Howdy: I'm very new to PC networking -- trying to sort out all of the
options. Here's the scenario: the landlady upstairs has signed up for
a fiber optic Internet service that advertises 100Mbit connection. We
down below want to share that service with her. The landlady has a Mac
PowerPC. We have a desktop PC running WinXP, and a Linux netbook. The
Linux box is the only machine with Wifi capability. However, we do NOT
want to go wireless in the household -- perfering to string cable. The
cable distances between our machines downstairs and her fiber optic
connection upstairs are @ 50 or 60 feet. Rummaging through various
discussion groups, I've convinced myself of the following:

1) I need a "router".
2) The router should come with a built-in ethernet "switch"
3) The router should have high "throughput". I think this means it can
pump more data more quickly between the net and your computer.

There are of course a myriad of other features and specs that
categorize these devices, but I wanted to focus on the speed thing.
Bottom line: we don't want a bottlenet between the Fiber Optic line
and our systems. When we go to www.Speedtest.net we want to see little
or no difference between what the landlady's results are without the
router in place, and what she gets after we install it.

I take it there is a difference between the "LAN side" and the "WAN
side" of the router in terms of speed. Many routers I looked at talk
about 10/100 Mbit support for the ethernet network, but don't mention
what they do on the other side. Note, I've been looking mostly at dual
function routers -- that support both wireless and wired connections
-- mainly because that seems to be all the rage right now, and I'm
likely to find a good bargain among those products. (If I get one of
those, I am going to try and *disable* the wireless function -- maybe
remove the antennas -- I don't know.)

Some router descriptions talk about a "Gigabit" speed on the ethernet
side, or also ?equivalently? 10/100/1000 Mbit speed. A few routers
(Linksys brands), mention a "NAT throughput" number. For example the
Linksys RVS4000 has an "800 Mb/s" NAT throughput. Other brands don't
mention this, though it seems a relevant and revealing spec.

Questions:
1) What are the technical terms I should be looking for to tell me how
how efficiently these routers can pass data to our local client
machines from the Internet?

2) Does anyone have any model or brand recommendations -- reasonably
priced but also fairly reliable/durable?

So far I've looked mainly at Linksys and Dlink models. Good reviews
for the most part on various boards (Amazon customer reviews, etc.)
One other thing: being a network newbie, I will probably need support
in setting this thing up. I'm reading that some manufacturers are
better than others in terms of customer service.

thx
Alex
Iowa, USA