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GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO

New home build - need some advice/recommendations

We're in the middle of building a new 2-floor home and I need a little advice about buying (or upgrading?) our network equipment.

Currently, in our smaller home, I'm using two Linksys WRT54GL's - one as the primary router/firewall and the second as a secondary hub/switch for a few more connections and also as a wireless access point. It's worked fine for many years now but the WRT54GL's are somewhat old, and the wireless is 'g' not 'n'. I've flashed DD-WRT on one of them and playing with it now.

In the new place, the wiring (Cat6) to each room is pulled and terminates in a Network panel on the lower level, in a "mechanical" room where we'll locate the eventual Comcast modem. I'm going to need a router/firewall device (or a combination of router/firewall and switch devices) at this location to handle the 10 leads that terminate in the panel. That's the #1 area that I need some advice... what configuration makes most sense?... and what brands or models are faster and most reliable? Most of our other equipment (PCs, TV, A/V system) is/will-be brand new and close to top-line, so we'll want to take advantage of highest transmission rates.

Additionally, my wireless device will have to be located on the top level of the home, and I'd like it to be as robust as possible which, I assume, means wireless 'n'? That's #2. The guys that pulled the wires suggested Netgear, but I have no personal experience with them.

I'd be more than grateful for any advice or suggestions, either directly or as leads to pages here, or websites elsewhere, which would help me figure this out.

Thank you!


Bink
Villains... knock off all that evil

join:2006-05-14
Castle Rock, CO
kudos:4

Buy a GigE switch and place it near the network panel—buy one or more quality wireless access points and strategically locate them in rooms with the Ethernet jacks in the walls.



shdesigns
Powered By Infinite Improbabilty Drive
Premium
join:2000-12-01
Stone Mountain, GA
Reviews:
·EarthLink
·Comcast
·Atlantic Nexus
reply to GlennH

You would want a 12-24 port switch and then any router you want to use. I'd get a gigabit shitch. I'd prefer a managed one, mainly for diagnostic capabilities.

The router you have will probably work with DD-WRT. As long as it handles your internet speed, it should be fine.

You can use your G router (set up as an access point) if it has enough speed for your use. Mine is G and all it needs to handle is my phone and sometimes my laptop. If I need fast speeds on my laptop, I plug into a LAN port.
--
Scott Henion

Embedded Systems Consultant,
SHDesigns home - DIY Welder



buyit1986

@frontiernet.net
reply to GlennH

I have used Linksys dink netgear and off brand routers as of right now my suggestion would either be a netgear or a linksys make sure you get one with external antennas so you can upgrade the antennas as needed this way if you have weak signal you can upgrade/move the antenna where you need it. Also i would recommend a multi band router one that supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz. 5 GHz has less interference and longer range but fewer devices support it. On the router note you maybe better off with a separate router and switch this way you can future proof your connection. also a wireless acess point will work better you do not need a device that's also a router so these are points to consider. this is how i would do it first is your modem, then your wired router , then your switch, your wired devices connect to this, and finally an access point or two depending on location of wireless devices.



Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5
reply to GlennH

Consumer Router: Netgear R6300
Any gigabit switch 12-24 port

Consider wiring cable to...
back of dishwasher
back of fridge
back off washer
back of dryer
back of oil furnace (or main heating unit device)
back of air exchanger

future smart appliance connectivity
Also consider some extra wires for external AP as well as a couple of spots for internal APs. IN addition provide a few more lines from master bedroom office and enterntainment area to switch box (ie in key spots dont rely on only one wire connection back to the box). For example I only have a switch in the garage, I prefer the cable modem and router in my home office where I can troubleshoot all from there, much more convenient for me and thus I have three lines available to use down to the switch.
--
Ain't nuthin but the blues! "Albert Collins".
Leave your troubles at the door! "Pepe Peregil" De Sevilla. Just Don't Wifi without WPA, "Yul Brenner"

LlamaWorks Equipment


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18
reply to GlennH

What price range do you want for the router versus what featureset do you want? If you're "just looking what's available"
start with the router charts at Smallbuilder net. Secondly, GigE switch is a good idea, managed if you are a DIY'er and
want the control. A device with jumbo frame support (9K frames) is what you want to look out for on the spec sheet.

My 00000010bits.

Regards



GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO
reply to GlennH

Thanks for all the replies! Much appreciated!

