"G" vs. "N" Speed Test (AppleTV Streaming)

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by fivepoint, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I am a proud owner of a brand new Apple TV and Panasonic TH-50PX80U Plasma HDTV. I am absolutely loving the new setup!

    One thing though... I am noticing that with everything that 'streams' from my iMac, there is a slight 'lag'. I will press fast-forward, and it will take a second or two before the Apple TV processes and streams the content change.

    I am considering bumping up to the new "N" Airport Express over my current "G" Airport Express, but wanted to make sure that this was, in fact, the bottleneck causing the 'lag' that I am experiencing.

    For those of you who have operated an Apple TV on both "G" and "N" networks, please describe for me the change in Apple TV functionality that you've noticed. Is it dramatic? Is there any remaining 'lag' with your "N" router?

    Thanks so much for your help!
  2. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    I haven't streamed any movies, but I do get lag between even menu changes while browsing my music. The odd thing is, I'm not even streaming. I have all my music synced to the ATV with "show only synced content" applied. This makes me think it's just the sluggish nature of the ATV OS. I am using an Airport Extreme N.
  3. Bickity macrumors member

    May 25, 2007
    I am a n-n user (formally g-n) and in my experience streamed material still pauses during fast forward and rewind. I can tell you that syncing material n-n is much faster.
  4. whynot83706 macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    it may sound stupid but how do you stream music from your desktop?
  5. lazydesi macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2006
    Gr8 Adelaide
    I am using ATV on my G network and it sucks all time

    very very slow

    currently using Ethernet
  6. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    You set up the ATV to sync with your computer/iTunes (where you have to put a 5-digit code into iTunes). After that, ATV should show up as a device like an iPod. I just check the photos to sync (store on the ATV hard drive) and uncheck everything else. That's apparently how it streams, based on what is in your iTunes library. Each time you add something to the library, you have to sync again.

    As far as wireless speed, I haven't had any problems after the first day with an N network. Haven't tried it with a G network since the only G device I have is an older iMac.
  7. ceehjayem macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2006
    I just upgraded my Airport Extreme card to 802.11n from the 802.11g in conjunction with my Apple TV and I have found that the transfer rate wirelessly is about 3 times faster with the 802.11n card. I recommend the switch if waiting is a pain for you.
  8. ceehjayem macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2006
    I just upgraded my Airport Extreme Card from a G to an N and have noticed a big difference in transfer speeds.
  9. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I've heard people say that they still get lag on their "N" network.
    I've heard people say that they haven't experienced any lag on their "N" network.
    And I've even heard that people aren't having any problem with their "G" network.

    I may have missed it... but I am still not seeing a difinitive answer here. Has anyone started their AppleTV experience on a "G" network, switched to an "N" network, and noticed any big changes in STREAMING speed?

    My AppleTV is still experiencing considerable lag, and I am hoping that a simple switch to a "N" network would eliminate this... however, I don't want to spend money on the switch if the bottleneck lies elsewhere.

    Thanks for your help guys!

    This would make sense 100% for syncing transfer speeds, however... since I am only syncing a very small portion of my content, and generally STREAMING the majority of it, my main concern is this.

    Were you experiencing 'streaming lag' previously on your "g" network?
    Are you now experiencing any change (improvement) in that lag with your new "n" network?

  10. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

    Nov 8, 2003
    I'm have a Netgear router that is G. The ATV gets a signal strength of approx. 80% and the streaming from the computer seems fine. No stuttering or anything for music and videos. Haven't attempted streaming video rentals though.
  11. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    Does this include when you fast-forward or skip chapters? I have no problem with the actual viewing of the content, but when I am trying to fast forward, skip chapters, or just start a viewing, there is always a 3-5 second lag (which is visually demonstrated with the blue loading bar at the bottom of the screen) while the AppleTV processes my command.

    I guess I am trying to determine whether it is my apparent 'slow g connection' that is causing the problem, or whether the problem is the slow AppleTV hardware.
  12. macleod199 macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    One thing to keep in mind is whether the person you're asking is streaming Computer-802.11n-Router-802.11n-TV or Computer-802.3 (wired)-Router-802.11n-TV. If the former, they're halving the available bandwidth of the connection (each leg is using half of the available wireless bandwidth).

    This is not to mention that they may have a degraded channel because stuff is further apart, other people are using the connection, or other networks are interfering. Someone on 5 GHz with everything in essentially the same room (like me) is going to have a more reliable connection than someone at 2.4 GHz with 12 other networks on the same channel (like I would be if I used 2.4), with some walls between the different components.

