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Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Dartman on Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:11 pm

It probably is the one I'm typing on right now, isn't real leather as far as I can tell but looks nice, was cheap, and works. I haven't looked at the dongles for sale but if they say it works with Ainol and other tablets according to them it should work. The cases and keyboards work with a LOT of tablets seeing how the 7" ones all are pretty similar in size.
If you end up buying one post your review of it as at least I'm interested in what it's really like but I sure like mine, about my only complaint is the batterey doesn't last a very long time but still goes at least a few hours surfing and checking mail. I think the Venus has a bigger one and they cliam 5 hours so should be more thrifty with power.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:30 pm

I've spent all night looking at tablets, Ainol and others, reading review after review after review. I think if I had 10 seconds to choose any tablet (considering cost and my noob-ness/aversion to bugs), I would have to choose the Samsung Galaxy 10 2. It doesn't have the hi-res screen, but just about everything else I was looking for -- Bluetooth, card slot/memory; decided to go with big screen - probably better for reading docs. My wife and I are going to the movies tomorrow to see Superman, then I think I'll stop by Best Buy and check one out (rather, have some knowledgeable kid show me the ins and outs). They have them on sale now, same price as Sam's Club sale. Thanks, Dartman. I appreciate your input.

BTW, I found this site for Android apps, in case you haven't seen it. Looks OK: http://www.androidapps.com/
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:55 pm

I HOOKED UP MY TRENDNET WIRELESS ROUTER AND ROKU DEVICE (finally). But I can't get the Roku to work, or something to work....
I bought two 30-foot cables that allow me to place the router in a good location, and allow me to be hard-wired to my computer, essentially as I was before hooking up the router. I went through Trendnet's set-up wizard and followed along in the manual; all indicator lights on the Trendnet were on as described for proper router setup.

I hooked up the Roku, seemed OK. On the Roku, I went to set it up (the user's manual says, "The Roku player will automatically detect wireless networks in your area...."), and I saw my router's Wi-Fi Name/SSID on my TV screen as I started to set the Roku up. I selected this (could see a couple of neighbors' routers), entered my wireless router password, and then initiated "connect." The first of three processes is to connect to the internet, and this failed. I somehow found my Win7 help wizard (the "map" showed a red "X" meaning that I did not have internet access) and it suggested that I might have to call my ISP for permission. I called Time Warner and got some great help -- the tech remotely rebooted my cable modem for me (after unplugging the Roku and router); I did not remove the backup battery from the modem the first time to truly power the cable modem down. I could see on my Win7 network screen that the red X had now disappeared and the text below it said I had an internet connection. I returned to try and set up the Roku, and got the same no-go result. I read the trouble-shooting page in the Roku manual and it begins by saying that I should have at least 3 signal strength bars showing next to the Trendnet SSID, and I only had one. So I set the Roku out beyond the TV and I placed the router so that it was in line of sight with nothing between the two, and the signal strength did not increase (I have only one bar).

I recall that a Roku tech once said that I should use a 2.4 GHz connection. I think my problem is is that I have not properly connected the wireless router to the Roku. I can't figure it out. If the Roku had a WPS button it would be easy, I think, but it doesn't have one. The Trendnet manual has a section about "Connect wireless devices to your router" and has a table showing WEP Key Format, HEX and ASCII data (and I have no idea why that info is there), and says that "each device (e.g., Roku) may have its own software utility for searching and connecting to available wireless networks...." but you know that the Roku is always "on" and automatically connects. So, I must not be enabling the router properly; I hadn't done anything because I can't figure it out and was hoping that somehow the router would recognize the Roku and set it up automatically for me. Somehow I must set up either the 2.4 GHz or the 5.0 GHz bandwidths, one or the other. This is where I think I'm failing. Other than mentioning that connecting devices have their own software, Trendnet mentions only WPS and mentions three different ways to do this (hardware push button/PCB method; PBC - software/virtual push button; and PIN - personal ID number). On the Basic Wireless Settings (2.4 GHz page) there is a section "Wireless Distribution System (WDS) with 4 empty boxes (on data within) generally labeled as "AP MAC Address." I'm thinking that my Roku should somehow be listed in one of these boxes...? ...how?

