Based on your input, and searching the web, I ended up writing the following post:
" My ideal network would have a fanless mini pc with gigabit ethernet ports, connecting two dual-band wireless access points for the 8 house mates. The need for two access points is because all wireless bands are crowded in nyc, such that any channel can't handle much. "
" I chose a simpler solution than setting up “the ideal network”. I had a 50 foot ethernet cable on me. I ran the cable from the router to my room, since I only use internet from my desk. I suggested others do the same if they had issues (which would also reduce the wireless load).
So, what to do about the now occupied ethernet connection, that used to connect the Buffalo router for my local lan with the printer and second laptop? I used my local lan to share files between the laptops (so as not to add load to the wifi). In a past residence I had a double NAT set up with the Buffalo, but it is old and only has 10/100 ethernet (Speedtest website clocked 225mbps download). Should I abandon my local lan and buy a gigabit switch to tie in everything to the house network?
Instead, I chose to keep the local lan ethernet cable next to the laptop, and manually switch them as needed. It's not ideal, but I may be moving soon, and I don't know what my needs will be in the future. I'm using a program called NetSetMan, to quickly change my ethernet settings to the manual configuration I'm using on the local lan. "