Networking Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by danny_w, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    I have Time Warner 300Mbps cable downstairs connected to an Time Capsule (last flat 802.11n model). The ATV3 is hard wired to the TC; another ATV3 in the bedroom connects over wireless to the TC. My 2012 Mac Mini that houses my iTunes library is located upstairs and has been connected via wireless also. Running a cable between the downstairs and upstairs would not be an easy task (far from it).

    I have always had issues connecting to Home Sharing but it recently got much worse when I changed out from ATV2 to ATV3. Now anytime I watch anything on YouTube or Netflix, Home Sharing will disconnect and only restarting the ATV3 will get it to come back (or sometimes leaving it overnight). I have also noticed that since getting the ATV 3, starting YouTube or Netflix is much slower to buffer than normal.

    In an attempt to see if it would fix anything I bought a Netgear PL1200 power line adapter set and installed it between the TC and the upstairs mac Mini. ISP speed tests showed virtually the same performance (ping 35-35ms, d/l 150-155Mb/s, u/l 15Mb/s. However I immediately noticed a major difference in ATV3 performance; Home Sharing picked up immediately and staring a video was almost instant, and watching YouTube and Netflix did not cause the Home Sharing to stop (and Netflix seems much faster to buffer as well). In my limited testing so far it seems to have helped tremendously.

    Based on this experience it seems like the original bottleneck may have been the ethernet<-->wifi bridging in the TC, but I don't know if this was the issue or not. I guess I really have 2 questions that come out of this:

    1. Has anyone experienced anything similar that might explain my original issues?

    2. Do you think that an 802.11ac Airport Extreme and 802.11ac adapter for the Mac Mini would have similar or better results?

    Any thought are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. danmart macrumors 6502

    danmart

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2015
    Location:
    Lancs, UK
    #2
    I have a similar set up in my house. ATV3 in the main viewing room, using a power link to my Mac Mini which acts as my iTunes server. ATV2 upstairs in the secondary viewing room, connected via wifi. I have a 4th gen Time Capsule with AC acting as my main router, but I also have two Airport Express units for serving audio, and my old, 3rd gen Time Machine extending the network as well.

    The ATV2 is far more robust in terms of home sharing than the ATV3 is. The ATV2 can be woken using the Remote app on my iPhone, but the ATV3 needs to be woken with the infrared remote. I'm pretty confident this is iOS related as the ATV2 no longer supports the latest software releases.

    Switching to a power link significantly increased the robustness of the comms between the ATV3 and the Mini compared to N-band wifi. AC is probably faster than the power link, but the big difference to my mind if that there is basically only the ATV3 and the Mini sharing that link, whilst multiple devices make use of the wifi bandwidth. I'm also pretty sure that, at this point, the speed of delivering media is being constrained by the processor and drive access speeds on my Mini, rather than by the link (so a faster link probably wouldn't help).

    So, I doubt you would have significantly better performance from an AC router and adapter.
     
  3. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    Thanks so much for your reply danmart,

    I'm surprised somebody else had almost the same setup and the same experience as I had. That's great to hear that the power line adapter solved the problem for you, and helps me feel a little more comfortable with it. I had tried a power line adapter years ago when speeds were not nearly as good as today's adapters and the results were not so good then. However since I had read about some major speed improvements in certain ideal conditions I thought that I would give it another try. The cost of $80 seemed a little steep to me for what it is but I bit the bullet and tried it anyway. Now it seems money well spent.
     
  4. danmart macrumors 6502

    danmart

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2015
    Location:
    Lancs, UK
    #4
    Happy to help! :)

    Another thing to keep in mind is that, over wifi, you are sending the video data twice: Mini to router, then router to ATV. So that would take significantly more bandwidth than having one or both items with a wired connection.
     
  5. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #5
    I know you said it is difficult but it is always best to connect the source of your media to the router with gigbit ethernet which means the time capsule and router need to be next to each other or cabled with CAT 5E or 6. I assume the reason they are not is that you have co-located the time capsule with the time warner equipment and that you use the mac mini as more than just a media server. My macmini is co-located with the router and the living room TV and connected to the TV using the HDMI port on the mini. Streaming devices are connected to the router over wifi.

    Your time capsule backups are also traversing the wireless network twice.
     

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