Wireless N backbone

For a small wireless N network (4 or 5 access points), how fast should my backbone be?  Is 100 Mb fast enough or do I need to install a gigabit backbone?  

I need to buy a switch and wonder if I need a full Gig switch or if 100 Mb will be adequate.  I don't have VoIP but thought I'd use POE so that I don't have to worry about power to the access points.

Thanks,
Craig
cwickstromAsked:
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RonHoffmannCommented:
100Mb is plenty fast enough but gigabit switches aren't that much more money
DLink - DGS-2205 is a 5 port copper gigabit switch for $40 at tigerdirect.ca
 DGS-2208 8 port gigabit for $72
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cwickstromAuthor Commented:
Ron,

Thanks for the response.  Your first comment is what I needed.  I know that there isn't that much difference in price at the low end.  Unfortunately, if I want a managed switch so that I can potentially use VLANs and if I want POE on even 4 ports, the difference in price suddenly jumps considerably.  For example, a 24-port managed 100 Mb Netgear switch with 8 POE ports is about $250.  A 24 port managed gig Netgear switch with at least 8 POE ports is $650 or $750.  Is it worth the extra money?

Thus, my question.  That and a rough calculation of bandwidth.  100 Mb won't give me more than, say 60 or 70 Mb, but for one use, that is way more than enough.  A wireless-N access point can theoretically give me 600 Mb, but probably more like 90 Mb in real life (just a guess).  For a single user that is fine, but if I have a half-dozen users on my AP, all sharing that 90 Mb, their effective bandwidth is closer to 15 Mb.  That really isn't bad for an end user, but will they even get that much if the 100 Mb backbone can only give them 60 or 70 Mb?

That's what makes me wonder if the extra cost might be worthwhile.

Thanks,
Craig
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cwickstromAuthor Commented:
Didn't elaborate on why 100 Mb is fast enough to service (potentially) 300 Mb Wireless N
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RonHoffmannCommented:
300 Mbps  is the theoretical speed for the n protocol. You can only get close to this in bonded channel mode which has a spectrum spread of 48 MHz which covers multiple wifi channels,
but this can interfere with nearby  b and g access points. Many n routers will also default to single channel mode if they detect interference or if a b or g client connects. As a result you will end up with roughly the same through put as a 100Mbps switch. Which the switch gives you on each port.
The backbone of the network I manage started at 100Mbps but I'm slowly replacing it all with gigabit equipment. I have 28 access points ( only 2 of which are 802.11n ) on it as well as 25 fixed machines. At peak times I have close to 500 clients on the network at one time. We have no trouble watching HD streamed video off the internet.
With your small network I really can't see you having any difficulty with 10/100Mbps equipment.
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cwickstromAuthor Commented:
Ron,

Thanks for the follow-up.  Your real-world example was the clincher for me.

Craig
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