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Wireless network performance, some improvement

Discussion in 'Vizio Co-Star' started by dj_dicam, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. dj_dicam

    dj_dicam New Member

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    I installed my Co-Star a couple weeks ago and have been uing and learning more about the device as time allows. In general, it is working as expected with the exception of the wireless network performance. I've tried to read through the threads here, and I do see the unusually low networks speeds reported by the Co-Star using its built in test connection diagnostic, so I use the built in test as a guide, but the browser test for a more accurate measure (I have been using Speed Test | Bandwidth | Broadband Internet Services). Network information on the Co-Star shows a 72 Mbps link with the router, the strength meter shows a solid signal with all parts of the strength indicator on solid (no fluctuation) and the signal strength at the Co-Star is -58dBm using the Wi-Fi Analytics app on my HTC Droid Incredible - this app helped me make minor adjustments in locating the Co-Star to get the best signal.

    I have FIOS 25/25 service. From my laptop, internet speed tests consistently show over 25 Mbps down and over 15 Mbps up (I will need to call Verizon about the upload). My phone shows better than 13 Mbps up and down (72 Mbps link). Under the best circumstances, the Co-Star shows 15-17 down and 15 up... best circumstances mean that I have the HDMI in cable disconnected from the device. I don't know why, but that makes a difference. I've tried several HDMI cables, and for my unit, disconnecting HDMI improves the wireless network download speed, but has no effect on upload. In fact, I found that I can leave the HDMI in plugged into the unit and turn off the STB power (making sure I disabled the FIOS screensaver so I think that means there is no HDMI signal going to the Co-Star when the STB is powered off...with the screensaver on, it does show a Veroizon FIOS logo when powered off), and this provides an improvement in wireless network performance over having the STB on. With the STB off, speed is slightly less that with the HDMI in unplugged, and it is also more variable...ranging from 7 to 15 Mbps. With the STB on, downloads drop to 3-5 Mbps in the browser speed test (and to about 1 MBps using the Co-Star diagnostic test). For what it's worth, I get 1-4 Mbps with the Co-Star test with the STB off, and 4-6 with the HDMI in unplugged.

    With the STB off, most streaming media is OK - Youtube, Netflix, etc, but some AVCHD and MP4 movies from my UPnP media devices are still not good. With the HDMI unplugged, these are better, but still not as smooth as when played off a USB drive plugged into the Co-Star (which looks great), so I believe the culprit is the network connection. My phone does not have enough horsepower for these HD video files, and they look the same streamed from the UPnP devices as when put them directly on the phone. On my laptop, the videos are fine streamed as welll as local - smooth as can be.

    I've tried two different routers, and the results are the same. Not sure if there is a good explanation for why I see the differences with the STB off and HDMI in unplugged - I have a support case with Vizio going on about this. Anyone else have any ideas or seen the same type of behavior.

    My interim solution is to use Plex for streaming my home movies since is does transcoding of the bitrate files to a user selected bitrate, but based on the experimenting I have done, I believe I should be able to stream this media without transcoding if I can get the wireless connection to work properly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  2. scan

    scan New Member

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    since i purchased my costar i have yet to stream a full movie, right now i have 50/25 fios. the movie keeps stutering, i have to put on my xbox to stream it through tversity, The costar does alot but doesnt do it well, i cant believe i have a straming box that wont stream properly, then the no sound problem then the not supported problem, with my xbox i just put it on and start streaming, i really think there is a problem with the connection with this box
     
  3. dj_dicam

    dj_dicam New Member

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    A few updates. I called Verizon and they reset the ONT box - that fixed the upload speed problem I was having. I also started to use the ookla speed test since I can run that test easily on my PC, Phone, and Co-Star. I also reset my router to factory settings and then reapplied my changes. Last, I reset the Co-Star to factory settings and then reapplied my changes. After all this, things are better in that I sometimes see the full download speed when I run the test, but the Co-Star is the most inconsistent device I have - upload speeds are pretty consistent, but download fluctuates. Using them in the same spot I have the Co-Star, both my phone and my laptop are much more consistent, repeatedly showing download speeds about 29-30 Mbps. The Co-star ranges from 17 to 30 Mbps. I don't see any appreciable changes in download speed when I unplug the HDMI in or turn off the STB using the ookla speed test, and have not spent the time using the built in connection diagnostic to see if that still shows the changes I saw earlier.

    I still have trouble with choppiness trying to watch HD media from my UPnP servers using Playpoint - plays fine using a USB flash drive plugged into the Co-Star, but streaming is not good. Streams fine on my laptop, and plays as well on my phone when streaming as when the media is local (not really smooth either way on my phone). At this point I'm out of ideas of where to go from here to try and get this working better. Not sure if anyone has any suggestions on anything to do that can help pinpoint the problem or resolve it.

    Using Plex to transcode and lower the bitrate still works, so that's what I am doing for now.
     
  4. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    The first speed test you linked above provides much slower results for me than the OOKLA speed test which is consistent with speeds I have seen from other online tests and consistent with the ISP service plan I use. I will assume that test isn't accurate, at least if used with Google TV.
     
  5. dj_dicam

    dj_dicam New Member

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    Forgot to mention I also did some adjusting of the router and got the signal strength closer to -50dBm at the Co-Star. All the download speed tests are only generally helpful in troubleshooting the problem with playing video off the UPnP servers (all wired connection to the router). I've been using those tests to get a sense of the lower end of the data speed across my LAN, and since I can stream fine on my laptop, I believe the LAN bandwidth is sufficient to do what I want (and likely well above the 30 Mbps WAN speed). The fact that the WAN tests are very inconsistent on the Co-Star compared to all my other devices concerns me. I don't know why it's so inconsistent, but that's the only thing that stands out compared to the other devices I am testing, so that seems like a sign something is wrong. Since I can play the files fine when they're on a USB drive, then I don't think the problem could have to do with Playpoint...just seems to point to something not right with the networking/buffering.

