Tim Elhajj

Off the Microsoft stack!

Netflix in the Living Room: Upgrading to Wireless N

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I recently upgraded the wireless network at my house. My thirteen-year-old son was complaining about network lag on his Xbox. I felt his pain. We got him the Xbox the Christmas before last, and I had been excited because I wanted to use it to watch Netflix movies in the living room. But watching a movie by piping it over the old wireless network from my office to the living room was terrible. I investigated and realized that my trusty G wireless network was running in compatibility mode to accommodate my old Tivo2.

What to do?

The old Tivo2s don’t come with a wired network jack, so it’s either run wireless connection in compatibility mode or string 50 foot of phone cord across the living room. But the problem with running legacy wireless devices on a fast network is that the network is only as fast as the slowest device that’s connected to it. What’s the answer? I went with a dual band wireless N network router. I picked the Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 (pictured).

Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400

Dual band routers are great. They come with two separate radios: one broadcasts at 5Ghz frequency and the and the other at 2.4 Ghz. This means you can offer a fast N signal for all your N devices on the less crowded 5 Ghz frequency, and you can still offer wireless N in compatibility mode on the other radio at 2.4 Ghz frequency. This way legacy devices (Tivo2, iPhone 3GS) can still connect to a wireless network without slowing down the fast wireless signal on the 5Ghz radio.

Bottom line: My slow Tivo2 with the lifetime contract continues to download listings for me, and I don’t have to sacrifice picture quality or the ability to fast forward and rewind my Netflix movies. As an added bonus, I also get a little wireless speed bump for my laptop and the wife’s iPad. I think I spent about $80 US. The only annoying thing about the WNDR3400 is the big blue LED, but you can easily turn it off by pressing it.

I did this upgrade last October. My son is happy, my house is free of the 50 foot ghetto cord.

Author: Tim Elhajj

Tim is probably walking his dog.

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