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I use the raspberry pi mainly as a XBMC and to some extent a private webserver with almost no traffic.

I'm moving to a new flat where I'll have 100Mb download speed provided by optical fiber (from ONO.es)

I would like to enjoy max speed while watching streams, so wired connection seems to be the natural choice, but my router is far away from my TV so the raspberry pi will probably be connected wirelessly. My question is: will I notice a slow down in speed? In my understanding the ethernet in the raspi is 10Mb/s so that is going to be the bottleneck, rather than the wireless itself.

What do you guys think? Should I take the effort of running a loooong cable along the walls, making holes in the furniture and so on, or will I be ok with the WLAN connectivity?

  • I would suggest you to use LAN. WLAN has too many problems, because it depends on many factors: too many wirreless connections on the same channel will cause interference, channel noise (different appliances), walls material, router placement, etc. If you still preffer WLAN, use powerline networking, no cables involved. – machineaddict Jul 16 '14 at 12:37
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You might be confused by the terminology used by "Mb", as it's used for two different things.

  • The Rapsberry Pi has a 100 megabit (mbps) LAN, which gives you a stable 12 megabytes per second (mb).
  • A WiFi 802.11g is rated at 54 mbps which is about 6.75 megabytes per second, but knowing Wifi and interference you can only count on 50% band width, about 3.3megabytes per second if you're lucky.
  • You get 802.11n 150 mbps and dual channel 300 mbps which is a lot better obviously.
  • The newest 802.11ac promises something like 1000 mbps, using several channels and some crazy stuff. But to fully use it you need USB3 otherwise you might be lucky to get about 400 mbps on USB2. It would be best to get an 802.11ac router separate and keep in "ac" only mode, because if older devices connect it will slow down everything.

From my experience, if you just want to stream SD quality or highly compressed 720p then wireless N will be good enough. If you plan to stream 1080p mkv files, like myself, Wireless will not keep up, even dual channel N.

The recommendation for best experience is the get that wire installed or try and experiment with 802.11ac - You don't want HD movies buffering every 4 seconds!

-Edit April 2015-

I now own an 802.11ac triple antenna interface router (mostly for 802.11n support while not killing ac performance) I did some preliminary tests on a Pi and achieve very good transfer rates with one device on the WiFi. The problem though now, is range, its about half the range. I go into the kitchen and it drops into n (about 4~6 metres away downstairs) where n reaches outside, all the way on the road, about ~15 meters)

  • I'm assuming you didn't tested a raspberry performance. So, I have a few corrections to make: 1. A Raspberry PI never reaches 10MB/s, not even close. The maximum speed I got from it was 5-6MB/sec over FTP from an USB HDD. Running over SSH has less speed, because of encryption. Other services, like samba, had the same performance. 2. Wifi can run over what you mentioned 300mbit. It can go to 40MB/sec easily, even more. But, it depends on so many factors. 3. short for megabytes is [MB](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte), mb stands for megabit. – machineaddict Jul 16 '14 at 12:24
  • Not sure where you found that MB and mb are two different things, definitely not on the Wiki. Anyway, the reason you got 5-6mb/s is because you were reading a USB HDD, that used up the other 5-6mb/s bandwidth, DOH! You need to realise the LAN is built into a USB HUB. If you do proper tests using iperf you will get different results. Yes, I have several Pi's, from the first batches to the new B+, and various other embedded stuff, and I have tried almost everything mainstream you could with a Pi (within reasonable assumption obviously) – Piotr Kula Jul 16 '14 at 13:43
  • I have the same B+ version. The 5-6MB/s is caused by the processor being stuck at 100% at the moment of transfer, not by the USB. The process causing this is called something with irq in its name. If you reached above 5-6MB/s and not have the processor at 100% all the time, please tell me how you did it. Even as a router with another USB network card has reached a maximum of 4MB/s with 100% processor usage. – machineaddict Jul 17 '14 at 9:13
  • I dont know if you all guys are having into account I mean stream FROM The INTERNET, that's why I provided my internet speed. Therefore I really think that my donwload speed from something like streamcloud is what is gonna make bottleneck. Am I wrong? – javirs Jul 17 '14 at 9:57
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    @ppumkin - Mb and MB are two different units, and the capitalization matters – user2813274 Aug 15 '14 at 13:43
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A modern wifi-router typically does at least 300 Mbit/s. I think you will be fine with wifi.

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    Chromecast only runs on single channel n, at 150 Mbit/s - ANd when I tried to stream 1080p MKV to it via Plex. It shat itself, i boxed it up and returned it to Google. So I use Plex APP wired on 100mbit and it works great. So you see 300mbit wireless is in ideal conditions, and I made sure I had pretty ideal conditions with 150mbit and it still couldnt cope. – Piotr Kula Jul 16 '14 at 13:51
  • I stream HD over wlan withoug having a single trouble. Having don that with three different routers in two different houses, one with drywall and one with cement walls, I would say it safe to assume it will work, but of course it depends on all sorts of parameters. Then again, so does cable-bound IP. – Bex Jul 17 '14 at 7:30
  • Well it seems wireless is pretty inconclusive because I am sure it works well for you and other.. but there are other that it doesnt, like me. – Piotr Kula Jul 17 '14 at 10:12
  • @ppumkin - Chromecast does not support 1080p to being with, only 720, so it wouldn't be able to play it even if it did have sufficient bandwidth – user2813274 Aug 15 '14 at 13:40
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    Yea because it sucks. – Piotr Kula Aug 15 '14 at 20:22

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