Please advise, custom or bought?



  • Hi guys,

    I'm networking my house (~20 or so ports).  Only 10 or so being used by printer, xbox, pcs, nas, media box, etc..

    I'm quite disturbed about how little movement the consumer routers have moved over the years.  Today's "best" consumer routers seem to fail after 400+ concurrent connections which puts me in a position with two options:

    1. make a custom router (take a older pc, put two 1 gigabit nic cards in, one for internet, one for network). then take a 24 port switch and connect to pc (the tough thing is I'm limited to 1 gigabit regardless of the 24 port gigabit switches since they are all piped into the 1 gigabit in the custom pc/router)
    2. find a reliable 24 port gigabit router that won't freeze up under many connections (anything that can handle 1,000+ or so connections should be ok)


  • I think you should not worry about the 1Gb capacity as long as you do not have more than 1 Gb on your connection to the internet. And even then, with a decent switch you could do port trunking to put 4 or more Gb throught to your clients. The usual home highspeed bandwidth internet line does not go over 50 Mbit.

    Personally, I did exactly your first solution at home. Take a PC, put pfSense on it and buy a good switch. I prefer to have a manageable switch so that I can also divide my home network in different segments using VLANs. But honestly, for a home network that might not be necessary.

    The advantage of this solution is to have all traffic going through the firewall and you can use nice packages such as switch to make your traffic even faster.



  • Makes sense, what about a product such as http://www.titanwirelessonline.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=RB-493AH instead of a home PC?  Do you think it has the capacity to handle all the needs.

    The custom router is doable but it's just extra work that I may not have time to invest in.



  • That device looks pretty sweet.  Don't know about the NIC's though….......Do you know what type of NIC's they are?  I looked at the info and nothing is listed.



  • Excuse me if i'm being Dippy but why would you be limited to 1Gbit  ???

    Depending on the setup surely LAN > LAN traffic should go via the switch and not need to be processed by the PC

    So really your limited to whatever the backplane on the switch can handle.

    I used to connect a couple PC's together via a 1Gbit switch which then connected to a 100Mbit port on a powerline networking adaptor.  (which often struggled to get more than 30Mbit)

    I could still transfer data between the pc's on that switch at over 300Mbit+/s  (which is about where my "server" machine which was an old pc, would bottleneck on the I/O to the disks)

    So I can't see the Single port on the server being a bottleneck unless your WAN speed is 1Gbit/s +



  • That's exactly right. I think mrmega was not sure, if the 1Gb would be a bottleneck for his internet line. But, as I said, it is unlikely that you ever have a 1Gb line in the next couple of years at home.



  • Oh ok so a quick question then.  I have a switch connected to a router with 10 items in it so the switch now has 10 IPs (let's say 192.168.1.11-192.168.1.20  If 192.168.1.13 requests a file from 192.168.1.14 does it go back to the router or since the switch already knows the ip belongs to port "5" does it just send it through and doesn't bother the router?



  • It does send it through directly at full speed and does not bother the router. That's the whole idea of a switch. Moreover, if Port 1 and 2 exchange data, port 3 and 4 can do it at full speed whereas port 5-8 connect to the internet etc.



  • Just a thought….you might prefer to keep the switch and firewall separate.  That way if your firewall has a problem..it does not take down your whole network.  Having a separate switch means that even if your firewall is down/broken/...etc your devices on your network can still communicate with each other.



  • @Monoecus:

    It does send it through directly at full speed and does not bother the router. That's the whole idea of a switch. Moreover, if Port 1 and 2 exchange data, port 3 and 4 can do it at full speed whereas port 5-8 connect to the internet etc.

    I believe (I'm no networking expert)that an ARP request is sent and the switch then learns the MAC of the connected network device and the port it's connected to.

    All traffic that device is then sent to the device on the switch.

    Only thing the router might be hit with is some broadcast traffic and ARP requests to find out what's where.

    A switch unlike a Hub (Hub will broadcast everything to all ports) has intellegence and knows which port a device is connected to  even if there are other switches between it and the device.

    Even the el-cheapo unmanaged switches can remember at least a couple hundred if not a couple thousend mac addresses.


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