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"Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-access-point?

snozboz
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"Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-access-point?

I apologise for the long post.  I've highlighted in bold the key parts, so you might be able to scan through and read those bits without the whole story if you're in a rush.

I've just started doing voluntary IT support for a small debt advice organisation called "Money Matters Leicester" (run entirely by volunteers, on a shoe-string budget) that is part of a church.  The first and most urgent thing I am doing to try to prevent their internet drop-outs and slow-downs, is recommending that they move what they call the "router" (a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-access-point provided by their ISP - a technicolor TG588v v2 - in use on an "ADSL up to 20Mbps" unlimited broadband package (NOT fibre)).  It is currently connected (via a microfilter) to the end of a trailing telephone extension lead in the church office on the ground floor and I want to move it upstairs to their own office and connected directly and in close vicinity to the Openreach "Master" socket (via a microfilter of course) - confirmed by an Openreach engineer recently as the "Master" socket when he was called out for a phone fault that he couldn't detect.

The church office downstairs has potentially 4 or 5 computers (desktops and laptops) only one of which currently connects with an ethernet cable, 3 printers of which 2 connect with an ethernet cable, and 4 or 5 smartphones.  This is a total of less-than-or-equal-to 13 client devices, potentially 10 of which connect wirelessly.

The "Money Matters Leicester" office upstairs (directly above the church office) has up to 6 computers, 6 smartphones, and 2 printers. All less-than-or-equal-to 14 client devices currently connect wirelessly to the technicolor device downstairs that I want to move.

In the rest of the church hall building (in different rooms), there may in the near future be the need for up to another 13 client devices to have internet access.

This gives a grand (potential) total of 40 client devices, all wanting internet.  So at some point, the church will have to fork out for fibre - just for the speed/bandwidth.  But this doesn't affect the network infrastructure I'm talking about at this stage.

So... given the numbers of client devices all wanting to connect, many simultaneously downloading and/or uploading, and lots wirelessly, might this be reaching some limit or overloading the technicolor combo-device?  I found the data sheet and manual online, but neither mentions a limit. Or is the only limit that of the ADSL speed?

We will need a new device downstairs in to which the ethernet-connected client devices can plug, and I'm thinking too that it would provide a more reliable WiFi connection for downstairs client devices to connect wirelessly to their own new wireless-access-point which is separate from the (soon-to-be) upstairs wireless-access-point that is part of the technicolor device. Is it worth trying to find a router or switch that includes a wireless-access-point, or are they usually best as separate devices?

This will connect to a new long (20m) ethernet cable through a hole in the floor to the technicolor device upstairs. Is CAT 5e sufficient future proofing to allow for gigabit ethernet at some point? Or should it be CAT 6? And I believe, either way, it should be STP not UTP cable?

Should this new device downstairs be a router (a sort of "slave" to the "master" technicolor one upstairs) to help by taking some of the load/number of clients - even though the data would all end up at the technicolor device eventually?  Or is a switch sufficient?  And do I even need to consider a managed switch, or will an unmanaged switch do the job for these numbers of client devices?

Additionally, if you nice people had any recommendations for particular makes and models to buy or avoid, and where to buy them from, and from where to buy the ethernet cable (and a replacement telephone extension cable, and cable clips), that would be much appreciated too.  If the answer is an unmanaged switch, I was looking at the Netgear GS316-100UKS 16-Port Gigabit Ethernet Desktop Switch which would give surplus ports and gigabit ethernet for future-proofing.

Thanks.

P.S. The downstairs church office has trunking all round the room with ethernet RJ-45 sockets in it, but the "tails" at the end of all this which would have plugged in to a switch have had their RJ-45 plugs cut off by whoever used to rent the room from the church years ago.  So I'm contemplating buying a suitable crimper/terminator tool and some RJ-45 plugs and wiring them up again. Though the last time I did something like this was 17 years ago and was CAT 5 spec only.

8 REPLIES 8
VileReynard
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

A down-lead connected to a switch is perfectly sufficient - ideally use a Gigabit switch and CAT5E ethernet, since the cost difference is tiny. You don't need Cat6. A switch is especially good for data transfers between PC's. If possible, I would transfer as many devices onto ethernet as possible. UTP should be fine - unless you have a lot of electrical interference.

If it helps, you could chain two switches together and not suffer any measurable delay. Will you need a new modem/router when you switch to fibre? If so, these normally come as a combined modem, router and access point with a 4 port Gigabit switch - all crammed into one box.

You won't get anyone to say what a limit is for wifi - it just goes slower and slower with more devices.

If you crimp those cables, I would buy a cheap continuity tester.

