I have no idea why I have bothered to diagram and document my home network, but since I have, here it is…
Buffalo LinkStation Network Storage Center
My most recent acquisition is Buffalo LinkStation Network Storage Center, a 120GB drive connected by Ethernet to the Netgear wireless router. It has a USB 2.0 interface that will connect to a backup drive (not got yet) with a built-in print server. I’m using SyncToy to synchronize files across the network, with the Network drive acting as the master. I also considered the Iomega Network 160GB Hard Drive, but the built-in print server on the Buffalo just pipped it for me, even though it had 40GB less than the Iogema for the same price.
Netgear Wireless Router
The Netgear wireless router is a 54Mbps WRG614 v5, 802.11b/g, has a built-in firewall and has turned out to be very reliable. It has 4 wireless devices registered (2 laptops, the wireless media player and Xbox), and four Ethernet connected devices (the DSL modem, network drive, desktop pc and VoIP phone adapter/router).
Vonage VoIP Phone Adapter
This LinkSys RT31P2 phone adapter is connected by Ethernet to the wireless routers and has 2 phone adapters. One of the phone adapters connects to a 5.8GHz cordless phone base. The phone adapter / router was provided by our VoIP landline provider, Vonage. We need the landline so Kate can run her UK business from here, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with a landline – my mobile does what I need. It’s been surprisingly reliable and trouble-free.
Toshiba Laptop, Tablet PC and Compaq Presario Desktop
The Tecra M2 and Portege Tablet PC are running wireless 802.11 g and b respectively. Ideally I’d like to upgrade the Tablet’s wireless card to g standard. The Compaq Presario desktop (old model) is connected to the wireless router by Ethernet. Each have the Buffalo Network Storage drive and printer mapped. I have SyncToy for Windows XP Professional installed on each of these machines to synchronize with the network drive, each running a daily sync Scheduled Task. The Tecra M2 and Desktop each also have a Netgear Media Server instance installed that talks to the Netgear MP 101 media player when running. The desktop has become the ‘familiy pc’ that our son can use without destroying stuff – it also runs the guest accounts for friends who need to check email, surf, etc. Considering upgrading hardware to run Windows XP Media Center.
HTC C500 Smartphone (known as Audiovox in US)
What would I do without my SPV C500 Smartphone? (known as Audiovox SMT5600 in the US) Runs Windows Mobile, and use ActiveSync 3.8 on the Tecra via USB 2.0 to sync to Outlook and copy camera phone pics / video over to the Tecra. I don’t use the Exchange server sync – I think it would drive me mad knowing I’d had a gazillion unopened work emails I’d need to constantly check.
Packard Bell Digital Camera
The DSC-400 is a cheap and cheerful 4.07 Megapixel digital camera I bought in the UK with USB 2.0 port to import pics stored on network drive. The pics are sync’d from the network drive to the 2 laptops using SyncToy.
Have 2 Xbox’s, one is in the main room using Xbox wireless adapter to nail suckers on Rainbow Six 3. Is also our DVD player. The other Xbox in the office is from the UK which I brought over as we had a ton of UK DVDs for our son (this part sucks – regional DVD is such pain – totally anti-consumer…beyond belief!). Can’t wait for the Xbox 360!
Netgear MP101, Media Player
Netgear MP101 is wireless 802.11g music media player. Of all the devices connected to the network, this one gives me the most trouble, specifically the failure rate of it being assigned an IP when booting. I often have to reboot three or four times before it has an IP address. Once it has this it runs fine, connecting to one of the Netgear Media Servers on either the Tecra or the desktop. One additional annoyance is that if left idle for half an hour or so it loses its IP address, requiring another 3-4 reboots. The initial installation is not for the faint hearted, nor user-friendly. That said, I love it once up and running.