Newbie question :) ATV3 and wifi

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by muddypaw, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. muddypaw macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013

    I just got an ATV3 and have managed to get it working using a Belkin N300 modem/router , which my iMac is connected by wifi.

    Ive noticed firstly that my Imac looses wifi signal quite often even though my router is a few meters away :(

    Same with ATV3, it sometimes streams movies ok and other times just stops part way through and loads for half hour then goes again .

    My family also have wifi devices which they use all the time .

    So, I guess what Im wondering is running all the wifi stuff at once reducing the signal to each device ? So that if Im trying to watch a movie and my kids log onto their laptop and phone etc... will it steal my signal from my ATV3?

    Is there a better way to setup my home network ?

    I know very little about routers and modems etc :(

    Ive tried reading heaps but every time something is recommended there are people who say dont buy this or that ?

    Im so confused, I love my movies and Itunes etc... I have Handbrake and am working out how to convert movies to a format I can send from my Imac to the ATV3.

    I would appreciate any advice ...

    Im in Australia and am happy to spend whatever as long as I can watch my movies in peace and the kids can have their wifi stuff going too.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Is your router to far away to connect your mac by cable??
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Is all you had to say.... I steer everyone away from Belkin routers as much as possible. WIFI drops, over heating, constant resets required, etc. etc.... Generally they are fine if you are just surfing the internet because you wouldn't notice wifi drops as much, but when streaming video it can be a huge problem.

    I'm not saying you need to rush out and buy a top of the line router, but if you are even going to attempt wifi to the AppleTV, you need a better router.

    With that said, if you can run ethernet from your iMac to your router and ethernet again from the router to your AppleTV, you will have a near flawless experience. The less dependent upon wifi you are, the better.
  4. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Bought a Belkin router a while back, it worked fine; apart from once you created an admin password for the router, the router would never recognise it. The only way to administer the router was to reset it to factory settings and go from scratch (or, leave the router un-protected).

    Great security feature, I guess. :)

    If you can't use Ethernet, you might try (500Mbps) powerline plugs. They made a huge difference in speed & reliability for me.
  5. muddypaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013

    thanks for your replies so far :)

    In answer to questions:

    1/ Distance router is from iMac = approx 5 meters. BUT I cant run a cable without it going across the dining room and kitchen floor (Ive been told 'NO WAY!' by the other half)

    2/ Imac to ATV3 cable? = approx 5 meters too, Yes I can do that but again the cable has to run across the front door way :(

    Its a small unit we live in (rent) currently so im kind of limited.

    if I were to have to stay with wifi, what would be the best way to get the best performance ? Including what modem/router or whatever I should get ?


  6. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Try a different router, better yet a dual band one.

    Apple has a 14 day return policy, an AirPort Extreme, Express might be worth a try.
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    You could try powerline adaptors Muddypaw, you should get ~100Mbps Ethernet speeds through your home power lines. This, IMO, should give you the best reliability and speeds.

    If you stick with Wifi, get a dual-band N router; and ensure it's set to Wide (i.e. 40MHz) channels.
  8. muddypaw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013
    Ok, dual band router :)

    Ive researched and the ones that seem ok are...

    Linksys E4200

    Netgear N600


    Netgear R6300


    Open to suggestions ...

    thanks again people :)


  9. davids8477 macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2008
    I'd recomment the Apple Airport Express Base Station.

    Easy to set up and - in my experience very reliable. Been using one for several years (wireless to 3 ATVs and several IOS devices and wired to an IMAC). I get almost no signal drop anywhere in my home.

    Dual band allows you to separate devices on to separate bands based on your priority - for instance ATVs on one band for speed and IOS devices on the other so as not to use the bandwidth used for streaming music, videos etc.
  10. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
  11. jeff92k7 macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2012
    I see no one has actually answered these questions yet, so I'll answer them for you.

    The simple explanation is 'yes'. Multiple Wifi devices all share the same signal/bandwidth.

    Your router is a wireless 'N' router stated to run at 300Mbps. But here's the'll likely never see anywhere near the rated speed of any WiFi router. Let me explain...

    First of all, If your router is capable of running at a 40MHz channel width, it will do this ONLY if it does not detect any nearby WiFi networks in the 2.4GHz frequency range. If it sees any other WiFi networks, it will immediately transition to a 20MHz channel width. This is called a 'good neighbor' setting and likely can't be disabled. To get anywhere near 300Mbps it would have to be running a 40MHz channel width. At 20MHz, it's only going to give you 144Mbps maximum.

    Second, if you have ANY WiFI devices that are only capable of WiFi 'G', then the entire WiFI network will be forced to run at 'G' speeds, which is up to 54Mbps maximum. This will typically be older WiFi capable devices, but even some recent low end devices are still only 'G' rated. Don't forget things like WiFi printers too.

    Third, interference. If your network gets interference on the same frequencies it is trying to use, the available speed will slow down, often drastically. Interference can come from microwave ovens (yes, they use the 2.4 GHz band), other nearby WiFi networks on the same or overlapping channels (compounding issue number 1), wireless telephones (not cell phones), and other random wireless devices.

    Fourth, overhead. No matter what the rated speed is, there is transmission overhead used just to stay connected. The more devices on the WiFi network, the more the overhead to keep them all connected and the slower everything gets.

    Fifth, half duplex operation. This is a fancy term that just means that devices can't "talk" and "listen" at the same time. Again, the more devices, the less each device can "talk" and the slower it gets. 'N' wireless is designed to combat this, but you need bonded channels for that (40MHz channels)

    So, in reality, total data throughput, in real world conditions will likely only be about 70-80Mbps for an 'N' rated 300Mbps WiFi router (if all clients are 'N' rated). Again, the more devices you have, the less of that bandwidth that each one gets. If it is forced down to 'G' wireless because of an older device, then you will be lucky to get about 36Mbps available for everything to share.

