When using your network-connected Tablo, or a TV-connected (HDMI) Tablo through a streaming platform such as Roku, Fire TV, or Android TV it is important to have a fast and reliable home network to ensure a viewing experience free from buffering and interruptions.
While a fast internet connection is important for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. Tablo relies on a high-quality Local Area Network (LAN) connection for the best results.
Think of your LAN as your local neighborhood. It encompasses every device that is connected to your router. This connection can be through Wi-Fi or a physical Ethernet connection. While your LAN does not include the wider internet, it is the critical last mile for a smooth streaming experience.
How Data is Transmitted Over a Network
When data is transmitted over a network, it is broken up into smaller bits called packets. Think of a packet as a parcel that you send in the mail. Just like mail parcels, packets can be delayed. This usually manifests itself as buffering where video playback stops before playing again.
Under some circumstances, packets can get lost altogether.
How to Improve the Connection Quality on Your Local Network (LAN)
While some network problems may require some assistance from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), here are some things you can do to help improve your local network (LAN).
1 - Hardwire What You Can
When the physical layout of your home allows for it, it is usually optimal to hardwire your devices directly to your router with an Ethernet cable.
Devices that are hardwired will have faster, more stable connections. Reducing the number of devices that use Wi-Fi frees up bandwidth for the devices that must be on Wi-Fi.
We recommend keeping your Tablo connected via Ethernet if possible.
2 - Use the Wireless Band That Best Fits Your Situation
Most modern routers broadcast two different types of wireless networks. 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz. Each type of wireless network has different properties that make them better suited for different situations.
- Have more bandwidth
- Are less prone to interference from surrounding wireless networks
However, they also have a shorter range and do not handle physical obstructions such as walls, floors, or furniture as well as other options.
5Ghz networks are best suited for devices that are close to your router and in Wi-Fi-dense environments such as apartment buildings.
- Have a better range compared to its 5Ghz counterpart
- Can better handle physical obstructions such as walls, floors, or furniture
However, 2.4 GHz networks have less bandwidth available to them and are more prone to interference from surrounding wireless networks.
2.4 GHz networks are suited for situations where additional range is required or where there are lots of physical obstacles between your router and device.
Tablo supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. It is acceptable to use a mix of both in your home.
3 - Use the Wireless Channel That Works For You
The 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands are further subdivided into wireless channels. The more activity there is on a channel, the more congested it will become.
Many modern routers handle channel selection automatically behind the scenes. However, if your router allows you to manually select what channel is being used, you can use this to your advantage.
There are mobile apps such as WiFiMan that will tell you what wireless channels are the most congested, to give you an idea of what wireless channels you should be using.
If you are interested in learning more about wireless channels, check out this article which explains the concept in depth: https://www.makeuseof.com/wi-fi-router-channels-explained-what-do-they-all-do/
4 - Consider the Placement of Your Router
Try to avoid hiding your router inside cabinets or behind furniture or other obstructions. If possible, it is a best practice to keep it on the upper floor of your home in a central location.
If you use a wireless mesh system, place your Access Points (APs) in central locations around your home and away from outer walls. You will want the access points to be close enough so that they can reliably communicate with each other. However, you do not want the access points to be too close together, otherwise, they may interfere with each other.
5 - Use the Latest Technologies
Newer technologies such as Wi-Fi 6e are designed to help mitigate some of the drawbacks of wireless communications. If your router is over 5 years old, it may be worth considering an upgrade. The same applies to your streaming devices. If you have an older streaming device, it may be worth considering an upgrade if you are experiencing connectivity problems.