Now I don’t know about you but I cannot live without the internet. It is dynamic and makes everything just more lively. The home networking setup at the time was a simple one and was very slow, but was all that was really required. A router (with a built-in modem), that gave out a wireless signal to devices in the house. Now in this present moment in time, I require far more than just a simple wireless router.
To build a picture of what I mean, we have been lucky enough to upgrade to fiber. It is not to the speed most people get but it is a great staggering improvement. At that time, I became more and more aware of technology and networks. I decided to improve the home network for better (more reliable) connectivity to devices on the local area network (LAN).
Currently, there are 5 computers at home, 4 laptops, and a Synology DS416Play. It is a 4 bay network attached storage (NAS). There are 7 tablets and too many smartphones to count. There is a hive system and an Alexa network. From experience, the more things you have on the network the more the speed will slow down. So what did I do about it?
Know your media
So if you know a little about networking, you would know that you should use wired Ethernet wherever possible. However, if you have a router connected to the master socket and that is in a room completely separate from all other network devices, does that make wireless the only option?
The answer is simply no. Now with the new router we have, it only has two Ethernet ports (such a crime). One Ethernet cable goes to a powerline network. This is a network that uses the electricity from the wall socket that travels throughout your house. In my case, other powerlines are connected to the other PC’s. A brilliant alternative if you cannot get a cable from the router to the device, especially if it is out of range from a wireless signal.
The other Ethernet cable is a very long cable (10 meters). It runs through a door that is rarely ever closed and goes behind all the furniture until it reaches the network switch located at the back of the TV. The network switch is consists of 8 ports and basically allows extending the amount of Ethernet cables you can connect to it as if you were connecting to the router. This is where I connect the following:
- My i7 PC (using two Ethernet ports)
- My NAS (using two Ethernet ports)
- The TV
- My PS4
Why two Ethernet ports? Well for the PC, it does only have one Ethernet port on the motherboard that is used by default. The other Ethernet is actually from a USB to Ethernet adapter the VM connects to. This is to rule out the potential bottleneck that can occur if it was sharing the host Ethernet cable. As for the NAS, there is an adaptive link aggregation bond being used to allow the throughput of data to expand to 2gigabit. In other words, it will benefit in a multi-communication scenario, where multiple devices on the switch-hitting the NAS. The NAS won’t be constrained to deal with packets from one Ethernet lane but split the traffic between the two.
This scenario is likely to change but here is a diagram of how it is now:
The network setup has already changed as I was writing this article up. The fiber speed has increased by the ISP from 37Mbps to 49Mbps (consistent test around the house show 50mbps). I am now utilizing the 802.3ad aggregation link on the NAS by having it connect to the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 which has replaced the switch in the living room. The CPU power in the Netgear Nighthawk router will allow heavy switch use in the living room and blast out WiFi using 802.11ac Quad-Stream Wave2 WiFi.