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Baldrick1
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

If you’re going to put plugs onto your cable tails then I definitely advise a continuity tester. I have never had much success with a DIY crimping tool. It costs a little bit more but consider fitting sockets instead and using short ready made link cables to your devices. It looks a lot better and the sockets a much easier to fit.

I have used  http://www.cabling4less.co.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5ubslZSk3AIVy7ftCh1gMAHBEAAYASAAEgKGafD_BwE  for parts in the past but a google search will show many alternatives.

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shutter
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

Hardwire any extension sockets..... 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10m-White-CW1724-2-Pair-CAT5E-BT-CABLES-Twisted-Telephone-Network-CW1308-...

If you want more than 10mtrs.... you order QTY 2 and will get one 20mtr length.... order QTY 3 you will get one 30mtr length.

 

You may want to browse "the shop"... pages.... which gives you lots of options and stuff you may need... such as cable clips, extension wall sockets, crimp tools etc....

https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/comms4udotnet?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

 

VileReynard
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

It's very pricey for un-terminated cable - £1 per metre. Solid copper (no aluminium) is good though.

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Baldrick1
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

Keep up chaps, the OP doesn't need cable:


@snozboz wrote:

 P.S. The downstairs church office has trunking all round the room with ethernet RJ-45 sockets in it, but the "tails" at the end of all this which would have plugged in to a switch have had their RJ-45 plugs cut off by whoever used to rent the room from the church years ago.  So I'm contemplating buying a suitable crimper/terminator tool and some RJ-45 plugs and wiring them up again. Though the last time I did something like this was 17 years ago and was CAT 5 spec only.


 

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VileReynard
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

Depending on quantity and layout, it can be cheaper/better to buy cables with plugs already done for you. Especially for a one-off job.

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snozboz
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

The church's ISP says that the number of client devices the technicolor TG588v v2 can handle is only limited by the speed/bandwidth and the DHCP IP address pool.  Is this true for the built-in router AND for the built-in wireless-access-point?  I thought I remembered reading somewhere that some domestic "routers/gateways" can get overloaded by too many client devices connecting or transferring data simultaneously, regardless of speed/bandwidth and size of DHCP IP address pool.

@VileReynard The technicolor can handle fibre (FTTC) or ADSL and, as I said, it is a combined modem/router/switch/wireless-access-point.

Someone at the church has found an old Netgear unmanaged 5-port switch which we're going to try first in the downstairs church office, and a used Netgear 3700 WiFi extender/access-point which we'll connect to the switch downstairs in access-point mode so we have a different WiFi access point and SSID etc for each office - in an old (victorian?) building with cast iron pipes and thick walls etc, I thought it best even if the technicolor could handle the number of client devices.

@Baldrick1 @shutter @VileReynard I am only getting one ethernet cable and one telephone extension cable - both will go from the upstairs "Money Matters Leicester" office to the downstairs church office.

 

The ethernet cable is going from the technicolor to the Netgear switch, and I went for CAT 6 SFTP just to be safe, with plugs already done for me - already terminated.  It was cheaper than @shutter's unterminated CAT 5e recommendation too.

And the telephone extension cable I will wire in to the "Master" socket (it's one of the newest Openreach NTE5c: screwless and don't require a tool to wire and the faceplate attaches with sprung plastic clips), then downstairs I've got a new phone extension socket to mount on the wall.

The ethernet cable "tails" I mentioned are the "other" end of a load of network sockets mounted on trunking around the downstairs church office.  I will indeed get an RJ-45 cable tester if & when I attach plugs to the "tails" to make sure there is a proper connection to the trunking-mounted sockets.  Is there any difference between CAT 5 spec and CAT 5e and CAT 6 spec in the type of RJ-45 plugs I should use or in how I should wire & crimp RJ-45 plugs? (I know there's a difference in the type of cable.)

@Baldrick1 Last time I wired some RJ-45 plugs on to CAT 5 cable, I found them easier to do than the sockets! The punch-down krone tool kept cutting the wire off on the IDC prongs on the back of the sockets without having actually located the wire firmly in place, meaning I had to strip some more insulation and pull some more through.  But on the plugs, it was fiddly to get the wires in the right order and all in to their little channels, but once I'd done that, the crimp tool made a good job of crimping and fixing everything in place firmly - and it was good at cutting and stripping too.

VileReynard
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Re: "Slave" router OR switch to reduce the load on a combi-modem/router/switch/wireless-ac

Cat 6 is really for 10Gbit backbones, Cat 5e is for standard 1Gbit. If you ever want to buy network stuff for 10G it will be very expensive...

Unmanaged switches will be fine.

I don't know if you need anything special for Cat 6 connections - but it will only be running at Cat 5 speeds anyway (unless you have a few spare 10G switches).

CAT 6 SFTP will be very bulky and way over-specified. Don't go round any tight corners.

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