Currently my home network consists of 3 desktop PCs (2 with XP, 1 with vista) and 3 laptops (1 with XP, 2 with vista). Desktops are wired and laptops are wireless. My connection is Cable from Time Warner > modem > Netgear Rangemax Wireless Router > Computers. It is very common for there to be 4-5 of the computers being used at one time. Almost always 3.
Question 1: Quite often my internet connection slows to a crawl. Is this to be expected from a home network of this size? If it is just the way it has to be then that is fine, i am just curious if the issue could have more to do with particular settings. When i set up this network i pretty much just followed the routers instruction manual and plugged the computers in, ran the network wizard on them, and they connected. One odd irregularity of note is that if i attempt to download (torrents most notably) on my Vista desktop it is unbearably slow, but on my XP laptop wirelessly i get way faster downloads. That doesnt seem right to me.
Question 2: As a family, we have tons (seriously) of pictures, home videos, and music. Im talkin at least 100 gigs currently, but growing rapidly. I recently (2 or 3 months ago) went out and bought a Maxtor 500 GB Onetouch External Hard Drive. I connected it to one of my wired desktops and set it up to be shared. I put 3 folders on it for Pics, Videos/Movies, and Music. The family loved being able to stream Movies and music to their respective computers from the "Main" computers storage. I thought i had found the easy one-step media storage/serving solution. Well after a couple months the External hard drive burnt out. I managed to get most of our important pics and vids off it before it was completely toast. So now i am asking you guys: What is a good reliable storage solution for a busy home network, that can store and stream movies/music accross a home network and is not going to cost me an arm and a leg?
Thank you so much for reading this. If i left anything out or you need additional info to assist me please just ask, ill be checking back often. Thanks again.