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  #1  
Old 05-03-2012, 01:26 PM
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IVB IVB is offline
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Network Design help (routers & switches)

I need some help from those of you who understand network designs & hardware. I know the basics, but I seem to be unable to fix certain problems. Happy to upgrade my router or add other hardware, but I feel like i'm just randomly doing stuff now.

As you all know from my other threads, i'm hoping to ditch DirecTV within days and move to an OTA->SageTV and HuluPlus/AmazonIV/Netflix->Roku model.

I also have the regular setup of any SageTV user (several PCs), plus a variety of IP controlled stuff over my network for CQC. I have somewhere ~24 network ports throughout the house, plus ~ 7 WiFi devices.

I currently have a Linksys pre-N router and a single 24 port Gigabit switch. All devices plug into the switch, only one connection to the router.

Current Issues:
1) My daughter claims that on her laptop (b-speed), Netflix streaming regularly requires up to 20m of buffering before she can watch a show uninterrupted. She doesn't watch that much netflix though, perhaps 2-3 shows/week.
2) For some reason, the living room SageTV box is unable to playback HiDef home movies. I've tried both an HD200 and HD300, re-ran the wiring, upgraded the network switch.

I have those issues, but honestly we've rarely done much streaming so I don't know what else could be coming down the line.

I just got a coupon for $50 off a Belkin N900 router.

Anyone here think a better router could have any impact on those? Or, should I get a 2nd gigabit switch and separate the a/v hardwired traffic from the other traffic? (although the other traffic is seriously low bandwidth)

Thanks for any help, or even any locations to research.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:14 PM
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I'm no expert on network design, so others may have more detailed info for you. But, rather than guessing or throwing different hardware at the problem, first run some networking tests to see if you've got a bottleneck somewhere. Here's a few options.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:40 PM
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If you are having issues streaming content from a server on the network to an hd200/300 on the network i would tend to think it is NOT the router, however if the router is old and starting to reach EOL its possible. If for instance your switch doesn't have its own address table stored locally, then it would have to go back to the router(and its routing table) everytime it needed info on where something was located on the network...if the router is having issues, this could of course bring your network to a crawl. (I am pretty sure that most switches managed/unmanaged these days have their own route tables...but i could be wrong)

i would try the following if I were you
1) take daughters laptop and plug directly into router
2) stream netflix and see if you have an issue (im guessing NO)
3) use a network graphing/analysis tool which will allow you to see traffic in/out of your switch
4) Draw a diagram for yourself of the network topology in your house to help you and us better analyze where you may be seeing bottlenecks.
5) check to see if there are any firewall conflicts on the network (mainly windows/win firewall not behaving properly on your network and with other network devices)
6) i would check to see if there is a spyware malware running on any of your many connected devices. sometimes this type of junk can bring your network to a screeching halt.
7) i would test transfers from one device to another through your switch. See if you notice anything out of the ordinary afa speed goes
8) i would uplug the router from the network all together, and see if you notice and increase in the speed on the local lan. If your router is also you rDHCP server, then you may need to of course either manually assign ip addresses to your devices, use a different dhcp server, or simply unplug the WAN uplink on the router.

just a few things i would try, but there are a ton of different things that could be going on here to be quite honest.

hope that at least gets you started.

as a point of reference, i have the following setup
service = comcast
router = PFsense running on an dual core intel atom
lan switch = 24 port gigbit unmanaged switch
WAP = apple airport extreme
lan devices = 17 total devices
wlan devices = 6 total devices

I can stream 5 simultaneous blurays to sperate tv's while uploading a large file (usually bluray) to the unraid server, while sage is recording 2 + HD streams from HDHR's, and watching an amazon VoD via roku...not problems at all..
I only know i can do this because i was geekin out one day and wanted to test my network capabilities :-D
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:38 PM
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I see one problem with your daughter's laptop. If she is using b speed wifi I'm willing to bet that has quite a bit to do with the issue. A good wireless router is a very good place to start. Asus just came out the their flagship model and it is arguably the best on the market. If wireless issues are the main concern I'd start there (I'm actually going to because my carrier supplied router is a POS).

Also, make sure your switch isn't causing any issues. Your hard wired sage box shouldn't have any issues playing just about anything unless the networking equipment is all 10/100, then I could see a potential issue.
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:58 PM
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thanks for the guidance, esp to pix64 for the detailed steps. I've been meaning to map out the whole network anyhow, i'll do that this weekend to see whats going where. I'm bumping up against the limits of my switch anyhow, so I may seriously consider adding a 2nd one.

It also occurs to me that my patch panel is mega-old, i got it used 5 years ago. Now, it would seriously suck to have to yank out every wire and re-test, but it wouldn't be so bad if I just got a new patch panel and put the 4 SageTV/Roku, 1 primary server, and the 2 hardwired computers on it.

That wouldn't address the daughter laptop issue but I wonder if it would be the culprit behind the SageTV issue. The other SageTV box has no such problems.
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:11 PM
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You might also get on http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ They have a VERY good site, and a lot more "network" people. Not saying the people on the SageTV forum are bad, but that site is VERY good for networking.
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2012, 10:11 PM
rgroves rgroves is offline
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802.11B is Sloooowwww. Probably most of her issue. Try using a cable plugged into the switch or router, see if it's any better.... it probably will be. If it is, then it could be time to get her a wireless N adapter (the micro kind that don't stick out 1/2 mile from the laptop). That would be the cheapest for for her laptop.

Do the HD200 and 300 work/stream OK from other places on your network? If so, that points to the cabling, patch cables, or the port on the switch. Try another port on the switch and see if it's any better. You could also test with only the SageTV and HD200/300 plugged into the router (remove the switch) and see if it works.
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  #8  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post
thanks for the guidance, esp to pix64 for the detailed steps. I've been meaning to map out the whole network anyhow, i'll do that this weekend to see whats going where. I'm bumping up against the limits of my switch anyhow, so I may seriously consider adding a 2nd one.

It also occurs to me that my patch panel is mega-old, i got it used 5 years ago. Now, it would seriously suck to have to yank out every wire and re-test, but it wouldn't be so bad if I just got a new patch panel and put the 4 SageTV/Roku, 1 primary server, and the 2 hardwired computers on it.

That wouldn't address the daughter laptop issue but I wonder if it would be the culprit behind the SageTV issue. The other SageTV box has no such problems.
no problem.. its a good start, and we can all keep trouble shooting with you from there. keeps us posted.
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  #9  
Old 05-04-2012, 11:13 PM
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With the variety of traffic both wired and wireless you may consider having a router and a separate wireless access point. Basically, what Pix was saying. He's got the pfSense router and the Airport Extreme for wireless duties. That way your router can be tasked with only internet traffic and everything runs through your switch. That's the way I have mine setup now and it works great. When it's working! My router is flaking on me too. I'm actually in the process of building a pfSense box. My old DDWRT router has reached the end of the line. I spec'd out what I think will be a great router today. It'll run about 160 shipped for a pretty deft router. I have the ram and hdd. Here's what I'm going with:

http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D2500C...TX-Motherboard
http://www.mini-box.com/M350-univers...-itx-enclosure
and pico-psu
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2012, 05:44 AM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrems View Post
With the variety of traffic both wired and wireless you may consider having a router and a separate wireless access point. Basically, what Pix was saying. He's got the pfSense router and the Airport Extreme for wireless duties. That way your router can be tasked with only internet traffic and everything runs through your switch. That's the way I have mine setup now and it works great. When it's working! My router is flaking on me too. I'm actually in the process of building a pfSense box. My old DDWRT router has reached the end of the line. I spec'd out what I think will be a great router today. It'll run about 160 shipped for a pretty deft router. I have the ram and hdd. Here's what I'm going with:

http://www.mini-box.com/Intel-D2500C...TX-Motherboard
http://www.mini-box.com/M350-univers...-itx-enclosure
and pico-psu
If you're using this for pfSense read up on the Realtek adapters.

B
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  #11  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcjenkins View Post
If you're using this for pfSense read up on the Realtek adapters.

B
Huh... Thanks for alerting me. I swear I thought this model had dual intel nics... Yeah, this isn't the same model I originally found. Or, there was a typo on the specs... Now I'll have to figure out what model I was looking at. Fortunately, I haven't ordered yet.
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2012, 11:56 AM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrems View Post
Huh... Thanks for alerting me. I swear I thought this model had dual intel nics... Yeah, this isn't the same model I originally found. Or, there was a typo on the specs... Now I'll have to figure out what model I was looking at. Fortunately, I haven't ordered yet.
This is the one I am using for pfSense: http://www.supermicro.com/products/s...a-ehf-d525.cfm

It is more expensive than your specification which is why I was interested in yours (I have a few more that I would build)

B
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  #13  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:26 PM
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I looked at that one too until I found the dual lan d2500. I sent an email to mini-box to clarify the lan chipset to be sure. I looked up the d2500cce on other sites and it's listed as Intel nics.... Intel 52574L to be exact: http://www.logicsupply.com/products/d2500cce

