Wireless v. Wired Networks

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  #1  
Old 06-09-03, 07:34 PM
timgeorge
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Wireless v. Wired Networks

I'm building a home entertainment network and am still in the research and planning stage. My question for this forum is the pros and cons of going wireless or not.

Will a wireless LAN have the capacity to play MP3's throughout the house. The server will be upstairs and the main entertainment center (TV/stereo) will be in the basement. Do the wireless routers have enough to get through two floors and a couple of walls? Also, can a wireless (or wire for that matter) handle both the MP3 traffic and sharing an internet connection?

Are there other factors I should consider as I plan out the network infrastructure?

I know that was a mouthful. Thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-10-03, 07:28 AM
MichaelJP
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Hi, I am not an expert here on networking, though I can do it I dont get a lot of practice.

From what I see most wireless networks will run at 11Mbps (Mega Bits Per Second, not Mega Bytes) This should be plenty of bandwidth for 160Kbps mp3 music.

Combined with internet sharing you may find your music skips a little when someone does something on the internet that requires a lot of bandwidth.

Wired networks can run at 100Mbps.
Home radio stations on cable or DSL broadcast MP3 music and voice 128kbps.

I have a wired network at 10Mbps, with 2 1+Ghz machines on win98se. I can listen to mp3 from on system while I'm on the internet. It may skip a little once in a while but not enough to be upsetting.

So I would say, in my humble opinion, if you have the money go wireless it is less of a headache then running wire.
There are drawbacks. If you leave the network open without security then anyone can access your network. All they have to do is drive up close enough to your house to get the signal then they can get on the network. So if you go wireless secure it.

Wireless should be able to cover your house and yard. Some "hackers" have put larger antennas and spread the signal for a few miles.


Michael
 
  #3  
Old 06-10-03, 08:31 AM
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I believe wireless LAN has reached speeds much higher than 11Mbps, for example (from the <a href="http://www.dlink.com">D-Link.com Site</a>: )

<b>DWL-6000AP</b>
<ul><li>"At transfer rates of up to 72Mbps in the 5GHz frequency range and 22Mbps in the 2.4GHz frequency range."
</ul>
<b>DI-624</b>
<ul><li>"...the D-Link AirPlus Xtreme G series of high-speed devices capable of transfer rates up to 54Mbps."
</ul>
<b>DWL-2000AP</b>
<ul><li>"...the D-Link AirPlus Xtreme G series of high-speed devices capable of transfer rates up to 54Mbps."
</ul>

However, even if you had the DWL-6000AP running at 5GHz (probably expensive?) - that's still not 100Mbps, what you get with a 10/100 Ethernet Network.

If you really want the best sound and the best setup, you'll have to go wired and setup a 10/100 network. You could also opt for a combo router/hub - I know Linksys makes one, but I can't find it on their site (and I don't see it in the Product Guide, so it may not be available anymore.) You can use wireless bridges that basically turn a hardwired connection into a wireless connection, but that gets expensive.

I say, go out, get a box of Cat5e and do some wire runs. It will offer higher speed, more security, and less headache (once it's installed, of course )

Good luck!
 
  #4  
Old 06-10-03, 08:45 AM
timgeorge
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On the subject of wire runs:

The "wired" version of the cd3o MP3 device (www.cd3o.com) requires a CAT 5 cable, as would a computer on the network. Can I share a single CAT 5 run between the two devices or should I run a pair of cables instead?
 
  #5  
Old 06-10-03, 09:18 AM
MichaelJP
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I don't mean to be contrary but at 10Mbs I can listen to CD quality MP3 and surf the net with almost no problems.
I would imagine that anything higher than 10Mbps would solve any problems completely.

I guess I was in my usual frame of mind when I said most wireless are 11Mbps because I would never buy the DWL-6000AP for myself ($229.00)

The problem with wiring a network is usually the time and headache involved in crawling through basements, attics and such. Also if you have a huge number of devices to network you can quickly have enough wires to redo NY

If I was going to make a home network again for myself, and had the money, I would probably go wireless since I could then sit in my backyard and use a laptop. Think of it, seeing the sun

I do agree, from not having a lot of experience with networking (I've only done a few) and no experience with wireless, that wired is probably easier to manage once it is up.

I don't know, has there ever been reports of problems with wireless during heavy storms? I would think the high frequency would prevent it but when dealing with RF it is still possible.

Michael
 
  #6  
Old 06-10-03, 09:36 AM
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That's a pretty cool device - although, for a simple music server (is it fair to call it a music server?), it's somewhat expensive. After all, all it does is communicate with the installed software to deliver the music to the receiver.

But, to answer your question, you would need to run a Cat5 to your computer (or if you use wireless, you wouldn't), and you would need to run a Cat5 to the CD3O (if you use the wired version - C100.) Now, here's the thing, the C100 connects through your router/switch/hub to communicate with your server and network, so you don't have to have the C100 next to your computer - the server computer can be anywhere in the house, as long as it's on the same network. Of course, the main concern is to put your C100 next to your stereo receiver, as it has to be hardwired to the receiver via the RCA cable.

Does that answer your question? Or did I misread it?
 
  #7  
Old 06-10-03, 09:49 AM
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Ok, so Michael's correct about one thing, the DL-6000 is expensive (as I figured it would be, but I didn't check pricing either - that was not an issue at the time.) But, since it's been brought up, let's talk about the DI-624 which has a 54Mbps capability and runs only $80 (<a href="http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-Details.asp?sku=D700-2144%20P">Tigerdirect.com</a>) and that's just the first place I looked, you could probably find a better rebate on it and get it cheaper somewhere else.

