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771 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 189468 30-Dec-2015 23:58
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I have a Western Digital USB2.0 1TB hard drive (spinning disk) connected to my OpenWrt Chaos Chalmer router (HG556a). On the HD I have family photos and videos, as time goes on I also intend to upload photos and videos from our smart phones to the HD. I have a 1st gen Fire TV box running Kodi connected to the TV. As it is now, I can stream mp4 videos from the HD/Router to Kodi, although there is some buffering (once every 15 secs) and the jpeg photos take a little too long to load (4-5 seconds).

I want to eliminate the buffering and have the photos load up quickly i.e basically speed up the network. The budget is $0.

Currently the HD has NTFS filesystem and the router is an HG556a running Samba. I set this up over the weekend, but then realised I don't have any Windows devices nor PCs at home, everything is linux, e.g. 2 Android smartphones, 1 Android tablet, chromecast, and a fire tv. Which I believe, means Samba isn't needed and I can use NFS, which means I can use my faster WR1043ND v1.8 router which is also flashed with Chaos Chalmer. I'm not using this at the moment because its 32MB RAM is insufficient to run Samba smoothly.

The things I intend to do to speed up the image loading and video streaming are:
1. convert all jpegs to 1920x1080 resolution (a reduction in resolution but the max the TV can handle)
2. convert all videos to 720p mp4s. (the raw files of our home vids won't have any higher resolution than this, and I find 720p good enough anyway)
3. use NFS instead of Samba, and therefore the replace the HG556a with the WR1043ND.
4. convert HD filesystem to ext4

1 & 2 should see the biggest improvement and are pretty straightforward to do, although a little time consuming.
3. NFS is new to me, (so was Samba until last weekend). However can the FireTV use NFS? I see Kodi does support NFS. But because my FireTV isn't rooted (and cannot be) I don't know if the NFS functionality of the FireTV's OS is accessible. Also is NFS faster than Samba?
4. Would changing from NTFS to ext4 make a speed improvement?

Are there any other things I could do to speed up the network? (I also have Ethernet over powerline box, but took it out to reduce the clutter from the powerpoint to the TV area). And it's also one less thing for the 2 year old to touch/break.

What are your opinions on 1, 2,3 & 4?


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431 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1459352 31-Dec-2015 07:09
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One thing with home movies and pictures etc is that they become important., a hard drive failure and they are all gone. I have a simple NAS running on an old workstation using Linux and software raid so that all my critical stuff is on a mirrored array.

I also have the Dropbox client running on my NAS. When I am out and about my photos are uploaded from my phone to Dropbox and then automatically downloaded to my NAS at home.

I have (just removed) an Amazon FireTV in the lounge running Netflix and Kodi and YouTube and streamed media from my NAS. Works perfectly with gigabit ethernet to all devices. No buffering of 1080p.

How is your's connected?


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1459443 31-Dec-2015 10:33
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Sounds like you might be the type of person with spare hardware lying around?

If you do - i would recommend trying out unRAID - even if just for "fun".

With the free license option you can try it out - and if it suits your needs you can then buy a license:

I have been running an unRAID  media server at home for a couple of years now and it has been brilliant.

Can stream full BR rips to my Kodi installs and they all stream happily over my samba shares - i could use nfs, but haven't needed to...

Anyway - just a thought :)

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  Reply # 1459447 31-Dec-2015 10:53
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Are you using wired ethernet? 100Mbps or 1Gbps? I think you need to diagnose the problem before you go reducing the size of your jpegs and reducing video quality. Of course you should keep backups at full quality. I use Kodi on an R.Pi2 across a network that I have set to 100Mbps, server is my PC which is quite fast with internal RAID. 720p shows take 2-3s to start streaming and never buffer. 1080p never buffers either. When I had my PS3 on Wifi things buffered all the time, but Ethernet fixed it.

What file size is the average jpeg? Let's say 3MB (which is large for a jpeg), that's 24Mb, which should download across the network in 0.25s plus margin for overhead.  What's taking the extra time? Transmission? Spinning up disks that have spun down? Slow CPU on the client or server?

More investigation is required.

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  Reply # 1459464 31-Dec-2015 11:35
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Simply put - your HG556a is the bottleneck here since it only has 100mbit Ethernet and is designed as a router and not a NAS box. It simply doesn't have enough resources. This goes for your other router too.

I would strongly suggest using a PC on your network (since you said you ran Linux) which would improve performance otherwise picking up a dedicated NAS. The FireTV has plenty of power to load anything. I personally use a HP Microserver with around 8TiB disk space and can stream to the FireTV (1080p) as well as the Chromecast totally fine. Disk performance from the raid (and virtual machine overhead) is around 800mbit which isn't bad at all considering the microserver is over 5 years old now.

Invest once on a solution fit for purpose now, and for the future and reap the benefits. Grab an old $50 ex-lease PC from PB-Tech and install FreeNAS on it.

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  Reply # 1459543 31-Dec-2015 14:54
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I agree with timmmay, if you are using wifi for any devices that you view the media on then that is a likely issue to focus on. Normal wifi troubleshooting, location of router in relation to users (ie coverage tends to attenuate with each wall the signal has to go through), and try to work out which channel is least congested using one of the wifi analyser apps on your phone. I tend to set "RTS" on the router to something like 1024 to reduce packet "collisions", especially if there are multiple networks in the area.

Also try connecting the router with a different cable if there is any chance that a wired link is causing the problem. NFS definitely causes less load on the fileserver but it may only be connecting the hte hard drive on a older USB link, so hopefully your other router has faster USB.

Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^

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  Reply # 1459723 1-Jan-2016 09:09
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if you want a reliable NAS type setup dont use the router to do it.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1459890 1-Jan-2016 17:28
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Thanks everyone for your contributions. Seems like the hardware is underpowered for my intended use.
I'll toss up between using Amazon Cloud Drive/Prime or getting additional hardware.
Since I had a spare 1TB HD lying around collecting dust I thought I'd put it to good use.
Are they intended more for backups and storing documents than streaming?

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1459905 1-Jan-2016 17:41
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The hard drive is fine for streaming from, its the router that doesn't have the berries.

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