Best Possible Setup (Router, Switch, Wireless AP)
So I'm sitting here trying to figure out the best setup for my configuration. Our current setup is like this; We have the cable router -> Wireless AP -> 60ft Cat5e cable to my bedroom. We have 6 people in the house. One computer (And my 60ft Cat5e cable) is plugged into the wireless router, we have 1 desktop, 4 laptops, WII, Xbox 360 and a BR player all using wireless (not at the same time). In my room I have 2 Desktops, Xbox 360, Blu-Ray player. I do have an 8-port mini switch that I would like to setup in my room so i can have all 4 devices hard-wired, because Wireless just isn't very satisfactory for Streaming HD movies and Gaming. What would be my best setup for this configuration? Should I go Modem -> Wireless AP -> 60ft cable -> Switch or Purchase another switch and stick one between the Modem and Wireless AP then hard wire the second switch of that one?
I would use your proposed setup of Modem > Wireless > 60ft cable (if you can get some CAT6 cable for all wired connections, even better... it's pretty cheap these days and is MUCH more suitable for Gigabit connections) > Gigabit Switch (if your current switch is not Gigabit, get one. These are also pretty cheap these days). If all of your data is shared between the devices in your bedroom, you can use the Gig switch, and let everyone else in the house use the wireless. There should be plenty of bandwidth available to them if you're not tying it up by also using the wireless, assuming I have read your description properly.
Remember that any traffic you send between two devices on the same switch, will not be sent first to the main router. The switch will keep the traffic in it's own local area without tying up the rest of the network.
Quick note about CAT6 cabling: While CAT5e is technically capable of handling Gigabit connections, I've seen random network dropouts when it is utilized on a Gigabit network. The more traffic you try to push through a CAT5e wire, the more unstable it becomes. I switched my entire network to CAT6 cabling about 12 months ago and have not had a single connection issue on my network (that wasn't ISP related) since. Even if the majority of your devices only use 100Mbit ethernet chips, get CAT6 cables anyway. In theory, they should be more reliable regardless. I don't have concrete proof of that on hand though, and I can't find it right away... I'm writing this at close to 11:00pm my time, so perhaps take this reliability point with a grain of salt.
I am actually majoring in networking administration (AAS). I am currently in my second quarter and have a networking fundamentals class (2 weeks in so far). I just got done reading about UTP cables (cat5,cat5e,cat6 etc.) You are correct that cat5e can be used up to 1000mbs (1Gig) but it isn't very stable. I am using on-board NIC's on my desktops so they are capable of 10/100mbps. The switch in question is a Airlink ASW208 which is 10/100mbps. It isn't anything special. I will use the switch in my room (Run the 60ft cable from the Wireless router to the switch). There is a computer that is also hooked up to the wireless router via cat5e. So currently there are 2 computers hooked up to the wireless router, one computer that's about 10ft away and then one of my desktops (60ft cat5 cable I believe), the cable was made at a local computer shop. I have the opportunity to make one in class this week for a case project. Should I pick up some cat6 and a few RJ-45 connectors and just make a new one? I am not worried about file sharing so much as just more stable connections for the BR player and the xbox (I stream netflix on the BR player and it tends to be laggish when streaming HD movies) I play COD: MW3 and other FPS games on the Xbox and get similar results at times. We have Charter Cable internet, I'm not to certain on the speeds but My D/L and U/L speeds on the desktop running the 60ft cable is (D/L 26.04 U/L 3.26 MPBS). Our wireless router is a Linksys E1000. Sorry if you can't totally understand me, It's 11pm here as well, I am tired as all hell lol.
HD video streams over a local 100Mbps LAN can be sluggish. I've seen it time and again when dealing with LAN setups in homes. Moving to Gigabit capable hardware and higher end (CAT6) cabling, even if you don't fully utilize it can make all the difference.
Another thing to consider is that the wireless access point and your existing switch can also only handle so much traffic themselves. For example, I have a D-Link DGS-1008G Gigabit switch for my room and all of the devices I have in here at any point. This switch can handle a total of 10Gbps of traffic internally at any given time collectively from it's 8 ports. Assuming you connect devices to 5 of it's Gig ports, and begin flooding them with traffic in both directions (Gigabit connections operate at full duplex speeds so you get a max of 1Gbps of traffic both ways simultaneously), you will max out that switch's ability to forward traffic to all connected clients. As soon as you add a 6th device, it will then begin competing for available internal bandwidth which it when it starts to slow down.
This is purely theoretical though, as you would be hard-pressed to find anything consumer oriented that could actually saturate the switch with that much traffic.
The point here is that in routers and switches that only have 100Mbps ports, the amount of traffic it can handle internally is generally a lot lower compared to it's Gigabit capable counterparts. This is why when you consider that HD video streams themselves should not saturate the connection they are using, when you also add in all of the other traffic the access point is having to deal with at that time, you end up with choppy-as-all-hell video playback .
Of course this doesn't account for other factors like the architecture of the rest of the network beyond the switch (if the source device is streaming the traffic over a wireless connection before it makes it to the playback device for example). I was playing a pure numbers game there.
I think if you move the switch and router to Gigabit capable devices, use Cat6 cabling, and adjust the layout of the network as we've already talked about, it should fix your immediate problem.