    Like I said, I have a support case with Vizio, and will report back once I have something noteworthy. If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions please let me know.
     
  6. dj_dicam

    dj_dicam New Member

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    I feel like I'm back to square one. Did some more testing today, and the download speed is all over the place again - I ran a dozen ookla speed tests on the Co-Star and a dozen on my phone interleaving the two. The Co-star got between 2 Mbps and 26 Mbps down (most were between 4 and 8 Mbps down) and 8 to 13 Mbps up. The phone got 26 to 30 Mbps down and 13 to 15 Mbps up. The Co-star has performed better at other times...again it is extremely inconsistent and on the whole performs far worse than even my phone for wi-fi.

    I did some more digging, and
    I looked up info on the Marvell Avastar 88W8787 - from tear down reports I read, that's the chip used in the Co-Star for wi-fi and bluetooth. The datasheet from Marvell can be found here. I don't know much about this chip, radios, or networking, but it looks like there is a shared path to receive BT and WLAN, but unique paths for BT transmit and WLAN transmit. I have noticed that the upload speeds I see on the Co-Star are fairly consistent, and comparable to what I see on my phone. The download is what's been all over the place. So I decided to try using my android phone as the Google TV remote (using the Google TV Remote App) and completely shutting off BT on the Co-Star (*). That made a difference and now I consistently get download speeds in the 20 to 28 Mbps range. While this is an improvement, it is still less consistent than speed tests run on other devices including my phone...those tend to vary 2-3 Mbps at most. In streaming video, this made a noticeable difference, and I can stream most videos from my UPnP server, but still the highest quality video (AVCHD 60p) is not as smooth as when played off a USB flash drive to the point it is not really acceptable - but it is better than it used to be.

    So, it looks like the shared WLAN and BT receive is part of the problem. Not sure how much overhead BT normally poses from the remote, but I doubt if operating properly it would cause a significant hit to the WLAN download speeds. I'm not an expert here so I'm sure there are things I am not comprehending or considering. Not sure if there is anything that can be done firmware wise to help with this. This discovery aside, there still seems to be something else wrong that is causing the relatively wide fluctuation in download speed results.


    Given the Co-Star tells me it has a 72 Mbps link with the router, constant excellent signal strength, the Co-Star plays the HD video files fine off a USB flash drive plugged into it, I have wired GB connection from my UPnP server to the router, I can stream the video smoothly to my laptop, I still am convinced something else is not working right with the Co-Star with the wireless networking/buffering of the stream.

    (*) To do this, I had to bring up the GTV settings using my phone as the remote - open the home page (this was the only way I could get this to work), then click the "..." button on the phone, then scroll to the settings at the bottom of the list - this brings up the GTV settings menu which I had not seen before. From there you go to network settings where you can disable BT. Not sure why this is not an option using the settings app/widget on the Co-Star. If you cycle the power on the Co-Star, it seems to automatically start BT.
     
  7. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Does your FIOS service have the router/modem combined into one device? I believe they do. I have read on other posts about some second generation GTV devices having issues with the FIOS router.

    As a troubleshooting measure can you try your Co-Star on another network with a different router to see if your same problem persists?

    Also maybe you could try setting your router/modem to bridge mode to see if it alleviates your issue?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
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  8. dj_dicam

    dj_dicam New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. FIOS has a ONT (optical network terminal) box that is the interface between the fiber and ethernet - and then I have a router off the ethernet. Not sure the ONT is equivalent to a modem. I've swapped out the router, and that made no difference, but have not tried another network. After hours of trying to figure this out and several calls with Vizio support, they are sending me another unit to try. They told me that the Co-Star typically needs to be 10-15 feet away from the router for a stable connection in most home environments, but I find that hard to believe in this day and age, so I am hopeful the replacement will work better even with BT turned on. I've got about 28 ft and three walls between my router and the Co-Star. Should have the replacement in about 2 weeks.

    I'm curious to hear from other folks who have been using the Co-Star over wi-fi and learn if they've found it to perform on par with other wireless devices or not. I understand wireless has its limitations, but my Co-Star is performing worse than any other wireless device I own.
     
  9. dj_dicam

    dj_dicam New Member

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    I got the replacement unit and hooked it up. The internet speed tests are still lower than they should be using the ookla test, but they are pretty consistent, and no longer bouncing all over the place from one test to the next. And my video streamed from my UPnp servers is now smooth as can be...I can see the stream buffering well ahead of the video being played...no more freezing of video!!! I've got the new unit with the same settings as the old, same apps, etc, and it works the way I was expecting. So I'm glad to report that my issue is a defective device.
     
  10. jcmtyler

    jcmtyler New Member

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    I have two Co-Stars, both connected by wifi to the internet (AT&T uVerse 12Mbps), but one connected by ethernet to my NAS and the other connected by wifi to the NAS.

    Netflix performance is equivalent on the two devices and for the most part works well, with the occasional loading pause after the show has already been playing for a while.

    I use Vimu player to stream video files from my NAS, which are mostly 1500Mbps bitrate mp4 / mpeg-4 and mp4 / h.264 with file sizes ranging from 300 MB tv shows to 1.5 GB feature length SD movies. When I'm streaming over ethernet everything works fine. When I'm streaming over wifi I have to disable caching in Vimu to get consistent performance, and oddly there are still some files (mostly older divx avi format) that will only play when streamed over ethernet.

    Tapatalk'd from my Galaxy S3
     

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