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I have an all-in-one Netgear DG834GT on the ground floor of my house, connected to my ADSL line. My desktops and server are connected to it over ethernet, laptops usually over wifi, but sometimes over ethernet for backups etc.

I want to rearrange my house and so in future want to be able to connect multiple PCs over ethernet (mostly) and wifi (sometimes) on the ground or upper floor, with the minimum of cabling work.

I don't want to go as far as putting Ethernet wall jacks in. Current wifi signal upstairs is unreliable.

I'm not really clear what hardware I need to add. Can I run a single Cat 5e cable from the DG834GT, to the upper floor and put another similar (but without modem) combined wired router/wifi point on the end? Are there any other considerations?

The 834GT is 100 Mbit and wireless-G; PCs are a mix of 100/1000 Mbit, Wireless-G and -N. It probably makes sense for any new hardware to support the higher speeds.

I think power-line based networking is out as the floors are each on a different ring.

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2 Answers

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Run a single ethernet cable to the upstairs, then put a switch on the end. This will give you 4 (assuming you get a cheap 5 port switch) ports upstairs to do with as you wish. If you then want wifi upstairs you can add a seperate access point hanging off the switch.
You could, if you only want a decent wifi signal upstairs, run a single cat5 upstairs and put a stand alone access point on the end. If you want a cheap, G only access point then I suggest the tp-link wa501g, available from diskdepot for not very much.
Lastly, powerline networking will work through your consumer unit, so the fact it is a seperate ring main shouldn't matter, only if they are seperate meters will it probably not work.

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I agree with running a single ethernet up there, but instead of a switch I'd just add another router to bridge all traffic to your NetGear. Single access points often have only 1 ethernet connector on them so might as well just get another router and have a little more flexibility. –  shank Dec 23 '09 at 20:25
    
Yes but buying seperates gives more flexability, especially when one of them fails. Also adding a cheap router will mean sticking another NAT device in the middle of your LAN. Not sure what the cheapest router is that lets you turn off NAT, but why have the complication? –  pipTheGeek Dec 24 '09 at 17:34
    
Many thanks pip - went with a switch. –  e100 Dec 28 '09 at 16:20
    
Glad to see you figured it out. @pipTheGeek: if you use the router as a wireless bridge then NAT doesn't enter into the equation at all. Hence, no complication. –  shank Dec 31 '09 at 17:19
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One option would be to use high gain antennas as shown here.

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Hmmm, I don't want to fill my house with antennas, for aesthetic reasons! Also Ethernet connectivity is secondary to wifi upstairs, have editd question to make this clearer. –  e100 Dec 23 '09 at 17:36
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It wouldn't necessarily be filling your house with antennas. I bought some for my Linksys access point that replaced the existing antennas and added a couple of inches to the total height. They really changed the coverage and I'm the only one that notices the difference. –  Mike Chess Dec 23 '09 at 18:04
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