Solved Modem, 3 Routers, & 2 switches Setup?

January 15, 2017 at 20:15:26
Specs: Mac 10.12.2 Sierra
I am setting up a home network using Cat6 STP cable with shielded connectors and couplers for Gigabit capability. I have a Centurylink ZyXEL C1100Z DSL modem (with the router function disabled) that I want to transparent bridge to the first of 3 Apple Airport Extremes to be used as the router (that alone sounds like a virtual impossibility from what I have read on the net, if anyone knows different let me know; currently the Airport Extreme is bridged). I use the other 2 Airport Extremes as Wireless Access Points (currently everything is wireless). I have 2 Netgear ProSafe GS116NA Gigabit switches that I plan to route all the networked devices through. Is it better to connect the other 2 Airport Extremes directly to the router one or can they be connected through the 2 switches (1ea switch)? If I should connect them directly, I suspect I will need another small 5-port switch because there are only 3 ports on the back of the Airport Extreme and I will need 4 ports (2 Airport Extremes, 2 switches).

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✔ Best Answer
January 18, 2017 at 08:51:23
Just my two cents, really not necessary since wanderer did such a good job of replying.

I've pulled a lot of cable over the years and if you were contracting me to do this job for you, I'd pull all cables in the house back to one location. The same spot where your internet will be connected to your main router. Put a patch panel on the wall next to the router. Terminate all your cables to the patch panel. Then you just need very short patch cables to go from patch panel to switch. With this type of setup you only require a single uplink from switch to router.

It's simple and reduces the number of connections to the router, and the number of switches required to do the job.

I agree with wanderer about the cabling. Call whomever you bought your supplies from (ends, cable etc) and see if they'll exchange the STP for UTP. They should, especially if you still have your original receipt. But, they should have it on computer even if you don't. A reputable business would exchange it for you.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***



#1
January 16, 2017 at 10:23:06
Why are you using STP cable? You understand how to properly ground it?

You do not need STP cable to get gigabit. Regular Cat6, even cat5e can give you gigabit.

There is no mention of how many wired devices you have or what you are connecting to this network.

Ideally you would put the dsl router back in NAT /router mode and have all three Airports wired to it as AP's. You could run a switch off the 1st router lan port.

Otherwise you will need one AE doing NAt/routing and the other two AE's connected to it. If you still need switches you can connect one to the main AE and one to one of the AE's in AP mode

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message edited by wanderer


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#2
January 16, 2017 at 12:07:31
How much sq footage are you intending to cover with 3 Airports? Why not just get a booster or extender? Maybe even power line adapters? Also, you will not get optimum speeds over a wireless network vs. a wired network.

I set my network up like this: Modem/Router with one out to my unmanaged switch then to 20 wired ports to different router. You will want your switch to have DCHP turned off and let the original router assign IP.

I don't need to be right, but I am never wrong.


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#3
January 16, 2017 at 13:25:17
Thanks for the reply. Already have a 1000' roll of Cat6 STP with all the shielded Cat6 plugs and couplers, and the 2 Netgear 16-port switches; got them for "future-proofing" and to prevent any interference (this is a relatively old house). I understand only one place on the network needs to have an RF drain for the shielding (although I'm not exactly sure how to go about this or even if it is necessary for a home network - I am guessing the drain wire can be attached to a ground somewhere away from anything electrical?). I also somewhat understand the care required with the shielding at the terminations to ensure continuity.

I am setting up the wired network (all computers/Apple TVs//AV devices - devices with a network connection - 17 devices plus the 2 switches and 3 AEs) to relieve my WiFi network for the iPhones/Ipads/Homekit devices and external security cameras.

I would rather have the Centurylink ZyXEL modem/router as just a DSL modem and use the first AE as the router for ease of setup and monitoring (as we are all-Macs). I have already extracted the user name and password from the ZyXEL. However, I have read that if you put the Centurylink ZyXEL in Transparent Bridge mode their DSLAM will force a reboot on the modem and reset the settings, but I have not tried this. Supposedly Centurylink Tech Support is not a great deal of help, but I have not talked to them yet; we will see. My plan was to run from the first AE to a 5-port switch, then direct connections to each of the 2 larger switches and each of the 2 other AEs (unless I do not need the 5-port switch and can connect to the other 2 AEs through the large switches). Connections to all the devices would be from the larger switches only. The other 2 AEs need to be in specific locations to be able to reach particular wireless security cameras outside the house. We have a wall of solar hot water panels in between that prevents one AE from connecting with both cameras; the 3 AEs give us great WiFi coverage, anyway.


