How To: Design a Home Media Network

When designing a home media network speed is of the essence. Use these guidelines to make sure that you have the highest speeds possible:

If you would like to see which media server is right for you look at our reviews for Servio,TVMobili or NAS. Also, don’t miss how to Use Windows Media Player as a DLNA media server.

Home Media Network Technology Choices

  1. Ideally, you should have Gigabit interfaces for all your Ethernet ports on your router, media player, and media server.
  2. Wired Ethernet is always the best type of connection for throughput. Use it wherever you can. It should always be your first choice.
  3. If you must use other media PowerLine is usually faster than WiFi unless you are using the new 802.11ac routers which should be your first choice if you have no dead spots.
  4. After PowerLine, 802.11n WiFi should be your next choice, particularly if you can run it, and your receiving device can run at 5GHz.
  5. And if all else fails you can try to use 802.11g but chances are that you’ll be disappointed.
  6. In any event, always measure your throughput using the above procedure to make sure that you have enough bandwidth. PowerLine and WiFi performance decreases with distance, don’t go by the ratings from the vendor as your network speeds. Those speeds can only be seen in laboratory conditions.

Home Media Network Topology

Connecting Your Home Media Network

  1. Your media server should be directly connected to your router through 1 Gbps interfaces. (Make sure you use cables rated for 1 Gbps Ethernet (Cat6). Older Ethernet cables are rated only for 100Mbps.)
  2. Your media player should ideally be connected to the router through 1Gbps Ethernet interfaces.
  3. If it is not possible to connect the media player with a 1Gbps Ethernet connection then the next best choices are (in all cases make sure that both ends are rated for the same technology):
    1. 802.11ac WiFi connection, both ends
    2. 100Mbps wired Ethernet
    3. PowerLine
    4. 802.11n WiFi in the 5GHz range
    5. 802.11n WiFi in the 2.4 GHz range (using MIMO technology)
    6. 802.11n WiFi
    7. 802.11g WiFi
    8. Try to avoid wireless bridges
  4. Your mileage will vary so make sure you test your connection speeds with a client/server that are fast enough an d that you have chosen the fastest technology for your particular case. All homes are different.
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