Computers & Electronics

Recommend a router for streaming in a house overloaded with devices

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  • Dec 8th, 2022 4:56 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 7, 2017
9 posts
3 upvotes

Recommend a router for streaming in a house overloaded with devices

A have a google mesh wifi system, it is about five years old.

I am having a lot of lag / buffering when streaming videos, worse when more people are home using their devices. This is when watching IPTV on my Chromecast device.

In addition to TV's / streaming devices / laptops / phones / tablets, the house also has quite a few wifi lights and switches. Maybe 40 or 50 devices in total.

It is hard to narrow down what the culprit is: internet provider, streaming service provider, the Chromecast device itself, or my wifi system. But since I get download speed around 100 Mbps, and the buffering is mostly when other people are home using their devices, I figure the mesh router is the likely culprit.

Anyway googling "best streaming routers" just leads to confusion. I need something that can handle a lot of connections including several people streaming at once. A bonus would be a good interface/control system so I can throttle everyone else's wifi at home except my own.

I am happy to spend $400 or $500 if it will solve the buffering problem. Any advice would be appreciated.
12 replies
Deal Guru
Oct 7, 2010
13432 posts
4342 upvotes
Most likely the router system is overwhelmed and need a more powerful cpu to handle the traffic. Old routers are really bad at directing traffic, the task take turns instead of simultaneous at the same time. Newer or more powerful hardware should resolve your problem. I would try this first and return the hardware if it doesn’t resolve your problem.

Also 100 mbs might not be fast enough for the household. If you have 2 people gaming and 2 people watching hd content, it would be gg. Try this second.

I run a 75 mbs line but with two people always gaming recently. Then they complain about lag. I suppose my router also Is pretty garbage old, so that might be a factor.
Member
User avatar
Jan 14, 2010
304 posts
83 upvotes
Ottawa
A few things to check and verify on your system to help figure out where the issue lies:

1) Exactly how many devices are being used on your network at the same time when you notice the stuttering? Any wifi AP that is not at least Wifi 6 will struggle when many different devices are all streaming traffic at the same time.

2) Your mesh system, how many different access points are there? Are any hardwired via ethernet? General wisdom is that you should hardwire as many of your nodes as possible.

3) Where is your 'main' router located (which has to be hardwired)? If it's not somewhere central, is that something you can change relatively easily? If so, try reducing the number of mesh nodes if the coverage is acceptable, it might help overall stability.

4) Check which wifi channels are being used using a Wi-fi analyzer app, do you see a lot of congestion in the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands? You might be able to optimize this a bit.

In my house I run two ubiquiti access points (U6-Lite, and nanoHD), both hard wired back to my router. These 'prosumer' access points are great at handling many connected devices and I have yet to run into any throughput issues. Even with this, I have had some odd issues with devices bouncing between the two nodes and/or latching on the same node for too long. I was able to tweak the settings to get it mostly right, but it'll never be as stable as it was when I was just one access point (less is more sometimes, but I wanted the extra coverage).

If your heart is set on a mesh system, I would look into newer systems that offer Wifi6 or Wifi6E (preferred) connectivity.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 21, 2018
7827 posts
8514 upvotes
Vancouver
Problem #1: If your devices are on WiFi (like your Chromecast), then you likely have a WiFi bandwidth problem rather than a router problem. Maybe you need more wired APs, more devices on 5 GHz etc.

Problem #2: if you are not using QoS on your router to prioritize the most important traffic, then anything that saturates the channel will block other traffic. QoS doesn't work properly on many routers due to bugs in the old Linksys open source that everybody copied, so look for a router that has reviews saying that QoS works.

Smallnetbuilder.com is the most trusted source for router reviews.
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
22381 posts
3257 upvotes
Personally, I would deploy:

Routing: small PC with at least 2x RJ45s with PFsense installed
Switching: Unifi 8 or 16 port with POE
AP: Unifi 6 (most likely Lite)
Deal Addict
Dec 22, 2007
1449 posts
1062 upvotes
Mississauga
Boggin9865 wrote: A have a google mesh wifi system, it is about five years old.

I am having a lot of lag / buffering when streaming videos, worse when more people are home using their devices. This is when watching IPTV on my Chromecast device.

In addition to TV's / streaming devices / laptops / phones / tablets, the house also has quite a few wifi lights and switches. Maybe 40 or 50 devices in total.

It is hard to narrow down what the culprit is: internet provider, streaming service provider, the Chromecast device itself, or my wifi system. But since I get download speed around 100 Mbps, and the buffering is mostly when other people are home using their devices, I figure the mesh router is the likely culprit.

Anyway googling "best streaming routers" just leads to confusion. I need something that can handle a lot of connections including several people streaming at once. A bonus would be a good interface/control system so I can throttle everyone else's wifi at home except my own.

I am happy to spend $400 or $500 if it will solve the buffering problem. Any advice would be appreciated.
Wired connections will be more stable(quicker and lower latency) than wireless
try another router you can even run two wifi networks long as they use different channels
your speed should be fine as streaming doesnt take that much bandwidth in the end but if you could monitor how much your using that would tell you for sure
steaming is depends heavily on the source as you can have 10000000mbit but if they cant send you the 4mbit it takes thats where your problem lies
Switches and stuff doesnt take much bandwidth at all.. as an example my are on a separate network and i work from home and use work computer on that network and its was 8gb for all of last month

quick things to try move as much to wired connections as you can
if you are able to get faster speed from your provider may be worth while as there maybe traffic your missing which is causing you to hit the limit
for router you can try Asus ive had luck with them in the past... i think the gaming thing is overkill but upto you to spend the cash
if your adventurous make your own router from an computer with two network cards using opensense or pfsense
for wifi buy a access point

im running my own router on a computer and have an access point and can max out my 500mbit connection without issues and i find keeping them separate is better as the router/accesspoint stuff reminds me of the old tv/vcr combos
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 10, 2007
13284 posts
4619 upvotes
What is your current system ?

