So to start off I am an entry level network technician/administrator with experience in OS's like Win, OS X, and Linux.
What I'm trying to do is rebuild my relatives' home network and entertainment system to be up to par with today's awesome entertainment digital standards.
They have a crap linksys router, mac mini dual core, brother MFC 8460N printer, dlink extender, denon AVR 3311IC, Samsung Blu Ray, XBox360, DVR, and Epson Projector. These are all the things that I'm dealing with in the network.
There are two floors. The first floor has the printer, modem, and router which then feeds to the second floor where their media room has the projector, blu ray, denon AVR, XBox, and DVR.
My goal is to make the perfect network.
First off they hate switching from one network to the other when changing floors. To fix this we're going to get an Airport Extreme BS and Airport Express extender to create a WDS network for seamless transitioning while both access points are a single network.
0) For WDS to work does each access point need to be wired by Ethernet to the base station to add to the network or do they wirelessly mesh together to repeat each other? Also what is the difference between remote and repeater?
1) Is this a valid solution? Can this be done?
Next, post airport express, will be an 8 port gigabit switch which will network the blu ray, denon, xbox, and airport express. Now the Denon AVR 3311IC has the ability to upgrade to airplay for $49. I also want to hook up his mac mini from the office to the entertainment system to use as a sudo Apple TV. I'll get to why I'm moving it later.
2) If I upgrade the Denon to Airplay, can I stream VIDEO to it?
3) Is the Mac Mini HDCP compliant so I can use its HDMI through the Denon?
Onto the next phase, I'm adding a Lion Server Mac Mini to their network in the office. This server is going to store all their music and videos allowing them to airplay the library to any Airplay compliant device in the house. Also it will store critical files and data as well as a Time Machine backup for work. These critical files will require access to by certain cooworkers for VPN
3) Can I select shared libraries on the server or other Macs from iOS devices to airplay remote to other airplay compliant devices such as the Denon or Mac Mini?
4) Is it possible to run a Time Machine backup on the server? If not, can I plug in any Ext Hard Drive into the Airport Extreme and use that as the TM backup?
5) Do I need any outside source (web hosting) for VPN access?
6) Do the dual 500GB hard drives in the Mac Mini Lion Server run as Raid 0, Raid 1, or as one whole TB?
Now the reason I'm moving the Mac Mini to the entertainment room is so that they can use a Mac to Web Browse, play movies and music. I'm going to use an app called Banana TV or AirServe to turn the standard Mac Mini into an airplay capable device. With that said it, originally once added to homesharing, it can see all iTunes libraries anyway but I want iOS devices to control what plays on the Mac Mini.
7) Do I need Banana TV? It costs $7.99 and might be redundant as I could probably use an App on an iPad to control what's playing on Mac Mini without Airplay?
Last but not least, they want speakers in the kitchen. Most of all I want them to have Airplay Speakers in the Kitchen. I haven't found a good solution for this yet. The best I could think of was adding another Airport Express into the mix through WDS and using 1/8" to speaker output. This is a muddy way of doing things. The iHome W1, W2, and W3 aren't out yet which makes things difficult.
8) What other solutions are there for airplay speakers besides the ony alternative which is the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Wireless AirPlay Speaker Dock?
9) When is the iHome W1, W2, and W3 coming out?
Thank you for taking the time to read this and answer my questions, I really appreciate it.