Full disclosure: I don’t like home networking. At times I find it almost intimidating.
Yet with the growing array of networked entertainment devices in our homes, it’s necessary to have a backbone robust enough to support traditional online activities and with enough bandwidth to stream A/V and share files. My own home today has multiple Apple TVs, iOS devices and Apple computers, all of which need network connectivity.
Could commercial-grade networking really make a noticeable difference in my home’s network performance? It was time to try some big-boy networking products from Luxul, a Utah-based manufacturer that has been focused on commercial but is breaking into the custom home electronics space.
Luxul sent me its Xen line of enterprise-grade products, including the XGS-1024 24-Port Gigabit Switch, which can be used to manage as many as 24 devices at gigabit and Ethernet speeds; the desktop-friendly eight-port XGS-1008 Gigabit Switch; the XMS-1008 POE Gigabit Switch that adds the ability to work with Power over Ethernet (PoE)-compatible devices such as security cameras; the XBR-2300 business-class router that allows as many as 256 concurrent routing entries and incorporates the company’s XenSmart network management and security technologies; and the XAP-1020 WAP that incorporates Luxul’s Xen3D technology that is said to provide four times more coverage than standard wireless gear.
During the setup, I replaced each of my network’s 10/100 Base-T switches one by one to see how it would affect my network. After the switches I added the WAP, and I concluded with the router.
For the most part the installation went flawlessly. I had a little problem logging into the menu of the WAP, but it worked nevertheless. I also had issues with the router setup, but after speaking with support I realized I connected the Category 6 cable from my modem to the wrong input on the router. This port isn’t as clearly marked as a consumer-grade product. After connecting the Cat 6 cable to the proper WAN port, we walked through the connection settings, the security settings and verified the firmware.
Even with my missteps, the setup took approximately 90 minutes, which a trained custom electronics (CE) professional could probably cut in half.
The Luxul solution soon became the rock of my home technology platform. My two children can stream Netflix simultaneously on separate devices without any hiccups from the system, for example.
I tested the speeds of my Netgear 802.11n router against the WAP, and the WAP in combination with the Luxul and Netgear routers. According to the Speedtest.net app, installed onto an iPad2, the Luxul WAP blew away my Netgear router in both ping and downloads. The upload speeds were similar, but the decisiveness of the ping and download speeds was overwhelmingly in favor of Luxul.
I also compared the range of the Luxul WAP and the Netgear router and found the WAP to deliver noticeably more coverage around my house. With the full compliment of Luxul gear, I got about 2Mbps more speed with the Luxul router and WAP than I did with the combination of the WAP and Netgear router.
And get this: Thanks to the Luxul system, I haven’t had to reset the router once.
XGS-1024 24-Port Gigabit Switch
• 24 10/100/1000Mbps RJ45 ports
• 48Gbps switching capacity
• Standard 19-inch rack-mountable metal case
• Speeds of up to 2,000Mbps
XGS-1008 Gigabit Switch
• Eight 10/100/1000Mbps RJ45 ports
• 16Gbps switching capacity
• Speeds of up to 2,000Mbps
• Desktop or wall mount
XMS-1008P POE Switch
• 8 10/100/1000Mbps RJ45 ports with integrated POE
• All 8 ports deliver 15.4W of power (IEEE 802.3af)
• Remote reboot of POE devices
• 2 independent
• 10/100/1000BASE-T/SFP Ports
XBR-2300 Business-Class router
• 2 WAN, 3 LAN ports Advanced firewall features
• XenSmart network management
• IP address, domain name, MAC address filtering
• Built-in VPN server
• 802.11n wireless Wall or ceiling mount
• Xen3D coverage
• 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11n compliant
• Enhanced multilevel security
• Pricing varies by dealer http://www.luxul.com
• Robust build quality.
• Engineered for high-speed network applications.
• Reliable and it works with retrofit-friendly technologies such as powerline and multimedia over coax (MoCA).
• Available only from authorized dealers.
• More up-front investment to realize its full value over time.
• Utilitarian commercial industrial designs (for rac kmounted installations).
Follow Electronic House
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.