Several months ago we renovated our flat and I decided it was also time to upgrade the home network. Before the renovation, I had a simple Linksys Wi-Fi 1200 router and everything connected via Wi-Fi. It was working but I wanted to add some new devices like a NAS (network-attached storage) box and IP cameras. It was clear the Linksys Wi-Fi 1200 transmitting on the 2.4GHz band (max 300Mbps) was not going to cut it.
I decided NOT to cable the house with Cat6 cable because I thought Wi-FI on 5Ghz would be good enough and fast enough. Uh, big mistake. The wireless speeds were good, however with a wired network I could have put wireless access points and IP cameras anywhere. By running a single ethernet cable to the device it would be connected to the network AND get powered from the LAN switch. Oh well, you live and learn.
I switched out the Linksys Wi-Fi 1200 for a Linksys WRT1900ACS wireless router. The WRT1900ACS is a dual radio router which means you can run 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the same time. In other routers, if you have a single device connecting at 2.4Ghz then all the devices connecting to the access point have to run at 2.4GHz, which is not ideal. Although I went with a Linksys WRT1900ACS wireless access point, I would suggest looking at eero if your house is over 2,500 sq. ft. since it uses the latest in wireless mesh technology to eliminate dead spots in a large house.
The second addition to my home network was the Synology 218 NAS device. It’s a two bay device and the really big feature is the ability to provide on the fly transcoding of 4K 10-bit H.265 files, the latest video codec standard. I populated the NAS box with a couple of Western Digital 2TB Red Series drives and configured them for Raid 1. Raid 1 mirrors the data on both drives, which means my NAS box has a total capacity of 2 terabytes.
Before buying the Synology I was pretty sure it would be overkill for my needs but after using it for a month or so I have found 3 good uses so far:
- Before I was using Apple’s Time Machine to backup my iMac and MacBook to an external hard drive attached to my iMac. Now I have both computers backing up to the NAS box.
- Download torrents directly to the NAS box using the Synology DiskStation Manager software
- Stream content to my TVs and phones with on the fly transcoding
What’s next? In the next couple of months I’ll be adding an IP camera to the mix and I’ll be able to stream that video feed to the NAS box as well. I would highly recommend a NAS box to anyone that is serious about having a complete home entertainment center. Granted it’s not something that is plug and play but it’s highly useful as our lives continue to revolve around digital content.