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Networks Router? Switch? htpc network setup help

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by §§..., 18 Nov 2007.

  1. §§...

    §§... Member

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    Basically my house is gonna get electrically rewired (carpet/floorboards ripped out) and am taking the opportunity to lay down wired network connections from each room to a central location with all the networking gear/media server etc.

    this network will be used to serve video/audio and would like it to be as reasonably fast as possible.
    have already made plans to buy cat5e/cat6 (whichever works out cheaper, still shopping around).

    My problem is with the hardware. I've already got a home LAN with a adsl modem-router-wireless hub jobbie, so have some exposure.
    but would like to go gigabit, and read that a switch is more intelligent than a hub as it sends the packets only to the intended device, reducing bandwidth. Also descriptions i've read mentions 'managed' and 'unmanaged', which is better? Does 'managed' mean I have to manage it? or it is managed for me?

    And is the wireless connected clients networking in switching mode as well?

    My intended setup is:

    Code:
                adsl modem
                   l
                   l
       Wired + Wireless Switch (1)                     Switch(2)
                   l                                      l
                   l                                      l
     ---------------------------         -------------------------------------
     l        l       l        l         l         l        l        l       l
     l        l       l        l         l         l        l        l       l
     l        l       l        l         l         l        l        l       l
    wired   w/less  w/less    media  server      bedroom  living   dining   maybe
    client  laptop  laptop   (2x network cards)   htpc     htpc     htpc    more?

    Is that reasonable? the htpcs will be running mythtv frontend with the media server as backend, and can i get internet access on htpcs, though ICS on media server?

    I was thinking of getting this for switch 2 (is that managed?)
    and this for switch 1 (has built-in modem)

    my main concern is that transferring files via wireless to the server will bog down the network (as it does with my current router, cant transfer any large files over wireless). Can i consolidate switch 1 and 2?
    This is way too expensive, why so?

    your thoughts and advise is much appreciated before i spend any money unnecessarily.
    It's alot of questions, but please just answer what you think is relevant for me.
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. RickDawson

    RickDawson Member

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    Definately go wired.

    you want to have a switch for each floor of the house, and have each switch directly connected to the router

    think of it as... as short a route as possible (length of cable), and as least hops as possible (number of switches to go through before the router)

    Have only one connection to each computer, including your media server

    for each computer, you then need to set the dns to use your router (enter the IP that you access the routers config page)
    set the default gateway to be the routers IP
    subnet mask to always be 255.255.255.0
    the IP address is a number that is not being used by anything else on your network. the format is: [same as router].[same as router].[same as router].[available number on your network]

    for the router, set up the dns as usual (either auto from your ISP, or manually)

    Get cat6 cable better if you need to go gigabit.
    any cheap switches will do, but you may need to have gigabit for all points between where video is going to be streamed. depending on usage.
     
  3. radodrill

    radodrill Resident EI

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    Agreed; switches should be connected directly to the router or piggybacked through another switch (first is preferable), but should by no means be connected through another computer with ICS. The only exception to this rule would be to have an old PC set up as a dedicated router/firewall unit; you'd connect one NIC to the modem and the other NIC to a switch, if you'd need wireless gust connect an access point or the LAN side of a wireless router to an open port on the switch.
     
  4. lcdguy

    lcdguy Active Member

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    Alternatively, if you have an old box lying around you could get a wifi card and using something such as ipcop, monowall or smoothwall as your router. I would also get a managed switch as your central connection point and unmanged switches for each floor. If you look on ebay you may be able to score some decent deals on enterprise hardware from cisco or netgear :). just my 2 cents.
     
  5. crazybob

    crazybob Voice of Reason

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    I see an awful lot of complexity being tossed around here, with multiple switches in all these plans. Why? Get a single, 8-port unmanaged (that is, consumer-grade) gigabit switch. Your modem, router, and wireless are all already provided by the DSL modem, so don't screw with that. Leave the modem where it sits as a firewall and wireless access point - it's likely only G wireless so there's no harm in having it connected to the rest of the network by the 10/100 probably provided by the router. Then, hook the 8-port switch up to the modem, and hook everything else to the switch. That way, everything that isn't on wireless will get a gigabit connection, and all the computers will see all the other computers with no software configuration at all.
     
    Last edited: 21 Nov 2007
  6. Glider

    Glider /dev/null

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    Agreed with crazybob... Why a managed switch? Why all the complexity?
     
  7. §§...

    §§... Member

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    Hi all,

    thanks for the replies...
    now looking back, my original idea does seem stupidly complicated...
    so for now, i have decided to have my existing wireless modem router as the main internet acces point/firewall, which will be connected to an 8 port gigabit switch, to which all the wired devices will be connected to. I wanted to go with a switch instead of just 1 router-modem, so that i can expand the wired network as i add more devices to the network.
    I assume that this will give all the wired devices gigabit speed when accessing each other/NAS storage, but not to internet, but that's ok...

    Basically what crazybob said...

    and i will be going for cat6 cable, thanks to a kind donation ;)
    although i did read that cat5e was able to cope with gigabit.

    and just for the sake of knowledge, what does a managed switch entail? is it similar to that of a typical router-modem? like DHCP, NAT and the like?

    thanks again for the feedback.
     
    Last edited: 21 Nov 2007
  8. CaseyBlackburn

    CaseyBlackburn Network Techie

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    If you still wanted a switch like the one you picked out, you could find one better suited for you instead of a L3 switch with QoS that is managed. You could just use a basic unmanaged switch, will be hundreds of dollars cheaper.
     
  9. FIBRE+

    FIBRE+ Active Member

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    Another vote for simplicity...

    Router with wifi and 10/100 switch connected to a gigabit switch which then connects to your wired pc's.

    Cable wise i'd go for Cat5e, prefectly adequate for gigabit and the cheaper option. Seeing as your going to be ripping up floors etc you may as well do it properly and use some RJ45 wall sockets, the more sockets in a room the better as it's really annoying once the jobs done and you'd wished you had one more port. A double socket in 2 opposing corners of each larger room would be good, then just plug the sockets in use into the switch. Also a patch panel would be a nice touch to keep all the cables nice and tidy :)

    Oh, and you'll need some RJ45 connectors and a crimping tool to make up custom length cables (cheaper to buy a long reel of cable).
     
  10. mk-donald

    mk-donald bits and bobs

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    Have to agree for a domestic setup you just need the most basic Gigabit switch and an 8 port would be most cost-effective (around £31 at eBuyer for instance http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127795) with one of those ports connected directly to your modem/router/WAP/switch, which continues to provide the WAP for your wireless clients.

    The switch will send traffic between your 7 domestic ports at 1Gb as necessary, and to the modem/router/WAP/switch and over the net at 100Mbps/10Mbps as required. If you end up with MORE wires to sockets in the house than the 7 ports on your switch, then just leave the unused/unneeded ones disconnected from the switch - ie PHYSICALLY manage its connections for free, rather than remotely manage them for £££.

    The move from 8 to a 16 port Gigabit would set you back c£80 more.
     
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