Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Windows 7 desktop with a folder shared out joined to a wireless network. I regularly use my Android tablet (also joined to the same wireless network) to play video files that ranged from 1GB to 4GB in size on my desktop's shared folder.

My wireless router is a TP-Link MR3420 3G Wireless-N router. I find that the video playback is somewhat not smooth. The performance degrades even further if I have 2 or more devices doing the same.

I'm looking around for a new wireless router. What are the technical specification that I should be looking at?

share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

You want a dual-band concurrent (a.k.a. "simultaneous dual-band") model that can still support the cluttered 2.4GHz band for your legacy devices, but also supports the cleaner 5GHz band for modern clients.

Also, since it's 2014 and not 2007, you should look for 3-spatial-stream (3x3:3) 802.11ac, with support for 80MHz-wide channels, for the 1300Mbps PHY rate. A lot of good 3x3:3 802.11ac AP products came on the market in 2013 and here in early 2014 for less than $180.

The problem with trying to pay just $40 for bargain basement crap like the MR3420 is not only that you get slow 7-year-old Wi-Fi technology, but you tend to get products that skimp on quality in order to hit a price point. For example, a 3x3:3 802.11ac AP would have high-power power amplifiers (PAs) on transmit, and high-quality low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) on receive, for maximum range. But a bargain device probably wouldn't have those features, and range would suffer as a result. I'd rather pay a little more to fully modernize from time to time, and get something that was the flagship product when it came out, so you know they spent some effort making sure it works and performs great. To me that's a lot better than staying constantly on the losing end of the technology curve just for the sake of low up-front cost.

I second what another Answer said: Considering using a streaming protocol to stream video, rather than a remote filesystem protocol. Remote filesystem protocols like SMB have a lot of overhead so that the remote share is capable of everything a local disk is capable of, like random access to files, access to file permissions and ACLs, and write access. These aren't things you need when streaming video, and they cause overhead that gets in the way of efficient streaming. Instead, use a streaming protocol like DLNA or iTunes Home Sharing.

share|improve this answer
I use Plex with a bargain basement quality Belkin 802.11n router. The devices that support the 802.11n, go on the media side. Other devices that just support 802.11g go on the legacy side. I think I paid $50 at WalMart. We stream from 7-8 devices at once. No lag. I think it has to do with the software's DLNA – Brian Apr 29 '14 at 12:01

Watching videos via a shared folder isn't the most efficient

A better way of sharing videos over a network is using a DLNA server. There are DLNA client apps for Android and Apple aswell, so you can easily connect using any device. Also, if you have a Smart TV, you can also stream to them :D

I use Serviio, completely free (It does say Free Trial, but after the 30 days, it just reverts to the Free version, which is all you need)

Hope this helps

share|improve this answer
Hi! Thanks for your feedback. Never knew about DLNA. Will read up on it. – Jimmery Apr 29 '14 at 1:50
@Jimmery: Download and install Plex Media Server. There is a PC and Android Client for it. – Brian Apr 29 '14 at 12:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .