Home Networking, pfSense, Motorola Cable Modems, D-Link Routers and Gigabit Switches – HT106


Home-Tech-Album-125x125_thumb1Jim (@jcollison) is joined this week by Paul Braren (@tinkererguy), Nathaniel Lindley (@thanlindley) and John Stutsman (@JohnStutsman) for Show 106!  We were all about Home Networking in this show!  How to do it, how not to and how to get it done with what you have!  Hope you enjoy this episode.  Part 2 will be next week.

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Here are the notes from the show.  You can listen and follow along!

Paul Braren, @tinkererguy
TinkerTry IT @ home. Efficient virtualization, storage, backup, and more…
All my network-related articles can be found at:


List of devices

  • WRT54G and 3-4 other Linksys routers in early 2000s, stock and tweaked firmware
  • 1 Linksys/Vonage combination product for VOIP
  • 2 D-Link DIR-655
  • Cisco/Linksys E4200 (currently) with SB6120 DOCIS 3.0 cable modem

I’ll dig around the basement, and add more details, mostly focused around my current known-good, stable combination of cable modem+router.
I’ll be ready, here’s my references, all pretty much here (from last 2 years, the relevant stories):
will discuss things I look for in a router, given

  • I had young kids (protection)
  • I now have gamers (low latency Justin.tv streaming, he’s broadcasting full 1080p video of StarCraft II and his webcam, while playing and talking)

effective QOS tuning video:
Done many upgrades from older routers to new, at family and friends houses.
Many firmware upgrades also done for various reasons over the years, with mixed success, and tales to tell.
Paul Braren, continued…
forgot to mention how variable routers are when it comes to interruption of service, such as changing port forwarding, on some routers, you have to reboot for that simple change to take effect, which bumps network access for everybody in the house, not acceptable!
Also forgot to mention to use Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Task Manager to monitor live bandwidth usage, see examples here:
how to do WOL for a WiFi only Yoga 13?
coming soon to tinkertry.com
Hardware mentions:
More about John Stutsman 2001 vintage D-Link DGL-4500:
Cisco-Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Router, also 2001:
popular for OpenWrt and Tomato firmware
D-Link DIR-655, 2003:
Cisco/Linksys E4200 Jan 2011:
ASUS 802.11AC
802.11ac is the Next Big Thing in Wireless
New 802.11ac is faster and better than 802.11n, paving the way for high-performance wireless HD. But how long will 5 GHz band stay uncrowded?
Stutsman Style bookmarks:
“The 2nd Annual Home Server Show Meetup” in Indianapolis Indiana October 20th 2012
good reviews of home networking equipment:
Nathaniel Lindley, @thanlindley

list of devices

  • pfsense router on old Dell tower, 2 NICs, DNS, DHCP, Traffic monitor, Firewall
    • I like the vnstat2 package for clear traffic usage graphs
    • no UPnP vulnerability
  • Motorola/Vonage modem for VOIP (I called to get the price back down to reasonable)
  • Wireless AP (Linksys WRT54G with tomato for 802.11g), Linksys E2500 (802.11n); Apple Airport Extreme 802.11n with Printer sharing
  • Motorola Surfboard cable modem (Comcast)
  • SiliconDust HDHomerun IP tuner
  • Gigabit switches (Trendnet Green and Netgear GS series)
  • desktops, laptops, mobile devices

Been happy with pfsense as a router, better than Buffalo DD-WRT and older linksys, would like to learn more about QOS and reporting
Pay for OpenDNS account and use them to block nasty sites, works for me at router level
Sometimes, when both wife and I are on VPN (mostly when her WinXP laptop is on wireless) we will both get disconnected — enough to need to turn off wireless on laptop and then back on to reconnect.  Why could that be?
At this point, I think I have too many cascading switches in switches to get wired connections to various areas of the house, will that cause networking problems?  don’t really think I can run more cable in walls.
I’d like to learn more about using iperf to test bandwidth internally and look for bottlenecks

