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Build Advice HTPC/Server/router Combi

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Xye, 25 Jul 2011.

  1. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Looking into the possibility of creating a server which will also be a HTPC and a router but I'm not sure what I would need to do it.

    I would like to make this a sff so was considering using an Nvidia ION based package but its hard to find reviews on how playback is on it in full 1080p.

    I see Zotac do some good ITX motherboards but whether the Atom processor is up to being a file server again I don't know.

    Software:

    This is really my downfall I must admit. I was considering Linux but really unless someone can guide me through step by step...

    Also is it even possible to do this? Turn a pc into a Wireless access point for the rest of the house?
     
  2. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    Atom Ion is more than up to the task. I have a Zotac board I use as an htpc / server, but with Win7. It does not struggle at all on 1080 playback. I chose Windows because I like the homegroup implementation over simple filesharing which is the only option on linux. Also even with simple filesharing dealing with mix of win7 and samba has become more painful than ever. Depending on which win7 flavor you have to do a lot of extra work and regedits to make it work well.
    I have another computer I use for my diy modem / router with a Soekris board and a Sangoma adsl card running Vyatta. This is getting replaced next week with a Via C3 mitx board though.
    The specialized linux roter distros like vyatta are more convient for that purpose, to do all of it you're better off to work with a more general distro like ubuntu.
    Adding wireless can be tricky. You really need to be careful with radio cards as a lot of them are not up to the task of broadcasting as well as they receive. Some of them do not work under linux very well or at all. Most of the cheaper ones won't do very well. Take a look at the radio cards sold by ubiquiti or routerboard. Cost is pretty variable depending on what you need. There are reasonable g cards to very expensive high powered n cards.
    Best to get one of the Atom / Ion models that has a pci card slot. This way you can get a mini pci adapter card and get good radio cards.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jul 2011
    Xye likes this.
  3. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Interesting.

    Linux is starting to sound rather too complicated for me.

    Would it be possible to make a router out of windows 7 or windows server?

    Basically what I would like is something like this:

    Virgin decoder

    V

    HTPC/Server/Wireless access point

    V (Wireless)

    other computers in the house
     
  4. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Ok.

    I've been looking into this more. Could I create a permanent wireless Ad Hoc network from the HTPC allowing the other computers to connect to the internet through it?
     
  5. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Internet connection sharing is the option you need for this.
     
  6. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Seems Ad Hoc isn't the way to go seen as it only uses a maximum of 11Mbps.

    Anyway. Kind of moving away from this idea now and just having a HTPC/server attatched to a bought router... however I don't know how to make a server available over wireless...
     
  7. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Same way as you would over a LAN
     
  8. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    There is some 3rd party windows software that allows to use a computer as wireless access point. See Connectify. That supposedly allows use of N cards at full speed. Just get one of the supported N cards from their list.
    If you decide to buy an off the shelf router, I recommend to get a model that is supported by ddwrt. It's a much more robust and versatile software than what comes on routers by default.
     
  9. OCJunkie

    OCJunkie OC your Dremel too

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    Bah just go with a "real" router save you alot fo trouble. DDWRT support is something to look for as lysol said, it's a solid piece of software miles ahead from stock...
     
  10. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Unfortunately I'm not exactly proficient with making networks over LAN or anything else.

    The software looks good and might be worth a try.

    DDWRT looks good so far as I can tell and has a comprehensive list of supported models and so on.

    The one outstanding problem is how to make a file store server available to access over a wireless network. I am looking at the current router and I'm not sure it supports creating a wireless network (I tried pinging other computers connected to it and lost 100% packages)

    Thanks for the help guys I really am out of my depth with all of this stuff
     
  11. fuus

    fuus Rocking All Year Christmas

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    just get a NAS box?
     
  12. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    I would prefer to have it all in one box really.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jul 2011
  13. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    network sharing really isnt up to your router, its up to the PCs connected to it. do some google-fu on windows file sharing. i actually find simple file sharing to be...well...simpler than the whole home group thing.
     
  14. andrewbarke

    andrewbarke New Member

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    have to totally agree with this, tried the home group thing, it work between the two "7" machines i've got, but disabled every other machine from connecting, this include XP, Vista, Ubuntu and Fedora, plus with normal file sharing user permissions are a lot easier!!
     
  15. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Ok. I think I've decided what to do.

    Unfortuately its gone down like this:

    Combined HTPC/Server/Router

    Combined HTPC/Server + External router

    HTPC with large HDD + current router and Teamviewer or Memory stick to move stuff around.

    ....

    So much for grand plans
     
  16. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    an HTPC with a large HDD is a file server. its just a matter of setting the network up at that point.
     
  17. Xye

    Xye New Member

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    Indeed. Networking might be the problem.
     
  18. Tibby

    Tibby Technologic

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    Might not be the centralised solution you want, but I currently stream stuff from my Laptop over wireless N, directly to my Xbox 360 using Windows File Sharing.

    The simplest solution for you from reading this would be:
    - Get a custom firmware suitable Wireless N router
    - Get a Gigabit switch to sit below this, feeding into the fileserver/HTPC (or alternatively find a gigabit router, but is rarer than getting a switch)
    - Build a fileserver, perhaps with a small SSD for XBMC or another HTPC software/OS say 30GB, then have multiple large SATA drives acting as a fileshare for the network, and directly accessible from the HTPC software.

    Then you just need to make sure you have a suitable GFX card in the HTPC server, and go for a cheap large amount of CL7 ram and you should be covered.

    There are some good guides on XBMC forums on building HTPC's. I would look at the components and comments for an idea of what you will need for the HTPC aspect, then scale the rest for the fileserver portion.

    I know you say you aren't too good with networking, but it isn't too hard once you have read a tiny bit into it. Or perhaps if you have a friend who is good with networking, they could help you set it up and give you a crash course?

    Also feel free to ask on here, as we are a helpful bunch! :)
     
  19. OCJunkie

    OCJunkie OC your Dremel too

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    Well I used to run a dedicated NAS box (FreeNAS) but it actually became more trouble than just turning the existing HTPC into the "server" by just throwing everything in it and making everything available. (And yes Homegroup sucks, stick with regular user account permissions if you need any control.)

    Sure, the Windows networking stack and file sharing capability is nowhere near what you get out of a unix system but its alot easier, more efficient (saves a box) and doubles as a fully functional and actually useful machine (being Windows and all).

    If you still really must combine the file sharing and routing functions you might want to look at "integrated" server packages like say ebox or clarkconnect or similar... (actually don't know if any of those still exist)
     

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