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View Full Version : [Resolved] Best (fastest/reliable) form of networking for an old PowerMac media server?




alexreich
Sep 8, 2011, 12:35 AM
Hey guys, I'm really in a bind here. :mad:

Current situation:
I have my PowerMac G4 (AGP Graphics) set-up as a 1.5TB headless media server in my home. It receives it's networking via a Ethernet cable from my desktop Mac Mini. The only way my server is broadcasted on my network is if I enable Internet sharing (wireless in/wired out) out my Mac Mini's Gigabit port, and into the PowerMacs 10/100Base-T Ethernet port via cable (NOTE: My PowerMac currently has no wireless card).

Plan:
I would like to be able to access my server when my Mac Mini is off, breaking the PowerMac from needing my Mini running as the source of networking. I have two options I'm considering, and other details/questions.

*Misc. Info about my network*
-I have the 2011 Dual-Band AirPort Extreme, running a 5GHz Wireless-N only network, and a 2.4GHz 'everything else' network.
-I have the current model AirPort Express, extending the 5GHz network bandwidth across my house.
-I have Two Gigabit Ethernet ports available on my router.

I'm looking for the fastest, most reliable, and hassle free networking setup for my server.

Get a wireless N adapter
If I go this route,
-should I get a PCI wireless-N adapter?
-should I get a USB wireless-N adapter?
-is there any difference/limitation in performance in using a USB adapter versus the PCI route or vise versa?

Get a Gigabit PCI card (plug the PowerMac directly in my AirPort Extreme)
-(I assume this is the fastest option) Plug directly into AirPort Extreme.
-What's a real-world difference in 10/100Base-T and Gigabit speeds on a home network?
-Is it necessary to upgrade to Gigabit over my current Ethernet configuration when my major uses of the server are streaming media such as Movies and Music?

I really need my server to run by itself, without the help of another machine. Be that as it may, I'm really trying to save as much money as possible. I'm willing to pay around $50-70 dollars on whatever I need to get my setup and good as I can in the price range.

Thank you all for any help you provide.
-Alex :apple:



eyoungren
Sep 8, 2011, 01:21 AM
Why not buy a network switch, run a cable from a port on your router to the switch and then plug the PowerMac's ethernet cable into a port on the switch?

Switches are cheap now, probably about $100. But you could get buy with just a hub if you wanted. Switches are more intelligent, but hubs cost way less.

In my setup I have cable modem to wired router to network switch (24 ports, way more than I will ever need). One Linksys wireless router plugs into the network switch and has DHCP turned off (my wired router is providing NAT) so that wireless devices on my network have access. I also have a cable run out from my switch to the garage to a 36 port hub ($10 at Goodwill, rack mountable) and another wireless router (also with DHCP off) hooked into that hub to extend wireless reach to the garage (my leisure room).

Anyway, I'd think either a hub or switch would do the job with the least hassle.

burnout8488
Sep 8, 2011, 02:33 AM
Switches are cheap now, probably about $100. But you could get buy with just a hub if you wanted. Switches are more intelligent, but hubs cost way less.

$100? Try around $20! There's no reason to ever buy a hub these days.

chrismacguy
Sep 8, 2011, 03:56 AM
People, all those solutions are waaay overcomplicated. All the OP really needs is a nice long good quality Ethernet Cable to hook the G4 up to the Airport Extreme. Since the OP is happy with their current setup in terms of speed (i.e. Running at 100Mbps, since the Mini will be going down to 100 as thats all the network card in the G4 can cope with), then all they have to do is hook the G4 directly into the Airport Extremes Ethernet Port. It'll be just as fast and accessible as before, just without the Mac Mini.

The other solution I would suggest is, if the OP really wants it to go faster (i.e. its too slow currently), then I would get a Gigabit card, and do the same as above (Nice long cable), but if its performance is fine on 10-100 (i.e. currently), then just use it on 10/100 and hook it directly into the back of the Airport Extreme.

(Please note that all this talk of switches and hubs is, in my view, ridiculous. The OP has spare Ethernet ports on their current setup, doesn't need any more (or they would've mentioned it), and a switch won't achieve anything at all, when the G4 can just be wired directly into the Router. - i.e. a Switch would be a waste of money in this scenario).

MacHamster68
Sep 8, 2011, 04:43 AM
+1 for the ethernet cable , better then any wireless solution and stable and safer


i dont have wireless any more far to unstable and unsafe ..back to the roots

zen.state
Sep 8, 2011, 07:14 AM
$100? Try around $20! There's no reason to ever buy a hub these days.

A hub and a switch are not at all the same thing.

To the OP:

If you're looking for the fastest and most reliable network connection then don't even consider wifi. Gigabit ethernet and cat 6 cable are what you want.

eyoungren
Sep 8, 2011, 07:33 AM
A hub and a switch are not at all the same thing.

That's right. A switch intelligently delivers it's packet data to the correct machine via the correct port. A hub is stupid. It sends the data out on all ports hoping to hit it's target resulting in data collisions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eyoungren http://cdn.macrumors.com/vb/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=13314031#post13314031)
Switches are cheap now, probably about $100. But you could get buy with just a hub if you wanted. Switches are more intelligent, but hubs cost way less.

$100? Try around $20! There's no reason to ever buy a hub these days.

Even better then. My boss was charged $89 for a switch 5 years ago and about $100 for a switch a few months ago. These are switches for business, 24-48 ports. The switch I have here at home I got for free when my boss allowed me to have the old one.

"(Please note that all this talk of switches and hubs is, in my view, ridiculous. The OP has spare Ethernet ports on their current setup, doesn't need any more (or they would've mentioned it), and a switch won't achieve anything at all, when the G4 can just be wired directly into the Router. - i.e. a Switch would be a waste of money in this scenario)."

Perhaps a waste in the scenario. I mentioned a switch with an idea towards expansion. I have three machines here at home that are wired only and one that I connect via ethernet when I want to be on Skype for any length of time. Three other machines are on my network wirelessly and I have a variety of people coming in and out that connect to my switch all the time. In my situation, two ports are simply not enough, even if they are gigabit.

zen.state
Sep 8, 2011, 09:43 AM
Here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1102097&highlight=) is a link to a thread I started earlier this year on a great sub-$20 option to add Gigabit ethernet to any Mac that takes PCI cards and can run 10.5.2+. This is due to built in drivers for certain 3rd party ethernet cards found only in 10.5.2 through 10.5.8.

I have the same card in my Sawtooth and it is linked directly to my MacBook with cat 5e and I get 35-40MB/sec. I plan on grabbing a cat 6 cable soon as you can get 70MB+/sec with one in my experiences in former jobs with gigabit/cat6 setups. Cat 6 cable is actually designed directly for gigabit ethernet.

yettimillan
Sep 8, 2011, 02:02 PM
N/A Wrong post

alexreich
Sep 8, 2011, 09:03 PM
I'm going to plug the PowerMac directly into my router via the existing 10/100 Ethernet and see how it goes. If it's not fast enough or 'satisfactory', I'll purchase a Gigabit PCI card.

BTW:
I plan on running a wire (Ethernet) across my house to a switch, but haven't had the time or money to do so lately.

Also
If anyone could point me to a 10.4 (Tiger) friendly Gigabit PCI card, I would be very thankful!

EDIT 1:
Just plugged the PowerMac into my AirPort Extreme (using a CAT5e cable I had lying around), and all is well so far. Took note of it's IP Address, did some Screen Sharing stuff and it's all set up with a manual IP. Right now I'm doing some streaming tests by playing music on my Mac Mini and streaming a movie to my AppleTV.

alexreich
Sep 12, 2011, 11:19 PM
Here's what I'm buying right now, and will buy a switch in the coming weeks.

Mac OS 10.4+ Compatible PCI Gigabit Ethernet card; new from $8.99
http://amzn.to/nXpXAy

Has a review with Mac User saying it works flawlessly in Snow Leopard, and that description says that it's compatible with 10.4, so I say it's a good buy, I could put this in a newer server if a was to get a Intel machine.

zen.state
Sep 13, 2011, 07:07 AM
I could put this in a newer server if a was to get a Intel machine.

Unless you ever want it to do more than file serve you will never need more power. You already have about 20x the power you need for that.