SubLAN router died - replaced with new switch

Our subLAN router died yesterday, and I replaced it with a switch.

Now that probably reads to be a bit odd, but then again our setup at home before the new switch was needlessly odd.

Previous, we had 6 PCs in our apartment, but our main router (a Speedport provided by the ISP) only has 4 output ports. We had an extra Router in the apartment from a previous ISP setup (an old Level One WBR-3404TX) which had a wireless (that we don’t use) and 4 ports as part of its built in switch. So previous we plugged the Level-One router into the Speedport Router, and created a SubLAN based on the Level-One. This gave us Internet from the 4 ports on the Level-One. I connected 4 PCs to the Level One and hence all 6 PCs in our apartment could have access simultaneous, and also there was no need for dynamic cable swapping when less than 6 PCs were powered (which kills my back crawling under desks).

A previous complexity was the Level One Router’s 4 PCs were behind the Level One’s firewall, and that added some complexity to my use of ssh and vnc coming/going outside the Internet (thru both Level One and Speedport Routers firewalls) and complexity in scanning, and complexity in printing to the multifunction wireless printer on our LAN (where the printer was on the main LAN via the Speedport’s wireless and not on the Level One’s subLAN).

The old Level One Router died yesterday. So instead of replacing it with another router, I replaced it with a Level One GSW-0506 Gibagabit Switch effectively removing the SubLAN.

This gives us a much more simple setup for the PCs that used to be on the SubLAN (as there is no more a SubLAN) and hence I don’t have two router firewalls to work through (and have to redirect ports). Also, the old Level One Router only supported 100Bits/sec and the new Switch will support Gigabit ethernet (such as two of our newer PCs have).

The setup is so much more simple (with the removal of the complexity associated with the subLAN’s dead router firewall) I’m surprised now I did not buy a switch and remove the subLAN complexity earlier. Still, I guess I saved money for the two years with the subLAN (using an already purchased router), and I learned a lot, and that counts for something.

Still, its good with this new switch to get this minor Internet hiccup in the oldcpu household over with simultaneous Internet access restored to all PCs and no more crawling under tables to swap cables.

At current prices for Gb switches, you saved a whopping $50 or so. :stuck_out_tongue:

I was pleasantly surprised by how little they cost when it came time to replace my 100Mb switch (which had lasted ~10 years) because I was getting a NAS and it would have been a bottleneck. Besides I already had a couple of PCs with Gb NICs and not realising their full bandwidth. Now it takes only several seconds to copy a CD image between machines.

@oldcpu: did you realize that 1Gb-ethernet does not work well on cat5 cables ? To achieve full 1Gb networking you need at least cat5-e cables, preferably cat6. And it needs to be everywhere on the LAN. I forgot to replace one piece of cat5 by cat6, between router and 1st switch (i.e. all traffic was involved), we did get higher speed, but not what was to be expected. Replacing the last ( .8 mtrs) cat5 cable by cat6 brought it to real speed.
I have 1Gb ethernet at home, NIC, eth. cables, router; still very happy I took the time and effort to replace all the 100 Mb stuff…well, that is my ISP sent me a letter this week, saying they are going to speed things up a bit: 100 Mb/sec after this summer (50Mb/sec now, actually getting it too.)

Well no, not everywhere, only on those links that are Gb. The 100Mb NICs will negotiate with the switch to do 100Mb on that port and the Cat5 cable will not be required to transfer data faster than 100Mb.

We have a mix of Cat-5 and Cat-5e cables. And at the moment most PCs in our place can not make use of the capabilities of this 1GB switch.

I need to check the cable to my Core-i7 PC (which has a 1GB ethernet) and our spare cable that we on occasion plug in for use with our Dell Studio 1537 laptop (which also has a 1 GB ethernet). And then I probably need to shuffle cables to put the cat-5e cables to the Core-i7 and Dell Studio 1537 (as I never bothered before trying to optimize the cables).

I can repeat thou, what I note earlier, which is by removing the subLAN (and having every PC on the main LAN) things are sooooo much easier. :slight_smile:

I should note that our apartment came pre-wired for 1GB ethernet LAN, with every room in our apartment having two ethernet connections on the wall, which run back to a central patch panel in a closet. This wiring is purportedly 1GB LAN capable (its very very very fat - I assume cat-6).

Of course the apartment patch panel while fully wired on the “apartment side” is mostly empty on our “setup” side, as we have only 4 very short cables running from our Speedport router (which with its built in modem connects to the Internet) to our patch panel. If we wish to use the Internet/LAN connection in a different room, we need to change the cable from our router to the patch panel to bring that room connection “on line”.

The new switch is in my “office” and it plugs in to a wall Ethernet outlet. It is also located close to my 3 desktop PCs and the switch now provides the LAN connection for these 3 PC (where all 3 PCs are under my desk and these PCs use a hardware KVM for interfacing to me via a keyboard, one monitor and one mouse).

Of course the lights dim in our neighbourhood when I turn on all 3 PCs at once (and the shareholders in the electric company use that occasion of all our PCs being powered at once to drink champaign to celebrate the increase in their quarterly profits). rotfl!

I dream about that, networkwiring in the walls, a small cupboard for router, switch etc.

Yes a switch does have it’s advantages. cat5 vs cat6 is a potential problem with pre-wired setups. Ideally, you want internet modem with cat6 to router uplink and cat6 from the router to PC’s & wall. Cat6 from whole chain from the router to the switch. Then cat5 can go to PC’s that lack 1GB.

