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View Full Version : Connect ATV2 to macmini via ethernet and use the minis wifi ?




optophobia
Oct 7, 2010, 08:53 PM
OK here is my scenario.

My router (airport extreme) is in the basement, along with my mac mini. The mini is connected to the airport extreme via wifi.
My TV (and soon to be ATV2) is at the far end of the house , on the next level up. The TV room does have wifi coverage from the airport, but it is weak.

Can I connect the ATV2 ethernet directly to the Mac Mini to stream video etc on the mac mini, as well as stream netflix "through" the macmini to the airport? Or does the ATV2 have to be ethernet wired to the airport ?

Basically the mac mini is on one side of the room and easy to wire to, whereas the airport is the far end, so I would have to run the cable across the room and then hide it etc.

Any help, or pointers would be appreciated. :D



dXTC
Oct 8, 2010, 07:20 AM
Your all-wireless scenario is possible. The Mac mini connects via WiFi to the Airport Extreme, and Internet Sharing is then turned on. This turns the Mac mini into a wireless bridge. The :apple:tv will then be theoretically able to connect to either.

There are two caveats here:

The AirPort card inside the Mac mini does not generate as strong a signal as the AirPort Extreme. Your signal at the :apple:tv may not be much of an improvement, if at all.
Wireless bridges cut throughput in half, because it must repeat what is being sent through. This may present problems when trying to stream HD rentals. You can mitigate this problem, however, by connecting the Mini to the Airport Extreme with Ethernet; half of Gigabit is 500 Mb/sec, more than enough for full N speeds.


An alternate solution, if you have an extra $99, is an Airport Express, placed in the far end of the basement just below the room with the :apple:tv, hopefully with a minimum of walls between the two routers. Then you could activate Bridge mode on the Express, and you would have stronger signal. The only problem with this, of course, is the half-throughput as described above, which again could be mitigated by a long Ethernet cable between the two routers (Airport Extreme LAN port to the Express's WAN port), if practical.

DJinTX
Oct 8, 2010, 08:44 AM
Wireless bridges cut throughput in half, because it must repeat what is being sent through. This may present problems when trying to stream HD rentals. You can mitigate this problem, however, by connecting the Mini to the Airport Extreme with Ethernet; half of Gigabit is 500 Mb/sec, more than enough for full N speeds.


I don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but you mentioning about throughput and bridges prompts me to ask a related question since you seem to be knowledgeable in this area...

I don't know a whole lot about wifi bridges, but I happen to have one in my setup and am wondering if it is causing me problems. I have an AEBS connected to my cable modem in our homeoffice, and an Airport Express in the living room. The Express is setup as a bridge to provide an ethernet connection to my XBox 360 (the MS XBox wireless adapter wasn't playing nice with my AEBS). In any case, your comment about bridges cutting throughput in half makes me wonder if it is causing other issues.

1. In using my new AppleTV, I notice some lag at times when streaming (this is likely just an ATV issue since it is so new).
2. I have some occasional lag streaming netflix over my XBox, and downgrading of the video quality during streaming.
3. Sometimes when streaming music via AirTunes the music will suddenly cut out for 3-5 seconds and then resume.
4. The most important symptom I have noticed is that for the last month, probably once every 3 days I have to cycle the power on my cable modem and AEBS because even though I am still connected to my wireless network, suddenly I am not getting a valid IP address and not accessing anything on the internet.

Items 1-3 above are just monor and not a huge deal, but losing my internet connection periodically is extremely annoying. If you have advice as to whether the bridge is causing a problem, or if something else is going on, I would love to hear it.

Thanks!

optophobia
Oct 8, 2010, 09:13 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A306 Safari/6531.22.7)

Your all-wireless scenario is possible. The Mac mini connects via WiFi to the Airport Extreme, and Internet Sharing is then turned on. This turns the Mac mini into a wireless bridge. The :apple:tv will then be theoretically able to connect to either.

There are two caveats here:

The AirPort card inside the Mac mini does not generate as strong a signal as the AirPort Extreme. Your signal at the :apple:tv may not be much of an improvement, if at all.
Wireless bridges cut throughput in half, because it must repeat what is being sent through. This may present problems when trying to stream HD rentals. You can mitigate this problem, however, by connecting the Mini to the Airport Extreme with Ethernet; half of Gigabit is 500 Mb/sec, more than enough for full N speeds.


An alternate solution, if you have an extra $99, is an Airport Express, placed in the far end of the basement just below the room with the :apple:tv, hopefully with a minimum of walls between the two routers. Then you could activate Bridge mode on the Express, and you would have stronger signal. The only problem with this, of course, is the half-throughput as described above, which again could be mitigated by a long Ethernet cable between the two routers (Airport Extreme LAN port to the Express's WAN port), if practical.

