Tips to optimize your Wi-Fi for Windows 10 game streaming

Staff Writer

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So, you’ve got yourself a nice shiny Xbox One and a nice freshly installed copy of Windows 10, you’ve played with the Start menu, snapped apps, left, right and center, now what? You stream your games from your Xbox, of course! For those who are new to Windows 10, head over here to see how you can set up game streaming.

These quick tips will help you achieve the best experience for your gaming needs. Before we start, you must take into account that all homes are different, from interference, building materials and dead monsters in-between your walls, though, I can’t eliminate these issues, I can most certainly help you get past the worst of it, maybe even to a point where you wouldn’t even know you had half of the Goblins from The Lord of The Rings dead inside your walls. With that said, let’s go.

Router Position

The most important of all. Router placement in the home is one of lives undeniable issues. “Where should I put it?” “Where will it work best?” “Does it matter if my cat sits on it?” All, very good questions. The truth behind it all, your router works best (at least for myself) in the highest room you can get to in the house, providing you have a phone socket or a REALLY long Ethernet cable that you can stealthy hide under the carpets, run the cable across every wall hoping your wife doesn’t notice, or, just run it and hope no one has a fatal accident. Myself, my router is in the spare bedroom, above the living room, game room, and sits in-between the housemates bedrooms, for us, we have full and strong signal everywhere we need it most. You need to find out for yourself where would be a good place to put your router, try and put it closest to the most Wi-Fi intensive areas of the house. Avoid the kitchen, microwaves are a router’s great enemy.

2.4Ghz or 5Ghz?

You may notice on a lot of modern routers, they have this 5Ghz thing, but what is it? It’s a faster, more reliable and stable Wi-Fi signal. 5Ghz is one of the highest types of Wi-Fi signal available to consumers, with it’s super-fast transfer speeds, strong and reliable connection to devices (less drop outs are good for streaming!) and less interference from other devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, it’s the big daddy of the wireless family. So, I hear you ask, why is that better for game streaming? Well, you lovely human being, it means you’re less susceptible to dropped frames when streaming (packet-loss if you’re being posh) thus, Xbox One and talks well with your Windows 10 device, which, in turn, means a lot less lag from a button press and making the experience THAT more awesome. Seriously, use 5Ghz.

Wireless vs Wired

The big question, “do I get better performance on a wired connection than wireless?” The answer, YES. Wired will always be the preferred connection method for anyone, tiny amounts of latency if any at all, higher transfer speeds than traditional wireless and almost no connection drops. But, what if you don’t want to drag a 50ft Ethernet cable across the house, down the hall, though the dining room, into Pan’s labyrinth, to the end up in your office 20 years away from your router? You have wireless. Now, for me, I stream from a 5Ghz Wi-Fi band from my Xbox One in the living room and from my Desktop PC in the office (About 3 rooms away) with a average 3 bars of 5Ghz goodness, I experience almost no lag, no packet loss and enjoy ubur Halo pwning. If you’re on 2.4Ghz wireless, you will not have a great experience, the stream is just to high of a bitrate for the wireless signal, you will encounter lag, stuttering and lots of rage at the fact that your car you spent 500,000CR on just ended up in a bush upside down because the video was too delayed to react quick enough. If you have the ability to use 5Ghz wireless, do it, the same goes for wired connections, if you can plug both your PC and Xbox One into the router without, again, having rather long Ethernet cables hanging around, do it. 2.4Ghz unfortunately just isn’t good enough for high quality and enjoyable streaming, Sorry kids!

Change your Wi-Fi channel

This is an easy one, changing your Wi-Fi channel may have you running round the house in enjoyment that you can finally play Halo in the garden, whilst in the pool, with beer, because, you can. Wi-Fi channels are very important, most modern routers these days have a “Smart” mode for Wi-Fi channels that will constantly monitor noise and activity on other wireless channels to make sure you’re getting the least interference on your current channel, but, as good as that sounds, 90% of the time it doesn’t work quite as well as advertised, thus, requiring some “manual intervention”.  A great way to check what Wi-Fi channel might be best, is a Wi-Fi Analyser for your smartphone or tablet, these things are great, showing you what is the best Wi-Fi channel for you to use with minimal interference and noise. Find your channel that suits yourself and your devices perfectly. The reason behind this, less noise, less lag, more frag.

Upgrade Your Router

Most people will only have the router they got from there ISP. I, on the other hand, have EE Home broadband with a “Bright Box 2” let me tell you right now, there is nothing bright about it, yes, it has 5Ghz channels, but it is simply awful. The same may happen for you — your ISP will always say “it’s the most reliable connection ever” etc., and they’re most likely right, if you live in a single room apartment building. The truth is, the routers you get from your ISP are just plain awful, sure, they work for the average consumer (sometimes) but, in this ever growing technological world, they’re not ready for the future at all. So, with that in mind, after much thought and router movements and channel switching, I decided that this “Bright Box 2” was short of a few sparks. I decided to bite the bullet and buy myself a top of the line, all singing all dancing router, the Netgear Nighthawk X6 to be exact, this thing, wow. Sure, it’s retail price isn’t cheap (£200+) but it’s something I will have for a good few years. This instantly changed my Wi-Fi performance around the house, it’s range is absolutely insane, the connection is solid and reliable and with it’s x2 5Ghz channels, streaming is ALMOST flawless, sure the odd frame drop is to be expected on a wireless signal, but, that’s every half hour or so. My point here is, if you have tried countless measures to improve your signal in your room and or around the house, it might be worth looking into getting a new router.

That’s pretty much it, I hope these tips find you well and make your Windows 10/Xbox One streaming that much more awesome!