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Good News: GB fiber; Bad News: AT&T snooping --> VPN router?

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Strong Lead

New Around Here
First off, thanks for sharing your expertise with me. Back when I used to sell automation products, I used to tell my customers, "Hey, I'm an ME. I understand what the machine does. When it comes to wiring it, I break out in hives and punt to the smart applications engineers." Well, networking involves wires, which means my eyes glaze over when discussing the 7-layer networking model. I suspect my questions are "no brainers" those who actually work with this stuff on a regular basis, but there's quite a bit for the uninitiated to digest.

AT&T recently updates their TOS to specify they reserve the right to track and record every web site visited by anyone on the network. Not that I distrust a multinational corporation that answers only to a distant board of directors. Forget it! I trust them as far as I can throw one of their vans.

Although they deny throttling, I noticed some sites--even their own DirecTV on demand streams--run way slower than a GB connection should allow. Yes I know some sites bog down, but not the broad swath I see at any given time. I'll stop my rant before I get off into the weeds...

This weekend, I should receive my new QNAP TVS-873. If I want to do any P2P connections, VPN is pretty much required. While faster is always better, P2P speed is not really that critical (if I'm honest with myself).

Existing network:
  • ARRIS BGW210-70 from AT&T: handles fiber connection, wifi and telephony.
  • Cheap GB Ethernet switch (not managed).
  • Cat 5e cable.
  • I get 700 - 900 mb/s down/up from the farthest PC using the AT&T backbone for a speedtest. Other sites, not so much. As far as I can tell, I'm network limited, not router limited when connecting to their backbone without any VPN.
  • 4-6 hardwired devices (PCs & streaming)
  • 2-7 wifi clients (iPhones and tablets) at any given time
  • One UniFi AC Lite Access Point
  • A READYNAS NV+ V.1 that I plan to fob off on my brother-in-law. Talk about a miserable configuration & management experience...
  • Soon-to-be QNAP TVS-873 NAS (woot, woot!). Did I mention that I'll be able to get rid of the NV+?
  • Additional access point if I go with an Edgerouter (probably the UAP-AC-LR-US)
This leads to a few questions:
  1. I assume a VPN router is the way to go because it's designed to manage all the network connections. Is there an advantage to using the hefty CPU on the NAS?
  2. I don't see a need for QoS. Are the Edgerouters (ER-6P-US or ER-4) the preferred option for GB fiber <---> VPN?
  3. I've seen some threads mentioning the CCR1009 from Mikrotik, but I know even less about them than the EdgeRouters. Do they offer anything compelling for my usage profile?
  4. I have one computer that I use for on-line gaming (EveOnline), which can be sensitive to latency. Can I configure low latency for one PC without killing performance for the GB fiber connection to the rest of the network (I don't want to lose the HW acceleration)? I expect most users will prefer non-snooping access to the internet.
  5. I'd appreciate some links helping me chose a VPN that has servers in London (for EVE), the US backbone for web browsing/streaming services and international servers for P2P.
  6. I'd like to give close friends and family read/write privileges on public directories on the NAS. I hope someone can point me in the right direction for setting up the network side of remote access with a dynamic IP address, especially if I have a VPN.
  7. The NAS has 4 GbE connections with link aggregation. Is there a particular switch that fits my usage pattern, especially if I decide to pull dual cables? I don't plan to upgrade to a 10GbE switch until they get cost competitive. (Yeah, I know it doesn't do much good to hook up a fire hose from the NAS & switch to garden hoses connecting all the hardwired devices; or a 7.5 KW generator to a bunch of 16 gauge extension cords for those of you who live in hurricane country.)
I'm not particularly wedded to a single solution. Other than the labor to pull the cable, I don't have much sunk cost in the network itself. I know I'll have to go through the misery of pulling replacement cable when I upgrade the backbone to 10Gb-E, but I'll delay that as long as possible.

I've been building my own computers since the 1980's, which means I have basic PC HW & SW skills (including flipping dip switches, moving jumpers and getting those damned memory pins to fit into the small sockets that were narrower than the pin spread), but I'm a bit of a N00b with networking. I have no desire to invest 100 hours training myself on networking only to forget most of it by the time I need to use it again. While CLI brings back horrible memories of the VI editor, it's not really that bad with a real text editor --> copy/paste.

Anyway, thanks for your input.
I hope you all get the great experience of having friendly people offer their expertise in some other area where you're ignorant and over your head.
 

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