Network Upgrade Part 1

Decided it was finally time to get out of the 90s and into the 10s? 21st Century that is. All my computers are Gigabit ready but the backbone of the whole network is still Fast Ethernet, 100Mbps. Even the wires were wired with CAT5 cables. This was done way back in early 2003-2004 Era when it was my dad who was the computer expert around the house. Since then, the network infrastructure hasn’t really changed much beyond adding Ethernet Switches, which were unfortunately also Fast Ethernet only. This worked very well for just surfing the internet, as even now there is no internet connection speed fast enough and affordable enough to break the 100Mbps limit. I know Bell Fibe and Rogers Fiber Optics connection can reach speeds of 150Mbps to 250Mbps but those are well over $150+ a month hence not affordable for the average household. Not to mention they aren’t even available in my area yet.

For now I am using Rogers Hi-Speed Extreme. which is 45Mbps down and 5Mbps up. The bottleneck was with the internal network obviously. Transferring large files was limited to 100Mbps which is roughly 11MB/s which back then was okay, now it’s not very acceptable. Especially for HD streaming and large file transfers between computers. I have a central back up server which all the other computers back up to. Which if you think about it. Large amounts of data is transferring to that one machine at 11MB/s which is slow as hell… Gigabit network has gone down in price over the years.

So I picked up 3 TP-Link 5-Port Gigabit switch for 17 dollars each and a 75ft CAT 6 cable. At first I wired only the Switches to see if it improved the speeds. Which it did not. Then I realized that the cable to my room is only CAT 5 and not even CAT 5e. Luckily I bought the CAT 6 cable in case I needed it. And it looked like I did after all. Wired up the CAT6 cable to the switch and CAT5es to the computer (which I will need to replace soon, but for now it should suffice). The Network transfer speeds went from 11MB/s max speed for 100Mbps network to 40MB/s or 320Mbps which is a huge performance increase.

The next step would be to replace the remaining CAT 5 and CAT5e cables over to CAT6 for the faster speeds and more reliable connections. After that Finally replace the routers for a faster connection. They aren’t even 802.11N. I’m most likely going to buy 802.11AC routers for the potentially gigabit wireless speeds. But those are still pretty pricey for the moment. Gotta save up money. 🙂

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