Router/Switch question - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-04, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Router/Switch question

Time to upgrade my router to gigabit. Having an issue with which one to buy.

Right now I have an 8 port Dlink wireless N. A DIR 632. It works fine but speed is an issue.
Plugged into it are:
Desktop (gigabit NIC)
Laptop (not sure of the NIC)
Synology NAS DS214se
Cable to downstairs.

Downstairs I have an old 4 port hub.
Plugged into it are:
Xbox 360 (new)
Yamaha RX-V677 (new)

Using wireless I have a Samsung Blu-Ray play that didn't like the wired connection (downstairs)
Samsung TV
2 phones
2 tablets
Adding an IrrigationCaddy irrigation controller when the ground thaws
Adding a Honeywell WiFi thermostat when the furnace company gets back to me.

So I think I need to replace the router with a 4-port (would like more) AC router and replace the downstairs unit with a gigabit unit.

What would be a decent setup? I don't do online gaming and don't need top dollar pieces but want to stream movies and music from the NAS and be able to watch Netflix on the TV, Blu-ray and both tablets.

Also want decent range as I like to watch on my tablet outside in the summer. I had a range extender but it seems to have crapped out.

Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-04, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Downstairs I have an old 4 port hub.
Did you really mean "hub"? Those have been obsolete for years. If so, I'd get a gigabit switch to replace it. Switches are cheap these days.

I haven't lost my mind. It's around here...somewhere...
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-04, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yeah. It's a hub. I know, old. But up until recently all I had plugged into it was an original Xbox so it did just fine. But with the new receiver and xbox 360, I do agree it needs changing.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-04, 03:21 PM
 
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Netflix only requires 1mbps for 720 content, 2mbps - 3mbps spikes on 1080p content.



Although I have 1000' of Cat 6 strung through our home, we currently have only a 100mbps switch driving our wired network; With two Netflix streams running and a Vudu 1080p stream running the other day, streaming high def music (flac) in another room, we still had ample bandwidth to spare on the wired network and the wireless network was almost unused. Upgrading our switch would be the very last thing on my mind if it were on my mind at all.

We can also run any of the Netflix consuming devices on wireless - the result is indistinguishable from running on cable and utilizes the same bandwidth from the source(s).


Irrigation systems and WiFi thermostats are going to use next to zero bandwidth.

You might want to consider upgrading in steps, and tackling known problems.

For example - your problematic wired connection to the Samsung BD player - get that rectified! Your old 4 port hub - try disconnecting that from your network to see if there is a positive impact to other devices. Don't laugh, I've seen more than one of these old cheap dumb hubs fail and bring down network throughput.

As a first upgrade step, particularly since you've already mentioned wireless coverage is sub-par, consider replacing your wireless router. I have an Asus that I'd buy again in a heartbeat. A better router, with native or third-party software, may well give you tools to help you assess your wired and wireless networks. For example the graph above came from my router; I can look at the 2.4 and 5GHz wireless independently, the wired WAN and wired LAN ports as well. Even though we have the router sub-optimally located for whole house coverage (in the farthest recessed corner of our basement, mounted on our telecom wall panel), we get great coverage two stories up and all around the yard and garage.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-05, 05:45 AM
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I've been using Trendnet Greennet Gb switches for a few years. They are reasonably priced, reliable and run cool. They go on sale occasionally so check prices.

SmallNetBuilder is a great resource for choosing a router. The ASUS RT-N66U and ASUS RT-AC66U models score consistently well. They have great wi-fi performance, are easy to setup and have good support at a somewhat reasonable price. There are also a couple of third party firmwares available. The Merlin firmware is very close to the stock firmware with a few extra features and bug fixes. DD-WRT is also available. I've been using an ASUS RT-N66U with the Merlin firmware for a couple of years and it works well. The RT-N56U and RT-AC56U are a bit cheaper but lack external antennas so the wi-fi range is not quite as good.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-05, 02:34 PM
 
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When I purchased our RT-N56U the 66 models were not available; I wondered about the internal antenna coverage myself but in our home we've had no complaints about house and yard coverage.

In addition to the Asus, I've used a number of consumer grade Cisco and Motorola wireless routers; as I've been happiest with the Asus I'd buy or recommend another if buying today. The N or AC66 are a good price-performance buy and are what I'm recommending to a friend whose simple home network is poorly served by a cable-company SMC device.

Other advice: A great many wireless devices will never approach the maximum throughput modern consumer routers are capable of. Don't overbuy!

For those who just want it to work with stock firmware, if you are a Google Chromecast user, it'd be worth consulting their table before purchasing:

https://support.google.com/chromecast/table/4599518
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-06, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input.

Looking at the Asus router, they all seem to be 4 port. What I am wondering is if I should just get 2 gigabit switches, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, and then go with a simpler wireless system. I am going to fill up the 4 ports right away.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-07, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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Going to add another twist to the question (and I hope I'm not crossing a line here). I would like to be able to watch US Netflix on the TV and Blu-Ray. Easy to do on the computer or tablets, but I understand you can use a router to set up the vpn needed. Cdn Netflix works great on both.

Is there something I should be looking for for this?
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-07, 02:55 PM
 
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Currently we are using Unblock-us to access Netflix US; rather than change DNS for all devices (via the router) I've just changed it on our Netflix viewers (1 smart tv, a bluray device, and an xbox.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-07, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Is it hard to do on a Samsung TV/Blu-Ray? The TV I need to be easy as that is where my wife watches.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-08, 06:18 PM
 
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Assuming your Samsung TV/BD are both "smart" devices, there'll be a setup menu where you select networking parameters.

On the Panasonic one can choose DHCP (typically your device gets the DNS server from this as well as an IP address assignment) for convenience but still separately select either the auto-assigned DNS server(s) or manually enter one (or two).

If in the worst case you have a device that doesn't give that flexibility, then you'll want to set your router up to give consistent IP address to the device(s) and enter all the settings manually.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-10, 03:20 AM
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If you need more than 4 Ethernet ports, I'd recommend purchasing a cheap gigabit switch [or two], such as the D-Link GO-SW-5G. $20, 5 port, used it personally and it works wonderfully.

With respect to the TV, if you want US Netflix and simplicity of setup/management, subscribe to a service like Unblock-US and put the DNS settings in your router. You then don't have to fiddle with network settings on each of your devices like Samsung Blu-Ray; select your Netflix region once on unblock-us and all your devices are on Netflix US. This is especially handy if you'll be accessing Netflix through more than one device.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-10, 10:36 AM
 
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Another vote for Unblock-US. Changing the router setting is a 2 minute exercise. That way no devices around the home have to be changed. The only thing is if you change to the country setting on Unblock-us, all devices will switch to that country.

Not that I have any direct experience with this, but I have seen it work perfectly.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-19, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Here is where I am at.

Talked to Shaw and got their fancy new Arris modem for free (plus they re-did my plan and reduced it by a couple of bucks a month). I have everything and the dog with them so I guess they like me.

FS has the 5 and 8 port D-Link gigabit switches in stock. Be a bit more than NCIX but I can grab tham and not worry about shipping. Figure the 8 port upstairs and the 5 port downstairs.

Is there anything I need to know to set this all up? I'm just worried that I have 3 devices trying to do DHCP or NAT all at once.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 2015-01-19, 10:16 PM
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^^^^
Switches don't do DHCP or NAT

I haven't lost my mind. It's around here...somewhere...
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