    That said I wouldn't ever expect an 'instant' reaction on streaming, as there's lag to consider as well as bandwidth. If you're doing both legs wireless, you can't eliminate the lag entirely.

    When it comes down to it, as they say on slashdot - YMMV - your mileage may vary.
  13. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Unfortunately you wont see a definitive answer. In ideal situations G is fast enough for a good streaming experience, but 2.4ghz is a crowded frequency. Cordless phones, microwaves, wireless mice and many other electronics interfere with G traffic and slow you down. N is better at dealing with this interference in the 2.4 band, but it also support 5.0 band. 5.0 is typically a more clear frequency, but it can get similar interference from 2.5ghz and other 5ghz devices.
    An N network with G devices connected wont run much different than a G network with mimo, or other speed booster technologies.

    Running in an area with very high interference in the 2.4 range, I have my AEBS N router set for 5ghz and get speeds between 240-300mbs. I have never tried G with the Apple TV, since I had the N router before I got it.

    One last thing. The ability to stream is also depends on the content. HD or other high bandwidth movies need a faster connection. for example if you have a 90 minute movie that is 4Gig, you network has to be able to send that entire file within that time. Obviously if the 90 minute movie is only 1Gig, it will be much easier on the network.
  14. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

    Nov 8, 2003
    Fast forwarding starts fine but then it slows down and pauses briefly, though I've never timed it so I can't say it's 3-5 sec. Chapter searching seems to only take a second or two to kick on. My PS3 takes just as long to chapter skip too so I don't pay it much mind.
  15. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    Thanks for taking the time to respond today guys, I sincerely appreciate it.

    I think what I've learned here is that there are far to many variables to simply blame the problem on 'g' network speeds. The quality of the connection counts, the type of content counts, the appleTV itself may be partially to blame...

    So all I can really do from this point on is 'optimize'. I can improve my chances by getting a new Airport Express, optimizing my streaming content, and making sure I have the strongest signal possible... although I think it is already at 100%.

    I will probably have to get an 'N' router at some point. Hopefully I can still get something out of my old one.

    Thanks guys!
  16. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    If/when you get a new N router, your old G router may still be useful. N is usually more efficient in 5ghz mode, but at 2.4ghz any connected G clients will slow you down by up to 50%. So in the end an optimized N router will not support G clients at all. The solution could be to bridge it with your existing G router to get the best performance and retain compatibility with G devices.
  17. ladysman macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    My setup:
    ATV (HDMI)
    Linksys WRT54GS v2.1 flashed with HyperWRT 15c firmware.
    Linksys High Gain Antennas (I bought the router and antennas for $40 off ebay)

    I have ZERO issues streaming video. I stream everything but HD content as well. The router isn't even on the same floor as the apple TV. I played around with the router settings and increased the antenna power to help but I was getting a full 5 bars on the ATV so I turned it down to 50%.

    Streaming HD content works as well for the first 30 minutes then it starts getting jittery then clears itself for a while then jitters again. So for my HD content, I just put those HD movies on the ATV HD.

    I don't have anything else on my network using N so I don't really feel it is necessary. I would pref a wired connection but I unfortunately didn't think to put an ethernet jack there when we had the house built.

    That help?
  18. Avatar74 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    The advance/rewind has always been a bit of a problem, and it's something I hope Apple fixes because that type of lack of elegance in an interface is entirely contrary to what they're about.

    As for content... I only stream because my network seems to handle it well.

    I have all my content on a G4/933 Quicksilver tower, but the network has changed.

    Originally I ran the G4 over 100 Mbps ethernet to a Netgear FWG-114P wifi router. The AppleTV connected over 802.11g wi-fi. For the most part, I could stream everything up to 720p HD over the LAN with minimal interference but would get the occasional hiccup which is expected on any network... but because I have a lot of neighboring G networks, it's prone to interference in ways that a 5GHz 802.11n wi-fi isn't. When the network was at optimal signal strength, I could stream SD and HD fine but when interference cropped up it would get choppy.

    Now I run an AirPort Extreme 802.11n router with gigabit ethernet. So the G4 is now hardwired over 1 Gbps ethernet, and the AppleTV connected on 802.11n at 5GHz (no "g" devices allowed, to ensure maximum throughput. Over single-channel n connections, I get 74 Mbps wi-fi (practical actual throughput over "g" is closer to 23 Mbps). I also have 15 Mbps fiber to the home.

