HOME WIFI NETWORK FOR HD VIDEO

HOME WIFI NETWORK TO VIEW HD VIDEOI recently made repairs in the apartment and decided to check if there is any chance at the current level of development of wireless equipment to create an apartment full of high-speed wireless network. Initially, the task seemed inappropriate (at home quite successfully, you can use Ethernet, why bother with WiFi?), but to convince myself that wireless technologies are not standing still, I decided to arrange a small test. One of the main criteria of success was the ability to view on a plasma panel HD-video rips with the volume from 10 to 30 GB in conditions when between file storage and replaying device is no wired network.

For a start I will say a few words about the features available to me the equipment that you want to associate to the network. Conditionally stationary (rarely floating) equipment with a TV and a desktop computer. To the mobile (often roaming) — smartphones and laptop. In the future, I hope to mobile equipment will be added, and a tablet (which I do not yet have).
One of the main tasks — network download media content and play it on plasma or sound system (if it is audio content). Before (when using wired LAN) on the computer Desk stood a router (an old ASUS RT-G32 operating in the WiFi mode to G) to which across the flat stretched an Ethernet cable from your ISP. Computer connected to the router also by cable, and mobile devices (laptop and PDA) used a WiFi connection. Downloading films was carried out on a stationary computer (because he had the biggest hard drive). The computer was connected the HDMI cable to the plasma for movies. If I wanted to watch a movie on the plasma, and in the other room on the laptop, I was just leaving a desktop computer turned on, went into another room and watched a movie from a network share over WiFi (the speed of WiFi-G available on the laptop is enough to play real-time movies, in the amount not exceeding 10 GB more for a laptop and is not needed).

I didn’t want in the old version:

1) From the hallway in the apartment was a long Ethernet cable to the router. I wanted to get rid of it.
2) the Router is not located in the optimum place (not in the center of the apartment, and in the far parts of it, on the computer Desk that could worsen the conditions of admission to Wi-Fi at the other end of the apartment).
3) For downloading and viewing media content desktop computer had to be always on. The computer at me not the quietest, so it could interfere with (especially at night heavy torrent downloads).
4) Old router ASUS RT-G32 could only work in WiFi mode-G, limiting the possibility of using a modern wireless network devices operating in N mode (which, however, at that time I was not).

But can it be better?

Step 1. Upgrade router.

When there are millions of devices using WiFi, I thought, why the desktop PC is also not to use WiFi to connect to the network? However I realized that the WiFi speed in G mode I for a desktop computer is not enough, I decided to start with the upgrade the router. Immediately say, that my budget was quite severely restricted, so the new router I had to choose from the budget “mainstream”models. The choice fell on a router ZyXEL Keenetic (http://zyxel.ru/keenetic) due to the large number of positive reviews about this device.

 

Step 1. Upgrade router

This router features 4 LAN ports 100 Mbit/s and Wi-Fi operating in mode N. the router 2 antennas, i.e. it can provide the transfer data in mode 2*2 MIMO (with appropriate support on the host side). The stated data transfer rate — 300 Mbit/s (actual speeds — below). Version of ZyXEL Keenetic Giga router with Gigabit Ethernet ports I did not consider, because I aim at building a purely wireless network!

Step 2. Transfer the router and transfer a desktop computer on a wireless connection.

Now that I have a router with fast WiFi, I decided to shorten the cable going from the provider, and to place the router in the hallway directly in place of the input cable to the apartment to rid the room of clutter.
If the desktop computer would not be able to access the Internet, he urgently needed a WiFi adapter. The variety of commercially available devices of this type were simply spectacular, but most of the models, scared off no fewer complaints about the speed of wireless data transmission. Climb the forums and reading reports eyes fell on a rather original model — TP-LINK TL-WN822N.

TP-LINK TL-WN822N

People wrote that due to the remote nature of the device (connected via USB cable) external antenna and this adapter allows us to achieve pretty good reception of wireless network signals.
The latest version of drivers from the TP-Link website was established with a Bang, but an auxiliary (not needed for operation) utility configuration and monitoring adapter in Win7 64-bit refused to work. I found another, much more pleasant program inSSIDer to analyze wireless networks. That’s how many Wi-Fi networks showed up at my apartment (apparently, the neighbors also love the WiFi):

So, wireless network set up and working. How to make it better?

Step 3. Delicious bun from ZyXEL — silent torrents.

Have router ZyXEL Keenetic found quite interesting for me 😉 it has a USB connector (though only one) to which you can connect an external USB drive. It doesn’t have to be a special portable hard drive, you can connect a standard 2.5″ or 3.5″ drive via a USB Extension Box (though note that for a disk of 3.5″ Extension Box already comes with a power adapter, while the 2.5″drive enough power from the USB). Connecting the drive to the router on the disk to download torrents built-in router with Transmission client.

