So it dawned on me that all of the physical NIC’s on all the computers at my house support gigabit, and all the wireless cards support A or N, and my network was only 100mbps for wired and wireless-g. So, I ordered some equipment and upgraded the network.
I had a Dell PowerConnect 100mb 16-port switch. That has always worked well for me. I never rack-mounted it, which made it clumbsy to work with, but that’s my fault. Anyhow, to replace this, I got a TP-Link TL-SG1016 – which is (to me) a pretty decent switch. It supports full-duplex gigabit speeds, and also supports 100mb and 10mb too. The one gotcha, is that 10mb devices can’t talk directly to 1gb devices. I assume this is becuase of the speed difference. If 1gbps of data is coming towards a 10mbps device, what happens to all those packets? A 10mbps port is 1% of the speed.
Why is this is issue, you ask? Well, I have two LinkSys routers and those are actually 10mbps. To solve this, I have those plug into the Dell PowerConnect, and then have the PowerConnect plug into the gigabit switch.
When all is said-and-done, computer-to-computer speed does seem noticeably faster. When I copy gigabyte files, it is way faster.
Wireless Access Points:
I had two D-Link DWL-7100AP wireless access points (for either end of the house). I had real hit-and-miss luck with these. Like, if you tried to copy a big file, it would start to get slow, then eventually fail and the network card would reconnect – but meanwhile, the file copy failed. This happened from multiple laptops, so this seemed to be the case with BOTH WAP’s.
I replaced those with D-Link DAP1522 devices, which support: 802.11a, b, g, and n. In comparison to the old WAP’s, these have been great so far. They have great (better) range, and large file copies don’t make the connection fail.
So I’m recommending both of these, my whole network is faster now and for relatively cheap cost.