I hope that mini-box has a typo, I'd really like to get the board and case at the same time... I know from the pfSense forums there is currently an issue with the graphics with this particular board. It seems hit or miss though. Some people are having zero problems. It sounds like a 32 bit install is the recommended install. Which is more than fine for my purposes I'll let you know what I hear from them. My last email to them went unanswered for 4 days so it may take a bit...
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  #14  
Old 05-08-2012, 06:43 AM
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I just heard back from Mini-Box. They confirmed and fixed their mistake on their website. It is Intel dual lan.
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  #15  
Old 05-10-2012, 09:51 AM
nyplayer nyplayer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PiX64 View Post
snipped from original quote.

i would try the following if I were you
1) take daughters laptop and plug directly into router
2) stream netflix and see if you have an issue (im guessing NO)
3) use a network graphing/analysis tool which will allow you to see traffic in/out of your switch
4) Draw a diagram for yourself of the network topology in your house to help you and us better analyze where you may be seeing bottlenecks.
5) check to see if there are any firewall conflicts on the network (mainly windows/win firewall not behaving properly on your network and with other network devices)
6) i would check to see if there is a spyware malware running on any of your many connected devices. sometimes this type of junk can bring your network to a screeching halt.
7) i would test transfers from one device to another through your switch. See if you notice anything out of the ordinary afa speed goes
8) i would uplug the router from the network all together, and see if you notice and increase in the speed on the local lan. If your router is also you rDHCP server, then you may need to of course either manually assign ip addresses to your devices, use a different dhcp server, or simply unplug the WAN uplink on the router.

just a few things i would try, but there are a ton of different things that could be going on here to be quite honest.

hope that at least gets you started.

as a point of reference, i have the following setup
service = comcast
router = PFsense running on an dual core intel atom
lan switch = 24 port gigbit unmanaged switch
WAP = apple airport extreme
lan devices = 17 total devices
wlan devices = 6 total devices

I can stream 5 simultaneous blurays to sperate tv's while uploading a large file (usually bluray) to the unraid server, while sage is recording 2 + HD streams from HDHR's, and watching an amazon VoD via roku...not problems at all..
I only know i can do this because i was geekin out one day and wanted to test my network capabilities :-D
One thing I like about this forum is the sharing of info. I was having intermittent problems with my router ... download speeds erratic etc had to reset it every other day... Saw your post about pfsense.

Installed it on a retired laptop with built in nic and a usb2 nic card.. and viola all my problems are gone. I use the laptop as a router now and it even has its own UPS ... battery backup. It even helped with Sage response on my clients.

1. Comcast modem connect to FPsense router
2. FPsense connects to 4 port switch.
3. 4 port switch connects to 2 wireless access points one exclusively for Sagetv also connects to 8 port gigabit switch.
4. 8 port Gigabit swith connects to sage server and 4 clients and 2 other developement pcs.

PS. This sure helped because right now I do not want to replace any equipment because... I do not know what the future holds.
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Last edited by nyplayer; 05-10-2012 at 10:27 AM.
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  #16  
Old 05-10-2012, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyplayer View Post
One thing I like about this forum is the sharing of info. I was having intermittent problems with my router ... download speeds erratic etc had to reset it every other day... Saw your post about pfsense.

Installed it on a retired laptop with built in nic and a usb2 nic card.. and viola all my problems are gone. I use the laptop as a router now and it even has its own UPS ... battery backup. It even helped with Sage response on my clients.

1. Comcast modem connect to FPsense router
2. FPsense connects to 4 port switch.
3. 4 port switch connects to 2 wireless access points one exclusively for Sagetv also connects to 8 port gigabit switch.
4. 8 port Gigabit swith connects to sage server and 4 clients and 2 other developement pcs.

PS. This sure helped because right now I do not want to replace any equipment because... I do not know what the future holds.
AWESOME!

Glad it helped.

pfsense is in a word amazing for a free product. If i were running my own business which will happen in the near future, i will be using pfsense in that application as well.

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Old 05-12-2012, 10:20 AM
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tomatodave tomatodave is offline
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Now I had to try it

Thanks to all in this thread. I too have been questioning little glitches as router issues. I also had an old PC sitting in the basement, that I dusted off and found an extra NIC and harddrive for. So one evening of gathering parts and another evening of tinkering I had pfsense up and running. I don't have everything configured quite yet (opening the ports for placeshifter), but I am impressed. The configuration looks fairly straightforward, just different than what I am used to.

I won't know if it fixes anything until I learn how to configure everything, but I am happy for now. I like to tinker so its all good.

Total cost of this tinkering ZERO DOLLARS!!

well for now, that will probably change when I build a new one, but for now no cost.

OK, still tinkering but I guess I am not smart enough to open port 31099 for sage. this is the fun part pf tinkering with new things
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Last edited by tomatodave; 05-13-2012 at 11:49 AM.
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