John Stutsman, @JohnStutsman

List of devices

  • Cable Modem: Motorola SURFboard eXtreme Cable Modem Model SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0
  • Router: D-Link DGL-4500
  • Main Switch: D-Link 24 Port Gigabit Switch DGS-1024D
  • Additional Switches: D-Link 5 Port Gigabit Switch DGS-2205; D-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch DGS-2208
  • HD HomeRun
  • HP Officejet 6000 Wireless/wired Printer
  • Desktop, Laptop, HTPC
  • Various wireless iOS devices
  • Wifi Radio Ira Myine IR001
  • Various Servers

Previous devices

  • Router: D-Link DI-524 b/g
  • Bridge/Access Point: 3*D-Link DAP-1522
  • Power-Line Ethernet (Power-Line Carrier): D-Link DHP-302
  • Cable Modem: RCA DCM425
  • Before the DGS-1024D I used a D-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch DGS-2208 then later a DGS-2208 and a DGS-2205 daisy chained


Some testing I did in 2009-2010 (see attached pdf above) showed –
Net effect of testing on 2009-2010 was:

  • Power Line Carrier was the Slowest though it was still fast enough for most videos
  • Direct CAT6 Cable was the Fastest
  • Gigabit switches were faster than the back of Router
  • The back panel of the Access Points/Bridges could be used for Gigabit Switches

Additional references:

Future plans include –

  • 2nd HD HomeRun – for over the air Broadcast with Antenna in Attic
  • CAT6 cable runs to additional rooms in the house
  • A lot of my old equipment/hardware has gone to family members I expect I’ll be helping them as their systems evolve

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Chat Logs:

9:37 PM  Renny: Like that tip KS

9:38 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: Your fine Jackie, I am not posting much easier since I am working on the show from Tuesday

9:38 PM  ben: googledns

9:38 PM  Jazzerjay: google here as well

9:38 PM  OtherJim: Good point KS, always think about the next cable pull.

9:39 PM  flyboyco: KS good point.  twine is cheap

9:39 PM  Renny: Dyn.dns does the same

9:39 PM  up7500: I had to point my MOM’s router to google for DNS due to how bad her ISP was.

9:40 PM  ben: do u block dns request not going to opendns?

9:42 PM  ben: if u don’t block dns request except to opendns u can bypass the opendns blocking by using a different dns

9:42 PM  ben: disable UPNP!!!!

9:43 PM  tinkererguy: ah, shownotes, here’s some URLs, sorry, should have shared up front

9:43 PM  tinkererguy: http://tinkertry.com/upnp-vulnerability/

9:43 PM  tinkererguy: best overall list of my network related articles here:

9:43 PM  tinkererguy: http://tinkertry.com/network

9:45 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: What if you have 3

9:45 PM  ben: yes

9:45 PM  CanadianGeek: it would yes

9:46 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: pfSense can handle UPnP and with 3 Xbox’s, UPnP makes it much easier

9:46 PM  ben: there is a program to test i’ll find it

9:46 PM  ben: yes lanspeed works well

9:46 PM  CanadianGeek: why not have an internal port on your pfscense box for each switch??

9:47 PM  OtherJim: Good idea CG

9:47 PM  CanadianGeek: instead of doing a switch off of switch

9:48 PM  Nathaniel: the trick is getting the wired connetion to the rooms I want it.  I’m going to have to think through that idea.

9:48 PM  Nathaniel: like a 4 port NIC?

