|I am going to set up a home network that will reach into all 5 bedrooms in my house plus my home office. I want to set it up to at least a little "future proof," but my current set up is: XP Home Computer in my office, Vista home in one of the bedrooms, XP home in another bedroom, and a laptop with XP home as well.|
What I'd like to do is set up a network with all those computers mentioned, plus I'd like a file server -- just a little crappy computer I can leave under my desk with a gratuitously large Hard drive that any computer on the network can access to store files (I can handle building that from a hardware perspective).
I want to be able to access any computer on the network via remote desktop, at least from my main office computer, but possibly have that ability between any two computers on the network.
I want to physically wire the bedrooms + office, but I'm concerned about the longevity of the cat5 cable. With wireless I'd replace the router and the adapter on the computer, but I'm not keen on rewiring my whole house every time a new type of cable becomes standard -- would cat6 sufficiently future-proof the wiring?
Also, what is the best way to run that wiring? How are wired networks generally wired? Do all the wires have one end at the end point, and one end where the hub sits, or can I splice wires and just have one coming into a hub or router?
What kind of network hub do you recommend for this sort of set up?
In addition, I'd like to use a wireless router to allow various small wireless devices to work (like, say, a Wii), and to allow for the laptop to travel freely in the house. The range based on the size of the house wouldn't be longer than 100 ft -- what type of router would you recommend for that?
Lastly, will this require changing operating systems to get the most out of it? I need Windows on the computers for software compatibility reasons, but would it be necessary to change to XP pro? Could I use some free Linux distro on the file server to save money?
For budget... I guess I don't have much of one, but realistically, I'd think the wiring I was looking at would be 100-200, the file server if I bought the parts online, maybe another 200, the hub I'm not sure -- 80? Router, about 80 to 100. XP Pro I might be able to get at a discount, but I guess I'm looking at like 700 for the whole shebang?
I am at your mercy, please enlighten me!