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Help with Network Layout for 2-story home

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by trpltongue, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    Hello all,

    I've got what I think is a pretty basic question. I've seen similar questions answered on the site, but it's been a while.

    I've got a 2 story 4500 sq ft home, with a network closet downstairs (marked with red arrow on attached diagram).

    I've got Gigabit fiber from ATT at the house with ethernet to virtually every room all landing in the network closet. I currently use the ATT provided wifi router, but coverage is poor. I typically have ~50 wireless clients (switches, phones, media streamers, etc) and around 20 hardwired clients.

    My typical use case is streaming 1-2 4k videos from the internet, gaming on 2 xbox ones, while internally streaming 2 4k HDR streams from my media server to various media streaming boxes, all simultaneously.

    I only mention all that to say that throughput is important, as I currently have occasional buffering issues while 4 of us are using the various streams simultaneously. Nothing terrible, but I'd love to not have those issues :)

    The bigger problem is wifi. With the location downstairs in a network closet, I have horrible reception anywhere other than the garage and living room.

    I have attached what I think makes sense in terms of a network layout but could really use your help in validating / updating and proposing hardware. I'm tempted to just pick up a pair of the Netgear R7800's to use as Wifi AP's but I'm not sure what I would buy for the router and 24 port switch? And that may be way overkill? I've got 2 netgear 8 port unmanaged gigabit switches already for the downstream switches.

    Appreciate your help, if you have the time to give.

    Thanks! Network Layout.jpg
     
  2. ACwifiguy

    ACwifiguy Occasional Visitor

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    $400 option: keep using your att router, buy an unmanaged 24 port switch ($70-100), two r7800s placed one at that nook at the top of the stairs and one in the central living room (towards the master bedroom) would get you 300-400mbps wifi everywhere assuming 2x2 clients. If you like to tinker you could upgrade the r7800 firmware to OpenWrt or dd-wrt to get more features.

    Personally I love my r7800.... after I loaded dd-wrt on it. The stock firmware was slow and terrible. Many on here like ASUS equipment as well.

    If you have a bigger budget - with that many clients, consider upgrading from consumer to commercial equipment like Ubiquiti or ruckus wireless APs.
     
  3. rototiller

    rototiller Regular Contributor

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    Everything that you can connect with ethernet do so. That will eliminate a lot of throughput issues there and like me, you are lucky enough to have your house wired for ethernet. Even if your media boxes and/or Smart TVs only have 100 Megabit per second NICs in them. Hardwire them. Look for clients that have an ethernet port in them. Only connect things to WIFI that make sense like tablets, phones, laptops, amazon alexas, google home. Do speedtests on your internet speed. I have a cable company's Gigabit speed internet package and only getting 380 megabits per second speed max and sometimes only gettting 80 Mbps. Your actual internet speed could be the culprit.
     
  4. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    No issues running the ATT equipment for routing? I definitely don’t like the interface with the ATT gear in terms of WLAN setup. It’s really clunky and I’ve had issues with setting and maintaining static IP’s.

    I’ve been eying prosumer bear for a while but I don’t know much about the setup of that gear and frankly just don’t have that much free time to learn.

    Having said that, if the ubiquity or Ruckus gear gives a substantial improvement in coverage, speed, or roaming, I could try to learn :)
     
  5. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    I’m doing exactly as you mention. Hardwire where we possible (even TV’s :) ). I am getting the full speed from the fiber. The slowdowns typically come when I’m utilizing heavy internal traffic such as streaming a ripped UHD 4K Blu-ray. The Server I’ve got can handle sustained transfer speeds of 400mbs and it’s got a PCI intel GB NIC, so I don’t think it’s an issue on that side. It just *feels* like the ATT gear is the problem, but it could be something else :)
     
  6. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    The Cisco small business routers and wireless have wizards to make setup easy like the RV340 router and wireless WAP571 APs.

    Cisco gear will handle your load fine. IF nothing else the Cisco small business switches are some of the best.
     
  7. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    So I’ve got some reading to do, but one thing I saw on the Cisco router was a tcp throughout of 900Mbps. Shouldn’t this be 1000Mbps for a gigabit router or am I confusing things (most likely I’m confused as I’m outside my depth on these technical details :) ).

    Do you have any recommendations in terms of models for the Cisco switches? They have a wide range of options at significantly different price points for switches :)

    Thank you so much!!!!
     
  8. ACwifiguy

    ACwifiguy Occasional Visitor

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  9. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    The only way to get true gig internet speeds is when we can use LAG on the modem to the routers otherwise Ethernet overhead has to come out of the 1 cable which reduces full speed. And since LAG is not supported yet we have to live with what we have.

    If you are looking for Cisco small business switches I would look at the SG350-10 or bigger. On eBay they fairly inexpensive. Of course I only buy from people, reputable dealers, which sells lot of Cisco items on eBay.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  10. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    Thanks that helps!

    I’m wondering of I shouldn’t consider a switch with 4 10Gbe ports for a bit of future proofing? I’ve been wanting to move to a dedicated NAS for a while, but do extensive video and photo editing so want to have nearly SATA performance on networked media.
     