We have cat-5e from router/modem to incoming line and cat-5e from router to patch panel

We have cat6 from patch panel to every wall outlet

I need to check, but I think I have a cat5 from the wall to the switch

I definitely have cat5 here in most places.

Clearly I have a few cables to upgrade, but there is no real hurry as my laptop (which is our 2nd PC with the 1GB ethernet) is rarely connected to our network via wired (most the time we connect it via wireless).

From reading the specs: cat6 and cat5-e can do 1Gb, cat5 cannot. Like techwiz says, you need the whole chain to be ready for it.

Question: can one upgrade a cat5 cable to cat5-e using a LiveCD ? ;):wink:

No, no, must backup /home and do a fresh install of cat5e. :wink:

With a fresh cat5e present, is mouse1 at risk at /home? rotfl!

The most important thing in your process, is that if any cable is cat6 in the down stream then a cat6 must exist between the cable modem and the router. A cat5e there will degrade the whole system. as you are passing from the router to the wall dispersement center you will want to make the lines to the switch from the router also cat6. This will keep all endpoints at maximum capability so you can choose which systems ultimately need the higher level of connection.

 x---cat6---router --|* wireless PC 1-99
            |||--- cat6 ----switch
            |||               ||||
            ||-cat5e/cat6-PC5 |||--- cat5/cat5e/cat6 --- PC1
            |--cat5e/cat6-PC6 ||---- cat5/cat5e/cat6 --- PC2
            ---cat5e/cat6-PC7 |----- cat5/cat5e/cat6 --- PC3
                              ------ cat5/cat5e/cat6 --- PC4

Line furthest from the uplink on the router is usually tied the slowest network path. This only matters if you have a cat5 involved. Also for the switch the connection furthest from uplink should be for the slowest network. If you fail to follow this, it will still work but in 1 out of 25 cases a higher speed connection that is after a slower one will exhibit higher occurrences of *NAK signals = “what? didn’t get that – please say again”. So as you see this can degrade a cat6 to cat5 equivalent.

What one bad cat can do to your mouse!

Thanks for that tidbit. In my case the modem/router is in the same unit - a Speedport W 503V.

Thats interesting to know. Other than the physical ports on the switch, its difficult to know which is the furthest from the up link, and unless one dissembles the switch (to look at wiring), there is no way of knowing the actual wiring inside. But I’ll keep that (ie physical order of connections to the switch’s ports) in mind when I replace my cat5 cables there.

100 Mb/sec after this summer (50Mb/sec now, actually getting it too.)

I get 8 at the moment.
If and when I move I’ll be lucky to do much better than dial up!:frowning:

IEEE standards requires the port order on switches and routers to observe uplink-p1-p2-p3-p4-dwnlink where p4/downlink are physically furthest from uplink-p1. The only deviation from this is where markings clearly indicate the precedence order if different.

Sorry, that’s incorrect. Switches, routers and NICs autonegotiate transmission parameters. This is part of the Ethernet standard. It’s not as if the transmission speed is Gb everywhere in the chain because downstream or upstream is Gb.

The cable has only to be good enough for that link in question. If your cable modem and router have only 100Mb ports, then that cable can be Cat5.

PS: My setup looks like this:

ADSL modem -- cat5 -- Wireless.wired router -- cat5 -- Gb switch --+-- cat6 -- PC1 (Gb NIC)
                                                                   -- cat6 -- PC2 (Gb NIC)
                                                                   -- cat5 -- PC3 (100Mb NIC)

Autonegotiate yes given that signal strength and cross talk doesn’t happen. I never said it wouldn’t work, I said the standard specifies this. cat5 during high speed traffic is prone to many lost or garbled packets requiring further negotiation so the cat5e standard which is a better quality cable became the new standard. As further speed and dataflow increased and Voip came on the scene a new standard of cat6 became necessary. cat7 is now rapidly being adopted for larger high speed runs to limit dropped or garbled packets. And with each rendition the shielding between the data wires and composition of those wires is increased.

Controlling factors of proximity to power lines, age of wiring, length of runs are an art unto themselves.

Since I was at the local PC shop today (returning a broken CD/DVD writer) I also purchased a small number of cat6 ethernet cables.

I first replaced the cat-5 (with cat-6) cables between

  • switch and the wall
  • switch and my Core i7 PC (with 10/100/1GB ethernet) and
  • switch and my Dell Studio 1537 laptop (which I think has 10/100/1GB ethernet - I need to double check specs)

I also re-arranged order of cables on switch’s port, such that

  • port #1 on switch has a cat-6 cable to wall (and hence to router),
  • port #2 on switch to my Core i7 has a cat-6 cable
  • and port #3 to my Dell Studio 1537 laptop also has a cat-6 cable

I saw a small, almost insignificant speed increase, from the 2.5 MiB/s speed I normally get in file transfers to 3.1 MiB/s speed.

I then also replaced the Cat-5e cable that goes from the patchpanel connection port (for the switch) to the router with a Cat-6 cable. But that made no difference in the speed.

I’m now wondering whether the cabling in our walls is cat-5, cat-5e or cat-6. I vaguely recall being told by the rental agent that the wall wiring was 1GB capable, but it could be my fuzzy memory.