Monday, August 18, 2008

New Wireless Network at the House

For the past few years I've been using a Netgear 802.11g WAP to provide the wireless portion of my home LAN. Up until recently it had been rock solid, However, it's been acting a bit flaky lately (e.g., dropped connections), requiring reboots to get it to work.

I've been evaluating WiFi routers at work and last week received two SMCWBR14-N2 v2 Draft-N Barricade boxes. So far I've like what I've seen and in doing some tests this morning with one connected to a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, I was seeing good throughput on both the wired and wireless connections. Since I got two units in from SMC, I decided that I'll put one of them to a real world test. IOW, I'll be installing one at home to use for awhile. Currently, my LAN looks like this:

[Internet]--[SMC8014 gateway]--[Netgear switch]--[Netgear WAP]

My Brother HL-2070N is connected to the switch, as is my MacBook Pro when I'm working at my desk.

The new version will look like:

[Internet]--[SMC8014 gateway]--[Barricade]

Note that I needed the switch because it and the WAP are in a different room than the gateway, and I ran only one piece of CAT5e between the two, so the switch built into the gateway doesn't do me a lot of good. The Barricade has four LAN ports, so I'll be able to take out the switch.

One feature the SMC has is to put the WAN port in bridge mode. It will be connected to an SMC8014 cable modem gateway, so I do not need the wireless box to act as a router. (The 8014 has been extremely reliable, BTW. It just sits behind my TV, tossing packets back and forth.)

Unfortunately, I will have to keep the Barricade in 802.11g mode, since Judith's iBook doesn't have an 802.11n adapter, and I'm not sure about her iPod Touch, either. Still, the bulk of data transferred on my LAN is going through my Internet connection, from one local host to another. So, the 802.11g speeds won't be a bottleneck.

I'll post an update once I've pounded on the Barricade some more.

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