Netflix streaming device connection

Netflix streaming is now offered on a variety of home devices. These boxes join your local network, then connect out using the internet to retrieve your show. Our guide will describe the basics of connecting a streaming device, and also how to configure the system to get smooth performance.

Device setup

To begin, your Netflix device will need to be connected to the network and able to communicate with the closest router. This may be done using various methods depending upon the device and manufacturer.

Physical connection

Wired Ethernet - Physically plug the Netflix streaming device into your network using the appropriate cable type. Many networks use Ethernet with a copper wire, and an RJ45 type plug. Some older DVD players might even use a USB cable, which may be plugged into a router which supports it. In the future, home fiber optic lines might become more prevalent.

Wireless - Power up your Netflix device and activate the wifi option within the interface. Verify that you can see your wifi enabled router on the list of available networks.

Joining the network

Your device will then need to talk to the closest router. This might be your home router, a public hotspot, or even the internet provider's upstream router if you are direct connecting into a modem.

In order to make a connection the streaming device needs an address which it can get one of two ways, assigned automatically via DHCP or statically set by you.

DHCP - The dynamic host configuration protocol. Set the device to use this option in it's menu, then set your router to assign addresses. Reboot the streaming device, and it should hopefully get an address by itself and reach out to the Netflix servers.

Static - An address on the normal, routable network range of your router may be manually entered, to allow the device to connect. For example, if your router is “192.168.0.1”, try setting the Netflix device to “192.168.0.10”.

Testing

1) Check your routers logs for signs of the Netflix device. It might be in the list of active DHCP clients, or appear in a security audit.

2) Ping the IP address of your device from another computer.

Example:

ping 192.168.0.10

This will return whether or not the device is online and responding to the network.

Smoothing a slow or choppy connection

Does your streaming connection cut out frequently, producing a choppy viewing experience? Our investigative team explored many reasons why this might happen. Some causes can include traffic throttling by ISP's, upstream device provider network design, and fluctuating latency. For practical purposes, there are steps which any user can take to make things better.

Netflix Buffering Lag When Streaming

Netflix streaming pauses to buffer

Your Network

QOS - Quality of service for your home network. Games and file transfers have an affect on browsing speed and Netflix watching, the reverse is also true. You can prioritize traffic on many routers to suit your own tastes. The means varies from router to router, but usually a priority may be assigned to IP addresses, ports, or both. Netflix runs on port 80 along with other webpages, so give your Netflix device's IP address the priority, or give priority to port 80. While your at it, kick down the file transfers below everyone's web browsing and the whole house will applaud.

Security lock down - Your network may be being broken into and losing bandwidth on a daily basis. This can be addressed.

A) Update your router to the latest firmware.

B) Turn off router admin page log in from the open internet, i.e. the IP address that your ISP assigns you via DHCP. Only allow from local network.

C) Turn off router ping response.

D) