Wiring the house for a Home Network - Part 6 - Identifying Performance Factors of Home Gigabit Networks
Here's the colophon for my home wiring series. Everything is working great. Here's what I learned.
- Cat 6 was very likely overkill for my house, but I still feel better doing it and would do it again, if only for the sense of future-proofness (future-proofocity?) that I have. Cat 5e would very likely have been fine, but the difference in cost was minimal.
- I should have got a wiring closet that was twice as wide as what I got. My closet is large by home standards - it's 4 feet tall - but it's cramped. It's not as tidy as the ones you see in the literature because I used my own switch. Unfortunately it's a 1U switch so it's ridiculously Velcro-ed to the back of the panel, making the whole thing look kind of less-than-sanitary.
- Once you get a really reliable wireless router, don't ever flash the firmware, or even look at it crooked. I've got a new Verizon FIOS ActionTec router and it's rock solid. It's perfect. It's so good I'm shocked how bad the original old one I had was. The wireless performance is stellar and complete, with coverage throughout the whole house (it's a big house). The signal is strong and every single laptop - even the ones that I thought of as finicky - connect perfectly to it. If you're having wireless problems, it's probably your router.
- WPA (AES) is a nice simple and very secure way to setup your wireless if you've got Vista or Mac clients throughout. I am also able to get my Wii and PSP hooked up to the wireless easily. Seriously, take the time and give up on WEP and go update your whole house to WPA today.
- Unless you're like me, a 100 megabit network is likely all you need and you'll probably not max its bandwidth out. It was very challenging to get a file copy to 60-80 megs a second and how often does one do that really? My network runs between 0% and 1% utilization. ;) That said, I'm still happy it's done.
Tim Heuer pointed me to Anthony Park's blog today as he's done a VERY VERY detailed analysis of Identifying Performance Factors of Home Gigabit Networks with a in-depth PDF explaining their methodology. They did 192 different scenarios and the conclusion is amazing enough that you have to read it for yourself.
Anyway, here's the full series of posts on home wiring so far: