Home Network Setup

In case anyone is curious, here’s a brief description of my home’s network setup.

My connection to the Internet is a cable connection to Comcast. I subscribe to their residential gigabit tier, which is wonderful for us being heavy users because there is always more than enough bandwidth to burn. I use the Netgear CM1000 DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem. It is fed directly from a home run from the outside tap, to ground block, to interior RG6 running into the modem. I don’t subscribe to video or telephony so the wiring for my cable is super simple. On a normal day in Dover, I see signal levels around +9 dB forward with an MER of 41, and my modem transmits at a comfortable 38-40 dBmV leaving loads of swinging room for temperature changes and fluctuations in the cable plant.

That Netgear modem is tethered to a 6th-generation Apple Airport Extreme AC wireless router by a short, homemade run of Cat 5e UTP. My AirPort Extreme handles IPv4 and IPv6 NAT, DHCP, DNS and creates a local search domain on my network as well. For file storage, I have a 3 TB Western Digital MyBook USB 3 hard disk drive connected for Time Machine backups, a 4 TB Seagate for media storage and people’s files, as well as a 4 TB Western Digital where I archive my entire collection of software, games, computer books, and so on. The router hosts file shares via AFP and SMB to my local network. I also use a 2005 Mac mini G4 running Tiger to host HTTP and FTP shares online. This little G4 also runs Transmission for torrents which comes in handy since I do a lot with Linux both personally and in my work, and because of that, Transmission’s web GUI is awesome for managing downloads on any device.

My AirPort Extreme offers excellent performance and compatibility, however I still have a few older devices that can only support WEP, so to bridge that gap and keep vintage Macs and PCs on the wireless network, I also have an old “UFO looking” AirPort Extreme connected to the LAN side of my main AirPort Extreme. The older router runs as a LAN client with a static local address. This older AirPort creates a 2.4 GHz wireless network in B/G mode with 128-bit WEP, serving as an “old stuff-compatible” network for my vintage machines.

It’s actually a very simple setup, and occupies about 1.5 square feet on a closet shelf. I get very good performance with my setup, and typical wireless internet speeds ranging from 250 – 500 megabits per second on 5 GHz using an AC connection at 80 MHz channel width. Older wireless-N clients pull about 100 megabits per second over the 2.4 GHz band. Via Ethernet, when I use a fast computer to a fast server on Speedtest.net, I can pull anywhere from 820 – 930 megabits per second through my NAT assuming the local network isn’t too chatty at the time.

Hope you enjoyed my write-up of what-all my network is made of. If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer you.

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