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post #1 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Help with messy, complicated network

Good morning all, I mentioned this previously in a thread about Bluray bitrates, but I wasn't getting responses likely because of the unrelated subject line, so I thought I'd toss this into it's own topic.

After a few months a merely tolerable performance, my network has fallen to pieces again. My setup is now as follows:

Basement (Home Theatre): Netgear Gigabit Switch (8 port) (with the following attached)
Drobo 5n
Dune D1
Slingbox Solo
RJ-45 controller for projector
Xbox 360
This all works without issue.

From the Netgear Gigabit Switch then is a 25ft ethernet cable going to an Airport Extreme 4th Gen with the following attached:
Motorola Surfboard Modem
WDTV Live
Directv Genie
Sharp TV via WiFi Dongle
PS4 (WiFi)
Xbox One (WiFi)
iMac (WiFi)
Anywhere from 2-5 iPhone/iPad devices (WiFi)
Poweline Adapter (connection link light is never green)
Here we get playback issues on the WDTV and speed issues on all the WiFi iDevices

From the Powerline Adapter we then go up another floor where there is:
Time Capsule (First Generation)
WDTV Live (which barely plays at all)
and occasionally some of the iDevices by WiFi.
Can someone throw all this crap in a blender and come out with something that doesn't suck?
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 07:51 AM
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Can you run a cat to the 2nd floor?

You have switches on switches which is not good. You also have that one riser cat 5 doing a lot of work.

Finally you have a lot of WiFi on the one airport.

Motorola to airport to a new backbone switch. Put what you can here onto wired.

Wire to 2nd floor powerlin and video rarely ends well. Either run 4 cat cables Or one and a smaller switch.

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post #3 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 09:04 AM
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I don't see "switches on switches" being a problem. I have that in my home and it presents no issues.

I would get rid of the Airport extreme. Apple products work great with other Apple products but they don't mix very well with non Apple products. All your switches, routers etc should be the same make for best compatibility. I would go all netgear.

I would also get rid of the wifi for most of those devices. Wifi is great for the little handheld devices (tablets, cell phones) but the non moveable devices (ps4... xbox...) should be hard wired for best performance.

Get rid of the powerline and hard wire the upper floor to another netgear switch.
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 11:47 AM
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On my initial read I thought there was a basement 'home' > 1st > powerline 2nd.
So s on s on s
I now see the 1st And switch to basement and 2nd. Which is ok.
I've found my gen 4 airport extreme to be the most reliable WiFi and Nat I've owned.

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post #5 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys. Unfortunately due to our current residence being a rental I am unable to run an Ethernet cable to the second floor.

That said, at this point I'm pretty much willing to abandon the 2nd floor to get successful movie streaming to the WDTV on the first floor (from the Drobo in the basement).

One thing I've never figured out is, does wifi "performance" have an affect on hardwired performance?

I understand that wifi is bandwidth, and if it's pulling it's taking up part of that, but does the mere existence of the connection erode what could be pushing though the hardwired?

And in turn is my terrible powerline performance dragging down the rest of the network, even areas that aren't part of its path?
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClerkDante View Post
Thanks for the input guys. Unfortunately due to our current residence being a rental I am unable to run an Ethernet cable to the second floor.
Two options here. Is there a Cable TV RG6 making the run up there, you could use MoCa to make the bridge instead of Powerline. Or, why can you not staple a Cat5 alongside the Cable TV coax from floor to floor or even along the baseboard up the stairs?

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Originally Posted by ClerkDante View Post
That said, at this point I'm pretty much willing to abandon the 2nd floor to get successful movie streaming to the WDTV on the first floor (from the Drobo in the basement).
You should get the WiFi out of the way. At the moment the airport extreme is doing quad duty as NAT, DHCP server, Switch and WiFi. Take a load off and give the switch work over to something else, especially as most WiFi traffic heads out the door and onto the internet not internal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClerkDante View Post
One thing I've never figured out is, does wifi "performance" have an affect on hardwired performance?

I understand that wifi is bandwidth, and if it's pulling it's taking up part of that, but does the mere existence of the connection erode what could be pushing though the hardwired?
Possibly but this is not likely a culprit, however having many items on WiFi will drag the overall WiFi performance down as it needs to check in with all the devices it thinks are connected etc.
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Originally Posted by ClerkDante View Post
And in turn is my terrible powerline performance dragging down the rest of the network, even areas that aren't part of its path?
Likely yes, something on the end of the powerline requests data, it gets to the airport and then is queueing as it gets fed through the powerline, slowing down other devices.
Code:
First Floor
Internets > Motorola > AAE G4 > New Netgear GB SW >  WDTV Live
                                                  Directv Genie
                                                  Sharp TV via WiFi Dongle [Target to move to Wired]
                                                  PS4 (WiFi [Target to move to Wired])
                                                  Xbox One (WiFi [Target to move to Wired])
                                                  iMac (WiFi)
                                                  Anywhere from 2-5 iPhone/iPad devices (WiFi)
Aim to put that new Netgear Switch hear the TV to get the TV/PS4/XBox onto Wired.         

