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Want to upgrade home network - need pointers

xar

Well-known Member
Hi all,

I have limited to no networking knowledge, other than how to run cables and plug them into unmanaged switches. I am finding my current setup very temperamental, so looking for an upgrade path. By temperamental I mean that that the speed goes up and down regularly especially on hard wired connections, and especially when trying to stream 4k files. Current setup is:

- BT FTTP up to 330mbs
- BT Superhub
- 3 x whole home white discs
- QNAP 251+ NAS upgraded to 8mb ram - 6tb
- Terramaster F2-221 NAS with 2gb RAM - 12tb
- Devolo 1200 and 500 powerline adapters

- Key 'zones' in the house I feed:
  • Home office - cat5 direct from router to a TP link unmanaged switch - links to 2 PCs and a whole home disc
  • Detached garage cinema room - cat5 direct from router to a TP link unmanaged switch - feeds 12 devices (2 x NAS, amp, blu ray, media player, echo dot, etc) - key ones here being that the 2 x NAS devices are in the garage but feed the rest of the house - they are in the garage as I have one of them directly connected to the media player after some performance issues
  • Snug - devolo 500 feeding a TV that feeds from the NAS
  • Main living room - devolo 1200 feeding a TP link unmanaged switch - links to main tv, BT disc, Apple TV - feeds from the NAS regularly
  • Several other rooms have a Devolo feeding a TV or a Mac in my daughters room
Good Stuff
  • BT Whole home works great and I consistently get 185 plus on phones / ipads etc
  • Non 4k streaming from the NAS seems to work fine
  • 4k from the NAS can be fine
  • Netflix / Prime / Disney / ATV all mostly fine
Issues
  • My PCs in the office regularly drop to less than 100 mbps after operating at 300 plus for weeks - have to call BT, reset routers, remove various other devices etc and it seems to fix itself, but is annoying and regular - my 2 year old iMAC is currently getting 60 mbps connected to a TP link switch which connects direct to the router
  • If the NAS is not directly connected to the media player it seems to struggle with 4k files i.e. they play but can end up buffering
  • Devolo into my daughters room is currently delivering 3mbps!
  • I am using all 4 ports on my Superhub - ideally I would run into a hub of some sort and feed more things directly
Next steps

I don't really know what to do next to improve things, but the wifi seems fine so I want to focus on the networking side of things. i.e. how to I improve the consistency of delivery around the house? I was looking a Ubiquiti items after a friend recommended, but I don;t know if its the router, or I need a new 'hub' into the BT Superhub that I connect things too, or better switches in the 'key zones' etc

Any advice on what to look at would be appreciated
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
OK lets start with the BT Superhub. They are great for Grandma with a smart TV and tablet but not really designed to run a smart home off. Neither are the 4 Network Ports Ideal.
So I would start at the beginning and look to replace the 4 ports on the Superhub with a more robust switch. This may alleviate some of the problem. Not knowing what your future expansion is likely to be (re more network drops) I would look at maybe a 24 port or 16 Port unmanaged smart switch.
I tend to use the Netgear ProSAFE Switches as they have a lifetime warranty. Something like this

NETGEAR GS716T v3 ProSAFE 16-Port Smart Gigabit Switch w/ 2x SFP Slots

Powerlines are always a hit and miss affair, depending on how old your wiring is, what other 'noisy' appliances are on the circuit and other extraneous factors. Where possible I would look to replace the powerlines with a Cat 5e/6 cable between your main switch and 'other' rooms. Similarly I would look to try and replace as many links between the home-hub disks with Cat 5e/6 cable. That should sort out the majority of your problems. If it doesnt then I would guess that the next issue is that your Superhub doesnt have enough processing power to provide routing for all of the devices that you have connected. You may then want to replace the Superhub with something with a little more 'oomph'.

Hanging switches off Powerlines is always a tricky affair as there is a lot going on and without being able to look at your network in a little more detail its hard to diagnose exactly where your issues lie. The object of this solution is to try to simplify as many of your links a possible and if possible cable back to your main switch.
 

xar

Well-known Member
Thanks - useful pointers there.

I only have 1 switch hanging off a powerline adapter, and perversely that seems to be the one that works quite well.

What sort of router do you suggest out of interest?
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
Wellllll...... how much do you want to spend? If I was looking at a new router the UniFi Dream Machine would be in my top 3...
But that is me.
 

xar

Well-known Member
Budget undecided at this point - going to research a few Unifi devices
 

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