Step 3. Delicious bun from ZyXEL — silent torrent

Is controlled by Transmission through a beautiful web interface. To download torrent, you need first on a normal computer or laptop to download .torrent file the notorious site (:)) and then open this file via the web interface Transmission’. Next torrent will be pumped by the router, in absolute silence. It is very convenient at night to put the fix, and in the morning had to get a bunch of downloads on connected to the router drive. And your sleep will not be disturbed by the annoying buzz of a fan. The router allows you to access the drive via normal Windows network folders.

Step 4. “НедоNAS”.

After the 3rd step, I was on edge. I have now been continuously available file storage! NAS?! No, still not the NAS. Nedo-NAS 🙂 Now I tell you why. When I tried to open a large (30 GB) video file for playback on a network attached to the router disc on my desktop, I noticed the sticking when playing. As so, I was upset, because the speed of WiFi-N is supposed 5.5 MB/s to push with the stock?! (5.5 MB/s is the approximate bitrate for the 1.5 hour video 30GB). I tried to just copy the file from a network share to the local disk of the stationary computer — speed was in the region of 3-3.5 MB/s. But why so slowly? About the same speed I had on the laptop that had Wi-Fi G and no MIMO. I wondered. Well, what I quickly guessed to exclude WiFi and connect to the router by cable. And here I discovered the first school — almost the speed was not above staying in the region of 4 MB/s. For 100 Mbit/s is clearly not enough. Posherstiv the Internet and reading reviews, I realized that plugging in speed is between the router and the hard drive connected to it via USB. ZyXEL Keenetic just do not know how (or physically unable) to provide higher speed of data exchange with the connected drive. It was something I did not expect, because this same drive being connected via USB to a desktop computer issued a communication speed at least 30 MB/sec, i.e. almost 10 times higher. This is both funny and sad — turned out that with the Internet (via Ethernet cable) and with a stationary computer (for WiFi N) router be able to communicate faster than with any connected USB drive. In my head it still fits easily.

One way to speed connected to the router the drive is reformatting from NTFS (originally my disk was formatted in NTFS) to one of the family toward Linux formats such as Ext2 or Ext3. The best performance showed the formatting in Ext2) — copy via WiFi from the router to a desktop computer — 4.5 MB/sec, copying from the PC to the router — 3.7 MB/s. At such speeds, you can play real-time movie size 15-20 GB. But it’s still not reveals the potential of Wi-Fi N, for which I was expecting to see speed well, at least in the region of 10 MB/c).
For most applications, such a wireless network, in principle, enough, but again there is potential for further improvement. It remains to solve the last problem — video playback without using a noisy computer.

Step 5. Silent media.

Immediately say that my plasma has no built-in media player, no LAN and no USB input. But there are a couple HDMI inputs. When the plasma is connected to the computer is very convenient. You can, for example, to play something beautiful on a 50″ screen. It is convenient to use a wireless keyboard and mouse. The fact that to run the game you need a computer, any doubts does not cause. But for movies there is a more simple, quiet, compact and convenient devices — media players. Media players come with either a built-in hard disk or USB (as a router). Also have media players is the LAN port for a network connection. Again the wire??? Do not wait! After examining a few of today deals of media players with support for Wi-Fi, I settled on a relatively new (2012) the WD TV Live Streaming Wi-Fi.

Step 5. Silent media

This third generation is quite popular (though it seems not in Russia) the WD TV Live. The built-in disk (as in WD TV Live Hub) in this model, no, but there is support for Wi-Fi, LAN port and 2 USB ports for connecting drives. The unit has a completely passive cooling, so watching a movie or listening to music no third-party noise prevent should not.
When I connect this player to your TV and chose my wireless network, the player immediately downloaded from the Internet new firmware and updated to it.

Step 6. Improved NAS.

Because the player is able to operate at the media server (i.e., to share network files, as does the aforementioned router), I immediately decided to check, does it works with the disk as slowly as the router. How great was my joy when I discovered that the speed of data exchange with the disk of the media player is higher than that of the router. I was able to achieve at 8.6 MB/s read and 5.2 MB/s write between the media player and the desktop computer. Unfortunately, such speeds were attainable only under the condition that one of the devices connected to the router still via twisted pair. Configuration when both communicating devices use the wireless network showed a very low performance. This is due to the fact that the wireless channel per unit time may be used only one pair of devices (router-media player or the router-PC), which significantly reduces the communication speed.

Conclusions.

Speed WiFi N enough for playing heavy media files, provided that between the source and the recipient is not more than one wireless transmission (i.e. it must be the exchange-type WiFi-router-WiFi-device and wifi device — WiFi router — other WiFi device).
I haven’t decided which configuration your home network to “lock in” and continue the experiments. Most likely will be left in a configuration in which a single wireless communications channel is the channel between the router located in the entrance hall and a media player located near the TV. As NAS’and can act as a media player. The only thing holding me back from final adoption of this solution is that for this model of media player I haven’t been able to find a firmware with support for downloading torrents. To force Transmission of the router to download files not attached to the router disk and to a network share drive attached to the media player, I haven’t succeeded yet (if someone from habrovky knows how to do this please write about it in the comments).

I’m sure speed home wireless network is the dream of many. A dream that, thanks to modern technology has almost become a reality.

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