2nd Floor
New Netgear Switch on 1st Floor > 2nd Floor By MoCa (buy old Verizon devices on ebay or new stuff or run a Cat5 alongside the Cable TV cable or run a CAT5 on the stair baseboard. > WDTV Live 

Basement
                                                                           Downstairs---> (unchanged)

Basement (Home Theatre): Netgear Gigabit Switch (8 port) (with the following attached)
Drobo 5n
Dune D1
Slingbox Solo
RJ-45 controller for projector
Xbox 360
Time Capsule (First Generation) - Moved - I'm assuming you are using the time capsule functionality so having this at the end of a bad data connection will mean lots of retried packets to get the data to / fro mthe Time Capsule.  Moving it here should fix that.
If your internet is not strong enough on the top floor from the AAE on 1 then buy an Airport Express and plug that in on the 2nd floor. If you have used MoCa you can plug it into the device on the 2nd floor, or you can put it into wireless repeater mode.

Last edited by SMHarman; 06-27-2014 at 09:37 PM.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-27-2014, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much SMH for the outline. I'll give it a review and see what I can do.

However, something concerning in the interim. Leaving the basement as it was, I completely removed the following from the equation:

Powerline Adapters
Time Capsule
2 floor WDTV
all 3 game consoles
Wifi TV

So I'm left with the basement as it was, the AAE4, Cable modem, and the first floor WDTV. I fired up Revenge of the Sith (mkv with avg bitrate of 30.4) on the first floor WDTV and get a 3-5 sec hang every 3-5 minutes. The same file (stored on the Drobo) played on the Dune in the basement plays without issue. So I'm left wondering if my AAE4 or perhaps even the cable from basement to first floor may be the issue.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-28-2014, 06:25 AM
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As I said before the aae is doing quad duty.

If you feel like a hardware shuffle.

Take the basement switch yo the first fl.

Moto to Apple to switch.
In switch plug we
And Line to basement.
In basement Connect that to the drobo.
See how that plays.

The aae is a fine device but may struggle with all those tasks ans a sustained 30 Mb thru put.

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post #9 of 23 Old 06-28-2014, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClerkDante View Post
Thanks for the input guys. Unfortunately due to our current residence being a rental I am unable to run an Ethernet cable to the second floor.
If you're in some large apartment complex I understand, but if not I've not heard of many landlords that will not sign off on you making improvements to their properties.

I'm in a rental and hardwired every room in the house along with upgrading all the light fixtures and faucets. Rent hasn't been raised since I moved in 4yrs ago.

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post #10 of 23 Old 06-29-2014, 09:34 PM
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It looks like you have some good advice so far here. I'm a network engineer so I can probably help you threw some of the more technical aspects. It would help a lot if you could draw a network diagram of exactly how you are wired.

My home network is a lot more complicated than yours and I stream flawlessly.

Last edited by FX4; 06-29-2014 at 09:41 PM.
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-29-2014, 10:02 PM
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One of the more obvious problems here is more than likely the powerline adapters. My experience with them over several brands is it takes really clean power for them to work well. If you have access to the coax cable in your place, MoCA adapters work a whole lot better. SMHarman is correct, get the processor load down on your Apple Extreme router. The easiest thing to do in this case is take the switching load off the router since you have plenty of Ethernet switches. I think if you can get the CPU/memory load down on the router and convert to MoCA adapters the system should run fairly well.

Regarding your question about wifi performance impacting wired performance, yes and no. Yes meaning if the router processor is busy working on network problems from the wireless side it can overload the CPU so packets are not processed in a timely way on the routing side of things. In general no, because your ports are switched so any problems on the wired or wireless side will be isolated. On the wireless side you need to do a network survey to find out what channels your neighbors are running on to make certain the networks are not conflicting with each other. This will really drag down wireless performance and is often the culprit in a lot of close living situations like apartments and condos.
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post #12 of 23 Old 06-30-2014, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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AVS remains the absolute best resource for this stuff there is!

I stripped most everything away and connected the 25ft cable from the basement switch directly to the first floor WDTV. Same hang and hiccup issues exist (AAE4 removed completely from the equation).

To me this would seem to point to the 25ft cable running between floors?

Picked up a cheap Cat6 from BestBuy and unfortunately I got a bad one (no link whatsoever).

So now I'll be rewiring between basement and first floor. Will update thread once that has occurred.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-30-2014, 05:10 PM
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Monoprice is probably the best place to get cable at a reasonable price. Don't waste your money at BestBuy. They sell really expensive junk cable.
http://www.monoprice.com/Category?c_id=105&cp_id=10208
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-30-2014, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Previous cable, which I think may have also been part of the issue was from Best Buy too.

