Tech Off Thread

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networking gurus

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  • User profile image
    spivonious

    I need to move my cable modem closer to the incoming signal to solve disconnects I'm getting (too many splitters according to the cable tech), but this means that I'd lose wired access to the signal.

    I tried this before and the wireless signal was too weak to reliably pick up with my PC, but my wife's laptop and HTPC in a different room picked it up fine.

    I have an extra router that I can put the DD-WRT firmware on and this got me thinking. Why not set up this extra router as a wireless bridge and repeater (assuming it can connect) and keep my PC, HTPC, and printer all wired to my gigabit switch?

    This then got me thinking that I could do some extra security while I'm at it. Why not separate the two networks so that devices that I don't want to give access to my computers can still connect wirelessly to the router in the other room?

     

    So, here's what I'd like to do (solid lines are wired, dashed lines are wireless):

    Generic Forum Image

    What's the best way to separate these two networks? Is it even possible? Do I just leave the routing functions enabled on the second router?

  • User profile image
    davewill

    If your Vonage Router has firmware in it that support a guest network you could use that as the 2nd network.

    Regarding the wireless bridge repeater, do a test to see how much of a hit it takes.  When doing site surveys in the past we generally assumed each hop amounted to a 50% reduction (obviously environment plays a big part).

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @davewill: I'm assuming I'll lose 50% of the bandwidth, but that would still leave a theoretical 27Mbps, more than enough for my 12Mbps internet connection.

    The Vonage firmware is very basic, but I'll take a look. From reading the DD-WRT wiki, it seems as though I can simply leave the NAT functions on the bridge/repeater turned on, and this will give me the network separation I'm looking for.

  • User profile image
    davewill

    *snip* it seems as though I can simply leave the NAT functions on the bridge/repeater turned on, and this will give me the network separation I'm looking for.

    Keep a watch out when you get to that point.  I'm not so sure that any traffic will be crossing the WAN/LAN boundry.  It is hard to tell without seeing it first hand but from the wiki it reads like the ddwrt firmware is creating a LAN/LAN repeater boundry and the WAN interface remains unused.  Maybe the firmware in repeater mode re-purposes the WAN interface as the second wireless interface.

    The mention in the wiki of

    NAT

    Open the Set-up -> Advanced Routing tab and change the mode to "router" instead of "gateway".

    will be interesting to co-exist with the prior instructions to use the same IP schema as the primary router.  I don't see how it could route properly without having a different schema much less avoid dhcp collisions in that scenario.  The wiki is confusing so I may be confused about which interface is being setup at various points.

    The wiki also mentions having the bridge/repeater use the primary router for DNS.  In practice DNS relays are flaky on a lot of firmware in soho routers.  Watch out for that too.  Use the actual DNS addresses provided by the ISP in both routers if DNS relay is flaky.

    Regarding the 50% bandwidth.  Keep in mind, its not just about the size of the pipe.  Its also about packet loss and delay.  Test for latency and consistency of connectivity as well before relying on it for streaming.

    Post an update once you get things going.  I'm curious how the setup will perform.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    what type of wireless do you have , is it N or G or what ???

    also what is the distance from the wireless router to the devices ?

    is there a change in elevation ?  strange as it may seem if the router is down stairs and some stuff is on a second floor that is part of your problem.

    is this a home or an apt / rental ?

     

    if it's your home then spend a bit and do some propper in-wall ethernet wiring with some home runs of Gig e cable that go to a common wall plate and get a swtch to terminate them.

    then you can place the router and any wifi repeaters where you need them.

    possibly put a router / gateway next to the home run swtch so you have solid gig-e runs to different parts of the house and then one wifi access point up stairs and one down stairs are opposite ends of the house.

     

    in your diagram the gig swtch will be a total waste between 2 pc's and a printer -  getting way less than gig bandwith of a wireless hop.

    that will be like having a 6 line expressway between  2 houses and a 2 lane road connecting to the world......  plenty of road but no traffic at all on that road.

    put the gig switch where you can connect a bunch of devices or where you can get wired ethernet to cover more of your gear.

     

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    It's G wireless.

    The gig switch is there because the only big file transfers are done between the two PCs. The printer is on there just because it's in the same room. The wireless connection would be used only for internet, which is 12 down/3 up, so the 54Mbps is plenty, even when halved.

    The HTPC gets a good enough signal, but the desktop PC does not, due to it being on the floor and through two concrete walls..

     

    Wiring the house would be awesome, but it would be a lot of money and work for not much benefit, especially when the wireless reaches every room right now with the exception of where my PC is. Getting cat6 from the laundry room to the office would require drilling through the concrete, drilling through every beam in the ceiling, and doing lots of drywall patching (not my favorite thing).

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    , spivonious wrote

    It's G wireless.

