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.


  1. You should consider upgrading the backbone of your house to gigabit. Also, dont buy hubs. Only buy switches. The technology is different.

    1. Recommended:

      Gigabit, auto-power-down for unused ports. I love the well-ventilated metal case. I have one out on the computer cabinet and one in a structured wiring box (enclosure in the wall) running my home network rock solid for two years now (knock on wood!)

      If you have these kinds of network bottlenecks, you are "lucky", as they are easily fixable. Don't hesitate to swap out the hub with a good switch - it's a 60 second upgrade and you'll be glad you did.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. I got a really good deal on a 100Mb switch ($15) and am going to try it out for a month or so. If it doesn't do the job, it'll get reassigned somewhere that there isn't much traffic inside the house...or a neighbor's house. I haven't checked the cables in the walls to be sure they can support a gigabit network, but I'll take a look when I put the new switch in. IIRC, I already have a Gig switch at the distribution panel, but that will have to be checked also.

    1. A $15 100Mb switch rocks. Pop that baby in and see if it helps. Good luck - please tell us if it does help! (I think it will...)