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Best Router for streaming HD content to multiple devices

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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January 1, 2013 8:34:37 PM

Hi, I have been using a Cisco e2000 since it was released and until now it was sufficient. However, now my kids are also streaming from my network and I'm starting to experience some lag. I am currently using Mezzmo as a media server, multiple 6 GB p/s HDD's, and my PC is running Windows 7, 16 GB RAM, i7 3770, and an ASUS P8Z77-V MOBO. Our main "hub" is connected via ethernt cable to a WD Live boz, and the rest are tablets or smartphones. Most of the time I have 2 devices streaming hd content from my pc, and 2-3 streaming SD content or music. We sometimes use Netflix, but don't have any issues with anything internet related, just local media streaming. I've seen a lot of reviews on the newer router, especially the ones using the new "ac" technology. However I just don't feel that that will address my issue. I know the e2000 is a couple of years old now, but the specs that would seemingly affect network transfer speeds seem to be on the same level as the newer ones. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
January 1, 2013 9:00:57 PM

There are a lot of different settings in a router that can help with setting it up to your preferences. Are there any devices that are using the G band ? Are they all using the N band ?
In side th3e router do you have an Applications and gaming section ? If you do is there a QoS (Quality of Service) option ? If you do you can set your computer to have a higher priority then the other devices using the router.
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January 1, 2013 9:34:32 PM

Thanks for your quick reply. With the exception of maybe a Wii console, all my devices are N capable, so I assume they are using N. Is there a way to tell? I do have those settings available for my router. However, my goal is to be able to use all devices without having to resort to creating device priority list.
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January 1, 2013 9:47:45 PM

You will still be able to use all of the devices it's just that if you wanted to you could give your computer priority and it's not creating a list , just one device.
However if your looking for a different way then then maybe someone else has an idea.
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January 1, 2013 10:04:37 PM

First of course cable everything you can. If you have issues streaming between cabled devices you have have a problem with one of the machines and not the router since you have a 1g switch.

Next move everything you can to the 5g band and lock the band to run N only. This should reduce the load on the 2.4 band. Still it would be best if you could lock your 2.4 to N only also but its not really a option if you have G devices. You could if you have a old router hook that one to your current one and use that device to run G on a different channel and lock your router to N.

Streaming video is tough to make work on wireless because it wants consistent delay times. Wireless unfortunately has little control on who transmits and when so you get errors and as the wireless chips try to recover from these errors the spend time delay it.

Depending on the application you use to stream the video you may be able to identify the video by a port number rather than a device. You could then give video higher priority. How exactly you do this will depend on router options. Video is considered RTP traffic and some routers have that option...even though it really is just UDP in certain port ranges.
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January 1, 2013 10:39:06 PM

Thanks, the occasional stutter happens on both wired and wireless devices, but only when I'm streaming to multiple devices. I toyed around with my QoS settings on my router and, for the e2000 at least, the QoS only affects internet bandwith.
John, you may have answered my question in regards to the GB ethernet switch( didn't think there had been a new "standard" that has come around). I guess my real question is have there been any advancements in the past 2 years that improves the routers ability to handle so many devices sucking data from my pc to send to my other devices while still functioning by supplying internet. And I should mention that I have had zero issues in relation to internet connections, even streaming videos such as netflix. I know that the port is 1 GB, but I also know that it will never in fact reach that level. There may be a different bottleneck, but I haven't been able to find it.
Specifically, I'm using WDTV wired, a PS3 wired, 3 tablets, a Wii, and 2 smartphones. Obviously, we don't use ALL of them at the same time streaming local media, but it is common to have 2-3 streaming local data and 1 or 2 streaming from netflix or simple web surfing. But again, the video hiccups occur on the wired connection as well, so that's what has me thinking that my router may be at it's limit. Thanks again, and I will play around with your suggestions.
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January 1, 2013 10:40:31 PM

I should also mention that my e2000 is not a true dual band router. I have to choose one or the other. It does not broadcast both simultaneously.
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January 1, 2013 11:31:46 PM

Since you don't have a router that is simultaneous dual band then maybe a router upgrade would fix your problem and give you that extra capability to have all the devices streaming at the same time.
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January 2, 2013 9:25:20 AM

When you run lan-lan traffic the only real bottleneck that the router itself would cause is the encryption overhead. The switch in most routers is asic based and will run at full wire speed. ie 1g in and 1g out on all ports simultaneously. traffic between switch ports should not be affected by wireless traffic. You could try a $20 switch in front I guess. You could also turn the encryption off to test.



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March 21, 2013 9:47:05 AM

If you've already used a bunch of review sites like CNET or http://www.bestwirelessrouter.com and you're still not sure I'd recommend you go to Best Buy, buy a router, try it out, and return it if you're not happy with it. I did the same and was happy with the end result. I ended up going with a Linksys e2500 and it does great streaming to multiple Apple TV's, iPad's, etc.
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