New Gigabit router to boost LAN video streaming?

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by teoman73, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. teoman73

    teoman73
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    Hi all,

    I've got the bog standard sagem supplied sky wireless router.

    Query, would upgrading/connecting the sky router to a gigabit router for e.g. an Asus RT-N66 help boost LAN video streaming speeds ?

    I have my MKV films stored in a Synology NAS which is cat-5e connected via a TP-Link gigabit switch (located in home cinema room), which is then cat-5e connected to my sky router (located in the kitchen).

    My Pana' TV (located in the lounge) is connected via a Netgear 200mbs powerline plug; the other plug is cat-5e connected directly to the sky router (non-gigabit port).

    When watching certain 1080p MKVs on the Pana' TV, there are slow downs...

    However, watching the identical MKV via my Mac-mini (cat-5e connected to the gigabit switch in the home cinema room) there are no slow downs.

    I've experimented by switching the powerline plug (initially connected directly to the sky router) to the gigabit switch (in the home cinema room) but seems to stream even slower on the Pana' TV.

    Query:

    Would getting a gigabit router and have the netgear powerline plug connected to it directly (as to the Sky router) help boost video LAN streaming speeds to my Pana' TV ?

    Hopefully it's not the limitation of the netgear 200mbps powerline plugs..?

    Thanks!
     
  2. rednotdead

    rednotdead
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    My suspicion would be the powerline plugs. Anyway you can connect the TV to the NA without using the powerlines at all to test that out?

    Compared to a gigabit switch, the powerline plugs will always be a huge bottleneck. Find out where the issue is first before muddying the waters with other kit. If it is the powerlines then you could either upgrade them to 500Mb versions or cable the TV into the network properly.
     
  3. teoman73

    teoman73
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    I'll purchase a cheap gigabit switch then attempt to connect the home plug into it. The router for internet will connect to the gigabit switch as well.
     
  4. cjed

    cjed
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    I don't think this will help - the ethernet interface on the 200 mbps homeplugs will only be 100 mbps, the same speed as the LAN connections on your router.

    I agree with rednotdead - before buying any kit, determine where the bottleneck is. My guess is that the TV itself might well be the problem. Can you temporarily wire the TV directly to either the router or your existing switch just to test if it can play the problem MKVs with a direct connection ?

    If that works OK then you can look at upgrading the network connectivity to it (and my guess would be the homeplugs being the bottleneck as well).
     
  5. teoman73

    teoman73
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    I suppose I could either:

    Connect my NAS directly to the TV to test it?

    or

    Long cat5e cable from TV to the router.

    If it works fine.. then issue could be the homeplugs?
     
  6. mickevh

    mickevh
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    It's unlikely to make any difference adding a GBit switch. If the constrained link is the hop over the HomePlugs, then it will remain the constained link no matter what you place upstream of them.

    200mbps HomePlug are very likely to "only" have 100mbps ethernet ports, (more than enough to stream video,) so connecting them to a GBit switch will make no difference as you'll still have a 100mbps HomePlug--switch link.

    I concur with the opinion that the HomePlug---HomePlug link is most likely to be what's constraining performance. To determine that, you need to test without the HomePlugs. If moving your TV is impractical and you cannot (temporarily) string up a network cable between TV & router, then consider moving your router & NAS to you TV's locale in order to test with TV & NAS both plugged direct into your router. For the puposes of testing, it doesn't matter that the router isn't connected to the Internet, though of course that means your Internet link will be unavailable temporarily.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  7. cjed

    cjed
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    That would be my choice, if it works OK wired, you're pretty sure that it's a homeplug bandwidth problem. If it still doesn't work, that points at the TV not being able to cope with the file.
     
  8. teoman73

    teoman73
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    MKV file is fine.. as I copied it over to a external HDD wired via USB to the TV and it plays with no issues.
     
  9. cjed

    cjed
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    But that hasn't tested the Network Interface on the TV - just that it's USB and rendering engine can cope with the data.
     
  10. teoman73

    teoman73
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    yea, we can assume the MKV file is fine.

    I'll move the NAS and wire to the TV directly. If that works fine, then we can assume TV network port copes with it.

    Move the NAS back to home cinema room. Then connect a very long cat5e cable from TV to router (as opposed to Home plugs) to verify if the sky router can cope with it...
     
  11. mickevh

    mickevh
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    If you literally take UTP (ethernet cable) out of your NAS and connect it to your TV, you may find the link doesn't come up (incompatible speeds for example) and it's possible you're devices won't have IP addresses (no DHCP server available) unless you manually configure IP on both device.

    If you connect them up via the switch in your router as described earlier, it will very likely sort out the mess for you.
     
  12. teoman73

    teoman73
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    Bugger.. it's the home plugs :-(

    Odd as to why 200MB isn't enough.... would you say upgrading to one of these faster asus routers with dual band and 750MB improve streaming speeds if I use wi-fi for the TV ?
     