I would suggest investing in a real wifi, with real APs. Chances are your wifi is dog sht.

Buy a few of these and then setup a controller to enable roaming. That will offload traffic onto different APs at different points at the house

https://www.amazon.ca/TP-Link-EAP245-Wi ... _ci_mcx_mi
[self promotion rule violation, removed twice already][self promotion rule violation, removed twice already]Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling - woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop
Deal Fanatic
Sep 16, 2013
7202 posts
4859 upvotes
SW ON
Don't change any hardware yet. Move everything that's possible to 5 GHz. Create a separate SSID for 2.4 GHz. Change the current one to 5 GHz only. Reconnect whatever doesn't support 5 GHz to 2.4 GHz. See if it's sufficient for your needs.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 22, 2012
6215 posts
7394 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Boggin9865 wrote: A have a google mesh wifi system, it is about five years old.

I am having a lot of lag / buffering when streaming videos, worse when more people are home using their devices. This is when watching IPTV on my Chromecast device.

In addition to TV's / streaming devices / laptops / phones / tablets, the house also has quite a few wifi lights and switches. Maybe 40 or 50 devices in total.

It is hard to narrow down what the culprit is: internet provider, streaming service provider, the Chromecast device itself, or my wifi system. But since I get download speed around 100 Mbps, and the buffering is mostly when other people are home using their devices, I figure the mesh router is the likely culprit.

Anyway googling "best streaming routers" just leads to confusion. I need something that can handle a lot of connections including several people streaming at once. A bonus would be a good interface/control system so I can throttle everyone else's wifi at home except my own.

I am happy to spend $400 or $500 if it will solve the buffering problem. Any advice would be appreciated.
Is there any buffering for the other streaming services? Can you play 4K YouTube videos, or do you have a subscription to Netflix/Disney+/Apple TV+/Prime Video to test with?

My guess would be the IPTV streaming service provider. Next time you encounter buffering on IPTV, immediately shut it off and try to load up one of the above streaming services and see how the quality is under similar network conditions.
Deal Addict
Apr 29, 2018
2181 posts
1573 upvotes
Vancouver
If you have an old router lying around, then you could try moving the smart switches onto that. It should help reduce the load on the main router
Can't Stop. Won't Stop. Game Stop
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 21, 2002
11572 posts
3968 upvotes
Winnipeg
you have bufferbloat which is very common on slower isp packages liker 100 mbps. Rememeber one person streaming a 4k netflix is using atleast 35 mbps of your 100 mpbs available. Or the most common bufferbloat issue is the uploads which are mostly like just 10 or 15 mbps paired with 100mbps(download) isp packages which are quickly saturated.

You have a choice upgrade to gigabit isp and leave everything as is. Or stay with your current package if you have too and use a router that supports sqm_cake that will level the playing field.

At 100 mbps any dual core arm at 800mhz or higher will suffice for 100 mbps isp if it supports sqm_cake it in firmware. The downside thats the limit so it won't carry forward well with higher higher rates over 150-200 mbps etc. But if you have any of these model routers lying around and flash with fresh tomato,

https://freshtomato.org/downloads/fresh ... .6/K26ARM/

disable wifi you don't need it you have mesh and enable qos/sqm_cake set @ %90(or lower test and try) of your tested current isp package and it will fix it up. I would look at that route first as its just the cheapest fastest solution you may have lying around already. Just be sure if you have a capable router lying around make sure to google up the proper path to flash it to tomato firmware. For example the linksys ea6xxx routers need to be flash twice one to fix the 32k nvram issue and add a recovery bootloader. the second flash is for the firmware. Some models can just be straight flash and your done easy peasy.
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Sep 22, 2012
6215 posts
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Richmond Hill
lead wrote: you have bufferbloat which is very common on slower isp packages liker 100 mbps. Rememeber one person streaming a 4k netflix is using atleast 35 mbps of your 100 mpbs available. Or the most common bufferbloat issue is the uploads which are mostly like just 10 or 15 mbps paired with 100mbps(download) isp packages which are quickly saturated.
Perhaps on the other streaming services, but not with Netflix. You'll be lucky to get half of that bitrate with Netflix nowadays!
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
29320 posts
14830 upvotes
Holy crap people are SEVERELY overestimating how much bandwidth they need.
spike1128 wrote: Also 100 mbs might not be fast enough for the household. If you have 2 people gaming and 2 people watching hd content, it would be gg.
https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306
https://help.disneyplus.com/csp?id=csp_ ... c11a4bcbe2

4k needs 15mbps on Netflix. Disney plus wants 25mbps.
Gaming doesn't need squat. Downloading a game needs bandwidth, but it's not like you're perpetually downloading games while you're gaming. You're sending and receiving squat for data.

You could have a hundred people gaming on 100mbps with a decent router and there'd still be PLENTY of bandwidth leftover.
I suppose my router also Is pretty garbage old, so that might be a factor.
This is more likely the culprit than anything else.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.

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