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Very first attempt at home network server


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I'm looking to build my very first home-network server that will have WiFi connectivity and just need some help and advice ;)

I've not decided yet if it will be a simple home-group set up using existing Windows-7 64-bit or if I'll be using WHS, but my main question is, would the server need a WiFi network adapter as well as a WiFi router, or can I get away with just the router?  I realise that client machines/PCs will need network adapters of course.

MY other question is, if I want to have Gigabit-ethernet, do the client PCs as well as the server need Gigabit-ethernet adapters?  Thanks if anyone can help.

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When possible, you are better off not linking your server via WiFi.  WiFi is convenient, but it is overall not as stable for network throughput as wired Ethernet, especially when you may be giving dat

Just to add to this, If your planing on multible wireless clients streaming media it would be best to find a router that supports MU-MIMO for best performance. Some examples of routers would be- Luma

isn't the router just having a switch integrated into the same box? I don't think it would want to get involved in the other traffic through the switch that doesn't terminate at the router's port, alt

LoneWolf

When possible, you are better off not linking your server via WiFi.  WiFi is convenient, but it is overall not as stable for network throughput as wired Ethernet, especially when you may be giving data to multiple computers.  You are best off wiring the server into your router.

 

Your PCs do not all have to be gigabit Ethernet.  They can be 100-megabit Ethernet, or linked via WiFi depending on what you want to do.  There are some purposes that are better for wired (e.g., a home theater PC that uses consisted throughput for streaming video) but of course it would be illogical to have to plug your laptop in just to use your server.

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itGeeks

When possible, you are better off not linking your server via WiFi.  WiFi is convenient, but it is overall not as stable for network throughput as wired Ethernet, especially when you may be giving data to multiple computers.  You are best off wiring the server into your router.

 

Your PCs do not all have to be gigabit Ethernet.  They can be 100-megabit Ethernet, or linked via WiFi depending on what you want to do.  There are some purposes that are better for wired (e.g., a home theater PC that uses consisted throughput for streaming video) but of course it would be illogical to have to plug your laptop in just to use your server.

Welcome to the forums!

 

I agree with what LoneWolf said for the most part, In my humble opinion in this day and age there is very few reasons that your network should not be full gigabit Ethernet. Another words the backbone of your network should be full gigabit and always choose wired connection 1st, wireless 2nd. Also for best performance don't use the switch built into the router get a separate switch, You would plug one port on your router to the switch then all your devices get plugged into the switch. This is best practice :)

 

Do you a;ready have a wireless router if yes whats the make and model?

What is your intending goal?

Do you already own a copy of WHS? If not you may have a hard time finding it. They stopped selling it in 2013 as stand alone software, I believe only OEM can still get it.

Are you still on Windows 7 for any good reason? Microsoft is giving free upgrades to Windows 10 for anyone on Windows 7,8,8.1

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Thanks LoneWold and itGeeks for pointing me in the right direction...  So, I only need a gigabit-ethernet adapter on the server but not on client systems.  Reason for my confusion there, is that I was told by someone that speed would be capped at the slower ordinary ethernet rate...  Also, thanks for saying that the server should be wired to the router. 

 

About getting a switch.  I agree with connecting the router to a switch on the server, but I was hoping that client systems could connect to the server via WiFi otherwise I would need very long cables.  The WiFi router I have is by Netgear I believe.  

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jmwills

Communications between the server and the clients will be capped by the slowest adapter.

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Poppapete

Connect the server to the router via cable.  Connecting clients to router via wireless is fine in most circumstances. There maybe a problem if you are streaming high definition video depending on the specs of the WiFi network. To answer this you need to tell us the exact Model netgear you have and then the wireless adapters in each client. Just as  jmwills says the speed will be capped by the slowest adapter (wireless or ethernet) adapter at either end.

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LoneWolf

Communications between the server and the clients will be capped by the slowest adapter.

 

Jmwillis is correct.  The best anaology is of water pipes coming into your house.  You have a big pipe carrying all of your water in, which branches off to other pipes to deliver water to various places in your house.  The amount of water you can get at any one faucet is determined by the smallest diameter pipe along the way --and the same is true of data flow via Ethernet.

 

That said, if your server is Gigabit into the router, it is still a bit more capable of delivering bandwidth to multiple 100-megabit or wireless connections than if it was only connected via 100-megabit wire itself, because there is a faster link (or larger volume of pipe) to split between the small pipes, kind of like if you wanted to turn multiple faucets on in your house and take a shower at the same time.

 

If you have high quality video sources you wish to stream, wired Ethernet is always the best solution, due to consistency.  100-megabit Ethernet will handle this up to a point, and if you're on a budget, you might as well start by building your server up first and seeing if this will work for your needs.  It's relatively simple to throw in an entry-level gigabit switch if your needs are not met.

 

If you are planning on wireless as much as possible, there's where things get critical.  What model of Netgear router are you using?  What models of wireless network adapters are you using to connect to it?  Also note that wireless networking does not do as good of a job handling multiple simultaneous connections as wired does, even though to the average user, that may not be noticeable.  It's important that you start out with a router that can handle good wireless speeds, but equally important that you have quality wireless network adapters on your computers connecting to it, because both determine the range, speed, and stability of your wireless connections.

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Communications between the server and the clients will be capped by the slowest adapter.

So if the server had a Gigabit-Ethernet adapter and clients had standard 100 megabit adapters, wouldn't speed be capped at 100 megabit?  

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Connect the server to the router via cable.  Connecting clients to router via wireless is fine in most circumstances. There maybe a problem if you are streaming high definition video depending on the specs of the WiFi network. To answer this you need to tell us the exact Model netgear you have and then the wireless adapters in each client. Just as  jmwills says the speed will be capped by the slowest adapter (wireless or ethernet) adapter at either end.

Thanks there...  I don't think I'll be streaming high-def' video too much, maybe the odd very short clip now and then.  The Netgear modem-router is a N300 model up to 300mbs.

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Jmwillis is correct.  The best anaology is of water pipes coming into your house.  You have a big pipe carrying all of your water in, which branches off to other pipes to deliver water to various places in your house.  The amount of water you can get at any one faucet is determined by the smallest diameter pipe along the way --and the same is true of data flow via Ethernet.

 

That said, if your server is Gigabit into the router, it is still a bit more capable of delivering bandwidth to multiple 100-megabit or wireless connections than if it was only connected via 100-megabit wire itself, because there is a faster link (or larger volume of pipe) to split between the small pipes, kind of like if you wanted to turn multiple faucets on in your house and take a shower at the same time.

 

If you have high quality video sources you wish to stream, wired Ethernet is always the best solution, due to consistency.  100-megabit Ethernet will handle this up to a point, and if you're on a budget, you might as well start by building your server up first and seeing if this will work for your needs.  It's relatively simple to throw in an entry-level gigabit switch if your needs are not met.

 

If you are planning on wireless as much as possible, there's where things get critical.  What model of Netgear router are you using?  What models of wireless network adapters are you using to connect to it?  Also note that wireless networking does not do as good of a job handling multiple simultaneous connections as wired does, even though to the average user, that may not be noticeable.  It's important that you start out with a router that can handle good wireless speeds, but equally important that you have quality wireless network adapters on your computers connecting to it, because both determine the range, speed, and stability of your wireless connections.

Firstly, I meant LoneWolf in my earlier message not LoneWold - sorry about typo...  The WiFi router is an N300 at up to 300mbs, I don't actually have the wireless network adapters yet - to be ordered soon...

I agree with what you're saying about wireless being less stable than wired over multiple connections, but unless clients are no more than a metre away from the server, I would need extra long ethernet cables which wouldn't be very practical for me unless I get a cable tack-gun to have them running along skirting boards and so on...

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