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#4
January 16, 2017 at 13:32:27
Thanks for the reply. I already have the 3 AEs setup and Powerline seems to be the worst of all the ways to go for networking from reading up on the subject. I have already put in all the provisions for the keystone wall plates (boxes/access/etc.), and have all the wiring, connectors, and equipment. The previous reply illustrates why I need the other 2 AEs in a particular location for the external cameras (solar panels are very effective at blocking wireless). I agree about wired versus wireless speeds; that is why I am using the wired network for everything that can be wired to speed up and unburden the wireless network.

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#5
January 16, 2017 at 16:32:35
Sorry to say you really didn't do your homework concerning the STP. Each run needs to be grounded and should be grounded at one end. STP is for EMF interference. Old house doesn't meet that criteria.

Another homework question pertains to your wanting to "unburden" the wifi of the wired traffic. Proper choice would have been to use VLANs which requires a managed switch. Wired traffic on one vlan and wireless on another.

What you don't want to do is Router<>switch<>AE<>switch<>AE<> wired or wireless devices. Doing in series adds latency to the network traffic with the worst being the far end. You want everything off the root router/AE

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#6
January 16, 2017 at 19:52:39
Thanks, I did mean EMF instead of RF. Did not realize each run needed to be grounded at one end; thanks for that. I looked into VLANs and managed switches and they are above and beyond what I am trying to do in my home network. The relatively easy Apple Airport setup is fine for me. I certainly am trying to avoid daisy-chaining switches (although technically I guess a router like the AE is also a switch, so you are daisy-chaining, anyway), and intend the other 2 AEs that are the Wireless Access Points to be on a dedicated run from either the AE router directly or the respective 16-port switch, whichever is better. That is why I had originally asked if it was better to have the other 2 AEs connected directly to the router AE without going through the 16-port main switches; I would then need the small 5-port switch to connect the router to the 2 16-port switches, as there would only be 1 port left on the router AE.

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#7
January 17, 2017 at 22:32:06
EmF and RF are pretty similar :-) Sources are different but same results.

Sounds like you have a well thought out plan. You can always adjust later :-)

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#8
January 18, 2017 at 08:51:23
✔ Best Answer
Just my two cents, really not necessary since wanderer did such a good job of replying.

I've pulled a lot of cable over the years and if you were contracting me to do this job for you, I'd pull all cables in the house back to one location. The same spot where your internet will be connected to your main router. Put a patch panel on the wall next to the router. Terminate all your cables to the patch panel. Then you just need very short patch cables to go from patch panel to switch. With this type of setup you only require a single uplink from switch to router.

It's simple and reduces the number of connections to the router, and the number of switches required to do the job.

I agree with wanderer about the cabling. Call whomever you bought your supplies from (ends, cable etc) and see if they'll exchange the STP for UTP. They should, especially if you still have your original receipt. But, they should have it on computer even if you don't. A reputable business would exchange it for you.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#9
January 20, 2017 at 13:04:44
Thanks; the patch panel is an interesting idea and would make a good place for the ground.

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#10
January 21, 2017 at 09:06:27
True that.............but trust me, as a guy that's pulled and punched a LOT of cables, swap the STP for UTP. I'm sure wherever you bought it would be happy to exchange it for you if you haven't used any. There is no need for STP in your home. Laying a cable over (or near) one light fixture won't bother it enough to matter. Running adjacent to a power wire for several feet can.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#11
January 21, 2017 at 18:46:59
Thanks. Had already worked with some cable and installed some couplers, so no going back. Shielded or unshielded was never the question for that reason. The original question was to whether to go to the other 2 AEs directly or through the 2 large switches with everything else.

Will use your suggestion and am picking up a shielded patch panel; will drain to ground from there. Just need to find a ground not used by the electrical system (the house does sit on 3 large steel I-Beams...). The cables will be run between floors (right by the I-Beams) with most of the electrical wiring, so shielded may be better, anyway. I plan to use a small 5-port Netgear switch to supply the 2 other Airport Extremes and the 2 large Netgear switches, which will distribute to all the user devices (figuring of course it is better to run relatively directly to the other 2 AEs versus going through the large switches with all the other devices). I'll make sure everything coming to the switches and going to the devices goes through the panel so each run is grounded (and that each run is grounded only once at the panel). I am also using all shielded couplers and modular patch/wall panels to avoid punching (just the fun terminating both ends of all the cables).

As for shielded versus unshielded, saw an interesting and somewhat humorous series of tests done by some BICSI folks: https://www.bicsi.org/pdf/conferenc...

message edited by flynblu


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#12
January 22, 2017 at 05:18:49
Good job, I'm sure you'll find everything easier to work with having it all run back to one location where your router is. It looks to me like you have everything setup correctly and other than cable type, it's how I would do it.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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