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How To Ready Your Network For Streaming Media

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Sat, 19 May 2007 10:52:19 +0000

Robert

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Streaming video is the most demanding task your home network will come up against. Even though an 802.11g connections theoretically capable of speeds of 54Mb/s, they typically sit at around 25Mb/s and can go much slower with traffic or other impediments such as thick walls.480p video should be fine, but go up to 720p and minimum of 6Mb/s consistent bandwidth start to take their toll, so it makes sense to optimize your network.First, consider the position of the router. Place it somewhere central and high up, and watch for objects such as CD racks that might obstruct the signal. Have the router in the same room as the server or the player if possible, and think of a replacement antenna if signal strength this still a problem.

Your router may have QOS features, which automatically detect and priorities multimedia, games or VOIP traffic and priorities it over normal traffic. If your’s does, check your documentation to find out how to switch it on as it can make a very large difference. While your there, ensure Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is enable. This ensures playback devices on your network can communicate with your servers, and users can navigate there way to the media files.Windows Media Connect and Windows Media player 11 and most bundled and third-party media server applications support UPnP, and if you use a Network Attached Storage (NAS) to stream media around the house, you should ensure that UPnP is switched on in that device as well.

The best method to ensure we found to ensure 720p playback without a glitch on our test

player was to connect our server PC to our router via a wired connection. Replacing one of the two wireless portions of the journey with 100Mb/s Ethernet turned an unwatchable mess into a smooth flowing HD extravaganza. If the geography of the house make this possible, consider using

technology to make the bridge instead of wireless. Plug one 85Mb/s HomePlug adapter into a power socket near your router and another in the wall near your PC and you will still get a faster more consistent connection then you would with a normal wireless link. Otherwise you may have to look at investing into a802.11n router, network card and media player, which should offer the necessary bandwidth.

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