New router - is it worth it?

Lee H

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Hi all,

is there any point in changing my router? I've got the standard one from my ISP. Hardwired in to the back is the PS3, NAS and one Zone Player. Wireless is a PC, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry.

Knowing that the Sonos creates its own mesh network, what (if any) benefit would I get from changing router? None of my kit is "n" ready either.
 

The_Lhc

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Are you having any particular problems? The only thing I've done is bought a switch and plugged the NAS and wired Sonos zone into that, to get that traffic off the router's backbone so it doesn't work as hard. Other than that it's probably debatable.
 

Lee H

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The version they sent me doesn't cope well with wireless upload (much lower speed than wired) so they're sending an older variant. It just got me thinking about the benefits of one over another. For example, when ripping a CD to the NAS, would it be any quicker with a better router?
 

The_Lhc

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Depends how you rip, if you're using secure mode ripping then it won't matter as it'll be a lot slower than the transfer speed, however if you're just using AccurateRip and doing a LOT of CDs then yes it probably will make a difference. I usually wire my laptop to the switch if I'm doing that.
 

AnotherJoe

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You could be limited by your wireless speed with your PC. It is also important that your wired devices have gigabit ports (and cables). Sonos wont be affected.

Average ripping speed for a CD is around 70Mb/s (56x), or for a DVD around 256Mb/s (24x)

Wireless throughput is around 18Mb/s for G, 40Mb/s for single band N, and around 60-70Mb/s for dual band N. Wireless will run at the speed of the slowest device on the wireless network.

A set of homeplugs AV2-500 will give you around 80-90Mb/s.

Compare that to wired where you will get around 900Mb/s (1Gb ethernet) or 90Mb/s (100Mbit ethernet).

If you only have a router with 100Mb ports you can plug a £10 gigabit switch into 1 port, and then all your gadgets into the switch,

so that everything on the switch can communicate between each other at full gigabit.
 

Lee H

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OK, I think I get that. Networking is not my forte.

You're saying get a gigabit switch, plug that in to one of the router ports and everything that's currently hard wired in to the switch? Also, I'd need to look at Cat 6 cable for the wired devices rather than Cat 5? Even though the router itself isn't going to be rated that highly, the network within my house will be at gigabit speeds?
 

The_Lhc

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Yes but bear in mind that not everything runs at Gigabit (Sonos doesn't, for example, that doesn't matter it'll just negotiate down to 100Mb anyway), some devices that claim to struggle to get anywhere near it due to lack of processing power (some NAS devices for example) and even if everything does support it you're not likely to get anywhere near 900Mb/s anyway. It WILL be a lot faster than wireless for certain but it won't perhaps be as fast as you're imagining. It's arguable whether you need that sort of speed anyway (unless you're streaming video).

Most of that is besides the point anyway as gigabit switches are dirt cheap anyway, so there's no reason not to get one.

Oh and Cat5e will support gigabit.
 

Lee H

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Thanks. Finally, is there a dongle type thing I can get for the desktop to help it take advantage of these speeds?
 

The_Lhc

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I'd be amazed if the PC didn't have an ethernet port built in. If it isn't gigabit then a gigabit PCI card is really cheap, I think I paid about a fiver for mine (it was a while ago, I can't honestly remember but it wasn't much). You'll have to open the thing up and put the card in but that's a piece of pie.
 

Overdose

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Another router would be better, only if you wish to add additional wired connections. These wired connections are faster (have more bandwidth) and can be more stable.

Additional wired connections can be made by adding a simple unmanaged ethernet switch to your router.

The typical number of ports for a router is four. I have run several wired connections for networking, with only mobile devices using the wireless network, but I use a cheap switch on an Orange ADSL router, around £20, would get you a four port router.
 

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