Networking n00b - Using Switches with Routers - Looking for direction

Discussion in 'Networking Issues' started by theeldest, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. theeldest

    theeldest LI Guru Member

    I recently put together a NAS for my wife and I to use. The 100Mbit that the network is capable of now is frustratingly slow.

    I've got a WRT54G hooked up to my Cable Modem and the NAS and my desktop (and my printer). My wife connects to the NAS and printer via WiFi.

    I would like to put a switch in there so that I can connect to the NAS via Gigabit, but I'm new to this part of networking. If I get a switch, say This one (unless you've got a better recommendation. I'd actually like a linksys that is the same form factor as the WRT54G I've already got so I can stack them), how do I set it up?

    Would I connect the printer to the router and my desktop and NAS to the switch? Will everything see each other properly? Is there any setup I need to do that's special?

    One of the other reasons I'd like to get a gigabit switch is that when I saturate the connection between my desktop and the NAS (up & down), the router overeheats and locks up. I'd assume that by running a Gigabit that I couldn't saturate, I shouldn't have that problem.

    If anyone has links to articles or some general advice, it'd be appreciated. I just don't know where to start with this. I'm fairly new to networking (well, more than just an access point or router)
  2. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    Can't make out exactly what you want to do, but here 2 points to bear in mind:

    1) In order to get Gigabit speed, you need your computer, the switch, and the NAS's network interface to all be Gigabit: PC(GB)---Gigabit_switch---(GB)NAS
    If any one of those 4 ethernet plug points goes into a 100Mbit interface, you can't get Gigabit speeds.

    2) It's unlikely that a wired 100Mbit network would be slowing you down significantly relative to a Gigabit network when loading/saving different files from/to the NAS. The NAS has to access it's disk, and that's usually the time consuming part. However, if you repeatedly or frequently load the same file from the NAS, that file would be in the NAS's cache (fast RAM), and the network could be the bottleneck.
  3. theeldest

    theeldest LI Guru Member

    The NAS is made up of the old parts from my computer with the addition of 3x 640GB Western Digital drives in RAID5. It's has an average Read speed of 171 MB/s. Considering that a 100Mbit connection is 12.5 MB/s, I think it'd speed stuff up to switch to a Gigabit.

    My desktop has Gigabit, the NAS doesn't, but it's a trivial issue to add in a PCIe card. The thing I want to know is if the switch connects to the router, and the NAS and desktop connect to the switch, will the speed between the NAS and Desktop be affected by the 100Mbit router? Since the router assigns IP addresses, is that going to affect anything?

    I don't really want to spend $100 to replace the router with one that's Gigabit capable. I only need increased speed on the wired connections.
  4. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    That's a pretty decent NAS!

    No, only the Gb port to which the router connects with 100Mb, will be at 100. The other ports would still be at 1000, at least with a half decent switch.

    Stuff that travels will travel at 1000 where its in and out port on the Gb switch are at 1000. If one of the ports is at 100, that particular comms chain would be limited by that.

    Therefore, whenever you access the router, it will be at 100, whether it's DHCP, or accessing the internet via mail or web. Luckily your PC does not talk DHCP continually - DHCP just assigns the address to your PC when your PC starts up, and after that it never (for all practical purposes) speaks DHCP again.

    In particular, when you access the NAS from your PC, the router has nothing to do with that if you have this
  5. theeldest

    theeldest LI Guru Member


    That was exactly what I wanted to know :)

    The setup I've got for the NAS is a bit overkill for just being a file server. I've got an Athlon64 3200+ & 1GB of memory. It's running Gentoo with Software RAID and it works great! Too bad the mobo didn't have Gigabit built in, but I've got a PCIe 4x & 1x slot I can use.

    And if you're looking for HDDs, the Western Digital 640GB AAKS are amazing. They're quick and quiet.

    Any comments on the switch? I know this is a linksys forum and it's a Rosewill switch (newegg's in house brand), but I know the people here are knowledgeable.

    Also, I'd like a switch that could sit on the router (I like the stackable design), does linksys make a Gigabit switchin that form factor?

    Just thought of another question. If I get a switch I'd also get another NIC for the file server. Would it be worth it to setup the fileserver box to also be the router? Connect the modem to the 100Mbit NIC, and the switch to the Gigabit. I've got an access point sitting around that I could also connect to the switch for wireless access.

    I realize this is probaby the wrong forum for this question, but hey! We'll see what we come up with.

  6. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    I love WD drives - they're the best.

    I dunno that Rosewill switch, but it seems decent. I also dunno if Linksys makes a Gb switch. They probably do - check at

    Can use your Gentoo box as the router. With such power it's likely that the firewall and routing overhead will not slow you down at all. However, you'll have to do the iptables rules, etc. manually - it's not a big deal, but the advantage of using a router box as a router is that those rules, NAT, etc. are already mostly sorted. I've used a 100MHz Pentium I as my primary router for years while I was on dial-up.
    Consider loading 3rd party firmware on your WRT54G is you have not got that already, which would give you better control over the router.

    You can also use the WRT just as an Access Point, by just not connecting/using the WAN port.
  7. levelup2

    levelup2 Addicted to LI Member

    Thanks for all your post
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