Planning a New Home Internet Setup

I’m looking for some help in changing my current setup and am trying to keep it as simple as possible while still being a good setup for my kids who are heavily into gaming. I have the following:

• 3 Desktop Computers
• 1 Laptop
• 1 PS3

I will soon be adding:

• 1 Desktop Computer
• 1 Laptop (possibly)

I have cable internet which feeds into a Motorola Surfboard SB6121 which feeds into a NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500 (pictures below).

I have patch cords from the router feeding the 2 computers and PS3 located in the den. The router also wirelessly feeds the laptop in the living room and another computer in one of the bedrooms upstairs. I want to go with a more dedicated wired setup while still having WiFi as an option, particularly for the wife’s tablet and our smartphones.

I would like to move my internet setup to the closet in the master bedroom upstairs and then run CAT 5e (or possibly CAT 6?) to all the rooms where I want dedicated Ethernet jacks. The wall in the closet has easy access to incoming cable, power, and the attic through which I would run all the Ethernet cable. I think my best option would be to drop it down the same holes that currently exist for the RG-6 coax cable in each room.

I would like to end up with the following:

- Den
* 1 Desktop Computer
* 1 PS3

- Living Room
* 1 Desktop Computer
* 1 Laptop

- Top Left Bedroom
* 1 Desktop Computer

- Bottom Left Bedroom
* 1 Desktop Computer

- Master Bedroom
* 1 Laptop

I know I definitely feel it would be best to install something like a keystone wall plate in each room. The den and living room would each need a wall plate with a minimum of 1 coax and 2 ethernet ports. The den will have a desktop computer and the PS3, and the living room will have the laptop and possibly a desktop dedicated to art projects. For the bedrooms, I think I can get by with 1 coax and 1 ethernet port each, but wasn’t sure if I should go with 2 ethernet ports in case any of the kids wanted to move the PS3 upstairs.

Since the wireless router only has 4 ports, what is the best way to connect to all the rooms? Can I split the cable from the TV in the Master Bedroom to feed both the TV and the modem, or should I just have another dedicated coax run into the house for the modem only? If I wanted to continue using the same wireless router, I also have a NETGEAR WiFi Ranger Extender currently located in the Dining Room...not sure if that would help for any signal loss by placing the router in the closet upstairs. Would it be best to go Cable > Modem > Switch > Patch Panel > Room Wall Plates? What else do I need to consider for future-proofing this setup? Any recommended components?

Appreciate any and all advice, guidance, and tips. Thanks.
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  1. You pretty much need to go cable-modem-router-switch. Most cable companies will not allow you to either have 2 modems or have multiple real ip. Of course for a price they will.

    So first problem is getting the cable to the closet. You want only a single splitter 1x2 splitter between the incoming cable and the modem. Best option may be to home run the cable from the street into the closet. Split it and connect to the modem. On the other side of the splitter put in another large splitter to run all your tv in your house and run cables back to all the locations.

    Now assuming you have run ethernet from all the rooms into the closet. Those I would plug into a switch. Now the router is the question. You of course can just plug the router into the modem and then plug the lan port into the switch and you are done.....but a wireless router in a closet does not work too well. If you do not want to buy more equipment you could extend the router just outside the closet and run 2 cable one to the modem and one to the switch back. The other option is to disable the wireless and buy other router/AP and plug them into your newly wired ethernet in whatever room you need wireless. Be sure to run them as a AP.

    I would always run 2 ethernet cables. The cable itself is cheap cutting holes in the wall to run it is not. You could leave it in the box without a keystone untilneeded it to save some money.
  2. Thanks John. The cable company actually wired all the rooms separately from a box on the side of the house. Originally, I split the cable in the den to the TV there and also to the modem that was also located there. The modem fed into the NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500 and I connected the two den desktop computers and the PS3 to the back of the router. However, in the past 6 or so months I've been having trouble with dropped WiFi connection. My ISP said it was the splitter, so I replaced it. No change. I upgraded the modem for the heck of it to what I currently have, also no change. I'm not sure if my WiFi router is going bad or the occasional dropped connection is to be expected. Sometimes it's several times a day, and sometimes I won't drop for several days. I did recently add the NETGEAR Range Extender and it seems like the drops are less frequent then before.

    Anyway, if splitting is not a problem, I can split from the cable in the master bedroom which is adjacent to the closet and tap power off of an outlet there as well. Then it would be easy for me to run ethernet through the attic there to all the rooms. What you're saying about the WiFi router is to keep all the main equipment there in the closet panel, but then run a cable to the WiFi router to a better location, and then run a cable from it all the way back to the panel? That would give me the benefit of better WiFi signal while still running all of my computers through it via the switch in order to take advantage of it's firewall/encryption, right?

    I agree, I'll definitely run a minimum of 2 ethernet cables to each wall plate, but should I think of running even more to the living room TV perhaps? Would this be a good idea if I were to ever consider a home media server, or could I pull a small media switch there and connect everything through it to the ethernet port in the wall?

    Thanks again for all the help, John.

  3. Yes you could put the router anywhere it may seem a little strange to run the signal all the way out to a room and all the way back to feed the room next door but it works perfectly well. Most people do not have the 2 ethernet cables in their wall to do it. The other advantage is that a switch is very fast but very stupid. If you did a lot of room to room data transfer in your house it would not burden your router.

    The key to cable tv splitters is to have as few as possible before the modem. It sometimes get tough. Say I need to run 4 TV and all the cable goes back to the location where it enters the house. If you use a 4-1 splitter and try to run a cable modem on it you will have trouble. You must use 2 splitters. a 1x2 splitter and then a 4x1 on the tv side. The problem comes in cases like yours where you have a tv and a modem in a remote room. You split the signal as it comes in the house to run all the other tv. You then split it again in the room with one of the TV. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. What you would really want to do is run 2 cables from the building entrance to the room. You would then only have a single splitter between the entrance and the modem. All the tv including the tv in the room with the modem would share the same leg of the splitter as it came in the house. Why exactly it works this way I am unsure but you will almost always find the splitters causing most the issues.

    Note a wireless drop is very different the a drop in the cable. If your wired PC do not drop then it is not a tv cable problem. Wireless can drop because the dog walks though the room and disrupts the signal pattern. It is quite a challenge to determine why wireless drops happen.
  4. Yeah, I kinda thought what my ISP said was a bit crazy just because I wasn't dropping the other computers. But they said splitters start to go bad after about 5 or so years, and it was the least expensive of the components to replace. I really wasn't surprised that it didn't change anything. The modem was simply an upgrade to a gigabit "gaming" modem. You're probably right that it can be any number of variables causing the randoms drops and should just be expected from time to time. Again, since I added the WiFi Range Extender, the drops experienced by the one desktop and laptop connected wirelessly have become quite rare.

    As for how my cable company has the cable split at the exterior service box, I'm not quite sure. I remember the last time we had a room "connected" they simply came out and removed a filter on the line in question...all the rooms had already been wired but service to each room was based on the filters installed/removed. So I'm not sure if there's any way I can improve on this setup or if having the company install a new, dedicated line from the exterior service box to the closet panel I plan on installing would help.

    Much appreciated.
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