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I've got a WRT54-GL router running Tomato v1.25.

With 2 laptops and my iPhone all less than 10 feet from the router, Tomato is reporting ~50% signal quality for each of them. However, on each of the laptops/iPhone, the wireless connection reports full bars.

I also have another computer downstairs from the router, which acts as my HTPC and media server. It an Edimax EW-7128G, which has been great for a $20 card. Lately, I haven't been able to play HD movies or video from the HTPC because apparently data can't be transfered quickly enough between the devices to provide a smooth stream.

All the computers are running Windows 7 ultimate, and the file sharing is done using the new "Libraries" system.

Moving the router or the HTPC currently aren't options. Any suggestions making this work better?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

802.11g wireless is too slow for HD video streaming. You have three options:

  1. Wired ethernet - definitely fast enough, but requires wiring.
  2. Powerline networking - fast enough, no wiring, but you have to buy special plugs
  3. 802.11n wireless - probably fast enough, but expensive equipment

I would go for option 2. Easy to set up, secure and fast.

http://www.devolo.com

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addon to Powerline networking - "and hope that your electrical installation allows that" –  Gnoupi Jan 21 '10 at 10:49
    
I would go with option 1 –  BlueRaja Jan 21 '10 at 14:56
    
+1 for wired ethernet. IF you only need 10 feet it shouldn't cost that much. –  Jonno_FTW Jan 21 '10 at 15:16
    
He needs to wire up his HTPC downstairs, presumably more than 10 feet away. –  Iain Jan 21 '10 at 16:10
    
Yeah, definitely more than 10 feet away... it's around a corner, down a hallway, up some stairs and around another corner... And I rent, so running ethernet isn't really an option. –  Daniel Schaffer Jan 21 '10 at 17:29
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Going for 802.11n is the best option in my opinion. As long as you have a reasonably sized house/apartment (eg. two floors or less), WiFi will serve you well. And any decent 802.11n hardware should deliver enough bandwidth for HD movies. If you want to make sure, use dual-band hardware (2.4GHz & 5GHz) to minimize interference.

Without buying any hardware though, I recommend trying to change channels on your WiFi. It might be, that your neighbor or some other source is causing interference in the frequency you're using (eg. another wlan). If that is the case, switching to another channel could help. In most routers you can choose the channel or use auto mode. Only the wireless router should choose the channel, the clients should be able to detect it automatically.

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Interference won't matter. He simply won't be able to stream HD over 802.11g. –  Iain Jan 21 '10 at 16:11
    
It depends on your definition of HD. You can stream up to 20Mbit with 802.11g, that's plenty HD already. 20Mbit for a 2-hour movie means an 18 GB total size, which is where many bluray films are. But yes, full bluray is stretching it if that's what the OP means by HD. –  tstm Jan 21 '10 at 17:54
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