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Improving Wireless Performance

Improving Wireless Performance

Assuming that ethernet and powerline (homeplug) adapters aren't an option for you, there are several things you can do to improve your wireless Steam Link experience.

Make sure that your PC is wired to your router

One of the largest causes of problems on wireless networks is interference. If your PC is trying to send data to your router while your router is sending that data to your Steam Link, they'll interfere and you'll have a really choppy experience.

Move your equipment for a better signal

The strength of the wireless signal is affected by interference from other wireless networks, distance, and walls, floors, metal, and electronic equipment between your wireless router and the Steam Link. Sometimes moving your router to a better location or moving your Steam Link out in front of your TV can help dramatically. Also make sure that your PC and router are in open, well ventilated areas, as their performance will be reduced when they are overheating.

Remove other sources of interference

Other applications using the wireless network can interfere with game streaming. If someone is streaming movies or audio, using BitTorrent, or using a Chromecast, try having them stop and see if that improves things.

Tune your network for best performance

  • Choose the 5 GHz WiFi band over the highly contested 2.4 GHz band. The 5 GHz band has a shorter range, but there is less interference from your neighbors and other wireless devices.
  • Choose a WiFi channel on the AP that is not occupied by your neighbors. There are many smart phone apps and laptop programs that allow you to survey the WiFi landscape around you. You lose over 50% of your data rate when there is channel interference with your neighbors.
  • Set the AP to use a 5 GHz channel that is near the top end of the band. These channels have the highest allowed FCC transmit power limits from the AP. I.e. pick channels 149 and higher.
  • Try to see if you can connect when the AP channel width is set to at 40 MHz, over a 20 MHz width for 11n and 11ac. If 40 MHz works, then try 80 MHz that is enabled with an 11ac capable router. Higher channel bandwidths can provide faster speeds but are more sensitive to distance and other sources of RF noise.

Update your router firmware

Some wireless routers have bugs in handling the amount of UDP traffic sent in In-Home Streaming. Please make sure your router has the latest firmware updates to resolve any known issues.

Set streaming quality to "Balanced" or "Fast" in streaming settings

The streaming quality directly affects the amount of bandwidth used for streaming, so reducing the visual quality will help.

Tune your streaming bandwidth

You can directly limit the resolution and amount of bandwidth used in the advanced streaming settings. If you want to tune things exactly right for your setup, you can start at 3 Mbit/s and slowly increase the bandwidth until you start getting hitches and then drop it back down. You can do this live while your game is running by bringing up the Steam overlay with the guide button or Shift+Tab and going to the streaming settings panel.

Upgrade your network hardware

While upgrading your hardware is not guaranteed to improve your experience, upgrading to 802.11 AC wireless is often helpful. NVIDIA has created a list of recommended routers that are also good choices for Steam In-Home Streaming: http://shield.nvidia.com/routers

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