  11. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    No, I don't think you need it at home. Use some forum of LAG if you really need it. I have backed off 10Gbe. I think 2.5Gbe is going to be next. 10Gbe still gives off a fair amount of heat.
     
  12. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    Just looking at the Cisco sg350 switches, is there a performance hit when using managed switches? I certainly won’t need any of those mgmt, QOS, etc. features. Or do I just make sure and not enable any of those things that may have a performance impact?
     
  13. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    OK, so: Gig fiber WAN, ~70 clients (50 wifi, 20 wired), WAN and LAN traffic load is low (4K streams are typically 25-30 Mb/s, max) but somewhat latency-sensitive (video) and a 4.5K sqr ft 2-floor layout. Got it.

    That confirmed, questions: What is your upload speed on that Gig fiber link? Do you have ethernet runs to most places in the house (for APs)? (It would be great if you could blow up that blueprint a bit and mark them, including the location of your 8-port access switches)

    Also, if you sense there might not be enough ethernet runs, could you do more, and/or is there any coaxial (to use with MoCa adapters) that could be used alongside?

    Before jumping too far ahead with hardware choices, I want to make sure we're clear on the basic wired infrastructure, and possibilities there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  14. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    No performance hit with using a managed switch. The only thing I can think of if you setup features badly. There are performance advantages to using VLANs in a large network.
     
  15. Greg72

    Greg72 Regular Contributor

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  16. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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  17. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    Okay, let me try to answer everything. The short answer is I can run Cat6 anywhere. Really minimal coax runs. Basically anywhere that needs cat6 can get it.

    Upload speed is around 300mbs.

    The 2 switches are in the office and living room (multiple PCs in office and multiple devices in living room). I forgot I have another cheap 8 port Netgear gigabit switch in the network closet now as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  18. Greg72

    Greg72 Regular Contributor

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    Just make sure to take the bad comments with how they do not mod over there.
     
  19. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

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    Got it. Thanks for the additional info.

    Let's start from the fiber drop and work downstream.

    Router - Since you more or less have a perfect setup to run your network core in the closet, I would run a solid wired router there. Considering your traffic and requirements, you definitely have enough download and probably enough upload bandwidth where explicit QoS shouldn't really be required, which means most any box capable of 2Gb/s aggregate NAT will work, like Cisco's RV series or a UBNT EdgeRouter 4. Either will be a solid pick, and they each have their strengths (although I prefer Ubiquiti's Debian-based EdgeOS much more, but to each their own). If you do want to run any services or packages like VPN, QoS or anything that causes routing to have to be done in-software (via CPU), and want to do so at even close to your internet's max rate, you'll need to step up to higher-clock x86 (desktop/laptop) class hardware. I presume you're not interested in that stuff for now, so I won't suggest anything there unless I hear otherwise.

    Switching - For your L2+ managed core switch, Cisco SG250/350 or HPE 1800/1900 series; UniFi Switch only if you're considering them for wifi and like the appeal of the control and dashboard you'd get in the controller. You want enough ports to connect all your Cat6 runs, optionally a PoE model with enough power to drive 2 or more access points, if you choose to run them. Avoid: Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch, Mikrotik CRS, TP-Link, D-Link, TrendNet, Buffalo and, yes, I'm going to say it, even Netgear. Cisco and HPE (or UniFi with caveats) are where you want to be.

    Wireless - You could run two R7800's set as APs, but Netgear's AIO firmware lacks even the most basic of centralized wifi capability, thus forgoing staples like seamless roaming and centralized management, not to mention a slew of other features. If you're set on two AIO's, you'd probably want Asus RT-AC86U's, flashed with Merlin, setup in AiMesh and running in Access Point mode, hardwired into two Cat6 drops for backhaul. Place one on the first floor and one on the second floor, as diagonally staggered as they need to be to create the best broadcast blanket, while still having decent roaming overlap (-60 to -70 dB). The primary strength of the Asus setup would be range and potential throughput if you have 3x3 or 4x4 AC clients. That said, on the software side of things, AiMesh is not quite as polished as certain wholehouse products, namely Eero Pro, although I tend to jump straight to business-grade wifi for the much more robust configurability (UniFi, Cisco WAPs, even Aruba or Ruckus). If money was no object, I'd install Ruckus straight away, as their radio performance, especially for mobiles in interference-prone places (the fringes of your house in a saturated neighborhood, for example) is usually noticeably better than anything else. But that's usually overkill for most people here, so short of that, I'd probably go with two or three UniFi NanoHD's and a Gen2 CloudKey, or at that price point, just fall back to the two Asus units in AiMesh if that's more your thing.

    So there's your high-performance network, with a few different choices of gear to pick from. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  20. trpltongue

    trpltongue Regular Contributor

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    Wow, some of those racks are impressive! I wish I had the networking know-how for that :). The discussion on the ubiquity setup was way over my head ;). I definitely am not in position to spend that kind of time to learn all that terminology.

    My needs are pretty simple, reliability and performance :). I don’t run any QOS, barely use VOIP, but do use mobile WiFi calling on occasion. Don’t run a business, etc from home. Really just want to make sure there is minimal lag in my own internal network between machines while streaming internal UHD 4K at full bit rate, and that I’m effectively utilizing the bandwidth of my service for gaming/streaming across 4-6 clients.