9:48 PM  Renny: Lot more cable to run

9:48 PM  ben: I have used lanspeed and used it to proove a switch was being saturated

9:49 PM  CanadianGeek: well you may have to check the pci slots on the pfscense box to see what it can support. You could get a single port pci card for the pfscense server

9:49 PM  ben: just get a 16 or 24 port GB switch

9:50 PM  CanadianGeek: also check what pfscense supports the cards

9:50 PM  Nathaniel: I do use the built-in NIC and a PCI gigabit NIC in the Pfsense box

9:50 PM  Nathaniel: the gig nic goes to a single 8-port gigabit switch

9:51 PM  Renny: I agree Joe Miner

9:51 PM  CanadianGeek: awwww misinterprited, my bad

9:52 PM  Renny: I have had video issues on 10/100 switches

9:53 PM  CanadianGeek: depends on the size of the videos you’re streaming through the network. There could be issues

9:54 PM  OtherJim: My first home router had no wifi, but it had a serial port and could dial a 56k modem!

9:54 PM  Nathaniel: this one?  http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed.html

9:54 PM  ben: yes

9:55 PM  ben: did u see a difference between cat5 cat5e and cat6 wire

9:56 PM  flyboyco: i have never noticed the difference

9:57 PM  Nathaniel: Dlink DGL-4500 http://www.dlink.com/us/en/home-solutions/connect/routers/dgl-4500-xtreme-n-gaming-router

9:57 PM  CanadianGeek: I’ve noticed a difference between cat5 and cat6, but the difference between cat5e and cat6 is so slim it’s hardly noticble.

9:58 PM  Renny: Cat5/6 only really makes a difference over longer distances

9:58 PM  CanadianGeek: and through put Renny

9:58 PM  Nathaniel: does POE show a difference on Cat5e vs. Cat 6

9:58 PM  Nathaniel: /

9:58 PM  Nathaniel: ?

9:59 PM  Renny: Cat6 less prone to interference too (better shielding)

9:59 PM  CanadianGeek: cat5e and 6 is a distance thing, but not cat5 and 6

9:59 PM  tinkererguy: sorry, never had to use power over ethernet, not sure about your good question Nathaniel

9:59 PM  Nathaniel: not at home, no.  just curious for work. 🙂

9:59 PM  flyboyco: renny, i agree, but I have never seen the difference

10:00 PM  Renny: @flyboy they are almost the same price these days so I just go w ith 6

10:00 PM  flyboyco: for the small cost difference, use 6.

10:00 PM  flyboyco: renny, i totally agree.

10:00 PM  OtherJim: Agreed

10:01 PM  ben: small cost diff for house maybe office it gets costly

10:02 PM  flyboyco: if it’s an office, the difference will be noticed in the next couple years

10:03 PM  Renny: Cat6 is future proof for 10Gig too, so just use it

10:04 PM  Jim theHost: http://homeservershow.com/an-introduction-to-home-networking.html

10:05 PM  tinkererguy: John’s legendary bookmarking talents documented here:

10:05 PM  tinkererguy: http://tinkertry.com/home-server-show-meetup-indianapolis-october-2012/

10:05 PM  Renny: Stutzman Style

10:05 PM  Jim theHost: http://homeservershow.com/an-introduction-to-home-networking.html

10:05 PM  tinkererguy: http://cdn.tinkertry.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Windows-Server-2012-John-Stutsman-style.jpg

10:05 PM  flyboyco: i’m done with wife’s video.  just curious about the Drobo deal…  didi I miss the cue?

10:06 PM  Jim theHost: not yet…let me do that

10:06 PM  Renny: nope

10:06 PM  CanadianGeek: @jim thehost, good start for networking

10:06 PM  flyboyco: SWEET

10:06 PM  ben2: cat5e can handle 10g

10:06 PM  KS: Cat7 for 10G, but even that does not meet the distance specs of ethernet.

10:07 PM  Jackie_Kingsley: ok, cool 🙂

10:07 PM  flyboyco: (sorry, jim the host)  I feel like I was cheating on you…

10:07 PM  ben2: ben2 is ben (clicked something while on the phone

10:07 PM  flyboyco: but it WAS my wife

10:08 PM  Renny: There’s a catch, only Australians can enter

10:08 PM  OtherJim: lol

10:08 PM  Jazzerjay: haha

10:09 PM  CanadianGeek: roland??

10:09 PM  flyboyco: I know Roland

10:09 PM  flyboyco: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

10:09 PM  flyboyco: someone had to…

10:09 PM  OtherJim: Drobo with NIC is kind of new

10:09 PM  Renny: they used to make synthasizers

10:09 PM  ben2: try synology boxes

10:10 PM  up7500: Just threw the word in.

10:10 PM  Renny: cant find it

10:11 PM  Jim theHost: ROLAND

10:11 PM  Jim theHost: Drobo word of the show

10:11 PM  jpeg2RAW___Mike: total crap John

10:11 PM  tinkererguy: very nice Mike

10:11 PM  tinkererguy: I know you jest

10:12 PM  tinkererguy: trying to get him to react 😉

10:12 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: iP hone is so yesterday

10:12 PM  OtherJim: Grandpa has an iPhone like your’s Mike

10:12 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: WHat I want him to reacto to is how slow the Intel 3770k is compaed to my AMD chip

10:12 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: 8 real cores vs 4 real+4 fake

10:12 PM  Nathaniel: thems fighting words

10:13 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: My AMD 8 core is kicking the butt of my i7 3770k in Wirecast

10:13 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: I am having to overclock the 3770k to 4.2GHz to get it somewhat close

10:13 PM  tinkererguy: you overclock it, I heard you mention recently, to keep Wirecast happy

10:13 PM  tinkererguy: (same wavelength)

10:14 PM  Jazzerjay: no

10:14 PM  CanadianGeek: No doesn’t matter at this point

10:15 PM  CanadianGeek: you’re alright Jim

10:16 PM  CanadianGeek: cat6 is cheap also, 1000 feet for $120 at monoprice

10:16 PM  OtherJim: No writing, it is Cat3 or less

10:17 PM  up7500: I will switch to CAT 6 when my currnet box of Cat5E runs out, still got about 600 ft left.

10:20 PM  CanadianGeek: alot of stuff goes in the 2.4ghz range

10:21 PM  jpeg2RAW_Mike: wierd, we don’t have any interfernce issues that I have ever noticed

10:21 PM  CanadianGeek: baby monitors, wifi, wireless home phones, microwaves….amungst others

10:21 PM  OtherJim: I’ve seen the microwave effect.  Wii on wifi drops, but I don’t care.

10:22 PM  Nathaniel: got the baby monitors here, too.

10:22 PM  up7500: anybody else ever have problems with bluetooth when the microwave is on also.

10:24 PM  KS: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4895-wireless-access-point-with-concurrent-dual-radio/?hl=eap600

10:24 PM  OtherJim: Yes, BT uses 2.4 GHz too. Same problem.

10:24 PM  CanadianGeek: Hey Direct quote Nat,

10:25 PM  CanadianGeek: 🙂

10:26 PM  CanadianGeek: I love appartment buildings. I can break out my backtrack 5 and have some entertainment

10:26 PM  tinkererguy: http://www.asus.com/Networking/RTN56U/

10:26 PM  Renny: AC rolling out now

10:26 PM  Nathaniel: thx

10:27 PM  CanadianGeek: No worries Nathaniel

10:27 PM  Renny: As usual AC not a standard yet

10:27 PM  Nathaniel: good times

10:28 PM  CanadianGeek: awwwww no networking protacals??? How disappointing 🙁

10:29 PM  CanadianGeek: Could you repeat the rolls??

10:30 PM  CanadianGeek: if the rolls are running in the hyper-v vms it should be fine

10:30 PM  Jim theHost: I am going to set up failover for the hyper v’s but i also want to set up dhcp, domain controller dns active directory but I have heard that you should not install those rolls on the data cente r direc

10:31 PM  CanadianGeek: Yeah don’t worry about it. He’s good in the hood

10:32 PM  CanadianGeek: Pass on that he should have the secondaries set to the other system.

10:33 PM  OtherJim: John has the best documented shade tree ever!

