Speed issues with Tomato as wireless bridge for Slingbox

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by rabbott, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. rabbott

    rabbott Addicted to LI Member

    Hi all,

    Have an interesting problem that I hope someone can help me out with. My network looks like this:

    Slingbox <--wired--> WRT54Gv2 (tomato 1.19) <-wireless-> WRT54GX (stock)

    The WRT54GX is wired to a cable modem and two PC's. It serves as the wireless access point for a Wii and two other PC's. WPA encryption is used.

    I am running Tomato in "Wireless Ethernet Bridge" mode.

    When I view the Slingbox on a device connected via a wire to the WRT54GX I get excellent speeds (1400-3Kbps).

    When I view the Slingbox on a device connected wireless to the WRT54GX I cannot get more than 500Kbps. Normally it's around 300-400K.

    I previously had a dedicated SMC2870W bridge where the WRT54Gv2 is and I was getting ~1400K speeds streaming wireless. The power supply on the SMC died so I replaced it with a WRT54G a friend wasn't using.

    Do I have the Tomato firmware configured incorrectly for this topology? Should I try Wireless Client or WDS?

    It would be nice to have the extra ports in a bridge for a game console or whatever but if I can get the Tomato firmware to behave like the old SMC bridge that would be ideal.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions and please let me know if I can clarify this at all.
  2. dvaskelis

    dvaskelis Network Guru Member

    When I've set things up similarly, I've found the key is to get the wireless as free of interference as possible. I used a WRT54GS in WET mode for several years for some wired streaming video devices as well, and just retired it in favor of a wired connection a week ago.

    I live in a high-rise, and I found that when a neighbor changed something, it could interfere with my wireless transmission speeds. I'd then go through and start playing with settings in Tomato until I found the best speeds without video "stuttering" that usually just ended up with me changing wireless channels until finding the best one.

    Some other hints: sticking with WPA/AES for the WET bridge (the AP could be in WPA2/WPA-AES mode), and in advanced wireless settings using Afterburner: Auto (don't think this made any difference through), Frame Burst: Enable, Preamble: Short, and in my case setting transmission power to around 80-85mW. Lower power and higher power in my specific case yielded slightly slower transmission speeds.
  3. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    To add to dvaskelis's comments, make sure all APs are in G-only mode. Better to turn SpeedBooster/Afterburner off. Play with different channels on the GX (the v2 should follow).

    In general, make sure the wireless settings on the GX and the v2 are as identical as possible.
  4. dvaskelis

    dvaskelis Network Guru Member

    I actually got better performance in my high-rise in Mixed mode. Someone explained to me it was because stray 802.11b signals are seen as interference when you're in 802.11g mode. Don't know if that's true, but I can vouch that I definitely could stream video over a WET in Mixed mode but not in G-Only mode...
  5. rabbott

    rabbott Addicted to LI Member

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    These tips have increased my wired streaming a bit (I saw the spike to 5000Kbps today - averaging around 3000) but the wireless is still bad (never over 500Kbps and averaging well under 400).

    FWIW, it did seem to perform better under mixed mode.

    The slingbox has always been connected to a wireless bridge. So when I say wireless streaming I mean this:
    slingbox - v2 bridge - wireless - GX - wireless - pc

    Wired streaming means this:
    slingbox - v2 bridge - wireless - GX - wire - pc

    Since "wired" streaming is excellent, the bandwidth between the v2 and the GX doesn't seem to be a problem, it's just when that extra wireless hop is added.

    As I said the SMC bridge was giving me reasonable performance for wireless streaming. I only started having bad performance when I had to replace that bridge for this one. Is it worth trying "Wireless Client" mode on the Tomato v2? Sorry but I'm unclear on what the difference is between client and bridge mode.
  6. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    High-rise? APs on 2 different floors? If so, try setting your antennas at maybe 45deg. or even 90deg. (horizontally). You may be in the weak signal zones: Signal travels in a donut around your antenna. If you are exactly above or below an antenna pointing up, you get very little signal.

    Further, if you can only communicate in B- or mixed mode, you may be having weak signal in general - B tends to go further than G. Try B-only mode perhaps, as mixing the 2 do indeed screw things up a bit.
  7. rabbott

    rabbott Addicted to LI Member

    AH HA! Setting the v2 Tomato to B-only gives me ~1600Kbps wireless streaming!

    Sadly the stock GX firmware (after working with tomato, this is crap) only allows "Mixed" or "G-only".

    Thank you all very much!!
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