  13. mickevh

    mickevh
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    The 200mbps (small "b" == bits as opposed to big "B" == bytes) figure quoted for HomePLugs is their "link rate" on the mains side. It doesn't factor in something called "protocol overhead" which is a percentage of that link rate that is used by the technology to "make it work." Protocol overhead for Homeplugs is usually cited at about 50%. Then factor in some interference on the mains and the "half duplex" nature of them (only one at a time can transmit) and it all starts hitting throughput at the application level.

    Whether using wi-fi will help is much dependent on the wi-fi capabilities of the TV - any idea what it is? A lot of consumer equipment doesn't support the "5GHz" of dual band wi-fi implementations. And 5Ghz doesn't penetrate "stuff" (walls, doors, cats, air) as well as (more prevalent) 2.4Ghz, so either coverage range may be reduced or the throughput at some given range will be less than optimal. Similarly, a lot of "appliance" type equipment doesn't support the higher link rates (you'll need to dig out the spec sheet and have a look.) No point buying a 450mbps router if TV can only support (say) 150mbps.

    There's no real easy solutions here, either wi-fi or faster HomePlugs will be a bit of a gamble in the sense that whether it will be effective is difficult to predict - you might just have to try it and see, and if it doesn't help, thence try something else.

    If you want reliable (and fast) data networking, "proper" network cables are really the only thing that can be predicted with any certainty.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  14. teoman73

    teoman73
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    Thanks for the info all.

    The GT-50's wireless LAN:

    IEEE802.11a/n
    5.180 GHz - 5.320 GHz, 5.500 GHz - 5.580 GHz, 5.660 GHz - 5.700 GHz IEEE802.11b/g/n
    2.412 GHz - 2.472 GHz

    Guess it supports 5Ghz as well

    No doubt hard-wired is the way to go.. just that wife doesn't like the idea of 10 meter cat-5e cables running thru the kitchen to the lounge.

    Might have to get in an electrician to chase the cable thru :-(
     
  15. mickevh

    mickevh
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    That suggests it's 5GHz compatible. It might be worth checking what the max link rate it supports is - that will inform router decision.

    Generally, received wisdom has it that streaming over wi-fi can be problematic and obviously high bitrate "HD" is a bigger ask.

    That said, from time to time I bounce FreeSat SD transmissions over 54mbps "G" wi-fi without any problems.

    As we mentioned earlier, wi-fi is difficult to predict. However, if you do change to a dual band router (and one that's capable of working in both bands simultaneously rather than "one or the other") one thing you can do to maximise you chances would be to use different bands for different devices. For instance "reserve" the 5GHz band solely for video streaming and compell all your laptops, phones etc. to use the 2.4GHz band.

    The SOHO market penetration of 5GHz is rather less that for 5GHz and there's much more RF spectrum bandwidth available in the 5GHz band, so you stand a better chance of finding a channel free (or at least minimally) interfered with by the neighbours.

    However, until you actually try out, you're not going to know how good it's going to be.

    BTW - if you want to add 5GHz capability to an existing (otherwise perfectly fine) router that's serving the 2.4GHz band, another option would be to add a separate 5GHz wi-fi Access Point. It might be a bit cheaper.

    At least if you try using wi-fi and/or faster HomePlugs and it's still not up to snuff, at least you can protest that you've tried everything except knocking hole in the walls.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  16. Hochwertiger

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    Linking the sky router to an Asus RT-N66U worked vastly better for me. Ethernet from sky router to cable port on Asus then turn off the wireless on the sky (or dont having it on seemed to have little effect once all my devices were connected to the Asus). Now it does not drop out and crash like my sky router did for wireless even though I have more things connected to it now with kids nexus tablets and is infinitely better for my iPad streaming.

    Here are the best prices around at the moment:

    £114.98 Amazon
    £109.99 Currys/PC World
    £114.98 Dabs
     
  17. teoman73

    teoman73
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    Thanks, can you comment as to whether you can stream HD/1080p MKVs to your TV wireless with no stutters?
     
  18. Hochwertiger

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    Unfortunately I can't on the TV side, I use Devolo homeplugs to my samsung TV and WDTV Live which lets me access my NAS. No buffering and stutters there. I am able to stream HD films no problems onto my iPad although most of my stuff is .avi. Sorry maybe someone else can assist the only other information I have is that on the Asus site and box it says HD streaming but this maybe more a speed thing than a technical answer to your question.
     
  19. teoman73

    teoman73
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    ASUS RT-N66U N900 Dual Band Wireless Router Deals | Pcworld

    Says it's for :

    "For fibre optic broadband such as BT Infinity"

    Thing is, my Sky BB is ADSL... will it still work ?
     
  20. Hochwertiger

    Hochwertiger
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    Yes, unfortunately due to sky hiding their username and password it is difficult to replace the modem router with another which is where many people go wrong. Using a cable router you can simply bolt it on and improve the existing set up. Plus this router will be future proof to upgrade any fibre connection you may get.

