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Should I upgrade my WiFi for in-home game streaming?

Sarra
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Current setup: A Netgear WiFi N based router, I think it's got Gigabit ports, and I'm running a gigabit switch with my main PC going from the switch to the router.

 

I am planning on upgrading to 10G for the gaming PC, a planned second PC, and a new 10G multi-gigabit switch (my old storage server is limited to 8G or under, I don't have the PCIE lanes for 10G).

 

Main client for the WiFi: Steam Deck. We have a Macbook Pro, two iPhones, my Z Fold 3, and I've got... Uh... What else uses our WiFi? No tablets, I think that's it.

 

Streaming to the Deck is kinda choppy, but it's only WiFi N. And it's an old router.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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Yes.

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11 minutes ago, dizmo said:

Yes.

Sweet.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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On 8/12/2022 at 1:22 AM, Sarra said:

Sweet.

Although there are no guarantees it will fix the problem, it depends if its the old WiFi at fault or too many other WiFi networks in the area.

 

That said, if your old router is only 2.4Ghz (don't know if it is, would need to know the model) then there's a good chance a modern dual-band will offer a huge improvement.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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Just now, Alex Atkin UK said:

Although there are no guarantees it will fix the problem, it depends if its the old WiFi at fault or too many other WiFi networks in the area.

 

That said, if your old router is only 2.4Ghz (don't know if it is, would need to know the model) then there's a good chance a modern dual-band will offer a huge improvement.

It's a dual band 2.4g/5.0g WiFi N router.

 

And yes, on 5.0ghz, I basically have no signal in my bedroom, but the 2.4ghz gives me usable signal for browsing the web, loading a cloud save, or updating. Obviously, not enough for streaming a game from my main PC lol....

 

I suspect that my setup will need to be a router + booster, but we'll see. I'll grab a WiFi AC router in a week or two and check it out.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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2 minutes ago, Sarra said:

It's a dual band 2.4g/5.0g WiFi N router.

 

And yes, on 5.0ghz, I basically have no signal in my bedroom, but the 2.4ghz gives me usable signal for browsing the web, loading a cloud save, or updating. Obviously, not enough for streaming a game from my main PC lol....

 

I suspect that my setup will need to be a router + booster, but we'll see. I'll grab a WiFi AC router in a week or two and check it out.

If its a signal strength issue, a newer model probably wont fix it.  Ideally you'd run an ethernet cable closer to your bedroom and put a dedicated WiFi Access Point there.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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Just now, Alex Atkin UK said:

If its a signal strength issue, a newer model probably wont fix it.  Ideally you'd run an ethernet cable closer to your bedroom and put a dedicated WiFi Access Point there.

Not an option, sadly. The house is 3 distinct parts, with the bit in the center being unsuited for running anything. I'd have to run a cable into the attic, then after a few dozen feet, drop it through to the crawl space, run it another dozen feet or so, then run it back up to the crawl space, then drop it in a wall, and that's like 9 miles of cable.

 

I can put a repeater in the middle. There's a chance we're going to remodel the house slightly, and move the TV into another area and I can get my computers moved into my bedroom, including the modem and the WiFi router.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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1 hour ago, Sarra said:

I can put a repeater in the middle. There's a chance we're going to remodel the house slightly, and move the TV into another area and I can get my computers moved into my bedroom, including the modem and the WiFi router.

I can't imagine repeating the signal is going to be good for something like streaming games like that, but I guess if you have no choice.

 

Incidentally, cable can be ran for up to 100m, further than that fibre can be used.  It may be a big job, but it would absolutely be worth it if you were remodelling anyway.  Even just running a cable as far as you can, assuming you can't move the router to be a bit closer.

 

It can also be worth trying to put the router as high up in the room as possible so the signal has less obstructions.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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11 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

I can't imagine repeating the signal is going to be good for something like streaming games like that, but I guess if you have no choice.

 

Incidentally, cable can be ran for up to 100m, further than that fibre can be used.  It may be a big job, but it would absolutely be worth it if you were remodelling anyway.  Even just running a cable as far as you can, assuming you can't move the router to be a bit closer.

 

It can also be worth trying to put the router as high up in the room as possible so the signal has less obstructions.

The actual length, as walked, would be relatively short, but a routing path would be... Well, it's just not an option.

 

Besides, I don't own the house, and there's no way to get permission to knock holes in walls for ethernet cables. Best case scenario involves moving the entire modem and router to the other side of the house, but that probably won't happen.

 

Oh... What about powerline ethernet? That's actually the only reasonable option I have. I could run ethernet over power to the other side of the house, and run a router in my bedroom as an AP?

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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2 hours ago, Sarra said:

Oh... What about powerline ethernet? That's actually the only reasonable option I have. I could run ethernet over power to the other side of the house, and run a router in my bedroom as an AP?

