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My setup: 802.11g router with dd-wrt, desktop pc, laptop - neither of which can be connected with ethernet

My goal here is to have good speed between the two computers both wirelessly connecting to my network (for video streaming). Some time back when I had my desktop connected to the router with cat5 it worked pretty well but now I can never get above 400-500k/s and most times it's just around 300k/s.

Things that I've tried:

1) Just downloading stuff from the internet over the wireless network - i can get up to 900k/s

2) I thought that traffic between two wireless devices uses the network twice so it can only go at half the speed. Additionally since both devices are on the same wireless channel they can cause interference for each other. I had a spare airport express laying around so I tried the following: desktop ->(wifi chan11) dd-wrt ->(cat5) airport -> (wifi chan 6) laptop

However, that didn't give me any improvement.

Any ideas/suggestions?

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3 Answers

Steps that could help:

  • Position your router away from any obstructions or walls.
  • Bring the computers closer to the wifi router - distance slows down.
  • Change the router to channel 11, which surprisingly is the strongest.
  • Changing the channel might also solve the problem if it's caused by your neighbor's new wifi modem.
  • Get a faster router and/or faster network cards: consider 802.11n. It has theoretical speed of 270-300Mbps, but practical throughput is about 50-75Mbps, which is about 6-9MB/s. It should be 3-4 times faster than 802.11g. You need 802.11n client cards and they are about $30 each. and 802.11n router is about $70.
  • If your router has a removable antenna, try using a signal booster.
  • Upgrade the wireless router's firmware from the router manufacturer's website.
  • Use a wireless speed optimizer to get your speeds up, by checking out programs like TweakMASTER.
  • Make your network private by placing a password on it to prevent others from sharing your bandwidth (unlikely explanation).
  • Do NOT use WEP or WPA-PSK TKIP encryption. These are slow. WPA-PSK AES encryption performs much faster. Also enable Afterburner and framebursting on the WiFi router and enable Afterburner on the clients if it is disabled.
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Thanks - most of these are fairly general points but I do find the last part interesting. I know my old's laptop drivers didn't support WPA-PSK AES but maybe this one does - I'll take a look –  naumcho Jan 18 '10 at 4:21
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Consider switching to powerline networking. It's fast enough to handle video and it's longer range, easier to setup, more secure and more reliable than wireless.

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This could be a good idea except it requires special hardware ... What's the common speed that you can get out of it these days? A quick google for it got me 14 mbps which isn't that great –  naumcho Jan 18 '10 at 4:18
    
You can stream HD video with Homeplug AV plugs. See these tests - reghardware.co.uk/2007/01/15/review_devolo_dlan_200_avdesk/… –  Iain Jan 18 '10 at 7:44
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First of all, you need to know that wireless networks are more like half-duplex as in they can either do a transmit or a receive in a specific time-slot. So, having more wireless devices on the network will effectively reduce the bandwidth. Furthermore, the effective maximum speed of 11g is around 20Mbps++.

What kind of video are you streaming? If you are streaming typical non-h264 video, it will usually be in the range of 1Mbps speeds, which should be easily handled by 11g. I have this exact setup at home. However, if you are streaming h264 1080p videos, the bit-rate can get into the range of 35Mbps or so, which is above even the maximum of 11g.

So, you should really consider wired networking if you want to stream video. Even for Home-plug, you should get those that can at least do 85Mbps but preferably 200Mbps. Do not bother with slower speeds.

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sybreon, that's why i was trying to have two wireless networks connected with cat5 and expected to see an improvement but did not. I basically have a 2hr movie which is 2GB so that should require about 1024*1024/3600 = ~300kb/s which is not unreasonable to expect from a 802.11g network. –  naumcho Jan 18 '10 at 4:30
    
You now have two bottlenecks, your two 11g channels. Either one could slow down in speed due to random reasons - heat, microwave, neighbours, astronomical activity. –  sybreon Jan 23 '10 at 8:12
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