Suggest hardware & topology for my home network

spxza

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Nov 10, 2010
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31
Hi All,

So I'm finalizing my home network, and have a few avenues that I can go down. My current setup is a combination of new and old. Everything is 100Mbps or 802.11g. Here's a rough description:

An Edimax ADSL router is wired to the WAN port of a Linksys WRT54G (think something around v4, running OpenWRT). The router is doing the PPP auth and the AP is a DHCP client. I have a HTPC wired to the 54G, and also a few wifi clients. My area is currently unpolluted with wifi, and ADSL is decent (SNR ~ 20db, ATT ~30db). My wants will most likely outweigh what I can do with my current hardware.

What I would like is this:
  1. Be able to switch DSL accounts reasonably easily (actually, I'd probably want to schedule this: Low contention during the days & evenings for browsing & online gaming; and medium contention for other times to handle high volume downloads). I'd prefer to enable multiple circuits at the same time - and create routes accordingly, but as long as all the ISPs use the same VCI and VPI, that won't be possible.
  2. Reconfigure my HTPC as a File server, and create a thin-client to replace it, PXE'd by the file server.
  3. Permanently mounted roof CPE, to join JAWUG, and maybe provide wifi just outside my house. (perhaps running a kermit slave too, listening to an antenna on a rotator :D)
  4. Internal wifi & a few (maybe 4) copper points - I don't want to PXE over wifi (nor do I think that's possible).

The machines that'll typically connect are:
  1. A gaming machine (I have an 802.11n PCI card. It's not PCIe, so I would prefer gigabit copper)
  2. 1 802.11g console.
  3. 2-3 802.11b/g/n notebooks - yes, only 2.4GHz.
  4. 2 802.11g cellphones
  5. 1-2 xbox - no wifi module.
  6. 1 file server (NFS export, PXE, TV capture)

As I mentioned, all my networking kit is 802.11g. I have 2 old routerboards (3xx series), and one 54G. These, of course, only do 10/100Mbps ethernet.

Given the above, should I be thinking of gigabit? The thin client (I'll have only one to start with, maybe two by the end of the year) will be streaming. I'd expect that any 1080i would be compressed, but for argument sake, let's say the bitrate is 25Mbps. Not counting any overhead on 100Mbps copper, that's only 1/4 utilization. What would cause buffering, other than file copying? The test PXE image I've created is around 100MB - I expect this to rise a little bit, but can play around with NFS mounting. So, the image download will take maybe 8-10 seconds. Meh. Ok, gigabit it is.

I'm thinking about the following setup:

In my comms cupboard (small area):
  • ADSL Router
  • A mikrotik AP - perhaps a RB433AH or a RB493G (to eliminate the switch).
  • 4-8 port Gigabit switch

(As a side question: I have my terrestrial TV antenna's amplifier's power supply in the same cupboard. How much interference is there between that and the above? Should I move the TV crap away?)

The Router will be plugged into the AP - with the router set to bridged mode, and the AP managing the DSL. The AP is also plugged into the switch via a POE injector. Would it be better to have one mini-pci with g and n enabled, or two - one for g-only and one for n-only? I'll prioritize the n over g in terms of antennae gain and placement.
I'll pull cat-5e (unless someone is giving away 100m of cat-6?) where I need to pull it from the switch - One will feed the HTPC, one to the file server, one to my roof and one to my gaming machine. The latter will be to another gigabit switch, to network friend's machines.

On my roof I'll put a lower end mikrotik - perhaps a RB433 - with some 5.0GHz radio for point-to-point and a bgn radio on an omni for around the house.

The indoor AP will be my DHCP server, with an option pointing to the TFTP server (living on my file server).

What do you think? Any comments?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. Since I'll have to buy the above RBs, the price includes a RouterOS license. Should I stick with RouterOS or flash with OpenWRT (Which I'm more familiar with).
 

Roman4604

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Jun 27, 2005
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From what you've described, you could get away with a single RB433AH located externally on your roof to act as your router (inc DHCP server), ADSL PPPoE client & WUG wireless client.

To this you would connect (via single 100Mbps ethernet/PoE cable) your gigabit switch inside, to which you'd connect the ADSL modem, your wired PCs & a separate internal AP (say inside your roof for optimal reach e.g. like a 300Mbps TP-Link WA901ND which is also PoE capable).

The above is possible because Mikrotik ROS can run the LAN routing inf & the PPPoE client inf on the same physical port (i.e. the one connected to the gigabit switch).

and create routes accordingly, but as long as all the ISPs use the same VCI and VPI, that won't be possible.
ROS, together with ext ADSL modem, can also multiplex several ISP connections over the same VCI/VPI. All you will need is a scheduled script to alter the routes at appropriate times.
 
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spxza

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Nov 10, 2010
Messages
31
From what you've described, you could get away with a single RB433AH located externally on your roof to act as your router (inc DHCP server), ADSL PPPoE client & WUG wireless client.

To this you would connect (via single 100Mbps ethernet/PoE cable) your gigabit switch inside, to which you'd connect the ADSL modem, your wired PCs & a separate internal AP (say inside your roof for optimal reach e.g. like a 300Mbps TP-Link WA901ND which is also PoE capable).
An RB433AH (or something else in similar spec) would definitely be my main router/gateway/etc. I'm not entirely comfortable having my main router above my roof - in case if lightning/theft. But, there would be work-arounds (running a non-authoritive DHCP on the file server). Any suggestion where to buy the RB?

The above is possible because Mikrotik ROS can run the LAN routing inf & the PPPoE client inf on the same physical port (i.e. the one connected to the gigabit switch).
I may want a DMZ area - although I could do this with an extra vlan.

ROS, together with ext ADSL modem, can also multiplex several ISP connections over the same VCI/VPI. All you will need is a scheduled script to alter the routes at appropriate times.
Ah, that's good to hear. Scheduled or from an external trigger. I have an old pentium box. I could steal the turbo button and hack it into a wall somewhere.
 

Roman4604

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I'm not entirely comfortable having my main router above my roof - in case if lightning/theft.
You'll need to ground the it anyway, whether its your main router or not. If its connected and gets hit, it will zap stuff downstream.


Scheduled or from an external trigger.
You can do it directly on ROS, it includes a scheduler and rudimentary macro scripting language.

Any suggestion where to buy the RB?
Get mine from www.dbg.co.za
 
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spxza

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Nov 10, 2010
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You'll need to ground the it anyway, whether its your main router or not. If its connected and gets hit, it will zap stuff downstream.
I've got an inline-ethernet surge protector, so everything downstream *should* be ok. It only supports 10/100Mbps, though.

I think I'm going to go with a 493G - one less device to power. The USB support also works for me for UTMS.

Thanks for the advice.
 

Roman4604

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I've got an inline-ethernet surge protector, so everything downstream *should* be ok.
I wouldn't put my faith in that, past a certain proximity, lightning is no longer a surge.

Proper way is to connect the grounding ring on the RB to an earth spike with a separate copper cable.
 

spxza

Active Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
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I wouldn't put my faith in that, past a certain proximity, lightning is no longer a surge.

Proper way is to connect the grounding ring on the RB to an earth spike with a separate copper cable.
Over and above that :)
 
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