It varies as much as as WiFi, it might be worth a try.  Just like WiFi you want to use ones rated at a higher speed than you're aiming for.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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3 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

It varies as much as as WiFi, it might be worth a try.  Just like WiFi you want to use ones rated at a higher speed than you're aiming for.

If I could, I would get 10G, but I don't think those exist. 😧

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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21 minutes ago, Sarra said:

If I could, I would get 10G, but I don't think those exist. 😧

I think your best course of action would be to look in to some kinda of Mesh system. You know the ones that have dedicated wireless back haul between the router and satellite unit. If you're lucky you can position the satellite in a location where it gets good 5Ghz signal for back haul and can provide a 5Ghz signal to your room. 

 

That being said, I tried steam in home streaming to a MacBook. My gaming pc is wired to the router directly. I get decent 5Ghz coverage in the living room that has two walls between it and my bedroom where the router is. The game was playable, but defiantly not the best experience. You might have to play at a lower resolution to make it work better. But its not like the Steam Deck has a high res screen. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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1 minute ago, Donut417 said:

I think your best course of action would be to look in to some kinda of Mesh system. You know the ones that have dedicated wireless back haul between the router and satellite unit. If you're lucky you can position the satellite in a location where it gets good 5Ghz signal for back haul and can provide a 5Ghz signal to your room. 

 

That being said, I tried steam in home streaming to a MacBook. My gaming pc is wired to the router directly. I get decent 5Ghz coverage in the living room that has two walls between it and my bedroom where the router is. The game was playable, but defiantly not the best experience. You might have to play at a lower resolution to make it work better. But its not like the Steam Deck has a high res screen. 

I'll be going from a 5950X/6800XT to a Steam Deck lol If I'm in the room adjacent to the router, it's fine. I could potentially put a backhaul style router on the far side of the room with no crawlspace, and then that would give me enough signal in my bedroom.

 

Actually, if I could set the router in the computer room to not allow clients to connect, but just had it set to work with a second router, it would be fine, since this room doesn't actually need good WiFi. The only device in this room that ever uses WiFi is my phone, and frankly, 90% of the time, I just use my data anyway since I have unlimited, and it's already reasonably fast.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

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15 minutes ago, Sarra said:

'll be going from a 5950X/6800XT to a Steam Deck lol

Thats not the point. If your WiFi is shit, the lower res will be easier to stream. Thats how I got it working on my MacBook, I run my games at 1440p, but lowering the resolution allowed the game to be playable. 

 

The fact is a WiFi booster will cut your bandwidth in half. Power line adapters are hit or miss if they even work and if they do you're going to get much slower speeds. Which is the reason for my suggestion. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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37 minutes ago, Donut417 said:

Thats not the point. If your WiFi is shit, the lower res will be easier to stream. Thats how I got it working on my MacBook, I run my games at 1440p, but lowering the resolution allowed the game to be playable. 

 

The fact is a WiFi booster will cut your bandwidth in half. Power line adapters are hit or miss if they even work and if they do you're going to get much slower speeds. Which is the reason for my suggestion. 

They already said wired is not an option though, or else a second Access Point would be practical, no need to go mesh unless you absolutely need seamless roaming.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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3 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

They already said wired is not an option though, or else a second Access Point would be practical, no need to go mesh unless you absolutely need seamless roaming.

I never said wired. Mesh systems have dedicated backhaul and that means they dont suffer from the same constraints as WiFi extenders. Ive seen too many post about how "Good" wifi extenders are. They are not worth the money. A mesh system might offer a better experience. The OP specifically states they have crappy WiFI in the area they want to use the steam Deck, which a mesh system may fix. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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2 hours ago, Donut417 said:

I never said wired. Mesh systems have dedicated backhaul and that means they dont suffer from the same constraints as WiFi extenders. Ive seen too many post about how "Good" wifi extenders are. They are not worth the money. A mesh system might offer a better experience. The OP specifically states they have crappy WiFI in the area they want to use the steam Deck, which a mesh system may fix. 

Sorry, misread your post, you're right you said wireless backhaul.

 

Definitely better than a repeater/extender, but I'd think potentially powerline might have less latency?  The problem with mesh is your main router needs to support it.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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1 minute ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

powerline might have less latency? 

Dont you need a decent connection to do game streaming? Ive seen a lot of people post the results of power line adapters and it seems they generally are not the fastest. Also power line is too hit more miss on even if its going to work. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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3 minutes ago, Donut417 said:

Dont you need a decent connection to do game streaming? Ive seen a lot of people post the results of power line adapters and it seems they generally are not the fastest. Also power line is too hit more miss on even if its going to work. 

I assume that the people posting are only ones where it doesn't work well, there must be occasions where it does.

 

I wouldn't really have an opinion either way personally, both are sub-optimal, especially for game streaming where latency and packet loss is a big deal.

Router:  Intel Celeron N5105 (pfSense) WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (1.44Gbit peak at 160Mhz 2x2 MIMO, ~900Mbit at 80Mhz)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen Full Fibre 900 (~915Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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