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My Wireless Network Troubles


jvk
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So at home I am running a Media Center PC that uses tuners from an HD homerun. The problem was that I was always getting very poor performance from the HD Homeruns, the video was very tiled out and un-usable. I am forced to use a wireless signal since running network wires in the walls will be a lot of work. I have been able to smooth out the network issues by changing a simple setting in Media Center.

 

Turns out that the "Slide Show Screen Saver" feature was enabled in Media Center. This feature, while nice, is a network bandwidth hog. Particully in my photo libray on my Home server, I have a lot of very high resolution photos. Everytime media center went into screen saver mode it was trying to queue up a ton of photos. Eventually my router would cry uncle and not perform normally again until I re-booted it, bummer. Then I disabled the screen saver feature in Media center by scrolling to the tasks and then settings, then I selected pictures and finally slide show screensaver. Then I un-checked the play my favorite pictures as a screen saver box and so far that has seemed to clear up my network troubles.

 

Anyone else have difficulty with the screen saver feature?

 

jvk

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I have seen the same network bandwidth hogging you mention for the same reason (12MP+ photos...) but I'd suggest that shouldn't cause a ned to reboot your WAP/router. If it is erroring out or overheating, probably need at a minimum a new firmware (or hacked) or a new WAP//router.

 

I can see it causing problems *while* it is trying to pull the photos since the wireless bandwidth is shared (little known or advertised fact) but it really shouldn't casue long term effects.

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Probably contributing to my problem is the fact that my router is a POS - (Belkin wireless N) - you get what you pay for. The wife has given me the green light to go ahead and get a new one. I have been looking at the Cisco Linksys E3000 and the Netgear N750. Hopefully getting a sturdy router should help my streaming issues as well.

 

jvk

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I'd get a Linux-based open router that supports DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. I personally use the Netgear WNR3500L with great results. It has a decent CPU and a good chunk of RAM for heavy I/O.

Edited by dagamer34
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I'd get a Linux-based open router that supports DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. I personally use the Netgear WNR3500L with great results. It has a decent CPU and a good chunk of RAM for heavy I/O.

 

My 2 cents (worth perhaps half that):

 

1) Stay away from any Cisco (Linksys) consumer grade equipment. I'm not a huge fan of their corporate grade stuff but, like MS, sometimes you gotta go with the flow there. But their consumer level stuff is crap.

 

2) I bought the WNDR3700 based off it's fantastic reviews. Even got a v.1 which was supposed to be hard to find and better. Turns out that (surprise, surprise)many of the reviewers didn't put it through an extended test. There goes $150+ in the garbage. It's a mediocre wireless extender for me now, and I'd never trust it as my primary access point if you have any mixed (i.e. 802.11g even) wireless NICs. If you are 802.11n pure, it does have decent to very good range in the 2.4GHz spectrum. Somewhat weak in 5GHz, but that is expected. I have heard good things about the 3500, but no first hand experience.

 

I actually found my old Belkin pre-n (I had the silver/gray one with three antennae on the back) to be a solid if unspectacular workhorse. Main reason I ditched it was the switching function was limited to 100Mb.

 

One thing I've learned after purchasing many wireless routers - it's one piece of equipment I won't buy online because the quality of build can vary so widely even across one model. They'll change the hardware and keep the nomenclature and version the same and you'll never know why your supposedly top rated router sucks a$$ for you.

 

 

EDIT: That said...NewEgg is running a nice sale on the DGL-4500 (dual 2.4/5Ghz but not simultaneous) was a $200 router now $99. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127243

I'm using one right now, and it is bar none the best wireless router I've ever used. Only downer is it is either 2.4 or 5 Ghz not both simultaneously.

Edited by timekills
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My 2 cents (worth perhaps half that):

 

1) Stay away from any Cisco (Linksys) consumer grade equipment. I'm not a huge fan of their corporate grade stuff but, like MS, sometimes you gotta go with the flow there. But their consumer level stuff is crap.

 

2) I bought the WNDR3700 based off it's fantastic reviews. Even got a v.1 which was supposed to be hard to find and better. Turns out that (surprise, surprise)many of the reviewers didn't put it through an extended test. There goes $150+ in the garbage. It's a mediocre wireless extender for me now, and I'd never trust it as my primary access point if you have any mixed (i.e. 802.11g even) wireless NICs. If you are 802.11n pure, it does have decent to very good range in the 2.4GHz spectrum. Somewhat weak in 5GHz, but that is expected. I have heard good things about the 3500, but no first hand experience.

 

I actually found my old Belkin pre-n (I had the silver/gray one with three antennae on the back) to be a solid if unspectacular workhorse. Main reason I ditched it was the switching function was limited to 100Mb.

 

One thing I've learned after purchasing many wireless routers - it's one piece of equipment I won't buy online because the quality of build can vary so widely even across one model. They'll change the hardware and keep the nomenclature and cersion the same and you'll never know whay your supposedly top rated router sucks a$$ for you.

 

Oh, I'd never bother running a router in mixed mode. Get a cheap, old WRT54G for 802.11g data and run your N-router pure. Heck, I've actually got 3 routers which run 802.11g, 802.11n @ 2.4Ghz, and 802.11n @ 5Ghz. "Dual band" routers don't really appeal to me.

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Well, before I read everyone's responses, I bought the Netgear WNDR3700 today, crap! Well if it doesn't work out that well over the next few days I'll return it. Anyway, I have it set up in Dual mode with my BlueRay player connected to the 5ghz spectrum, and my Main Media Center running on the 2.4ghz spectrum (it can't find the 5ghz channel). The other wireless clients I tried to balance (two on the 2.4 spectrum and one on the 5ghz spectrum). I also set up a guest network so if you count them I have three networks running at once.

 

Windows home server could not configure the router correctly using UPNP so I had to set a static IP address on the Home server and then manually forward port 80 and 443 to WHS. Seems to be working.

 

I have one more thing to add to the network, an AT&T 3G MicroCell. Even though we live in San Diego we have no coverage from any carrier (we live in a canyon), so we have to have this device to create our own personal 3g cloud for our cell phones. That brings the number of networks I'm running up to 4!!! (3 Wi-fi and 1 4g) If you don't have to get one of these then avoid them like the plague... they suck a lot of bandwidth out of your internet connection. I'll plug it in tonight and see what happens.

 

jvk

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