Ethernet - Up And Running

Well, that was easy.

It turns out that the in-wall wires WERE the issue.

Fortunately, the only problem was with the end plugs.

Our electrician had tried out a new type of connector, and hadn't properly run the internal wire pairs.

A quick fix this AM, and the entire Ethernet network crackled to life.

A quick look at our home network:

Cable Modem - Motorola Surfboard 6141

If you're paying a monthly charge to rent your cable modem from your service provider, you're paying too much.

We have a Motorola/Arris SB6141 Surfboard - generally considered to be the best around.

You can get a SB6141 for around $70 - if you're paying $8/month to rent your modem, that means it pays for itself in less than nine months.

The 6141 can only handle internet speeds up to 150 mbps - unfortunately, that's not a problem JUST yet, as our ISP download speeds top out at 50 mbps.

If and when we move to a super-fast internet plan, we'll buy a Surfboard 6183.

Router - Apple Airport Extreme

We use a current-generation Airport Extreme as our router.

The Airport Extreme acts as the central hub of our wi-fi network.

It generally covers the whole house, but we also have two prior-gen Airport Expresses, which help out as wireless extenders (granted, only at wireless-N speeds).

One Express is in the basement, one is upstairs.

The Airport Extreme has 3 LAN ports - ours are used by the Ooma, the ADT Pulse - and a cable connected to our Gigabit Switch.

Switch - Netgear 16-port GS316

This is the central hub of our wired network.

The primary function of an ethernet switch is to provide additional ports.

With the Extreme, we could hard-wire connect 3 devices. Now, we can connect up to 17.

(Wait, 17? I thought you had 3 ports, and added 16!  Yes, but remember, 1 port on the switch, and one port on the router, are needed to connect the switch to the router.)

I was surprised at how small this switch is - but with all of these ports, we'll have plenty of space to add connected devices.

So far, the only devices connected to our switch are 2 Apple TVs, and a MyQ Internet Gateway. I'm going to test out moving some additional devices - ideally, the ADT can make the move ASAP.

However, the primary purpose of the Ethernet is to store and stream media throughout the house. To that end - the two priority "adds" to our network is a NAS and a Mac Mini, which will act as a Plex server for our Apple TVs.

In any case, today was a Great Leap Forward for our home network. Gigabit Ethernet, and the ability to stream video over wires instead of wi-fi, has been one of our primary project goals for some time.


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