Order 30ft from above link. Thanks!
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post #15 of 23 Old 07-04-2014, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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OK. New cable acquired. Replaced very old Cat5 with new Cat6 cable running between floors.

I've seen a small amount of improvement, but still issues. The issues, as suggested above seem to related to the amount of Wifi demand on the AAE4.

Through some very unscientific testing, when people in the house are stressing the wifi (netflix on iPad, download on iMac, etc) that seems to be when the hiccups occur.

I've got an additional 4 port switch available, can't run anymore wiring.

How can I best isolate my media path to limit the impact of the wifi streams on its performance?

Thanks!
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-04-2014, 03:27 PM
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CM > Airport > additional 4 port switch I have available.

Nothing else plugged into the Apple.

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post #17 of 23 Old 07-05-2014, 05:31 PM
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If the cable between rooms is now fine you very well maybe struggling with a couple problems. Already identified is the load on the CPU in the AAE. Routers traditionally had moderate single core cpus. The cpu is tasked with all the routing functions as well as managing the wireless activity. If you look at the newere routers from Netgear as an example, the R7000 and the R8000 Nighthawks they have dual core processors that are more then twice the cpu horsepower we have seen to date. In the R8000 there are actually 4 processors (if I recall correctly) . There is the maindual core that is solely reposnisble for routing. Then there are 3 additional processors each to manage the 3 wifi bands that router has. With the increase in consumer networking devices in the home the routers load has increased significantly.

The other issue you face is whats known as wireless stacking. This affects all wifi nets and its a case where the wifi network basically stacks device traffic on top of one another. Think a highway. More cars the slower it goes. All stacked in a row. And like the highway the slower devices determine the speed.

You should li=ook carefully at what devices use what bands. You higher speed devices you should put on the 5ghz band. Slower on the 2.4ghz band.

Netgear just released the R8000 Nighthawk TriBand router for this very issue. It has 2 seperate 5ghz radio networks that appear seanlessly as one. But through its smarts it creayes a high speed net and a slower speed net so devices with like performance are in with similar company. This also provides 2x the bandwidth for all your devices then any other router.

You could create something similar by useing multiple routers as access points and having fast devices on one and slower on the other but the R8000 does that automatically.

Regarding ypour WDlive devices and why they are slow on a wired connection is the one that doesnt seem clear. What are you streaming? Is it internet streamng or local files?

Lastly what has been said about powerline is true. You need realy clean power to get good results. You may want to look at using an AC bridge which is basically taking a router like a Netgear R7000 and using it in bridge mode which is using its radio to connect to your main router and then feeding ethernet through its ports to your devices. Another ACoption is the Netgear RPT6200 AC Range Extender. This will give you near wired performance.

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Netgear AV Consultant
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-05-2014, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
CM > Airport > additional 4 port switch I have available.

Nothing else plugged into the Apple.

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Done, and things have screeched to an absolute halt. Hiccups every 10-20 mins have given way to 2 minute stops, followed by 7-10 seconds of play before stopping again.
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post #19 of 23 Old 07-06-2014, 07:50 AM
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Did you power cycle everything so it learns s the new routes.
Else tibia trying to route to old destinations.

Taking the road analogy you changed the road layout without changing the signposts.

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post #20 of 23 Old 07-06-2014, 09:03 AM
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And if the power cycle doesn't work you either have a bad router, switch or cable. Try connecting 1 device at a time and see. If 1 device works then you can begin a process of elimination.

The other thought is do a hard reset on the router. And then set things back up.

It's always a good thing to add 1 device after another when your having issues like this. When you get these delays it's often multiple devices trying to negotiate something and it slows it all down.

I know it's frustrating. I've been there.

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post #21 of 23 Old 07-06-2014, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I went back again and power cycled everything.

Improved, but back to where it was before pretty much.

I seem to have this streaming "hard deck" of right around 30M/sec.

MKVs below that (Moneyball currently playing without issue, approx 26M/sec) play fine, push that threshold and hangs every 5-10 min.

I've seen in other threads talk of WDTV struggling with larger MKV files.

Could it be the issue? Maybe I'll move the Dune to this end of the stream to see how it performs.
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post #22 of 23 Old 07-06-2014, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClerkDante View Post
MKVs below that (Moneyball currently playing without issue, approx 26M/sec) play fine, push that threshold and hangs every 5-10 min.

I've seen in other threads talk of WDTV struggling with larger MKV files.

Could it be the issue? Maybe I'll move the Dune to this end of the stream to see how it performs.
Sounds like a plan. A 30 Mb stream is pretty hard core. VUDU averages 9Mb.


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post #23 of 23 Old 07-06-2014, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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So looks like, at the end of months of tinkering and frustration, the main cause of headache is in fact the WDTV.

Moved the Dune upstairs without making any other changes to the network and played the final hour plus of Moneyball without a single issue.
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