I work from home and all my communication and all my home entertainment is done over IP via my home network. I'd like to take my consumer-grade home network to the next level but I'm unsure where to start.
If I wanted to move from say, consumer grade wired and wireless, to small office grade wired and wireless where would I look? Can I build a better performing, more secure and more reliable home network without going way over the top?
Currently I run a D-Link DIR-655 and it's fed in to an SMC cable modem accessing the top tier service that's available in my area from my cable company.
On my wired network I have:
- An older Vonage Linksys router (currently set to the DMZ), serves up two VOIP lines (home and office)
- HTPC running Windows XP SP3 connected via GBit ethernet, used mainly for streaming high definition Netflix and cable company on-demand services
- iMac connected via GBit ethernet
- Xbox 360 (latest generation so I think it's Gbit) via ethernet, used mainly for gaming and the occasional high definition Netflix stream
And for wireless use I have:
- 2 x 2010 MacBook Pros running OS X 10.6.7 using the N band
- 2 x iPhone 3GS (not sure what the use)
- Playstation 3 using the N band, used mainly for standard definition Netflix streaming
- HP OfficeJet 6500 E709N
On the internal network there's a fair bit of traffic to the iMac as it serves as a TimeMachine hub for the MBPros. All the Apple machines in the house stream a fairly heavy amount of outbound data at night as they do another level of back to the cloud via CrashPlan.
During the day time network traffic is typically work-related stuff, which tends to be a lot of VoIP via Vonage and Skype and TTY type stuff, but there's also standard definition Netflix streaming happening as my kids watch the occasional Sponge Bob or Backyardigans episode.
At night there is usually at least a standard definition video stream happening, plus VoIP, plus traffic from the XBox for game data.
I'm definitely running the DIR-655 hot with all this traffic now. And a bi-daily reboot because it's locked up is not uncommon any more. It's as well vented as can be, I just don't think it can keep up with the demands.
So how do I scale up to the next level? I don't mind spending some money since having consistent network is a requirement for my business. On my wish list is:
- More Gbit wired ports (there's a NAS in my near future and I'd wire more if I had more ports)
- The ability to put more machines in the DMZ (I'd hang my 360, PS3 and Vonage router in the DMZ if I could -- right now it's just the Vonage router)
- The ability to extend my wireless network (right now coverage is lousy on the top floor of my house and the signal doesn't exist in my back or front yard which means I can't work outside in the nice weather; something I'd like to be able to do)
- Good traffic shaping and traffic prioritization so I can balance Netflix streaming during the day with business traffic, and the different types of entertainment and communication streams after hours
Should I be looking for separate pieces (wired router, wireless bridge) to make this a more small-office grade network? Are their wireless components that will let me better extend my wireless network to the outside of my house? Without asking for shopping recommendations, I'd like to keep my budget in the