What is the WiFi speed of the WD SMP

I have purchased a dual-band Wireless-N 300Mbps modem router. Can the WD SMP connect at 300Mbps or is it limited to 54Mbps?

BarcodeBob wrote:

I have purchased a dual-band Wireless-N 300Mbps modem router. Can the WD SMP connect at 300Mbps or is it limited to 54Mbps?

It depends upon how you set up your router.  According to pg 22 of the User Manual for your SMP, (which you can download from WD Support) it says:

Note: The recommended setting on Wireless N routers is 802.11n-only with a channel width of 20/40

MHz. If you are using a wireless-N access point (AP) and it has been set to operate in 802.11n mode

with a security setting of anything other than WPA2-PSK+AES or None, then media player will operate

at lower 802.11g rates. Disabling wireless security is not recommended.

Every router is different, and this is what my router has to say regarding the set-up of the Wireless Mode:

wireless mode.JPG

I’ve set it to n Only and WPA2-PSK+AES but it’s no different to my old router.  How can I tell if it’s connected at 300Mbps or 54Mbps?

>>>   but it’s no different to my old router

What is the “it”  – the router or the WD? Why do you say this?  What exactly are you referring to?

>>>   How can I tell if it’s connected at 300Mbps or 54Mbps?

Is the “it” the WD player?

If so, the WD player connects to the N-router on the 2.4G band.  If your router is sending out an N signal, there are a couple of ways you can confirm this. 

1st Way:  Look in your Network section of the Windows control panel.  You can see your wireless connection.  For example, I have excellent wireless in the home and a 4 year old HP model laptop, so I see I am connected at 130Mbps on 2.4G and 300Mbps on the 5G band.  (I have different SSID names for each of my two bands so I KNOW which one I am connected to.)

2nd Way.  Use the program inSSIDer to examine the Max Rate signal.  It tells me that my 2.4G signal is 216Mbps and my 5G signal is 450Mbps.  These are higher than the connection rates I get.  The top rate of a router is not the advertised rate, that is theoretical.  What IS important, is if you have your router set for the G-band, you will see the rates you connect, and the Max rate, are 54Mbps.  I set mine this way, and that is what I saw.  If you don’t see a rate above 54mbps when your router is set to broadcast on the N-band, then you have a problem – likely a router setting.

So, if you are set for the N band, what is your SMP connecting at?  It is somewhere near what rate you broadcast at and what your PC receives at.  Who knows, but it sure will be higher than the G rate.

Above, I mentioned the program inSSIDer.  To help you further, download the free program inSSIDer from metageek.com (there are versions for various platforms, Win, Mac, etc.)  Read the user guide there and install inSSIDer.  With this program you can see your wireless signal and all others around you.  If you have a dual-band router you can fine tune the 2.4G and 5G signals and channels for max effect.  Use a laptop so you can move around to view the signals, their strengths, etc.  Select the best (least crowded and strongest signal from your router’s) 2.4G channel from 1, 6, or 11 to broadcast on.  Do same for 5G channels – pick the best.  If you have adjustable antenna on the router, adjust your router antenna for best results and turn your router if necessary.  By using inSSIDer properly and effectively, you can broadcast and receive the best signal possible.  It just might be that a simple matter of changing your broadcast channel solves your problem.

Let us know how it goes from here.

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Thanks for the reply Mike, that’s fabulous. The ‘it’ is a Billion 7800VDPX.

I have 2 laptops, a Toshiba Satellite Pro about 3 or 4 years old and a Lenovo Thinkpad about 2 years old. The Toshiba sees the 2.4G and the lenovo sees the 2.4G and 5G bands. Both of them show the connection as 54Mbps WPA2-PSK and AES. Details for both wireless adaptors show 802.11b/g.

On the Toshiba if I show the list of networks available and i hover over the 2.4G it pops up a box and shows 'Radio Type 802.11n

As you suggested I installed Inssider. It shows the Max Rate for both bands as 300 and RSSI is -45 in the same room as the router.

From my limited interpretation of the above the router is set to 802.11n so why can’t I connect at greater than 54Mbps. Or is this a limitation of the laptops?

EDIT:

I set the router to 802.11n only and was not able to connect with the 2 laptops. I tried my grandaughters new Toshiba and was able to connect and it’s showing 120Mbps. The RSSI is better too -35

Wow!

What a fabulous reply mike27oct    :slight_smile:

You should work on a Help desk somewhere    :smiley:

Thank you…

OK, Bob. let’s talk about all the laptops, first.

My laptops get about the same RSSI signal strength as you did, and you will see it varies from day to day, week to week within a range.  Has something to do with weather conditions, sunspots, etc.

Some of your laptops’ wireless cards may be no higher than G-band, and therefore cannot connect better than 54mbps.  That is a speed limit of G-band, and why N was developed.  Your wireless card in a laptop must be designed to receive and send N band for you to connect that way, AND then see the higher speeds.  (like your granddaughter’s did).

So, look on the bottom of the laptops for a model number tag.  Search the net (or manufacturer’s website) and find the spec sheet for the models.  It will tell you what kind/type of wireless card you have, and possibly the highest speed your network card can connect at.  Once you know this, you know what you are dealing with, and if all your laptops have wireless-N capability or don’t.

In the case of my HP laptop, the spec sheet told me I have a wireless-N wireless card and a gigabit network card.  So, when I bought a new router that was wireless N and also a gigabit wired connection, I knew I should get those speeds when I hooked it up, and I did.

DIg into your router manual for any good suggestions for setting it up.  You likely need to download a complete manual, because these things don’t come in the boxes anymore. Like I said before, you have to carefully choose and set up your router connections so that your G and N devices work to their capacity.  Otherwise, your wireless N devices could only reach the 54mbps speed, and never get into the higher N speeds.

