesting you stay the hell away from Cisco home products, their the same hardware as everyone else, your just using a neutered Cisco OS on it. It's not even IOS, so you can't compare it with their enterprise products.
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January 12, 2013 9:35:07 PM

Hi all,

I have read in several posts that in order to transmit at Gigabit speed all your devices have to be Gigabit. I understand that if I transmit files between two PCs through a Switch the PCs and the switch have to be Gigabit but what happens if I add an additional device to the switch (for instance a network printer) which is NOT gigabit. Will that slow down the whole network? Can I still change files between my 2 Gigabit PCs at high speed even if I have a slow device connected to the switch?

Thanks in advance for your help
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January 16, 2013 12:21:30 AM

Marcianito said:
Hi all,

I have read in several posts that in order to transmit at Gigabit speed all your devices have to be Gigabit. I understand that if I transmit files between two PCs through a Switch the PCs and the switch have to be Gigabit but what happens if I add an additional device to the switch (for instance a network printer) which is NOT gigabit. Will that slow down the whole network? Can I still change files between my 2 Gigabit PCs at high speed even if I have a slow device connected to the switch?

Thanks in advance for your help


According to the Wikipedia entry HERE "A network hub, or repeater, is a simple network device. Hubs do not manage any of the traffic that comes through them. Any packet entering a port is flooded out or "repeated" on every other port, except for the port of entry. Since every packet is repeated on every other port, packet collisions affect the entire network, limiting its capacity.

A switch creates the – originally mandatory – Layer 1 end-to-end connection only virtually. Its bridge function selects which packets are forwarded to which port(s), removing the requirement that every node be presented with all data. The connection lines are not "switched" literally, it only appears like this on the packet level. "Bridging hub" or possibly "switching hub" would be more appropriate terms.

There are specialized applications where a hub can be useful, such as copying traffic to multiple network sensors. High end switches have a feature which does the same thing called port mirroring.

By the early 2000s, there was little price difference between a hub and a low-end switch.[6]"

Now to explain that a little further. A switch makes a connection between the ports, instead of from one to all. so that once the connection is established, and the speed negotiated, the communications happen at that speed. So for example, if your switch is passing traffic off from your brand new 8 core box with gigabit ethernet controller, and is passing it off to your friend's new laptop with a gigabit ethernet controller, well the communication happens at gigabit speed, or honestly somewhat lower due to TCP/IP overhead, but that is a separate issue...

Now you take that same new 8 core box, and make it talk to say a late 90s HP LaserJet with Jet Direct that talked to the network at 10baseT, well, that 10MB connection being the fastest they can communicate, that is how fast they talk...

That same slow JetDirect can be on the network with those gigabit controllers, and as long as they aren't trying to talk to the JetDirect, then gig to gig works fine, but once the slower item gets into use, things slow down...

Hopefully that made sense.
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January 16, 2013 8:09:21 AM

Thanks dbhosttexas, That helps.

There is one additional thing it is not clear for me. So, I understand from dbhosttexas post that I can have different speed devices connected to the same gigabit compatible switch. For example 2 gigabit PCs, 1 gigabit NAS and 1 100baseT printer.

Then, I start with PC #1 a backup to the NAS at gigabit rates (If I have understood well this is possible even with the printer connected)

In the middle of my backup, I use PC #2 to print a large document. Of course since the printer is 100baseT the communication for printer will be slower

But my question is what happens to the backup datarate while I am printing the document? will it be also slower? will it depend on the type of switch?




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January 16, 2013 11:05:51 AM

It depends on the switch but unless you have some old piece of junk even $20 gig switches have what is called non-blocking or wirespeed. This means the switch has backbone capacity of 2 gig times the number of ports. So a 4 port gig switch in theory could pass 8 gig of traffic because each port can transmit and receive 1G at the same time. Switches are never a bottleneck in networks anymore.
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