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Solved: Cat 5 or 6, Switch or Hub, and other Basic Wired and Wireless Networking Ques


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ferrija1's Avatar
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16-Aug-2010, 06:27 PM #1
Question Solved: Cat 5 or 6, Switch or Hub, and other Basic Wired and Wireless Networking Ques
Hi TSG guys and girls, it's been a while! Good to see the forums are still buzzing about with activity. Anyways, I'm about to run an ethernet cable downstairs and had a question about the cable I should use, then I remembered I had another question about networking and another and another and so I have this post.

Right now I have the basic Actiontec router hooked up to FiOS internet. I have a number of devices that connect wirelessly over 802.11g and a few that are wired to the router. I primarily use the network for internet access, however I do push files around from time to time.

1. If I buy an Airport Extreme to get wireless N throughout my house, do I just run an ethernet cable between the two routers (the Actiontec router is necessary for some of the TV features and so it must remain connected to the internet)? Will I be able to share files and see devices connected to either of these networks?

2. I am running an ethernet cable from my router (upstairs) to my basement for my PS3. Is there any reason to use a Cat 6 cable? The rest of my network cables are currently Cat-5, but they are all less than 10 feet in length and can easily be replaced, however the cable I am running is going to be around 100 feet so I'd like to buy the right cable.

3. A question related to both above: I've heard that connecting devices to a network in certain/different ways can slow down a (gigabit?) network. Would someone please explain this idea. Should I be running Cat-6 everywhere instead of Cat-5? Should I run my Actiontech router off my Airport Extreme (is the A.E. gigabit and the other not)? Should I put wireless g devices on the Actiontec router and wireless n on the A.E.?

4. Apple only put 3 ports on the back of the A.E. for connecting devices. If I want more ports I buy a hub, right? And then it's plug-and-play, right? Or do I buy a switch?

Thanks in advanced for those who reply!
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16-Aug-2010, 06:55 PM #2
If you configure the Airport as an AP, you will be able to see them all. Truthfully, I think I'd buy something like one of the more mainstream Linksys or D-Link 802.11n routers.

If you run CAT5e, you'll be fully specified for gigabit. OTOH, if I were buying the cable today, I'd probably run CAT6. I already have a 1000 foot spool of CAT5e that I'm working through, so that's what I use.

What I'd do is use the Actiontec MI424WR as the router and connect any secondary router as a WAP.

Connect a gigabit switch (NOT A HUB) directly to the MI424WR, and connect all the devices to the switch, including the secondary router.

It's good to split the wireless load between AP's, I currently have three active AP's in my house, a couple of 802.11n and one 802.11g GUEST network.

As far as the secondary router, if it offers a true AP mode, you can use that, otherwise I'd configure it as follows.


Connecting two (or more) SOHO broadband routers together.

Note: The "primary" router can be an actual router, a software gateway like Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing, or a server connection that has the capability to supply more than one IP address using DHCP server capability. No changes are made to the primary "router" configuration.

Configure the IP address of the secondary router(s) to be in the same subnet as the primary router, but out of the range of the DHCP server in the primary router. For instance DHCP server addresses 192.168.0.2 through 192.168.0.100, I'd assign the secondary router 192.168.0.254 as it's IP address, 192.168.0.253 for another router, etc.

Note: Do this first, as you will have to reboot the computer to connect to the router again for the remaining changes.

Disable the DHCP server in the secondary router.

Setup the wireless section just the way you would if it was the primary router, channels, encryption, etc. Note that you should use the same SSID and encryption key for the secondary router but a non-conflicting channel. I recommend channels 1, 6, or 11 for use for the best results.

Connect from the primary router's LAN port to one of the LAN ports on the secondary router. If there is no uplink port and neither of the routers have auto-sensing ports, use a cross-over cable. Leave the WAN port unconnected!

This procedure bypasses the routing function (NAT layer) and configures the router as a switch (or wireless access point for wireless routers).

For reference, here's a link to a Typical example config using a Netgear router
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16-Aug-2010, 10:03 PM #3
Good to see you agin JW and THANK YOU for your reply! I'll keep running Cat-5e around and I'll buy some for use to my basement. If it's good enough for you it's certainly good enough for me. Now I want to make sure I'm understanding you and ask a few more questions:

1. I can run an 802.11g network on the Actiontec and an 802.11n network on a different router and connect devices to each wirelessly and they will be able to interface? Will there be any compromise in speed or LCD stuff going on (I know there is when you have a router running in mixed mode)?
2. Is there a specific 802.11n router that you would strongly recommend? I've tried looking at some different ones but they all seem to be such a mixed bag, and since I'm a slave to Apple (and the Airport seems to get consistently good reviews) I keep coming back to the Airport.
3. Until I buy a switch, should I connect as many wired devices as possible to the Actiontec (primary) router and not to the secondary?
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17-Aug-2010, 09:30 AM #4
If you want to have two routers running, as long as the secondary one is configured as illustrated above, they'll all be on a common network.

If you really like the Airport, go for it. I just end up seeing people having issues getting it to play nice in Windows environments.

If you're going all gigabit, you should ONLY connect the switch to the Actiontec. If you happen to have stuff like a VoIP adapter or the like, you can connect it as well. Anything you connect to the Actiontec will have a 100mbit connection, which is the reason for the gigabit switch in front.

Until you have the switch, you can connect the stuff to either router, subject to the speed limitations of the individual router ports. For instance, if you had two gigabit machines that were going to be exchanging files, you'd want them connected to gigabit ports.

I have my VoIP adapter connected to the Actiontec MI424WR, and then everything else on gigabit connections.
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17-Aug-2010, 02:23 PM #5
Thank you for your advice, JohnWill, I bought an Airport and some cables and I'll see if I can get everything working.

Thanks!
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17-Aug-2010, 06:40 PM #6
Let us know how the project goes.

I have a reasonably large network here, though not up to zx10guy's standards.
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18-Aug-2010, 05:51 AM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwill View Post
let us know how the project goes.

i have a reasonably large network here, though not up to zx10guy's standards. :d
ferrija1's Avatar
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26-Aug-2010, 12:53 PM #8
Alright, I got the Cat-5 down to the basement a few days ago with no problems and the Airport seemed to set itself up after plugging in all the cables. Thanks for your help, JohnWill.
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