I really don't have a budget for this gear, and I'm willing to spend whatever, but I really just want the best for what we need and not much else. Four PCs, a couple of smart TVs, two A/V systems (if that comes into play), iPhones, Kindles, etc. plus whatever guests might bring. Not a tremendous amount.

Mostly, I'd really like a fast Router/Switch combo that has good reliability. I'll take a look at the smallbuilder site - that's a new one to me, thanks.

As far as wireless - my questions have to do with whether I should get a non-wireless router for the mech room and then a wireless access point device upstairs.... OR... a wireless router plus some kind of range extender. Oh... and whether I should look into dual band. That's a new one to me and I'm not sure I really need to bother.

Our build is NOT in the city and there's maybe one other home that might be close enough for their various electronic signals to mess with ours. We will have dishwasher, garage openers, etc. but I don't know whether that's enough to worry about when in comes to decided on dual band.

Afraid it too late to wire for the appliances but I can see that might have been a good idea. Oh well.

Thanks again very much!!



Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5

The switch can go in the mech room but if you get a wifi router and really thats the best option unless you move into business grade routers, as there are hardly any decent consumer non-wifi routers out there any more. All to say is that its best to get a wifi router and put it either on the main floor or upstairs (like in an office etc) and then see what your coverage is like before getting anything else. As noted the R6300 may be all you need. Suspect that if another unit is needed it will be on the opposite side of the house on the other floor.
--
Ain't nuthin but the blues! "Albert Collins".
Leave your troubles at the door! "Pepe Peregil" De Sevilla. Just Don't Wifi without WPA, "Yul Brenner"

LlamaWorks Equipment


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18
reply to GlennH

I'd split the router / switch / wireless functions -- reason is threefold. One is based on your device count,
there's very few consumer-level all in ones that have more than 4 wired connections, while you can easlily
get a 8 port+ switch, and/or add more switches as needed. Second is it removes a single point of failure from
the whole setup. Third, as Anav noted, is if you've got a large space to cover wirelessly, splitting the
functions allows you to centralize the router in one location and and put the APs where they provide best
coverage.

Also, how fast of an internet package are you planning on wiring this to?

Regards



Nightfall
My Goal Is To Deny Yours
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-03
Grand Rapids, MI
Reviews:
·ooma
·Comcast
·Callcentric
·Site5.com

1 recommendation

reply to GlennH

I have to agree with many of the posters here. When we bought our house about 12 years ago, I invested in wiring the house. I put 2-3 ethernet jacks in every room, both upstairs and down. Then I wired them all back to a patch panel in the basement. There I have a 24 port Gigabit switch (that used to be 10/100 when I first wired it). The router is also in the basement on a shelf.

Upstairs I have a wireless access point because that is the place where all my devices connect. Its the best placement for connectivity and speed in the house.

The key to a successful build is to have ethernet jacks in every room of the house. Wiring is cheap. Just run the jacks to each room and then have them go to a downstairs or wiring closet location. Then add wireless to the mix and you have connectivity options in every room.
--
My domain - Nightfall.net



Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
reply to GlennH

I'll chime in with the rest. Wire as much as you can, more than one drop per room. I'd probably go so far as two network jacks per electrical outlet. So, if you plug it into the wall you can plug it into the network. This will also allow you to easily add wireless access points where you need them. What works fine today might not work as well once you've moved int.
--
“Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” ¯ Robert A. Heinlein



GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO
reply to GlennH

Yes, I think splitting the router & switch is the right way to go. That's where I'm parked right now.

The wiring is done and we're way past the point where we could re-jigger all that, so it is what it is. We do have jacks in almost every room, and several in our "office" room. None in the kitchen, dining room or garage. But it's a large, open mountain contemporary so I was hoping to fill in the gaps, if they existed, via wireless.

The reason I'm talking about a wireless device outside of the lower-level mechanical room is because the guy that did the wiring strongly suggested that. I have no direct evidence that a wireless router down there couldn't be 100% effective throughout the main level, so trying that first seems to make sense. I guess I'm assuming it won't, so I'm planning ahead for a WAP upstairs.

The Comcast package will be at least their 20Mbps tier. We may go with something more... depends on deals and such.

So, I guess what I'm hearing is:

1- Gigabit wireless router + gigabit switch in mechanical room
2- Wireless extender upstairs

The ASUS RT-AC66U (»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···33320115) has some positive comments on NewEgg, Amazon, and some review sites. I've used their motherboards and been happy but never their routers. Any opinion?