Thank you. I wasn't even aware the Mac mini could act as a bridge.
Also running Ethernet from the Mac mini to the airport could be beneficial in more ways than one.
Thanks for the help

dXTC
Oct 8, 2010, 11:35 AM
I don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but you mentioning about throughput and bridges prompts me to ask a related question since you seem to be knowledgeable in this area...

I don't know a whole lot about wifi bridges, but I happen to have one in my setup and am wondering if it is causing me problems. I have an AEBS connected to my cable modem in our homeoffice, and an Airport Express in the living room. The Express is setup as a bridge to provide an ethernet connection to my XBox 360 (the MS XBox wireless adapter wasn't playing nice with my AEBS). In any case, your comment about bridges cutting throughput in half makes me wonder if it is causing other issues.

1. In using my new AppleTV, I notice some lag at times when streaming (this is likely just an ATV issue since it is so new).
2. I have some occasional lag streaming netflix over my XBox, and downgrading of the video quality during streaming.
3. Sometimes when streaming music via AirTunes the music will suddenly cut out for 3-5 seconds and then resume.
4. The most important symptom I have noticed is that for the last month, probably once every 3 days I have to cycle the power on my cable modem and AEBS because even though I am still connected to my wireless network, suddenly I am not getting a valid IP address and not accessing anything on the internet.

Items 1-3 above are just monor and not a huge deal, but losing my internet connection periodically is extremely annoying. If you have advice as to whether the bridge is causing a problem, or if something else is going on, I would love to hear it.

Thanks!

I would recommend that you connect the :apple:tv to the AEBS if possible, rather than to the Express. The Express is not Simultaneous Dual-Band; if any WiFi-G device connects to it (as I suspect your XBox may be doing, or someone's previous-gen iPod touch), then all devices connecting to the Express fall back to G speeds. Cut G in half, and you have a theoretical maximum of 27 Mbps. Throw a couple of walls and/or furniture pieces between the Express and the AEBS, and you'll potentially be slow enough to notice streaming lag and downgrading of video quality.

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for your loss of Internet. It's weird that you would have to reboot both your modem and the AEBS.

DJinTX
Oct 8, 2010, 01:03 PM
I would recommend that you connect the :apple:tv to the AEBS if possible, rather than to the Express. The Express is not Simultaneous Dual-Band; if any WiFi-G device connects to it (as I suspect your XBox may be doing, or someone's previous-gen iPod touch), then all devices connecting to the Express fall back to G speeds. Cut G in half, and you have a theoretical maximum of 27 Mbps. Throw a couple of walls and/or furniture pieces between the Express and the AEBS, and you'll potentially be slow enough to notice streaming lag and downgrading of video quality.

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for your loss of Internet. It's weird that you would have to reboot both your modem and the AEBS.

My Apple TV isn't connected to my network over ethernet, it is connected to my wireless network created by my AEBS. My XBox is the one plugged directly into the express. As for simultaneous dual band, my AEBS is a few years old, and while it is wireless N, it does not have simultaneous dual band.

We do have some wireless G devices (my wife's PowerBookG4, 2 iPhones, Wii, HP printer). Most of these are rarely in use while we would be streaming, with the exception of my wife's PowerBook. She likes to surf while we watch TV.

While I am interested in making our streaming work as efficiently as possible, it is still a minor issue compered to the internet issue. I don't necessarily have to power cycle the Airport, I just always do it to make sure I fix the issue on the first try. I'll have to test this next time and see if only cycling power on the modem fixes it. If so, then maybe TimeWarner needs to give me a new modem.

Thanks again for your help!

dXTC
Oct 8, 2010, 02:39 PM
My Apple TV isn't connected to my network over ethernet, it is connected to my wireless network created by my AEBS. My XBox is the one plugged directly into the express. As for simultaneous dual band, my AEBS is a few years old, and while it is wireless N, it does not have simultaneous dual band.

We do have some wireless G devices (my wife's PowerBookG4, 2 iPhones, Wii, HP printer). Most of these are rarely in use while we would be streaming, with the exception of my wife's PowerBook. She likes to surf while we watch TV.



Ah, you have an older AEBS. That complicates the matter further.

Since you have the AEBS and Express bridged, any G device (including the Powerbook and the WiFi printers) that connects to either router will slow it down to G. Being bridged as they are, the other router will slow to G as well, which in turn slows all of its clients to G. This creates a bottleneck of sorts between the routers, as all the Express's clients share the single connection (the bridge) to the AEBS.

(The Simultaneous Dual-Band aspect of the newer AEBS prevents this type of slowdown; all clients run at their native speed, so bridging would be necessary only for range extending or, as you've found, for better compatibility with the XBox.)

I would definitely do a modem-only test, especially if you've had that modem for a while.