Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pitfalls of Downloading Movies Part 2

Got the cheap ($15) four port switch in and ..... it worked!  Now I can download a movie and watch it, or stream a movie and the house keeps working just fine.  Like one of the folks that commented on my problem described, this was easy to fix, just unexpected.

I've found over and over again that the more expensive items aren't necessary.  The switches I looked at ran from $15 to way over a hundred bucks.  I chose the cheapest I could find that was easily returned if it didn't work.  There was no time pressure, I could wait for an order to come in and return it and try again if necessary, so I felt it was worth it to see if the cheapest would work.  I don't have a clue how long it will work though; only time will tell me that.  It may be that the power supply is running over capacity and it will die a day or so after the warranty expires; I've had that happen with DSL modems twice now, and they weren't the cheapest I could find.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pitfalls of Downloading Movies

I recently started downloading movies from Dish Network and watching them.  This is a nice feature even if the selection of free movies is pretty limited.  However, there is a problem that didn't occur to me.

As we all know, movies are big and take a lot of bandwidth to get to the TV to watch.  This clogs up my in-house network and shuts down some of my devices.  On the leg of my ethernet that feeds the Dish network receiver is an old hub that runs at 10Mbs; when I start a movie download, every device on that same leg can't get responses quickly enough and goes into recovery mode.  That means they reset, and wait until they have an internet connection before starting back up.

So, download a movie, turn off the house.  Swell.  Everything recovers nicely after the bandwidth comes back and things crank along normally, but sometimes these movies take a while to load.  I've got a 10/100 hub on order to replace the old device and that should take care of the problem and increase the speed of the movie download somewhat.  The only reason I think this will work is because the other devices in the house just keep on working.  They slow down a bit, but they don't just stop like this particular leg does.  I could also modify the various timeout periods to allow for slower traffic, but I want to try this first.

At some point, I'm going to remove all the house control devices from the ethernet except the house controller. I'm getting tired of the internet causing problems around the house and my XBee network is working great.  I never, ever have a problem with it hanging up or getting overloaded due to some other activity.

So, the acid pump needs work, the water heater needs a new control system and now the ethernet is clogged.  Somebody remind me that this is really worth the effort.

Oh, that's right, I saved almost a $1000 on power bills last year.....that's right, I remember now.