Is the problem with my Airport Extreme or the limitations of 802.11n?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by hkim1983, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. hkim1983 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    #1
    I have a 2 TB WD My Passport external HD connected to my Airport Extreme station to share with my network. Playing media files is generally fine, but I've encountered some problems and I'm not sure if this is because of the Airport Extreme, or 802.11n. This isn't a problem with the WD itself, because I've experienced this with another external connected the same way. I also want to note that when connected directly to my mac, these problems mostly vanish.

    Basically, when watching a movie, there is lag sometimes when I try to move around to different time stamps. Occasionally, my media player will outright crash (for reference, I'm using MplayerX 1.0.17). This doesn't happen when I play these files on a USB stick, or when I directly connect my drive to my computer.

    That in itself, while annoying, isn't a big deal, but there are bigger problems that have actually crashed my finder twice and locked up my system entirely. Simply navigating through folders with multiple media files can cause beach balling sometimes, and whenever I try to manipulate multiple media files at once (let's say I want to delete 20 media files simultaneously), it will either beach ball for a long period of time, or lock up my finder indefinitely. I do not experience these problems when I directly connect my drive to my computer.

    So I ask again, is this a limitation of 802.11n, or the Airport Extreme itself? A somewhat related question, but is there anyway I can turn off "previews" of media files? These show up (depending on container, for example, .mp4) even in list view, and I believe some of this is caused by this nonsense.

    I also want to note that for some reason, this problem doesn't manifest itself if I were to access this drive through my iPad through server software running on my computer. I find this...bizarre, as I can navigate through my files much easier even with live preview on. If anyone wants more details on that, I can provide them.

    Thanks for any help in advance.

    EDIT: There is plenty of space available on the drive, and the drive itself is brand new, so I don't think it's a capacity issue.
     
  2. ConCat macrumors 6502a

    ConCat

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
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    In an ethereal plane of existence.
    #2
    The Finder can be rather crappy at times... Not a whole lot you can do about that till Apple decides to give it an overhaul. As for your media player, try VLC. It is quite rare for VLC to have any major issues.
     
  3. hkim1983 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    #3
    I actually did use to use VLC for a long period of time, but I switched over to MPlayer because (at the time) it was the only media player that was multi-threaded on OS X, and it also opened up media files much faster (I have since learned that this is because VLC is either rebuilding or checking the integrity of the file? I think you can turn this off?).

    I believe VLC finally has multi-threading (although this is irrelevant now that I'm on an Ivy Bridge processor...), but the last time I checked, it was still more inefficient than MPlayer was. Granted, we're talking single percentage point differences here...but I'm a stickler for efficiency. I'm willing to give it another go though.

    In any case, you don't think this is an issue with the Airport Extreme station or 802.11n? Like I said, most of these problems are either minimized or outright vanish if I connect the drive directly to my mac...so something is up with the network or the router. I was hoping that 802.11ac would eventually rectify this...but that isn't the case, I may have to remove the drive entirely from the network and just connect it directly to my mac (less convenient).
     
  4. ConCat macrumors 6502a

    ConCat

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    Location:
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    #4
    Well, when it comes to apps crashing, they really shouldn't. If an app is crashing, it's the app developers' fault for not anticipating whatever the error is that's causing it. I don't recall seeing VLC crash in a very very long time, and I've done all sorts of strange things with it. It's quite robust. The truth of the matter is doing things over WiFi is always going to be tricky when it comes to performance, and apps that don't expect extremely slow read times when attempting to read a file, or even no data at all, might crash. I suspect this might be the problem. Things are just less reliable over WiFi and it has to be accounted for in code somewhere.
     
  5. hkim1983, Jan 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013

    hkim1983 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    #5
    I see. Thank you for your insight, although it's a bit depressing to take. I'll give VLC another go and I'll just have my external connected directly from now on, until technology catches up to my standards I guess.

    EDIT: Ok, VLC is noticeably more cpu efficient than MPlayer now, and seeking in files is far superior. This will definitely be my go-to player again.
     

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