    To set keep the existing sky modem router plugged into the phoneline and connect it to the Asus using an ethernet cable from the ethernet port of the sky modem router into the Asus "WAN" port. On the box it has the port labelled as the "Cable/DSL modem" port. Then install the Asus as you normally would folllowing the instructions - once done connect all your devices to the Asus and you will be away.

    Then if possible turn off the wireless on your sky router (but not essential - would only interfere if you have devices connected to the sky at the same time).
     
  21. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Wifi Access Points and client devices send out management frames, such as SSID beacons, whether there is anything "connected" (the technical term is "associated") or not. Beacons are typically broadcast by AP's ten times a second.

    If you've got wi-fi AP you don't need/want, turn it's radio off or tune it to a radio channel that differs from the one your favoured AP is using as much as possible to avoid/reduce interference issues.

    EDIT - Didn't think that ASUS router was ADSL capable...? (Maybe they do a ADSL version with a different model number.)

    Personally, I like to download the manuals of anything I'm about to buy and have a read, just to be sure it really does want I want and there aren't any "nasties" the ad copy neglected to mention. e.g. a certain vendors "dual band" routers I looked at wouldn't to "N" in 2.4GHz & 5GHz simultaneously - it was one or the other. Funny how they never mentioned that in the ads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  22. Diskordian

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    There is an ADSL version of that Asus router, extracting the username and password from your sky router should be possible with a capture program like Wire shark (at least this works on the new sky hub).
     
  23. teoman73

    teoman73
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    I've placed the order via pcworld for the asus RT-N66U.

    I'll try to set it up with the Sky sagem (modem only). Would it be possible to provide some tech' support if I was to run thru any troubles?

    Thanks
     
  24. charles_b

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    Just for Clarity on the Asus Models:

    ADSL Router: DSL-N55U (This is to replace a Broadband over Telephone Line Modem/Router)
    Cable Router: RT-N66U (Can be used with Cable Broadband (VM) or any other router - see FAQ's about using multiple routers in the Forum Sticky.)

    SmallNetBuilder ONLY review Cable routers, they NEVER review ADSL routers, but these 2 Asus routers are very similar, I believe the RT-N66U is more powerful than the DSL one though.
     
  25. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Maybe Tim doesn't have ADSL! In years gone by "cable" routers tended to have higher capacity routing engines because ADSL, comparitively, is much slower than cable services. Not so much the case these days with VDSL (FTTC.)
     
  26. teoman73

    teoman73
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    Just a quick query,

    my netgear 200mbps home plugs show 'red' LED which means its transmitting < 50mbps.

    I obviously can't shift it to the next socket closer as that electrical socket is the closet to my router.

    Would upgrading the 200mbps to 500mbps improve performance? or will the data transmission rates still be restricted due to the electrical sockets?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  27. mickevh

    mickevh
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    One cannot predict with any certainty. However if your cabling isn't capable of supporting a low rate link, it's unlikely to be capable of sustaining something even faster. Faster stuff tends to be more "sensative" and need better quality infrastructure. (You couldn't drive a ferrari down a farm track - it' needs a nice smoooth road to go fast.) If you do get some improvement, I wouldn't expect it to be stunning. It could even get worse!
     
  28. teoman73

    teoman73
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    Interesting.. so probably not worth investing in 500mbps plugs then :-(

    Only route is to go wi-fi invest in 2 routers (bridge to 80211.ac) or to physically chase the cat5e cables thru the walls from the router to the TV.

    The former could cost £300++ for 2 .ac routers and the latter could involve electrician drilling thru holes then some DIY decorating in patching & painting them up..

    Oh hum :-(
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  29. mickevh

    mickevh
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    It'll depend a bit on what the technology used is. Often "faster" stuff uses some new technology and isn't simply the previous version "turned up."

    There's lot's of examples, but to pick just a one, Gigabit ethernet isn't 100mbps clocked ten times faster - the way GBit ethernet shoots bits over the wires is fundamentally different to 100mbps.

    So it may be that 500mbps plugs have a new wonder technology that can better tollerate "noisey" mains. I don't know enough about their physical layer implementation to comment.

    My "take home" point is that with something like HomePlugs that are dependent on something outside the control of the product, (your mains circuit,) no-one can predict for sure. So the quicker plugs may be faster but I wouldn't expect anything stunning if they are struggling at slower rates because your mains doesn't avail it.

    Fo zero cost, I'd have a look at what I can do to try improve the existing infrastructure. I believe there's extensive discussion of it in the HomePlugs FAQ.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  30. teoman73

    teoman73
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    How does one:

    "There are ways to speed up transmission as best you can, for example tighten the wires in all the outlets in you house (WARNING: Turn off the power first!). I have gone from 85mbs to 115mbs throughput by doing this one task (when using Netgear 200mbs plugs). "

    When you define as tighten the wires, meaning unscrewing the electric sockets (mains power off) and making sure the electric wires (blue, red and earth) are tigthen ?

    And I assume only those sockets which the plugs are used..?

    Thanks
     

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