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Wireless

Up to this point, all of my testing was done over a wired connection. However, the DSM-520 also has 802.11g wireless network capabilities, which I accessed with the setup menu where networking was configured. In this menu, I changed my network from wired to wireless. Then in the wireless section, I utilized a site survey capability to scan for access points (Figure 13).

Figure 13: Wireless access point selection

Figure 13: Wireless access point selection

Once I selected my access point, I entered the encryption info. Both WEP and the more secure WPA are supported, but I chose 128 bit WEP to be compatible with the rest of my wireless gear. My access point is pretty much directly above my entertainment center on a different floor of the house. Total distance is about 7-8 feet and the signal has to pass through flooring and furnace ductwork.

So I was getting a strong signal, which worked, as well as my wired connection. I was able to use all of my content, including high-definition video, without issue. Of course, depending on your network configuration, you may have different results.

To see how well the unit performed wirelessly at a longer distance, I moved the DSM-520 up a floor in my house making it about 40-50 feet, two wood floors and some ductwork away from my Linksys WRT54G access point in the basement. But even at this distance, it had no problem with playing 1080i video. It's important to note that there is only one other wireless LAN within range (Figure 13) and our two WLANs are on channels 1 and 11, which means there is no interference.

So if you can't get Ethernet to your entertainment center, my little experiment shows that wireless can an option, even for HD content. But I still think I'm more comfortable with a hard-wired connection when playing high resolution video streams.

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