Or the DWL-2000, which list for $130, with no rebate (<a href="http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-Details.asp?sku=D700-2146">Tigerdirect.com</a>.) So, it would seem that 11Mbps is not the limit anymore - even in reasonably priced hardware.

Again, if you want the convenience of wireless, you could easily purchase both a wired hub and a wireless hub (or a combo, if you can find one.) Then you have the wireless bridges, etc.

Trust me, when you're transferring large files (like MP3's) over a network, that 10x faster support makes a huge difference. Not to mention, what if you decide to play some LAN games or transfer all of your music from one machine to another, or any number of other possibilities - 10 compared to 100 is a huge difference. You're talking about the difference between a dial-up connection and a cable internet connection - I know I couldn't go back.
 
  #8  
Old 06-10-03, 11:05 AM
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Just as a quick note. If you're going to go with the faster Wireless Access points like the DI-624, make sure that all of your Wireless Cards/adapters can take advantage of the speed.
The most common cards/adapters for quite awhile were 802.11b. If you are looking for a bargain card now, you may find one of these.
I believe the DI-624 uses 802.11G which gives it the higher transfer rate. An 802.11b card should be able to access that network, but only at the 11 Mbps transfer rate it is spec'ed at. As always, check the box to make sure.

I've got an 802.11b wireless network in my place and I love it. LinkSys router with a D-Link Wireless Access point. That being said, if I am going to transfer large amounts of data, I'll hook up a physical connection on the fly.
The house is about 2000 Sq. ft. spread over 3 floors (finished attic and basement).
There are some dead spots in the house but I get a good signal nearly everywhere. It's impossible to determine how good a range you'll get until you get it in your house.
 
  #9  
Old 06-10-03, 11:15 AM
timgeorge
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Question Alternative Devices

I certainly agree that at $150-$250 a piece the cd3o devices are on the pricey side. (my wife really agrees with you)

Are there alternatives to converting MP3's to standard audio? I'm pretty smart on wired networks having built a few at work, know a very little about the wireless ones and know less-than-nothing on converting digital audio and video to stereos and tv's
 
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Old 06-10-03, 11:29 AM
timgeorge
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This next question will really show my wireless knowledge void.....

What is the difference between a router and an access point?

Will I need both to run MP3's and share my high speed internet?
 
  #11  
Old 06-10-03, 12:20 PM
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The router is what is going to be responsible for sharing out your internet connection.
The Wireless Access Point is what would provide you with a Wireless network.

You can get a combined router and access point from many companies. If you haven't done much of this type of setup before that might be a good route to go.
If you go to
http://cnet.search.com/search?timeou...ireless+router
they've got user reviews out there. I use cnet quite a bit to go over user reviews before buying a piece of technology.

I used to have a combined 4 port router/switch with a built in wireless access point. It worked well before I forgot to move it into a sealed area before I sanded all of my hardwood floors (it was not amused with all of the sawdust).

I had a spare router so I just bought the separate access point to recreate the wireless network.
Hope this answers your question.
 
  #12  
Old 06-12-03, 11:29 AM
timgeorge
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ALmost there ;-)

After a brief discussion with my wife, I think we'll go wireless. I like the idea of the higher speed and reliability of wired, but the wife tells me that we (she) may be doing some room swapping as the the kids move from crib to bed so the location of the server may change a number of times......with that said....

I'm trying to decide what to buy. D-link v. Linksys v. NetGear. From what's been discussed, I'll need both an access point (AP) and router built-in, plus it'll have to run 802.11b to communicate with the cd3o devices.

If I could pick your brains one last time, what would you all recommend?

Thanks again.
 
  #13  
Old 06-12-03, 02:39 PM
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I always recommend Linksys, but that mainly because that's all I use, and I had pretty good luck with it.
 
  #14  
Old 06-12-03, 02:42 PM
MichaelJP
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Personally I like NetGear but they are all pretty good.

I simply like Netgear because I have dealt with D-Link's and NetGear's support service.

Dlink's support was very short.

NetGear spent 2 hours on the phone with me and were very curtious the entire time.

Michael
 
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Old 06-12-03, 03:17 PM
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I like both Linksys and D-Link (never used NetGear, but I hear good things.) It's not absolutely necessary to stay with one brand, you can mix them, however, I wouldn't recommend it. I haven't used wireless, as I always just run my wires (when you have Cat5 laying around, this is the logical option.) I actually will be looking in to getting wireless setup soon, as I have a few laptops I would like to make completely mobile. But, at this point, can't really help with selection.

Personally, I couldn't tell you about how good support is for D-Link, NetGear, or Linksys, as I've never had to call. Pretty much anything you need you can usually find online at the manufacturer's site anyway, but that's not always the case. Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and walk you through it (2 hours of support from anyone is excellent - and very unusual.) Of course, with most of your problems, you can always come here and ask the experts

Good luck! Let us know what you decide - I'd be interested to hear for my own reasons.
 
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Old 06-13-03, 06:04 AM
timgeorge
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Thanks again for all of your help. I have found this web site to be the single greatest source for expert advice on the net. I even rewired my entire basement ,including adding a sub-panel, with help from the Electrical forum.

I'll report back to this post once I make a purchase and get things up and running.

Cheers
 
  #17  
Old 06-13-03, 07:15 PM
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tae
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Dont forget the gigabit 10/100/1000 network. Now thats fast. If you can rewire the basement, you can setup a wired home network. Running a cable into every room is no big deal, just like running a(video)cable in every room. Look for the wireless to change and advance, just like wireless phones. when it does, it will require all new equipment. Just a thought.

p.s. for a few measly thousand, you can get a product to extend the gigabit network up to 40 kilometers without switches or repeaters. With enough cable(and money) you can go pretty far!
 
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