How to Optimize Your Home Network for HD Streaming
One of the greatest strengths of a well-equipped home network is the ability to stream media — especially HD video — to all kinds of connected devices. But before you can create a perfect environment for HD streaming, you need to consider what you’re going to be streaming: Internet-based content, content shared between devices within your network, or both.
Streaming from the Internet
To deliver an uninterrupted Internet streaming experience, a router that supports Quality of Service can automatically prioritize certain kinds of network traffic over others. This feature ensures that your Internet video streaming activity gets first dibs over bandwidth hogs like peer-to-peer downloads.
D-Link’s HD Fuel comes built in to its HD Media Router 1000 — and it works across both wired and wireless devices to automatically prioritize your video streaming, online gaming, and VoIP audio and video chats. You can also customize the exact Internet applications that your router should favor for each of type of streamable media via the device’s Web-based configuration screen.
Streaming Inside Your Network
The best way to optimize video streaming between devices within your network depends on whether you’ve built a wired, wireless, or PowerLine network. If wired, you’ll want to make sure you’re using Gigabit Ethernet connections (10 times faster than Fast Ethernet) so you can tap into multiple streams of HD content. If wireless, then Wireless-N is the ideal connection type: It’s faster and it offers a more consistent connection and a larger available range than older Wireless-G routers provided. D-Link offers a full line of router products to fit your needs and budget.
PowerLine networking allows you to connect wired and wireless devices between rooms using your home’s electrical wiring instead of yards of unruly network cable. But you’ll want to use PowerLine equipment that operates at up to 500 Mbps instead of older 200 Mbps gear. A Gigabit Ethernet PowerLine 500 adapter like D-Link’s AV 500 will give your devices the bandwidth they need to deliver flawless multiple HD streams within your home network. You can start your PowerLine network with a DHP-501AV PowerLine AV 500 Adapter Starter Kit, then connect an entire entertainment system with the DHP-540 PowerLine AV 500 4-Port Gigabit Switch.
Router-Based Media Sharing
For maximum streaming flexibility, you’ll want to choose a router that lets you easily access different kinds of media.
For example, D-Link’s HD Media Router 1000 supports both SD cards and USB-based storage devices. The router’s built-in SharePort Plus service automatically pulls the files on either kind of storage type into your network, where you can then access them using any other devices that can play media — desktop and laptop PCs, the Boxee Box by D-Link, your PlayStation 3, or your Xbox 360, to name a few. If you want to share other files, just unplug the drive or card and attach a different one — it’s as easy as that.
Proper Equipment Makes For Perfect Streaming
Tuning your network for trouble-free HD streaming is easy if you have equipment that can transmit enough bandwidth to your various devices. The speed of your network, QoS, and features that make it easy to access all your files can give you the best media streaming experience — and a killer home network setup overall.