Need help selecting network hardware for house

So my folks were somehow lucky enough to get ATT Gigapower Symmetrical fiber to their house in the middle of nowhere on the Natchez Trace Parkway. That’s right, they have symmetrical 1Gbps link internet. Unfortunately, ATT forces them to use the PACE gateway router which has crap wifi. It is an AC Wireless router. It reaches the kitchen about 20 feet away give or take 10 feet (my math is wonky thinking about diagonal through walls etc). I was on the Gateway looking at the signal strength of connected devices. My mom was in the kitchen with her Galaxy Note 4. The signal strength was 2 bars. 2 BARS!!!

The router can barely reach the loft 30 feet away and while you can connect, have fun trying to stream anything. So, I have decided to redo their networking because for some reason while they were designing the house (they had this built when we moved down here) they did not heed my advice to wire for Ethernet and instead listened to a local school IT guy who said Wifi would be enough. Really? Wifi would be enough in a house made almost exclusively of yellow pine?


The house is roughly 4800 sq foot for the main house and 250sq ft for the loft.

The house is 2 story.
The loft is above a garage and is attached to the main house via the attic. The garage is also attached.

The router is in the office at the front-middle of the house. there is already one CAT5 drop we ran from the office to the living room ~100ft run via the attic for the TV media center as they connect to my media server.

My idea is to disable the Wifi on the PACE and turn the PACE into a passthrough modem/gateway. Then get a wired router, 24 port switch, and some wireless APs. Maybe make the switch POE or have some POE injection ports on it. Alternatively maybe get a little crazy and use punchdown panels in the attic and office? a router and 24 port switch in the office to a punch down panel in the office that leads to a punch down panel in the attic that has POE labeled ports for APs and others for future CAT5 drops?

I am open to suggestions. Basically I want a system that hopefully wont require serious work in the future and wont cost an arm and a leg to implement. I am going to do the leg work on it so Im not afraid to get my hands dirty. I did go to Cisco Academy so I have my CCNA down. just not the cert. the test frankly scares me. I do have my Net+ though.

I looked at Ubiquity but the $49 router they have is fine for a 100mbps network but they have a symmetrical 1gbps network. I tested it and was easily hitting 700mbps+ every time. So I don’t want to nerf it with a sub standard speed router.

But, I also dont want to be spending Cisco Catalyst router prices either you know? If I have to build a router from a computer to do it, I will. As long as the CPU aint Intel :slight_smile:

Pfsense box for router with quad core and 4gb of ram. Intel nics
TP-Link managed switches are decent in price and get the job done.
2 Ubiquiti AC Lite start out with two and see how well they perform and add from there.

I should add that the Basement is the second story. It is also the foundation. It is a Yankee style house. The basement is concrete so that will add some challenge for the wifi signal. I want to run drops as few as possible but definitely one to the loft for the TV there. Probably also put a switch up there and an AP.

What about a sm00thwall or Untangle, ClearOS, MikroTik, etc. Why choose PFSense over the others? Sell me on PFSense.

no sell here just a lot of people here using it. So we can give you lots of support. But mikrotik has come across may radar many times across many forums so that could work also.
Run AP off the switches you put in each location. That should cut down on drops.

I had looked at Mikrotik but their lower end hardware had single core 300-600mhz chips. Not sure they can handle gigabit. Would an AMD APU Quad core handle Gigabit? How fast does the quad core need to be?

i believe it could. My celeron maxes out my 100mbps connection while only using like 5-10% so im thinking so.

how fast is your celeron though? For example Im running a media server with a AMD A8-3850 Quad core and it seems to do just fine.

sorry it is 3.0ghz haswell

Quad core celeron Haswell?

nope dual core

with HT? thats right Celeron doesnt have Hyper Threading. Any idea which model?

nope its a G3220

wow, your chip isnt much far off from my ancient AMD APU. :slight_smile: At least according to CPU Boss

that is why it is in my router. Use to be my server finally got a xeon.

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well, im fixing to upgrade my server chip to Ryzen anyway. drop to Mini-ITX to boot. But I need to pick out a board and APU for the router I guess. go SFX but this will be an expensive router. I wanted to stay cheap but good on the router. Bang for Buck you know. But cant have everything. My co-worker lucks out and snags stuff from the banks when they throw it out for the new hardware. He gets “old” networking gear for free. Which reminds me I have to bill him for this month’s hard drive. He owes me for 8 1TB hard drives and is paying me for a drive a month.

The reason I like Pfsense over the other open source router software is that Pfsense has a commercial company supporting the project. Also, Netgate offers paid support, without having to purchase their routers. They have one year support for Pfsense at a cost of $1,000 dollars per year; I know that is a lot of money, but if you need support, what are you going to do.

Some people on this forum have the opinion of having all your switches in one central location which In my opinion makes sense but can add to the cost of adding Ethernet to your house because of extra long runs need to reach your central located switch or switches.

Im of the opinion that Patch Cable Punch-Down panels are very useful. Id rather have those to string between than many switches.

How do you feel about OPNSense?

I just cancelled my gigapower for cable Internet. That shit box is a huge bottleneck even as a modem. And since they tie the MAC of it to you’re account there is no away around.

Oh and also there’s no bridge mode! So that means DMZ+ mode or IP pass-through. Which means you’ll be going through that router at all times. With glorious double nat, double Firewall and other great features. So good luck getting consistent up times!

And also good luck with ports randomely closing. The box not accepting any logins or configuration changes.

Biggest waste of a fiber connection in history.

So if all you’re doing is basic browsing good luck doing anything as far as network changes or another router, enjoy your weeks of googling and cursing and compromises.