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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 08, 2010
    Posts
    2
    Airport (WDS) transfer rate issues
    Hi all,
    I'm just wondering if i've missed anything out trying to fix my network problems, any suggestions welcome

    What i'm trying to do is play HD movies from my buffalo file server plugged into my airport extreme on my new mac mini downstairs (plugged into an onkio home theater system)

    The first problems that were evident on the mac mini was that it's network connection was painfully slow. I also noted that the download speed was nearly non existent at 30kb/s.

    Naturally i suspected the Network range (which is pretty weak in my living room)

    So i got out my macbook aluminium (running the same intel 2.4ghz processor but has 4gb of ram instead of the macmini's 2gb)

    downloading the same file from the same website at the same time with the computers next to each other, my macbook got around 400kb/s and my mac mini peaked out at around 70kb/s

    at which point i started getting suspicious

    so i downloaded istumbler on both and noticed that my macbook was getting around 35% of the signal (from the airport extreme) Vs the mac mini's 23%

    to help this a little i moved the mac mini out from any dvd players/tv's/tuners/satboxes etc because i suspected their shielding might be causing interference. This got the Signal strength upto around 30%

    which i figured was close enough to the macbook to point at something else being the problem.

    so i moved the mac mini upstairs, next to the airport extreme (79% signal) and tried moving some files from the (aforementioned) file server to the mac mini. I then got a much more respectable 2.4mb/s transfer rate.

    however, when playing movies i noticed that instead of a steady rate of around 1.3mb/s (which is what my imac and macbook get when playing the same movie from the same server) the mac mini was showing massive spikes and lows i its transfer rate.

    The next logical step for me seemed to be to buy an airport express and set up a relay to boost signal strength downstairs.

    So i did, set up the WDS network, signal for the mac mini downstairs is now at around 60~70% (which should be more than good enough)

    however i still got the same problems and crappy transfer rate

    i later discovered that the mac mini was still trying to connect to my Base station(extreme(30%signal)) So i denied the mac mini access to the Base station and only granted it access to the relay. This helped get transfer rates up to around 700kb/s but it still spiking and isn't nearly steady enough to play a movie without stuttering.

    I have also tried connecting the mac mini to the relay via ethernet, this hasn't made any significant difference.

    All connectivity data was gathered using Istumbler, Noise on the channels is between 9% and 14% throughout the house

    information about transfer rates etc were gathered using Activity Monitor, all update frequencies etc are identical across the computers.

    My file server is connected to the airport extreme via Ethernet. It has worked flawlessly with the network and all connected computers (Imac/macbook pro/macbook) for a year.

    Does anybody have any suggestions on how i can get the transfer rate more steady to the mac mini?

    And no running a giant ethernet cable from my living room through the house to the airport extreme is not a viable solution for me. Neither is plugging the File server directly into the mac mini, as i then the network problems would stop me from being able to access it comfortably over the network

    Thankyou and sorry for the rambling

    hope i didn't miss anything out

  2. #2

    scathe's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    1,096
    Specs:
    2,4Ghz 15" unibody
    "I have also tried connecting the mac mini to the relay via ethernet, this hasn't made any significant difference. "


    Seems like it's not a network issue, leaving aside that other computers are fine, when you connect via ethernet you should get stable speeds.

    You keep mentioning spikes in speed, this goes for wifi as well as ethernet?

    I would check any software you might have installed on the machine that could use a considerable ammount of bandwidth, some firewalls and similar apps can cause a decrease in speed or vpn connections.

    To check if it is a 3rd party software issue, try using a clean account to access your file server.

    Other then that I'm blank I had a very similar problem connecting a laptop to wifi across a flight of stairs, but a wds repeater did actually solve the problem.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jul 09, 2008
    Location
    Bexley, OH, USA
    Posts
    191
    Specs:
    alMB, 2.0C2D, 2GB, 500GB, SD, etc
    Quote Originally Posted by scathe View Post
    "I have also tried connecting the mac mini to the relay via ethernet, this hasn't made any significant difference. "


    Seems like it's not a network issue, leaving aside that other computers are fine, when you connect via ethernet you should get stable speeds.

    You keep mentioning spikes in speed, this goes for wifi as well as ethernet?

    I would check any software you might have installed on the machine that could use a considerable ammount of bandwidth, some firewalls and similar apps can cause a decrease in speed or vpn connections.

    To check if it is a 3rd party software issue, try using a clean account to access your file server.

    Other then that I'm blank I had a very similar problem connecting a laptop to wifi across a flight of stairs, but a wds repeater did actually solve the problem.
    I'd also wager that some "rogue" software is hogging a lot of bandwith (and thus causing the spikes).

    Another thing I'd try: some routers (I know my Linksys WRT54G does but not sure about your router specifically) allow you to favor certain kinds of traffic over others (ie, streaming media and multiplayer games) on the network. If such a setting exists for your router, maybe fiddling with that would help?

    Other than that, good luck!

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Jul 08, 2010
    Posts
    2
    The mac mini is fresh out of the box loaded with snow leopard, everything upto date. Other than what it came with, the only other programs installed are Istumbler/NASnavigator(for the buffalo link station)/limewire and VLC media player.

    Nasnavigator has never cause me any problems on the other computers before, When doing the testing, none of the programs were running, occasionally vlc or quicktime if i was trying to play a movie. So i don't see a problem there?

    i've also double checked, and the firewall is switched off completely.

    Another thing i've noticed recently, when i let a movie play for a while (15 minutes or so) the connection seams to become alot steadier, with less drops in it. :S

    could it be a hardware problem?

    I would try port forwarding, but to be perfectly honest i don't have a clue how to. as for more information on my network setup:


    Base station: Airport extreme
    USB: connected to canon printer and western digital hard disk
    Ethernet: connected to Buffalo link station/Imac/Slingbox

    Relay station: Airport express
    Ethernet: mac mini

    I have ruled out the file server as the source of the problem, the problem is the same when moving files from other computers/WD hard disk/imac to the mac-mini.

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