10:35 PM  flyboyco: great show!  sorry for the distraction…

10:35 PM  Renny: All part of the fun Flyboy

10:36 PM  flyboyco: Thanks renny!  Enjoy the 30degree weather

10:36 PM  Renny: you too,lol

10:36 PM  flyboyco: 🙂

10:37 PM  Renny: On it

10:37 PM  Jackie_Kingsley: goodnight all 🙂

10:37 PM  OtherJim: Thanks guys, very good show

10:37 PM  flyboyco: Jim,  hows the nabreaska snow?

10:37 PM  Jim theHost: thanks guys

10:37 PM  CanadianGeek: Have a good one Jackie

10:38 PM  CanadianGeek: And all

10:38 PM  Nathaniel: so fun

10:38 PM  Jim theHost: lots of snow here

10:38 PM  Jim theHost: school is cancelled for tomorrow

10:38 PM  flyboyco: we had  6: of powder in two days.  push broom stuff

10:39 PM  flyboyco: I heard Kansas was CLOSED

10:39 PM  Jim theHost: where are you flyboy?

10:39 PM  flyboyco: denver

10:39 PM  Jim theHost: oh yea

10:39 PM  CanadianGeek: alright I’m out guys, ttyl

10:39 PM  flyboyco: (keith from denver

10:40 PM  flyboyco: See ya CG!

10:41 PM  flyboyco: Just got the Audio Technica.  sweet mic for the $

10:42 PM  Renny: You podcast Flyboy?

10:42 PM  Jim theHost: love me the 2100!

10:42 PM  Jim theHost: very nice mic

10:43 PM  flyboyco: just getting rady to.  (wife’s indusyrt)

10:43 PM  Renny: cool

10:44 PM  flyboyco: She has been in her business for several years, but no serious podcasts yet.  we are going to try

10:44 PM  OtherJim: John, you need the free MS ZoomIT make it easy to show stuff.

10:44 PM  OtherJim: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx

10:45 PM  OtherJim: (It is not part of the show tonight, so no big deal.)

10:45 PM  Jim theHost: did you listen to the interviews with the podcasting guys

10:45 PM  Jim theHost: flyboy?

10:45 PM  flyboyco: I did.  We were ready to start, great timing.  Really apprciate the interviews Jim

10:45 PM  Jim theHost: cool

10:46 PM  OtherJim: Look at the tower of linksys!

10:46 PM  Jim theHost: are you suggesting something OtherJim? 🙂

10:47 PM  OtherJim: It is so cool!

10:48 PM  OtherJim: You used USB for the VZW device?

10:48 PM  flyboyco: I think I have the tools…  We are getting a few shows layed out before we atsrt.  trying to be ready for a few shows before we start

10:48 PM  Jim theHost: let me know if you have any questions keith

10:49 PM  flyboyco: for sure.  I have a bunch of questions, but will try to be ready before I “call”.

10:49 PM  Jim theHost: well. when you are ready…let me know

10:50 PM  Renny: Jim, you up for a short video as part of the show next week? On installing ethernet?

10:50 PM  Jim theHost: youtube video?

10:50 PM  Renny: no. original

10:50 PM  Jim theHost: your video?

10:51 PM  Renny: yep

10:51 PM  Jim theHost: can you ship it to me?

10:51 PM  Renny: of course

10:51 PM  Jim theHost: I think we can do it

10:51 PM  Renny: Give it a go anyway and see what you think

10:57 PM  flyboyco: wow..   thats cool

10:58 PM  flyboyco: ATR2100!

10:59 PM  Renny: Great idea for a show Jim, Thanks all for a really informative show

10:59 PM  flyboyco: renny – thanks for humoring me.

10:59 PM  flyboyco: great show all!

11:00 PM  Nathaniel: thanks, I had a great time.

11:00 PM  Jim theHost: thanks guys

11:00 PM  Jim theHost: great having you all

11:00 PM  Renny: Glad to be of assistance

11:02 PM  John S: Thanks everyone for coming out

11:02 PM  John S: I had a great time