As for the SMP:  if you confirm your router is broadcasting a N 2.4G speed higher than 54mbps, you can be assured your SMP is connecting that way to it.  The SMP does not connect to the 5G N signal.  Maybe the next model will.  Know to, that the higher band signals go, the shorter the usable range becomes.  Some folks have to resort to using G just so they get the range they need.

If you have lousy connections and get stuttering and stalls and dropouts of streamed media, thid is caused by other things, once you router is tamed to do what you want it to.  These problems are usually the result of poor signal strengths, wrong broadcast channel, etc. and inSSIDer can help you fine tune that.

2 Likes

louwin wrote:

Wow!

 

What a fabulous reply mike27oct    :slight_smile:

 

You should work on a Help desk somewhere    :smiley:

 

Thank you…

 

Thanks, your comments are almost as good as a Kudo!  Why not also give me a Kudo by clicking the star next to my messages above.  :wink:

Thanks for all the help Mike, you’ve set me on the right track.

I know now that the router is working on the N-band and using Inssider I can try and get the best out of it. I also know that the SMP is not getting a good wireless signal (1 or 2 bars)  and now that I know that it is using the N band I don’t think I will be able to improve it a whole lot more. So I’m going to run a Cat6 cable (40m) down to the SMP.

I’ve learnt a lot in the last few days, thanks again.

Bob, glad I could help. (Thanks for the Kudo!)

You don’t need a CAT6 cable – CAT5e can do the job for maybe less money.

If you find running a network cable is not feasable, you may be interested in products called powerline networking devices, (aka Homeplugs) that use your home electrical wiring to distribute your network/internet signal through your house wiring.  WD makes one called Livewire. One place to start looking into these devices is at Newegg.com, where they have lots of different brands of them for sale.    http://www.newegg.com/Powerline-Networking/SubCategory/ID-294?Order=FEATURED

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Mike. I decided to go with the cat6 cable because the difference in price was negligable.  I had a look at the powerline devices but I think I can do the cable run for less money and the job is not too big. Also this will cover me for any future enhancements.

Bob, now that you are running a CAT6 cable to the SMP, get yourself a 5 or 8 port network switch box (10/100 is the basic speed, and the gigabit speed is 10/100/1000.  Gigabit switches cast more, but bought on sale, it can be a negligible difference.  See Newegg again for these things.  I found good deals on the Trendnet switches when they went on sale recently.

Plug the new cable into the switch, and voila, you have 5 or 8 more network ports for the other stuff around the TV, and all your equipment there can ditch the wireless connections.  This is how my setup is, as there are lots of network-connected gizmos in the entertainment center.  I filled up an 8-port switch and then added another 5 port!  Not all my stuff can use gigabit, but I am future-proofed for a while.  When WD comes out with the gigabit media player, I’m ready!

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Thanks Mike, I was wondering how I could make more use of the cable. I’ll chase up a switch.  Will any switch do the job as long as it’s gigabit? What does the extra price get you?

Bob,

Gigabit network switches are made by all the major companies that make networking gear; Cisco, Netgear, d-Link, etc.  I bought the ones from Trendnet brand.  They had real good reviews and perhaps the best prices.  I bought six of them over a period of a few months.  When they were on sale, I bought another from Newegg.  Since my house came with Cat5e wired throughout into four rooms, I have a 5 or 8 port switch at every ethernet wall outlet.  .See this google link about the Trendnet switches.  The switches come in two styles – in a plastic case, or a metal case.  I have the sturdier metal case ones. 

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS429US429&q=trendnet+gigabit+switch

Thought I would report on some experiments with streaming bluray MKV files to my upstairs SMP.  Files are being served by a Linux machine, using Samba, from external USB2 drives.  I used the Jellyfish test files for some testing: http://jell.yfish.us/

First tried using wifi to connect this unit.  Wifi access point is a Dlink DIR-655.  Still have some 802.11g units so have to set it to “mixed g and n” mode.  DIR-655 allows you to look at list of wifi clients with their connection modes and connection speed.  Putting DIR-655 into “auto 20/40 MHz” channel width, the SMP shows up in n-mode and up to 300 Mbps.  I have one directional antenna attached to the DIR-655 and pointed up toward the SMP.  The DIR-655 shows the signal strength as 100%.  Unfortunately, even when showing 300 Mbps, the wifi connection supports streaming of MKV files with bitrates only up to a bit over 20 Mbps.  25 Mbps files result in periodic rebuffering.  I also note that putting the DIR-655 into 20/40 mode breaks my wife’s laptop (it keeps dropping the wifi link).  So wifi was a big disappointment.

I next tried a pair of Dlink DHP-500AV (Homeplug AV) units, that are advertised as capable of “up to 500 Mbps.”  Luckily, using the plugs I wanted to use, the units reported highest rate connections.  In practice, I found that they could support streaming of MKV files only up to a bit over 30 Mbps.  35 Mbps files result in periodic rebuffering.

Since the uncompressed bluray-sourced MKV files can have bit rates up to a bit over 40 Mbps, neither “n” wifi nor “500 Mbps” Homeplug can provide the necessary bit rates for all files (at least using the equipment I tried here).  My downstairs SMP is connected  via wire/Ethernet, with all gigabit NICs and switches (3 switches in path).  The gigabit Ethernet can transmit the files as fast as they can be pulled from the external drives–and then some.  So, I am currently in the process of figuring out how to run Ethernet cable to the upstairs, in a manner that has a high WAF.

Hope this info is useful to other SMP users.