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  • Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

    OK, so for the last year or so, my home network has revolved around my Linksys WRT600N router. My PS3, Wii, and now my HTPC, have all been connected to the wireless network. Well, now that I'm using the HTPC to house all of my media files, I'm finding out that I would really like the advantages of a wired LAN for moving all of these large files around. I have my old WRT54GS router that I could use as a switch and only have one network cable going into my entertainment center, but I was wondering if it would be worth it to spend the $50 to buy a gigabit switch?

    So, should I stay with the free 100mbps solution, or spend the $50 for a zippy gigabit network?
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  • #2
    Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

    Assuming you have gigabit capability in the devices that share files, it should make the file transfers faster. It would also make streaming start faster as the buffers can initially fill faster.
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    • #3
      Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

      Having been streaming The Pacific in HD from my PC to a PS3 I'd say if you're going to do much the gigabit would be worth it. Trying to fast forward for me is frustrating as the buffer can't keep up.

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      • #4
        Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

        Backing up Scratch here, unless you have gigabit NICs on all the relevant devices, there's not much point in having a in-between switch with gigabit ports. The second part is how often and how much are you moving around? If it's not much and only once in a while, you could survive on 100 megabit connections.
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        • #5
          Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

          Originally posted by Acreo Aeneas View Post
          Backing up Scratch here, unless you have gigabit NICs on all the relevant devices, there's not much point in having a in-between switch with gigabit ports. The second part is how often and how much are you moving around? If it's not much and only once in a while, you could survive on 100 megabit connections.
          Well, four of my six computers (and I'm lumping the PS3 and Wii in with that term) will be able to take advantage of the gigabit speed. My wife's laptop will stay wireless. Mainly, I want to speed up the connection between my PC (where I rip DVDs and CDs) and the media center PC (which has 4 terabytes of space and holds all of our music and movies). Even 100mpbs would be faster than the wireless connection that is currently serving my HTPC and consoles, but I think I'm going to add this switch.

          Anything I need to know about throwing a switch into the mix? Will DHCP continue to make everything just work, or should I consider assigning IPs to devices?
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          • #6
            Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
            Anything I need to know about throwing a switch into the mix? Will DHCP continue to make everything just work, or should I consider assigning IPs to devices?
            DHCP will work fine.

            DB

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            • #7
              Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

              Damonte has a central server with 4+ TB of storage, and a PS3 he uses as a media front end. 1000Mb/s is necessary for smooth streaming of 1080p quality video at high bitrates and being able to fast forward / fast reverse through it. Damonte can't say enough good things about the PS3's networked multimedia capabilities.

              $50 for a nice gigabit switch is worth the investment, in Damonte's opinion.

              "Everytime I read your posts I do it with Morgan Freeman's voice in my head as if he is narrating your life" - Aimed

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              • #8
                Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                Gigabit uses the same Ethernet packet format (bit layout) as 10 and 100 Mbps, so indeed DHCP will continue to work. It's just the on-the-wire coding of the bits that changes (and it uses more of the pairs), but that's invisible to the software. That's handled entirely in the "PHY", the physical layer that converts bits to sine waves. If you have a 100/1000 switch, it will do the work of translating for older wired devices.

                Note that a "switch" is actually an intelligent device with storage: It receives a packet and buffers it and sends it out on another connection, and learns which physical port goes to which Ethernet address so that it doesn't wastefully send a packet to a device that's not interested in it. Almost no one uses the cheaper "hubs" anymore, which are dumb devices that just re-clock the electrical signal and spray it out to all the other ports. The ultimate in power is the "managed switch", which lets you control some aspects of the intelligence, including monitoring of the bandwidth used by each port. Almost no home installations use those, both because they're expensive and because you don't need the features until you get to 10's of ports to worry about.
                Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                • #9
                  Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                  Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                  Gigabit uses the same Ethernet packet format (bit layout) as 10 and 100 Mbps, so indeed DHCP will continue to work. It's just the on-the-wire coding of the bits that changes (and it uses more of the pairs), but that's invisible to the software. That's handled entirely in the "PHY", the physical layer that converts bits to sine waves. If you have a 100/1000 switch, it will do the work of translating for older wired devices.

                  Note that a "switch" is actually an intelligent device with storage: It receives a packet and buffers it and sends it out on another connection, and learns which physical port goes to which Ethernet address so that it doesn't wastefully send a packet to a device that's not interested in it. Almost no one uses the cheaper "hubs" anymore, which are dumb devices that just re-clock the electrical signal and spray it out to all the other ports. The ultimate in power is the "managed switch", which lets you control some aspects of the intelligence, including monitoring of the bandwidth used by each port. Almost no home installations use those, both because they're expensive and because you don't need the features until you get to 10's of ports to worry about.
                  That's where I was ignorant. I wasn't sure if a switch is "transparent" on the network, or if I had to do something weird to join two networks together, or what...
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                  • #10
                    Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                    "Managed" switches have the option of not being transparent: They offer the ability to create virtual LANs or VLANs that segregate traffic even though it's carried on the same wire. You can put two managed switches in distant closets, with a single cable between them, and the VLAN logic can make it look like you have two different networks physically isolated between the closets, as if you'd run two cables between two pairs of normal switches. That lets you create a secure barrier between departments that happen to share office space.
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                    • #11
                      Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                      Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                      "Managed" switches have the option of not being transparent: They offer the ability to create virtual LANs or VLANs that segregate traffic even though it's carried on the same wire. You can put two managed switches in distant closets, with a single cable between them, and the VLAN logic can make it look like you have two different networks physically isolated between the closets, as if you'd run two cables between two pairs of normal switches. That lets you create a secure barrier between departments that happen to share office space.
                      Nah, I'm looking at this little puppy: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833124021

                      I should be able to throw that into my network, connect it to my router and to three GbE devices and I shouldn't really have to do any other configuring? Is there anything to configure?
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                      • #12
                        Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                        That should work nicely. Just make sure your cabling between each device doesn't go beyond 150 feet, otherwise, you'd have to get a repeater.
                        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                        Former 9th & 13th

                        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                          If you terminate your own connectors, be sure to keep the untwisted part as short as possible.

                          The biggest problem I've seen with gigabit switches is that they run pretty hot. So leave plenty of space around them for air flow.
                          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                          • #14
                            Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                            Not crazy about the way that Linksys switch recommends Cat5e cable which runs slower than Cat6 (350 MHz vs 550 MHz).

                            Save your money and get this: TRENDnet TEG-S50G 10/100/1000Mbps GREENnet Switch 5 x RJ45 . All the right specs and simple plug-and-play. Combine it with Cat 6 cables and your speeds should be smoking.

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                            |RIP| Counter=Ops 12.09.09 : Marine - Squadmate - Friend
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                            • #15
                              Re: Throwing a switch into my home network- GbE worth it?

                              It doesn't matter what the manufacturer recommends, you can run CAT6 or CAT5e cabling. Entirely up to you. Usually CAT6 will cost you more versus CAT5e.

                              Also best if you bought the cabling in the large rolls (say 1000 foot roll in box) and then a set of ethernet heads and a crimper tool. Then you'd be set for most of your house and any cable replacements down the line.
                              |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                              TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                              Former 9th & 13th

                              Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                              Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                              SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                              TG Primer and Rules

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