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Wireless network requirements for gaming and streaming

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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November 9, 2011 1:55:05 PM

So, I'm extremely new to wireless networks and I've been sorting through different products while attempting to resist an information overload. Our house was once wired, but the lines behind the walls seem to be dying. We've run tests, ourselves, and even had Comcast come out and pretty much give us the same results. So we now switch to wireless. I'm mostly concerned with my gaming, but beyond that we'll have a floating laptop. I've got a few questions for a caring soul:

What kind of transfer rate should I be concerned with if I'm interested in PC and console gaming, as well as Netflix/Zune video streaming? It seems the higher end of the spectrum is around 400Mbps, but is that excessive? How much of a difference will I notice between that and 150Mbps?

When it comes to adapters, I've noticed some that are attached through USB port, PCI-E port, and some that seem to be a second router that then allows wired connections. Any recommendation here? The TEW-647GA Wireless N Gaming Adapter appears to be an attractive purchase, since all my gaming and streaming is done in the same place.

What would be the ideal set-up? Any recommendations?
November 9, 2011 3:47:19 PM

I have done both console gaming and streaming to my console for a while now over wireless.
One thing i would ask is about those speeds you posted (400mbps & 150mbps). Do you know if those speeds are Megabytes or Megabits? It does make a difference.

But i can tell you what i had and have now and you can compare.
I had Time Warner Roadrunner (the highest tier) which was only 15mbps (pretty sure they are megabits) with only 568kbps upload. It was ok for gaming as long as it was not one where my connection was needed to host (Like Rainbow Six Vegas, because to host upload speed plays a big part. And mine sucked)
But as far as normal gaming and streaming I had no issues.

I know have their xtreme service which is 30mbps (roughly 3.75 MB/ps Megabytes) down and 5mbps up and as you would guess with even faster speeds I still have no issues at all.

As far as wireless what you need would depend on how far away from the wireless router you are. I am about 60 feet so for me any standard gaming adapter works great. I have the Linksys WGA54G. For a PC i would go with a good internal card rather than one of those USB types as they tend to be less reliable. In my personal opinion a good gaming adapter will beat them both for a reliable connection.

If gaming adapters or PCI-E cards will not get a good signal then you would want to get some type of wireless signal booster or wireless access point. The access point can be placed in between the router and where you are picking up the signal to give you added range and strength.
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November 9, 2011 4:50:34 PM

The house is three floors, the router/modem being at the top and I being at the bottom. Another concern is that the modem is in a closet, and with the router there I might just be shooting the signal straight out of the house.

If I set up a wireless router there, is there some way to have the antennas point downward?
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November 9, 2011 5:56:45 PM

I really don't think pointing them downward would give you much of an increase seeing that it has two floors to go through first. And being in a closet surely isn't idea for good reception throughout the house. It would be better if it were in the open.

Really every situation is different, so trying it would be the only way to tell what kind of signal strength you can get. I would say since you were looking at a gaming adapter anyway, and will most likely still have use for one I would buy that first, get it all set up to work with your router (which by all means you should set up the wireless security on so your signal isn't getting jacked by any laptop near enough by you to catch your signal).

Then see what kind of speeds and consistency you can get with the PC, and streaming media to the consoles. Maybe even drop into a few online games to see if you have disconnections or lag.

If you do experience problems them most likely it is due to the long range the signal has to travel, and then you may want to consider buying an access point, or if you have a second router then setting it up as an access point and putting that somewhere between the main router and your PC/console to try to extend the range.
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