Well, I'm really stuck and I hope that there is a simple fix that someone can help me with. Thanks.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Dartman on Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:37 am

Do you have a password or something set that the Roku doesn't know what to do with. My media players will refuse to connect to any folder that's not completely open or I give it the password on my wired network and I had to give my tablet here the password too to get it to work.
I also had issues getting win7 to share properly becuase I didn't have some advanced permissions set that were set wrong to get my first WDTV Live media player working. I had to do a search and found a site that had settings that worked on my wired network setup. My wireless router shows up on one of the data boxes and all that seeing how it has 4 1gig ports and the wireless all on the router together.
Then I have a 8 port switch too so I have enough wired fast ports for everything and it's all played nice together once I got all the permissions and numbers entered right.
Pretty sure the switch just auto detected everything, the router was a bit more work but wasn't too bad. My first wired only setup was worse getting all the naming, permissions, and password or no password figured out.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:41 am

Thanks for the reply. (I've been tossin' & turnin' all night, thinking about this.) I don't think there is a problem with the password; I've used the same password for both the router and Win7 when prompted. But I think the main problem is that the wireless router is putting out an extremely low signal. It is so low, that the two or three other routers that Roku is picking up (when I set up the Roku, I have to select my router among all others listed), SO WEAK that there is no "handshaking" going on (I'm assuming that this must occur, two-way communication for any mutual recognition and functioning). There is one router that has all the signal strength bars showing, and another that has all but one! Mine only has one bar, enough for Roku to detect its presence, but not strong enough to establish a usable connection. Again, the Roku and the router are positioned in a straight line-of-sight manner with nothing but air between them, and only about 35 ft. apart.

So, there would seem to be problem with the router, "weak signal," the problem that negative user feedback usually decries. If I can get the router to put out a good signal, I should be able to see the "bar strength" on the Roku TV setup screen increase (like I see for other people's routers). I'll be visiting the Trendnet support site, Amazon user feedback and Newegg user feedback. When users post this kind of complaint (weak signal strength of the router) there are usually one or two guys that recommend how to fix it, such as updating firmware, or checking/changing some setting somewhere. It must be something simple. Again, the Roku seems to be connected properly as well as the router (all four indicator lights on & working properly).
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:07 am

I just checked the Roku TV screen again, and nothing has changed regarding signal strength. I hit Roku's Help link on the setup screen, and saw this message: "If you need your wireless MAC address, it is B8:3G;59:2E:4D:0D" I just went into my Trendnet network settings and the only place I see any numbers like this is at "DHCP Client List." The address listed there is different. At the Network LAN Setting page there are several empty blocks that (I think) could contain addresses: "DHCP Reservations List" There is not a single address listed in this section. Again, at the 2.4GHz Basic Wireless Settings page the WDS section has no MAC addresses listed in any of the four available boxes.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:40 am

Trendnet support isn't the greatest. They have a Knowledge Base (KB) and I'm going through this. Under the KB topic of "how to set up my wireless router (my model, TEW-812DRU), they show only one help page, and this is what I see when I access my 2.4GHz section: http://www.trendnet.com/support/kb/kbp_viewquestion.asp?ToDo=view&questId=2909&catId=702

I do not understand how/what to add to this.... the help here is pretty minimal (Trendnet will sell you one of three different levels of "Premium Support" ranging from $40 per incident to $100 for a full year of unlimited support.... :-?

Well, just checking in....

PS - This is another help page: http://www.trendnet.com/support/kb/kbp_viewquestion.asp?ToDo=view&questId=2905&catId=702 Maybe the "Device PIN" is what I should be entering on the Roku, although I don't think this would have anything to do with the signal strengths of the three different routers displayed....
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Dartman on Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:14 pm

Well I'd try the pin just in case, maybe lower your security level seeing how one review said a lower level helped his signal strength. A few users commented on low range so that might be a issue with that router and trend net should take care of you or maybe you should contact the seller and get another one just in case yours is really defective and I'd definitely see if there is a firmware update just in case it has the original and maybe they quietly updated it without making the low signal issue known but fixed it.
I do know my router has two antenna's and I can adjust them to get better signal but I get full bars almost everywhere in my 4br 1400sf house. Pretty sure mine isn't 2.4 or 5ghz though and the higher freqs might be a bit pickier as far as range too.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:18 pm

When I registered this router this morning, the confirmation email I received had a couple of links, one to Trendnet's help desk. I shot them my problem. They should answer within 48 hours. I'm well past Newegg's return deadline (I should change my user name to "SloMo.") so any help will have to come from Trendnet, either via successful tech support or an exchange for a new unit. I went to Trendnet's download page, and there is only one (the initial) version of firmware available. and it is the same as my unit has. I read that too, about lowering the security level; not sure if I can (am able/noobness) to do it. I'll study security pages for this unit's setup. I read once, when I was researching routers, that there is a setting within Windows that needs to be properly set or you get this kind of problem; I'm not sure. When I access my network ("Nework 3") from the bottom task bar of my Win desktop, it says I have excellent signal strength, which, of course it would report, since I am hard-wired to the router.... So, Windows isn't much help, I guess; I don't know where else to look within Windows.

I was going to try that PIN, but when I looked at the Roku setup screen and kept seeing two of my neighbor's routers listed with great signal strengths, I figured it was no use; mine was by far the weakest one listed.

