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Windows 7: Trying to improve my network

24 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Trying to improve my network

I'm not too terrible familiar with all the ins and outs of networking, but I have some "basic" questions as I am looking into improving my network speed.

I'll begin with what I have on the network.
2 PCs, PS3, Xbox 360 (all wired) and a Wii (wireless).

I have a WRT54GS router currently. I'm considering getting the D-Link DGL-4500 as an upgrade. My question is, would this be a significant upgrade? One of my PCs has a gigabit ethernet card and one does not. Will this router supply the fastest speed to each device or would it provide the speed that the weakest device was capable of to all devices on the network?

Secondly, my internet provider offers 3 packages.
7 Mbps X 512 Kbps
9 Mbps X 768 Kbps
11 Mbps X 1 Mbps

I currently have the 1st package (7 X 512), so how dramatic would the change from the 1st to 3rd package be?

I'm primarily looking to A) Get constant good speeds when gaming B) Get significant increased speeds when streaming video etc.

Again, I'm quite new to the networking side of things, so I don't know if these questions even make complete sense, but I thought I'd ask before I try the spend and trial/error approach, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Dec 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

According to this Windows 7 Compatibility D-Link D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme N Gaming Wireless Router the D-Link is compatible with both 32bit and 64bit Win7 versions with no additional action required (out of box). However that is a draft N router and to get the full benefit of its' performance, your devices would have to be N type devices, but it is backward compatible with a b and g wireless so that's not a real problem.
According to this Windows 7 Compatibility Linksys Linksys BroadBand w/SpeedBooster 72Mbps 802.11g 4Port Wireless Router the Linksys is compatible with 32 bit Win7 after a firmware upgrade and there is no information regarding Win7 64bit. I have personally used this particular router with Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit and while it worked, I was not at all pleased with the actual wireless performance even when my wireless device was very close to the router. (Your mileage may vary)
As for the ISP upgrade in service, I'm all for the latest and greatest, biggest and badest...but it's usually about your personal budget. Streaming video would be all about download and I would think that 7megs would be more than sufficient, would 11 megs be better, well if you're having problems with buffering now, then I would think yes, but I would wonder more about the source of the video and how busy their servers are. Gaming is bi-directional up and down and while the upgrade would double your upload performance don't expect it to work miracles, there are a ton of people out there with cable, fios and uverse that have some incredible up and down speeds. So to summarize I guess I would say, if you can afford it, go for it. Just don't end up doubling your monthly fees for what is not actually going to amount to doubling your internet performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Dec 2009   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

You're not going to see a vast improvement unless you install a gigabyte NIC and not a cheap one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Dec 2009   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by roban View Post
You're not going to see a vast improvement unless you install a gigabyte NIC and not a cheap one.
On the PC without it? I have one PC with and one without, so will the one without drag the rest of the network down. And if so, would a gigabit "switch" be better for my setup or should I still look into a new router? I'm more than likely going to add a gigabit card to the PC without, but until I do, what are recommendations? Thanks for the help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2009   #5

W7 Ultimate 64bit W7 Premium 64bit W7 Premium 32bit WXP Home 32bit

Routers actually have multiport switches. Each port will auto adapt to the speed of the device it's attached to. That means a PC with a GigE on port 2 will get 1 Gbps and a PC with a 100 Mbps NIC on port 5 will get 100Mbps. The 100Mbps port won't slow everyone else down.

One thing to remember, going Gigabit ethernet won't do a thing for your internet access. It only affects devices on the ethernet switch ports. You'd have to be running a *ton* of traffic on a PC to see any differences with a Gigabit ethernet NIC.

The WRT54 is an old platform and upgrading to a newer device would buy you a better and faster CPU in the router and that *would* help your internet performance. Older routers with slower CPU's have higher latency than newer units. Getting one with Gigabit interfaces may buy you lower the latency and a faster internet. But you may not notice anything PC to PC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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