B/G Router and HD streaming

Discussion in 'Networking and Wireless' started by ntheo, Dec 10, 2012.

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  1. ntheo

    ntheo Notebook Consultant

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    I got a quick question and any insight would be very helpful.

    I got Universal Media Server on my computer and stream HD content through a BG router to my HD TV.

    On 480p, seeking works fine. On 720p, there is some trouble seeking with some lag but playing is fine. On 1080p, I can't seek at all. If I try seeking the video stops and won't play further so I have to reset my TV. The video will play more or less fine from start to finish. There may be a slight lag in a few frames or two.

    I figure the G router max at 54mbps (6Mb/s) might not be enough for HD.
    If I upgrade to a N router instead, would I see an improvement or does the problem lie somewhere else?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Yes you would see an improvement. Also your maths is off- 54mbps is in fact over 6MB/s but in reality transfers over 802.11g achieve no more than 2.5MB/s.
    That's why it's not good enough for reliable HD streaming.
     
  3. Prostar Computer

    Prostar Computer Company Representative

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    That's right. Remember also, that there is a fine line between theoretical speed and actual/practical speed. The theoretical is the maximum/ideal, not the commonplace. The marketing is a bit of a misnomer.
     
  4. tijo

    tijo Sacred Blame Super Moderator

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    Yup, with a 300Mbps router, i got ~160Mbps in the best conditions possible and that is considered very good.
     
  5. ntheo

    ntheo Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the insight. It looks like I'll be looking at a N router for Christmas.
    I do have a follow up question.
    Some routers I'm looking at has USB 2 ports for print server or to plug in a hard drive for media streaming. Would USB 2 be fast enough for HD streaming? I realize that~160Mbps is less than theoretical USB 2 output but then the router CPU might be the bottle neck.
     
  6. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    It is indeed a bottleneck- most routers run Linux and most drives connected to USB ports are formated in NTFS which doesn't go well together.
    Still a decent router should be able to handle USB HDD at at least 6MB/s so that should be quite allright for streaming.

    Another matter is the fact that unless you use OpenWRT as a firmware or use a thumb-drive, HDD connected to the router won't spin down at all so that may not be a great idea.
     
  7. ntheo

    ntheo Notebook Consultant

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    This is good to know.

    I'll probably pick up a TP-Link N600 (TL-WDR3600) since it's not to terribly expensive and should work for my needs.

    It looks like DDwrt isn't supported on this but OpenWRT is. How different is OpenWRT compared to DDwrt? I used DDwrt before and flashing the firmware was straightforward. OpenWRT looks a bit more complicated to install from my brief look at the site.
     
  8. mattcheau

    mattcheau Notebook Deity

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    if by misnomer you mean misleading bordering on false advertising and way too acceptable in various tech markets, i agree. :p

    can you elaborate on linux vs. ntfs? i ask cause my external connected to router running stock firmware does some wacky stuff. i remember seeing a red flag that pointed to ntfs when i initially configured it too. the drive will enter standby mode (i.e. spindown) but doesn't sleep like it's supposed to. stranger still, it's only ever been accessible on the machine i set it up from (via network sharing only). that machine is the only one that'll pull it out of standby and see it after it wakes up.
     
  9. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Linux uses NTFS-3G which is a driver used to make NTFS work under various Linux distributions. That said performance of NTFS-3G is visibly worse to Windows driver- not only on routers but also on powerful desktop PCs.
    NTFS-3G is CPU intensive and on Linux-driven routers with not much power to spare it results in lower read/write performance. Especially write speeds suffer- the same router can write to EXT4 at roughly 20MB/s yet to NTFS-3G at barely 3-4MB/s. Read speeds are much more even with EXT4 still winning (~20MB/s compared to around 17MB/s for NTFS).

    More powerful routers will get better results but the problem persists.

    That's not exactly what you're suffering from though. In your case it seems more like a firmware issue. If your router supports OpenWRT and you feel like spending some time typing white letters on a black screen and swearing you might give it a try. In OpenWRT almost everything can be achieved although literally nothing is easy to achieve ;)
     
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