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ptcolombo
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2011
Accepted Solution

Wireless Access Point versus Wireless Router

I'm looking for thoughts, opinions, hard facts, etc. on the best way to set up my home network. The house is relatively new and I have cat5 wiring in most rooms with home runs to a structured wire box in the basement. Have around 16 jacks there. I currently have a linksys BEFSR81 router/switch, a couple hubs and a Comcast cable modem down there. On the second floor, is a wireless access point, linksys WAP610N, plugged into one of the cat5 runs to the basement. For clients, I have four wired pc's one of which is a music server, couple Blu ray players, three iPhones, an iPad, and an iTouch. The house is two stories with a finished basement, ~5,000 total ft2, and wood construction. Right now, my wireless is spotty with it dropping out at times for no explainable reason (wired is fine at those times) and connecting new wireless devices takes several minutes where it shows a signal but doesn't connect to the Internet. I've read a lot of bad reviews on the WAP610 and wonder if that is my problem. My son says I should get a wireless router with a separate switch to handle the 16 wired ports and dump the WAP and BEFSR81. I have a great aversion to putting a wireless broadcast device in a basement being the lowest part of the house. Do I move the cable modem and new wireless router upstairs to the first floor and then run a line back down to the basement for the 16 port switch? Or just get a better/different WAP? 

How would you set this up? Sorry for the long winded message.

Expert
Expert
Posts: 12,649
Registered: ‎07-16-2006

Re: Wireless Access Point versus Wireless Router

There is no reason to replace the BEFSR81 unless you have problems with it. And of course it's not a good idea to place a wireless router/access point into the basement if you don't need wireless coverage there.

I wouldn't change anything in the basic setup. If you have problems with the WAP610N (like others) it may be necessary to replace it.

You can get a wireless router and use it as a simple access point and ethernet switch and place it into your house on one of the jacks. If coverage is not sufficient you can get two and create a wireless roaming network.

For example:

Use the BEFSR81 as internet gateway.

Get an additional 16 port (or even 24 port) gigabit ethernet switch and connect it to the BEFSR81.

Patch all your 16 jacks into the switch or the BEF. If you get a gigabit ethernet switch make sure to patch those jacks into the BEF where you don't need gigabit LAN speed.

Next get two E series routers and configure them in bridge mode (i.e. as simple access point). Place both at two rooms from where you get a good coverage of the whole house. As the E series routers have an integrated gigabit ethernet switch you should place the routers in rooms where you have good use of the wired ports (e.g. in the living room for stable video streaming or in the kids room to hook up their console by ethernet for more stable gaming).

This is just a rough outline and of course depends on what network devices you already have...
ptcolombo
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-08-2011

Re: Wireless Access Point versus Wireless Router

Thanks, that is very helpful.  To clarify, in your example would I get rid of the WAP and just use the E series as access points?  Any suggestions on the model E series since they do get kinda pricey.  Again, thanks.

Expert
Expert
Posts: 12,649
Registered: ‎07-16-2006

Re: Wireless Access Point versus Wireless Router

If you don't have problems with the WAP610N you can of course use it. You could start buying only one additional access point or wireless router and see how it plays along.

Regarding the choice of E series router it depends on what you need. The WAP610N is a dual-band router which has a radio on 2.4 GHz and a radio on 5 GHz. If you want to keep the simultaneous dual-band radios the cheapest option would the E2500. It only has 10/100 ethernet ports.

If you don't want the dual-band the E1x00 could do. But remember, those only operate on the 2.4 GHz band and depending on where you live you may already see a lot of other people with 2.4 GHz band routers thus you will have a lot of interference on the 2.4 GHz band...

Of course, the choice of dual-band vs. single-band also depends on whether you have any 5 GHz band devices, yet, or plan to get any.