Networking & Wireless forum

Question

Not getting good network performace

by eyeballpauluk / December 12, 2012 12:25 AM PST

Hey all.

I am usually a fairly technical person, but when it comes to networks I am a total beginner.

I have internet through Virgin Media - about 60mbps. I have the Virgin Media Super Hub as my router.

I have connected a NAS, a Sonos Bridge (for my Sonos music streaming system) and PC directly to the ethernet ports on the router.

I have also connected the router to my plug socket using a home plug so that I can get wired connections anywhere in the house.

I have a Boxee (for streaming video to my TV) connected to a plug socket using a home plug so that can be on my network.

All of the above is in the same room (a relatively small room).

This seems to work fine a lot of the time. However quite regularly when I am streaming a video from my NAS to the Boxee it stutters, and then stops. I have read on Boxee forums that a lot of people have had issues in the past with this, however the issues I read about seemed fixed. Plus, if it was a Boxee problem then the rest of my network should be fine.

As a test, I streamed a music album from my NAS to the Sonos Bridge (each song was only roughly 7MB), which in turn used it's own network to stream to the Sonos speaker. At the same time I streamed a video (approx 350MB in size) from my NAS to the Boxee. Now this was working fine for a little while. But then all of a sudden the video clip stuttered and stopped, and at the same time the song playing on my Sonos stuttered and stopped.

So this to me proves something is amiss with my network rather than the Boxee.

The way I have this all setup, is it the best way? Everything is using ethernet ports, nothing is wireless. Is there a way to try and diagnose this?

And as I type this message, a song on my Sonos system stuttered for 20 seconds before starting again. This is with the Boxee turned off, so the Sonos was the only thing running.

Any ideas?

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All Answers

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Answer
Yup.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2012 12:48 AM PST

I've read that a lot and after trying a few NAS I dumped them and went back to a small PC for the NAS work.

Since it's all wired you can try one thing before you discover what I did. It helped so maybe these few tips can improve it enough for you to keep the NAS.

1. Turn off the WiFi radio in the router for a test.
2. Don't use the switched hub in the Super Hub. Get a normal switched hub.
3. You didn't write much about cables. If any are home made, tell me the wiring pair system you used.

I've seen folk debate item 2 but I can't debate it. I only share that it can help.
Bob

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Reply
by eyeballpauluk / December 12, 2012 12:59 AM PST
In reply to: Yup.

Thanks for the reply.

1 - turn off all wifi?
2 - if this was defo the problem I would purchase one, but it's a lot of money to pay for a "maybe"
3 - cables are just normal cables I would have got with the devices i.e. I would have gotten them with the router/NAS/home plugs/Sonos

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Yes. Turn off the WiFi in the rouer. Cheap fast easy test
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2012 1:09 AM PST
In reply to: Reply

Once in a while you encounter folk that can't do tests to figure out what's up. I'm fine with that.

The switched hubs here are 10 buck items. I carry a spare in my kit when I'm out on call. I've even left one when it fixes the issue and just take it out of the labor portion of the call. Some customers want to think they got it for free.

Good to read about the cables. Home made cables continue to make the shop a lot of money.

-> I'm unsure if you are going to want to try anything. If not, just say so and I'll try my best.
Bob

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Ok
by eyeballpauluk / December 12, 2012 1:19 AM PST

Ok I will try turning off the WiFi and see if it still happens. Unfortunately with it being intermittent it may be a while to rule it out.

Being a total network beginner, are there no bits of software you can run, or diagnostic tools or anything?

You have also said to try a switch instead of what comes with the Super Hub. Is there a reason for that?

I see I can get a switch for relatively cheap here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Gigabit-Unmanaged-Desktop-TL-SG1005D/dp/B000N99BBC/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1355332512&sr=1-2

Would I plug this into an ethernet port on my router, and then plug the switch into my NAS/Sonos Bridge and Home plug?

If I knew a certain bit of my network was slowing it down I have no problem in paying to replace it, or change it...if I knew lol

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The tool I use is experience.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2012 1:27 AM PST
In reply to: Ok

Yes I am an electronics designer from days of old but cringe as I see really poor to non-existent test tools. You've done some of the diagnosis/tests so that's a start.

The reason for the switch is simple. You find the ones in routers can be quite dumb or relying on the CPU in the router. It's one of those things you know to try.

--> There is another way to improve the NAS to Boxee setup and that is to put the NAS on the same LAN segment as the Boxee. I can do this by putting the NAS and Boxee on the switched hub and the uplink port goes to the powerline bridge you noted above.

Since nothing is on WiFi, I always disable that where possible as it cures issues that I won't list here.
Bob

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Ok couple things I'm trying
by eyeballpauluk / December 12, 2012 6:52 AM PST

I've bitten the bullet.

In order to rule out the switch on the router I have ordered a gigabit switch.

To rule out my cables (as I am not sure if they are cat5/6, or what state they are in) I have ordered a bunch of cat6 cables.