    The gig switch is there because the only big file transfers are done between the two PCs. The printer is on there just because it's in the same room. The wireless connection would be used only for internet, which is 12 down/3 up, so the 54Mbps is plenty, even when halved.

    The HTPC gets a good enough signal, but the desktop PC does not, due to it being on the floor and through two concrete walls..

     

    Wiring the house would be awesome, but it would be a lot of money and work for not much benefit, especially when the wireless reaches every room right now with the exception of where my PC is. Getting cat6 from the laundry room to the office would require drilling through the concrete, drilling through every beam in the ceiling, and doing lots of drywall patching (not my favorite thing).

     

    all the same floor or is this up stairs / down stairs ??

    concrete and steel beams ??

    i may have an idea or two but need to know  the last two things.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @figuerres: Blu-ray player is upstairs, but the existing bridge works fine. Everything else is downstairs. Laundry room and garage have cinder block walls. Family room and office have cinder block exterior walls with hard foam insulation under drywall. Interior wall between family room and office is standard wood frame with drywall. Blu-ray is in guest room above garage (dry-walled ceiling), guest room itself has standard wood frame walls with fiberglass insulation.

    edit: here's a rough diagram of the lower floor.

    Generic Forum Image

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    I took a look at the coax in the laundry room last night. One cable goes up and heads over to the family room. The other cables all go the other way and appear to head up. This has me thinking the other cables go all the way up into the attic and then are dropped down into the various rooms. If that's the case, it should be easy to run some cat6 along the same paths. I still have the problem of wiring the basement though, unless I can somehow fish the cat6 along the same path as the coax as it travels across the ceiling beams.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    , spivonious wrote

    I took a look at the coax in the laundry room last night. One cable goes up and heads over to the family room. The other cables all go the other way and appear to head up. This has me thinking the other cables go all the way up into the attic and then are dropped down into the various rooms. If that's the case, it should be easy to run some cat6 along the same paths. I still have the problem of wiring the basement though, unless I can somehow fish the cat6 along the same path as the coax as it travels across the ceiling beams.

    good idea,  you may need a "fish"  a kind of reel of thin metal "tape" to help push thru the spaces.

    and a spool of nylon cord you can use the fish to get from point to point and you can often then tie the cord to the end of the fish tape and pull it thru.  you can then tie the ethernet cable to the cord and pull the cord on down.

    try to make a set of "Home Run" cables that all end up where the cable terminates and get a switch to connect them together.

    and yes most electric lines for power, phone and cable go up a wall into the attic and then spread out to the walls they service and go down that wall.

    just be very carefull in the attic that you do not fall or go thru sheetrock.

    get a few scraps of plywood to use to help prevent that kind of goof.

    and facemasks so you do not breath in the insulation etc...

    back in the day we used to use an elecric R/C car to pull cable in offices that had the hung tile celings ....   in big buildings that was a cool way to go across the room w/o having to get up in the ciling every few feet.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @figuerres: Yep, I've been up there to install a new bathroom fan and to find where a leak was coming from (sheathing around a sewer vent).

    I have fish tape from when I ran speaker wire in the family room for surround speakers. That wasn't too bad because the wires ran with the joists. The network cable would be running across the joists. I wonder if it would be easier to run everything into the attic, and then drop it down the wall and through the floor into the basement. It would certainly mean less drywall patching.

    That RC car idea is great. I wish I had a drop ceiling in the basement; it would make all of this much easier.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    What about ethernet over the power lines? Has that tech matured at all? The last I read, it was pretty slow and could cause issues with other plugged-in devices.

  • User profile image
    davewill

    My brother put in a dlink router that used the powerlines and says it works quite well.  I can't remember the model # and apparently the dlink site is down currently.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    , spivonious wrote

    What about ethernet over the power lines? Has that tech matured at all? The last I read, it was pretty slow and could cause issues with other plugged-in devices.

    i have not tried it so my comments are just my thoughts not facts. 

    i have never liked the idea due to the 120 volt power and trusting the parts to never fail and damage my computer or other gear ... just gives me bad thoughts of sending a spike of 120 VAC to my desktop !!!

    also i would not think it would work well for going from one circuit to another -- if you have a good centeral breaker box that would seem to be a barrier for signal ??

     

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    @spivonious: I have a couple of them to allow me to hook my WHS up somewhere out of the way but without the reliability issues of wifi. I've never had an issue with it speed or reliability wise, though they really don't work so well through typical 4-way extensions, so you do need a suitable amount of free sockets and they weren't exactly cheap (they may be better now, I've had them a few years)

    The ones I have are (I think) Belkin Powerline adapters and give around 200Mbps. Never had any issues with any kind of spiking and I'm reasonably sure they'd be designed to be well protected against that, given it's a pretty obvious problem.

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