    To give you an idea of how this performs all together... I can initiate an HD rental and start watching it in 15-20 seconds with enough buffer to have zero stalls or hiccups nearly 100% of the time. Naturally, ALL networks are going to have periodic interruptions for a variety of reasons too long to go through but we're not talking anything chronic or intermittent.

    If your interference is minimal, a "g" network would do just fine. My actual reason for getting AirPort Extreme had more to do with the fact that I purchased a MacBook Air and rather than get an external DVD drive, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by pushing my wi-fi speed up to the point where Remote Disc could work just as efficiently, and also give me greater overhead for AppleTV with one purchase.

    Someone raised an interesting point about having your "media server" over wi-fi does effectively halve your throughput to the AppleTV... and I never really thought about it before but I would surmise that most of the people who complain about problems with AppleTV at "g" and even "n" speeds are attempting to use wi-fi for both ends of the equation, rather than having the media source on a wired ethernet connection to leave the wi-fi wide open for AppleTV. That certainly would explain why I've had few problems at "g" speeds and virtually none at "n".
  19. RonG17 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2008
    I have both “N” (Time Capsule, 5Ghz) and “G” (Linksys WRT54G, 2.4GHz) installed in my home. Due to the problem of ATV “loosing” the Time Capsule connection which has been discussed in other topics, I have switched ATV between the two networks many times.

    In short, “N” is faster. However, I have had very good success with “G”. I haven’t seen the dropouts with “G” that others are experiencing. I may just be lucky and have low interference in my home. Either way, I still get the delays with skipping forward and back. Again, “N” is a bit faster, but the delays are still very noticeable.

    Since I am streaming everything from my IMac, I haven’t been able to compare synch speeds between “N” and “G”. In this situation, I bet “N” would fair much better than “G”.
  20. ladysman macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    I have never had a dropout with my setup. I also don't have issues with fast forward and rewind or pause or anything. My wife hasn't complained to me yet at least and she uses it more than I do. I fast forwarded last night and had no issues.
  21. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    Very good information, thank you. It sounds like the problem is a combination of appleTV hardware and syncing (in general) to me. I don't think it can necessarily be resolved with a slightly higher speed network connection. Improved for sure, obtimized... yes, but resolved? No. Just seems to be a general buffering issue, which likely can not be fixed.

    Perhaps this is an argument for going with the larger hard drive AppleTV?

    Good to hear from someone with considerable AppleTV 'g' and 'n' experience.
  22. ebony macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2007
    I have tried apple tv streaming with g and n. The g network is a netgear dg834 and the n an Airport Extreme using n only on 5 GHz.

    Using n only on 5GHz give a slight performance increase but its debatable whether its worth the cost of an AEBS just for that benefit.

    I use my netgear on g still for my iphone and for guests to connect to and the n network is for appletv and my macbook.

    As someone else said, you should make sure you can run the n network on an n only on 5 GHz for maximum improvement, and use your old router for g only connections.
  23. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2008
    I stream everything, never have used the sync.

    In my experience the difference between g, mixed n, n, and ethernet was negligible. Currently i use ethernet only because i recently put a hub nearby for other devices. There was no amazing noticeable difference in usability from mixed n.

    All worked fine for me streaming handbrake encoded dvds.

    YMMV though.
  24. RonG17 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2008
    This is a little off topic, but since we starting down the Ethernet path, I did some testing this morning with direct Ethernet vs. “N”. I set up a temporary 1 Gigabit connection from my IMac to the ATV to try to get the fastest performance possible.

    As one would expect, the Gigabit connection was faster. There is still a delay, but skipping through the chapters was about 1/3 of what I see with “N”. As stated before, “N” is still very reasonable, so I feel like I’m splitting hairs with the delays.

    Where I did have a noticeable improvement is with caching the movie. It seems that once you start streaming a movie, ATV keeps the streaming going even if you pause the movie on ATV. With a Gigabit connection, the movie is cached down to ATV very quickly. Once the movie is cached to ATV, I can skip chapters instantly and FF through fames of the movie without it pausing to catch up. Nice.

    While this was an interesting exercise, I’m back to “N” since I don’t have a way to run a Gigabit connection to the ATV without tearing up the house. Regardless, I’m happy with ATV and the wireless performance (G or N).

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