I will now connect my router/nas/sonos bridge to the switch, and connect the switch to the homeplug. As normal I will connect the boxee to the homeplug, which should give connection to the switch and then onto the NAS. This should (I think) rule out both the router switch and the router itself, as I am not using the router as a pass through.

Does this sound reasonable?

Failing this, the only things it could be, I think, are the quality of the home plugs (I'm using the TP-Link TL-PA211KIT 200Mbps), or the quality of the NAS (I'm using the D-Link DS320).

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Gigabit is nice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 12, 2012 8:05 AM PST

But rarely helps most NAS since most have 100BT chipsets. Moving the packets off the router's switch is a good move and an old trick in the book.
Bob

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So..
by eyeballpauluk / December 12, 2012 6:57 PM PST
In reply to: Gigabit is nice.

I have no idea what the chipset is. Are you meaning the ethernet and what it can handle? I have checked google for the D-Link DS 320 and it says the ethernet port is 10/100/1000 which I assume means it is capable of gigabit.

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1000BT. That's done.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 13, 2012 12:25 AM PST
In reply to: So..

Doubtful it will help a thing but at least not a waste.

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Also...
by eyeballpauluk / December 12, 2012 7:26 PM PST
In reply to: Gigabit is nice.

Can I hook the devices up to the switch in the way I suggested above? I read somewhere that devices going directly to a switch and onto other devices (rather than through a router) have problems talking as they cannot resolve IP addresses or something. I have no idea about any of this!

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That's by MAC, not IP address.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 13, 2012 12:28 AM PST
In reply to: Also...

A switch does not route packets according to IP addresses but by the MAC address. It's good to know how it all works but why not just do the free thing first? Turn off the WiFi and test.

Then add a simple switched hub for the NAS to be in the same area as the BOXEE and test. The first idea is free. The second would be 20 bucks here.
Bob

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Well..
by eyeballpauluk / December 13, 2012 3:26 AM PST

I was going to try the wireless thing to see if that made a difference, before realising my mobile phone, the missus' mobile phone and the laptop are all hooked up to wireless. As well as my Xbox and PS3 Happy

As for your second point, you mention make sure they are in the same area. Is this what will happen when they are both connected to the switch? i.e. the NAS direct to the switch, and the Boxee through the home plug to the switch.

p.s. thank you for your help in this.

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Since the glitch is NAS and Boxee.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 14, 2012 12:08 AM PST
In reply to: Well..

My thought is to optimize that first. Over the home plug could be subject to interference so if this was mine I'd get a simple 100BT switch hub (10 bucks at Fry's) and then put the Boxee and NAS on that with the uplink port to the home plug.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.
Bob

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Well..
by eyeballpauluk / December 14, 2012 4:28 AM PST

That's a possible plan.

If the issue was with the home plug, I could easily get a switch (or hub) and stick it behind my TV, where the boxee is. It would then mean having to move my NAS to beside the TV, and even the Sonos bridge that connects to the NAS.

2 issues with this that I see just now.

1 - I also have just bought a new Boxee to sit in my bedroom, and the only way to get the signal to there would be through a home plug Happy
2 - I have noticed a similar issue on a rare occasion with the Sonos. And that component is connected from the NAS to the router to the Sonos bridge.

Now to me, the common component between the issues are the cat5 cables, the NAS (or hard drives within) and the Router. My new switch which should be arriving sometime during the week will rule out the router, and the new cat6 cables will rule out the cables.

So then, to me, the biggest culprit would be the NAS. And that is a component that I don't think I could afford to upgrade to a better model! Unfortunately.

Now this is going on the assumption that the intermittent issue with the Sonos and the Boxee is the same issue (which discounts the home plugs). However, if it is 2 separate issues, then I'd be back to square one lol

I hate networks. I'm a senior software developer, and if I have issues with my code, I can debug it all fairly easily, but not networks lol

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So I bought a switch...
by eyeballpauluk / January 9, 2013 10:58 PM PST

I bought a switch, along with some new cat6 cables. And for the last month I have only had this issue once (could have been a fluke bad netowrk at that time), when before I was getting it almost daily at least once.

So it looks like adding in a switch and by-passing the Virgin Media Super Hub router has fixed it!

Cheers.

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Good to read that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 10, 2013 3:29 AM PST

I see it was in my first reply in the 3 ideas what to do.

Those switches in modem+wifi+router+whatelse are often the lowest cost thing that works most of the time but rarely at speeds you expect from a normal switched hub.
Bob

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Answer
I have another home plug.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 14, 2012 5:08 AM PST

It's one of those network over the power line things. Such can be interfered with. I had one on a branch with an old microwave oven and noticed the drop outs. It was sporadic.

Moving the NAS to where the BOXEE is would answer a lot of questions.

I hear you about networking but all I can do is share my experience.
Bob

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Yeah..
by eyeballpauluk / December 14, 2012 7:40 AM PST

That's the great thing about forums, getting to use other peoples experience lol

Well this week I should get my switch etc so can start trying all of this. And hopefully get to the bottom of it! Other than this one problem, I am loving my setup.

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