I searched the internet and found a Trendnet Knowledge Base solution to no/low signal strength, and they pretty much say it's because of positioning of one or both units. They do mention interference as a possible cause; I do have a 2.4GHz cordless telephone nearby -- I pulled the data line and power cord to the base, no change.

I'll continue to investigate further while I wait for Trendnet's reply. Thanks.

PS - While I was previewing this message, it occurred to me that my 2.4GHz phone has a backup battery (I know it's not in use, but anyway) I unplugged it and moved it across the house. I checked my Roku list of detected routers, mine was the only one on right now, and I had 3 (yes!) bars. So I began the setup process; step one is where you enter your password and let Roku run through its three steps, the first being connecting to the internet -- failed. So I repeated this with the "Device PIN" I mentioned, and failed again. In this situation (having the three required signal strength bars), and that I have no other possible password to use, I believe that I will have to figure out how to connect to my Roku with my computer & the Trendnet setup program. (I just reinstalled my telephone; still three bars/no change. And the AC is running! That's good.)
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:54 pm

I just finished a lengthy support Chat with a Roku representative. The MAC address that my Roku help screen showed me is not the router's address, but rather, the address of the Roku unit. The rep told me it was on a label on the underside of the unit, and as I copied it down, I realized now what was being shown to me before. Apparently I have to enter this address somewhere. The basic setup page on the Trendnet program has "Wireless Distribution System(WDS)" with four empty spaces to place some data; next to these spaces is "AP MAC Address" - I have no idea what "AP" or any of this means. The only other place for MAC Addresses is on the security page, and that has many spaces available at "Wireless MAC Filter" (I don't think this is it; should be under Basic Set up).

The rep told me that my Roku should not be more than 30 feet from the router. However, all my neighbors and myself live in individual houses with brick walls.... I don't know why, then, I'm picking up their router signals with such great (maxed out) strength.... (going through two bick walls & other/interior walls, and over a distance well beyond 30 feet).
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Dartman on Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:18 pm

well sounds like you are making some progress at least. You might want to try the win7 forum as they have been very helpful with every issue that has cropped up since I went to 7 and are very good at it.
http://www.sevenforums.com/ Pretty sure they have all kinds of separate forums for whatever your issue is so poke around there and ask in the right place and I bet someone can walk you through it or knows how to fix it.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:03 am

SUCCESS! (Well, sort of... read on.) I've got other things going on, so this took a while.... After researching and corresponding with Trendnet, I think I've got it set up with the best performance possible. (I learned how to make a simple parabolic reflector out of aluminum foil; this was fun, but did not improve signal reception by the Roku.) Trendnet did help out, however, I had already experimented with their suggestions; they offered nothing that improved the signal strength. (I reviewed the router at Newegg; it's the most recent review, using my user name of "beat," as in tired, defeated, and giving up.) The best signal strength I can get is 3 bars on the Roku (as it searches and detects networks). 3 bars (strength of detected network; 3 of 4-bar maximum) is enough to set up and activate the Roku. Yesterday I did that, getting on the Chat line so I could activate my Roku account without having to provide my credit card information. The process went quite smoothly, with the support rep asking me to check the progress on my TV as we went along, and then try a free (no subscription) channel. No problem!

I signed up for the free 30-day trial at Netflix. This is where the disappointment comes in. Last night I thought I'd watch the movie, "Green Lantern," since I missed it at the movie theater. Did a search for it (far easier on the computer at their web site) -- but it's available only on DVD!!! Netflix wants you to double-up on your subscription fees by opting (in addition) for the DVD rental option, bringing the total monthly fee from $8 to $16. Crappy deal. So, I watched Captain America. All went well. I had wondered previously how it would look on my standard TV screen -- it had the typical upper and lower black borders to yield the typical wide screen/movie screen format. I did search with the Roku for Green Lantern (awkward and time-consuming compared to using a computer) but it yielded no title. So, I see a bunch of titles and I see "Burn Notice." I ended up watching three episodes of this, including the pilot, after watching Captain America. Good show.

This morning my wife says she wants to watch "The Life of Pi." A few minutes ago on the computer I searched for it at the Netflix website and this also is available only on DVD. :evil: I am getting pissed. Obviously this is an intentional ploy by Netflix to squeeze more money from its subscribers, but I'll have nothing to do with it. We don't watch that many movies, and I'm not going to spend $16 a month for them, or for the ability to watch them, as the $16 would be charged no matter how many movies & DVDs you watch. Is there a good alternative -- one that really has a good movies selection for on demand viewing -- available. Amazon, perhaps? I have no idea. Any suggestions?

My next step in developing my home network will be to research and set up a NAS unit. That will really be a challenge compared to my Roku ordeal. :-?
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Ian on Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:35 am

I'm not a Netflix subscriber, but from what I can gather, they rotate the titles available via streaming. I'm an Amazon Prime subscriber and they do the same sort of thing. Most titles are available for streaming but not all of them are free.