    Here's some good news though, albeit not much. Not all devices talk continuously. So even though there isn't much bandwidth to go around, each device can use larger amounts of it when needed because devices aren't constantly using everything. Bandwidth hungry devices/content, like media streaming, will use more of it and will need sustained connections, but average web browsing won't affect other devices that much.

    Hopefully that isn't too confusing. I'm a network engineer and have a tendency to speak in "geek" too much.

    Because of all those issues above, that is why anyone who understands this stuff recommends that people stay wired as much as possible. The more devices using wires, the more wireless bandwidth is available for devices that need it.

    Now, for your situation, it sounds like running wires isn't ideal. There has already been a suggestion of powerline adapters, I personally don't use or recommend them, but the option still exists. Further, it has already been mentioned that some WiFi routers are better than others. Belkin is not known as a 'better' brand. The Linksys E4200 is a very highly rated router and should perform much better than what you have now. The Apple routers also perform very well. You might also want to look at the ASUS routers (like the RT-N66u). To get the most out of a wireless connection, you need good equipment. It sounds like you're already on the right track, so I won't bore you with additional recommendations that likely wouldn't fit your situation anyway.

    Good luck, and let us know what you do and how it turns out.

  12. RayOSunshine macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2013
    Similar question, maybe answered here

    If I understand all the statements and arguments here, I would be best served to take my cable modem, wireless g/n router and WD MyBookLive NAS (with my iTunes media folder) downstairs where my AppTV and audio system is and make a direct ethernet link between the router and AppTV in order to minimize any drop-outs, delays, interference, etc. caused by bandwidth limitations, right? Currently my desktop PC is hooked directly into one of the ethernet ports on my router so I could just buy a wireless card for the PC and effectively 'reverse' the wifi by making my computer the wireless connection and the AppTV a direct ethernet connection. I've considered this approach for days now and just need some re-assurance that it's the way to go.
  13. jeff92k7 macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2012
    Moving the model, router, etc near the Apple TV might be a better option for you provided that you don't really use your desktop for much more than just standard internet stuff (no, or light streaming). This would provide a wired connection to your apple TV so it's streaming needs would no longer rely on the wireless bandwidth.
    All your other wireless devices can share the WiFi as needed without affecting, or being affected by, the Apple TV.

    However, if your desktop is serving up the iTunes library but the data is on the NAS, that could make your streaming worse. In that case, your desktop would be pulling the content wirelessly from the NAS drive, then sending it back out wirelessly to the Apple TV. You then have two wireless steps as opposed to one for iTunes content.

    That's the short answer to your recent question, but I wouldn't recommend moving your stuff. At least not at first...

    One thing that I should have mentioned in my earlier 'doom and gloom' post is that in spite of all the limitations with WiFi, it is still going to be faster than most internet connections. So playing with which devices are wired and which are wireless is an exercise in futility when we're talking all internet streaming. Unless your internet is 30Mbps or faster, then your wireless (even with reduced speeds/interference/etc) will still likely deliver data faster than what it's coming into your house. If you have no wireless 'G' devices and everything is running at 'N' speeds (even in the 70-80Mbps range), then your internet could be up to 50Mbps and would still be slower than your WiFi.

    So, if you're streaming online stuff (netflix, itunes rentals, hulu), then you may not really have anything to worry about. If you are streaming higher bitrate things from your iTunes library (home videos, Handbrake conversions), then the WiFi speeds do matter, but as long as it's faster than the content encoding rate, then you likely won't have issues.

    Basically, it boils down to this - your network is only as fast as the slowest link. In most cases, that's the link from the ISP.

    My first post post was basically to answer your questions and provide details regarding how the technology works. In practice, I would suggest upgrading your router first and see how it goes. You may find that a better router will provide ample bandwidth for all your needs in which case you won't need to mess with moving devices around.

  14. 2crazy macrumors regular


    Jun 5, 2012
    Saint Louis
    I had a similar frustrating experience with my Wi-Fi N network. I also tried powerline adapters. Now, these may or may not work well in your household, I suspect the your router is not that great.

    In my case my internet connection is in the basement and reception in the living room seemed great at first but constant buffering on certain days became the norm.

    Later I bought an AirPort Extreme and 2 Airport Express. I am using one Express as Wi-Fi extender on the ground floor and the other one on the second floor. To test this out I ran 3 1080p movies on 3 separate Apple TVs. It worked flawlessly! But it broke down after I started watching a 4th 1080p movie on my laptop. I was really trying to push it ;-)

    Bottom line, if you like Apple's products, checkout the Airport Extreme, and eventually extend it using an Express. It works great in my house.
  15. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    If you have access to an Android device, there is a great android app called "Wifi Analyzer" which allows you to see the wifi activity around you. This may help you to configure your router to use a channel with less interference, or to place your devices in the best position.

    Here's an article which explains how to use Wifi Analyzer:

    I haven't found anything this good for iOS or OS X, but maybe someone reading this knows of a similar app for Apple devices.
  16. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    That's not likely to be much better. Your PC is likely to have better Wifi performance than the ATV; but still what you ideally want is to have a wired-only connection from desktop -> router -> ATV. Also if (as mentioned in a post above) you use the desktop PC for other things, it's probably best to keep that on the Ethernet.

    So, I'd try (500Mbps) powerline adaptors between the router and the ATV if that's an option, otherwise leave it as is and ensure you have a good N router.

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