Tough networking question

By JagX22
Jun 14, 2010
  1. Hi all,

    I am trying to re-configure my entire home network. My weapons of choice are as follows:

    Comcast's Cisco Modem
    Linksys E3000 Router
    Linksys WRT160n Router
    Linksys WRT54G Router
    Sony Playstation 3
    Dell (New) Studio XPS 15 Laptop (WIN 7)
    IBM (10 years old) Desktop (WIN XP)
    Acer (3 years old) Desktop (WIN 7)
    HP (6 years old) Laptop (WIN XP)

    Here are my questions:

    Is it possible to hook all three routers up to the one modem (basement, first floor, second floor). Without losing their perks? (By perks, I mean the E3000 allows remote backups to an external HDD and guest accounts).
    Are there benefits to doing this?
    Will it increase my range?
    Should I set the n-routers to specifically n rather than mixed signals, and the same for g?
    The E3000 offers a faster 5GHz signal while the other 2 routers offer 2.4GHz signals, how will this come into effect?
    Ideally, the XPS and PS3 will be on the middle level so wouldn't that be the best place for the E3000?
    Does the PS3 have an n wireless built into it or is it g (old, fat model)?
    I am running multiple OS's on multiple platforms as well as a wireless printer, will it be difficult to network them all together in the end with 3 different router connections?
    What are your suggestions and what would you do if you were facing this predicament?

    My last point is that my connection has (prior to this) solely relied on a one-router, one access point connection prior to this. I have never used the E3000 before this as it is brand new and I haven't hooked it up yet, I was using the WRT160n and it dropped out all the time. I figured by setting up a router on each level of the home it would increase the range, but i'm not sure if they will take away from one another or if it will actually be beneficial.

    Sorry for all the questions and all the text, I would appreciate any help whatsoever. I'm gonna try to do this on my own so the more I know the better. Thanks for all of your help!!
  2. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    AP (G)
    AP (n)

    This is your homework? Pick which one goes where? ES3000, WRT160n and WRT54G? Oh by the way you'll need to buy a good external switch and a couple of 50-100 feet Cat5e cables.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    yes ... and no.

    The modem will allow only one device attachment (even if there's both USB and Ethernet slots; it's either/or, not both).
    Using a switch like modem--switch--routers will only cause problems with your ISP and still give you only one system active as if you had modem--system :(

    This means you will daisy chain one to the other
    another choice would look like
    modem--router#1....devices (only 2 slots left)
    Either way, there's a 'conflict of interest' between
    (a) sharing between all devices (regardless of which router connected)
    (b)keeping all the native features of each router.

    (a) to maximize sharing, do not use the WAN port on router#-2+3; also disable the DHCP service in both of these.
    Router#1 will control the IP address assignments and all devices will be on the same subnet, eg 192.168.1.x

    (b) Use the WAN port on routers#2+3 to connect to router#1 lan ports.
    #2 and #3 will need full configuration
    1. unique IP address
      If router#1 is,
      then router#2 might be
      then router#3 might be
    2. DHCP range (if router is at x.1, then use 2-10)
    3. separate WiFI config
      • unique SSID (use something common {abcde} and then suffix '-2' and '-3')
      • separate channels
      • common encryption {wpa2,wpa}
      • common passphrase
    None of this will address WiFi range to distant parts of the home per se.
    Long cables from Router#1 to #2 or #3 to locate them into another part of the home would be advisable -- perhaps running the cable up and across via the attic?
  4. JagX22

    JagX22 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Jobeard. Massive help, I appreciate it! I'm not sure if I understand you 100% but I will try my best. I hooked up the E3000 on the middle level of my home directly to my modem. However, I would like to add a router upstairs and downstairs, wirelessly if possible. My mom will kill me if I run cat-5s all over the house. Is it possible to connect all three routers wirelessly while using the E3000 as the primary server? It would be fine if I lose the features of the WRT160n and the WRT54GS, as long as I can keep the E3000's. I think what you were saying is that I should use two of the ports in the back of the E3000 and sting the other two routers into those ports. What exactly is DHCP? Is that just telling the two subordinate routers that the E3000 is in charge? Also, only one of my devices picks up the 5.0GHz frequency that the E3000 broadcasts. Basically what it does it broadcast 2 frequencies and most of my systems (PS3, Acer, IBM, Printer, HP) only detect the 2.4GHz frequency. I know because the router sets up 2 SSIDs, which I made to have separate names. The only device that detects the 5.0GHz frequency is my Dell Studio XPS, and it def. increases the speed (33mb/ps vs. 22 mb/ps). S Any tips for me on how to get all three routers on the same page? If I can't hardwire them to the E3000 do I basically just plug one in on the top level of my house and one on the lower level? How do I get the working in unison without running wires? Any help on that end would be appreciated, but you've already answered 90% of my questions so I appreciate it regardless, lol. Thanks
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    Ok and you will not lose features. The downsteam routers will effectively connect their WAN side to the E3000 Lan side and thus retain all functionality
    {but see comment re A.P. below}.
    E3000 being router#1, yes -- regardless of model, router#1 attached to the modem *must* have everything else attached to it (on the LAN side)

    No, DHCP gives new, unique ip addresses to each system as they make the connection (wifi or otherwise). It also completes all of TCP config for each device; gateway, dns, netmask.

    it is likely that the Dell XPS 'could' be config'd to find the 2.4Hhz too, but without any changes, the Dell *must* then connect to the E3000 - regardless where it is located in the house -- could be a problem there.
    Without wired connections between the routers,
    you have an architecture issue with router's #2&3; router-router wifi connections are typically done with an Access Point(A.P.), not a router. Also, as the E3000 is 5Ghz, and the others are 2.4Ghz. #2&3 will struggle to get the E3000-2.4Ghz signal AND you will still need to configure each of them as and A.P. Not all routers can do that -- read the spec sheet on #2&3 to confirm
  6. JagX22

    JagX22 TS Rookie Topic Starter are the man! Amazingly helpful, I greatly appreciate it. Looks like I got my work cut out for me, and a bit of experimenting, trial and error. Thanks again!
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