[plug] Wireless-N router for faster wireless....

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Tue Jan 20 07:06:33 WST 2009

Lucas van Staden <lvs at dedmeet.com> writes:

> I stream media using MediaTomb to my PS3, and when any of the other
> machines are very busy on the network, then the PS3 media stream lags,
> and the video stutters badly.

Given that I have been thinking about this setup myself, how do you find
it handles transcoding?  Specifically, is it often required to transcode
video or audio on the server since the PS3 doesn't handle the format,
and if so, how well does it integrate and work?

Are there any issue WRT stepping forward/backward in transcoded streams,
etc, that you run into?  How about noise?

> On my home network, I have my webserver, my media server, my office
> machine, two laptops and of course the PS3.
> I am wondering about possible ways to improve the speed (or more
> accurately, available bandwidth) between the media server and the PS3,
> when I am busy with a stream.
> First thoughts - Hardware upgrades:
> I am considering updating my 'g' router to an 'n' router, and thus also
> updating my network cards to 'n' compatible ones.

OK: There is a second question here: are you thinking of 2.4GHz 802.11n,
or 5GHz, or both?

> I know the PS3 can only do 'g/b', but I figure if I upgrade the rest
> of the network, to 'n', then the PS3 stream will have more bandwidth
> available.  Is my assumption correct here?

Probably not.  I say probably because this is actually a complicated
question, and not as easy to answer as it looks.

If you are moving the rest of your network up to 5GHz 802.11n, and using
2.4 only for the PS3 then, yes, you will improve bandwidth availability,
because you are no longer competing.

If you are still running the 802.11n network in the 2.4GHz band then
maybe.  Assign it to a non-overlapping channel[1] and run a distinct
802.11g network and maybe you gain, but less.

Run them on the same radio space and you gain nothing. :)

> Chances are that once the other machines have more bandwidth
> available, they will just hog it all again, and I will be back to
> where I started.

The problem is that wireless shared bandwidth within channels, which are
distinct frequencies.  With 802.11[bg] there are three distinct
channels, 1, 6 and 11, none of which overlap.  You could run three
full-bandwidth wireless networks in that space.

Up in the 5GHz range, though, because bandwidth is plentiful, none of
the channels overlap, and they can carry more data too.  The drawback is
that they are less able to penetrate obstacles, so range is lower...

> Another option would be to go with the 'n' upgrade above, but also get
> an extra router, and connect that direct to the PS3 wired network
> port, and thus get the ps3 to get onto the 'n' network.  Again, the
> other machines could just hog more bandwidth, as there are more
> available.

Yeah... again, complex, and it depends on how the network runs.  OTOH,
putting the PS3 on the faster 802.11n network, especially at 5GHz, will
give you substantially more data capacity than you had before, so the
issue may be less...

> Second Idea:
> Throttle the other machines when I stream to the PS3.  Personally I
> think the throttling would be the best (and cheapest) option, and one
> that I can actually control.
> Any thoughts on this please, on how to improve the PS3/MediaTomb
> streams?

Well, the term you want is probably "Quality of Service" rather than
throttling, but this is likely to have good results.  Many modern
wireless devices have some QoS support, and you may want to investigate
those to see about giving the PS3 priority.


...or you could just run Ethernet to the PS3.

[1]  ...and accept that you can't get the 40MHz channels that roughly
     double performance on 802.11n.

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