Thanks again for your opinions and your time spent posting!



Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5
reply to GlennH

The current line of thinking is that the N66U is a better bet than the AC66U model. The Netgear is viewed as being more stable and having featured and polished firmware than the N66U. YMMV



Nightfall
My Goal Is To Deny Yours
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-03
Grand Rapids, MI
Reviews:
·ooma
·Comcast
·Callcentric
·Site5.com

said by Anav:

The current line of thinking is that the N66U is a better bet than the AC66U model. The Netgear is viewed as being more stable and having featured and polished firmware than the N66U. YMMV

On this note, I love my ASUS RT-N66U router. Simply awesome piece of equipment. Never has given me any trouble.
--
My domain - Nightfall.net


clarknova

join:2010-02-23
Grande Prairie, AB
kudos:7
reply to Anav

Zero issues with the RT-N66u here, but then I've never had a problem with anything running Tomato.
--
db



GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO
reply to GlennH

Well, the router/firewall is going to have to go in the mechanical room since all the individual leads to each room terminate there. So I guess that forces me to place either the Netgear or Asus device with its wireless capability downstairs.

Hopefully, the wireless signal will be strong enough to cover the main level.

But - on second thought - I have two Cat6 lines running to the office, which is centrally located on the 1st level. I guess I can go Cable Modem in Mech room -> up to wireless router -> back down to switch in Mech room, couldn't I? That could be plan B.

On a separate note, in let's say 25 words or less, what are the advantages to someone with a straightforward setup like mine in flashing the router with either DD-WRT or Tomato? Is that what I need to do to enable a separate wireless SSID for guests? Is there a speed or range boost? Security? I need to read-up on this.



Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5

Your plan B, would be would be my plan A. except I would move the modem to the office as well as any troubleshooting I do starts by looking at the modem and router. As well steps often including resetting the modem and or router. Doing it all from the office makes sense to me. The mech room need never be visited



GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO

said by Anav:

Your plan B, would be would be my plan A. except I would move the modem to the office as well as any troubleshooting I do starts by looking at the modem and router.

Hmmm.

If I do, I guess I'd have to get a connector of some kind to tie the Comcast lead from outdoors (which terminates in the panel) to one the leads going upstairs, right?


Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5

Well if the option is not practical (to be fair, I have my fiberop modem in the garage but my cable modem in the office) as the fibreop modem was a tad complicated and installed by the tech - the router (actioncrap) was mated with the ONT (modem box). I dont have a fiber line to the office and thus cannot really move the ONT.



GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO
reply to GlennH

Looks like I have a plan, thanks again for the help!

Last thing: prices for switches at NewEgg seem to have a wide range. Any particular preference/recommendation? I don't see myself doing a lot of monitoring (although I would like the capability) and it doesn't have to have special bells/whistles. Just want something that will do the job reliably.



Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5

Unmanaged two options. At the unmanaged level I dont think you will find any major vendors products are that not good enough for the job. If you want a managed switch that would entail a bit more research and cost.

»www.amazon.com/ZyXEL-GS1100-16-G···l+switch

»www.amazon.com/ZyXEL-GS1100-24-2···_sim_e_3
--
Ain't nuthin but the blues! "Albert Collins".
Leave your troubles at the door! "Pepe Peregil" De Sevilla. Just Don't Wifi without WPA, "Yul Brenner"

LlamaWorks Equipment

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to GlennH

just make sure you don't overdo laying out all those cables like what this guy did...

»My addition will take almost 2 miles of Cat 6

7 outlets x 4 cat6 = 28 cat6 in just one room..not even counting the coax....


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18
reply to GlennH

said by GlennH:

in let's say 25 words or less, what are the advantages to someone with a straightforward setup like mine in flashing the router with either DD-WRT or Tomato?

I'll give it to you in ten : Control, Functionality, Flexibility. Beyond what runs in stock vendor firmware.

No specifc recommendations for switches -- it really comes down to the level of functionalty and control you want.
The two key areas I'd look for are the aforementioned jumbo frames (max is 9K size frames, but there's no "official"
definition of jumbo, so read the datasheets), and warranty period. Everything on top is gravy.

Regards


GlennH
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Golden, CO
reply to GlennH

Thanks very much! I appreciate all the help & advice!