Honestly, if you're looking for movies like Green Lantern and Life of Pi, check your local library. Most libraries have a wait list and unless its a really new movie, you'll get it in a few days. Best of all, its free. It's also a great way to build up your home library. ;)
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Dartman on Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:24 pm

Guess I should get a library card again :-$ Might be able to actually use all these drives stuffed in here again for something other then to fill holes in my case. I don't rent movies, and I almost never buy since they got greedy again and are trying to get 22 to 30 bucks a BluRay combo pack again.
I finally bought two new movies I really like because Target had a bunch of second week first release movies on sale for 9 bucks each =D>
First new movies I've bought in over a year. Ended up with the latest Die Hard and Tom Cruise flicks, both good in different ways.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:18 pm

Yes! I think I'll get a library card, too. Good idea.

I just came back from Sam's Club, and I always walk around the tech area looking at stuff. Today I saw a Seagate HDD that is meant to serve, essentially, like a NAS unit. Three TBs and an Ethernet connection for a wireless router. The back of its box says you can access the drive via computer, tablet, etc. I don't know how "smart" it is. Like, would it work if your computer was turned off? I'd imagine so. But if so, this would save a couple of hundred dollars off a good, simple NAS unit. Other than backup redundancy and storage size capability (if 3TB isn't enough), it would seem to be an inexpensive solution. But I'm guessing there must be some other shortcomings; this solution seems too inexpensive compared to a traditional NAS. I think the price is not much more than other 3T drives. I forget the name/model of the drive; I'll have to go to the Seagate web site and look for it....

OK, here it is. Comes in three sizes: http://origin-www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/network-storage/home/seagate-central/

I'm having a difficult time understanding how to set up the communication capability for playing music off a NAS and controlling it on a tablet (song selection, etc.). I see we can post images here. I think I'll sketch out a schematic of my imagined network and post it for comment and refinement.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Ian on Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:33 pm

The Seagate Central is a NAS in the most basic sense. It has an ethernet connection, does file sharing and media streaming. It also has some nice apps for iOS and Android, but the fact that its only one hard drive is a deal killer for me.

Newegg had the 4TB version for $160 the other day. I thought about buying it and ripping the hard drive out for my own home server.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:42 pm

Here's a question: I'm keeping my computer permanently connected to my wireless router via Ethernet cable. One of the reasons is that I think (I assume) this would provide the most privacy. But lately I'm wondering if my Internet activity, even though hard-wired, is simultaneously being broadcasted by the router/network, for any curious neighbor to hack and see what I receive and send. Does anyone know absolutely if I am "at risk" in spite of my wired connection to my wireless router?
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Ian on Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:11 pm

Your router has a built in firewall that keeps people from accessing your local network. Having a wired connection is actually more secure since your neighbors could in theory sniff your wireless traffic and see what you're doing. That would be very hard to do though if you're using encryption like WPA2.

To make a long story short.. don't worry about it.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby SithTracy on Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:12 pm

Anyone here tried powerline networking and had any success? I have no problems streaming in my house, but suspect I am reaching a limit and introducing too much WiFi and want to cable things to a switch. I tried a TP-Link AV500 kit and, well... it sucks.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby NuGuy on Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:41 pm

I have seen those and looked at them briefly -- seem to have potential. I recall reading that both modules have to be connected to the same in-house circuit. I assume that if you have one module connected to in-house circuits protected by, say, breaker switch A, and another by breaker B, then this might not work (seems to me to be two separate circuits). I'm only surmising about this, and mention it as something you might want to look in to.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Ian on Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:49 pm

I reviewed that WD one a few years ago and used it at home for some time. Then for whatever reason the bandwidth tanked and it motivated me to finish terminating my home network. I have a feeling we plugged in something new that killed the performance. One area where its nice is if you need to get internet to a place that can't get a strong wifi signal.. like a room with concrete walls or something.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby SithTracy on Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:34 am

I found a 25ft CAT6 cable and ran it around the room to another outlet and BAM!!! Powerline networking is rocking. Turns out my APC surge protector does not filter power line noise. Going back to Tripp Lite isobar.
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby Ian on Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:12 pm

Did you have the AV500 plugged into the surge protector?
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Re: Building a Home Entertainment Wireless Network

Postby SithTracy on Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:10 pm

No... Did not have it in the surge suppressor (that's a no no). Straight in the wall on the same jack as the APC surge protector. Pretty darn sure that is the culprit as I moved the same surge protector to the same outlet as the AV500 and down went the quality again. Either the APC is bad, or something I have plugged into is is causing the noise... but odds are that is just it. The isobar's from Tripp Lite prevent that so Amazon, here I come. Was always a fan of the Tripp-lite products.
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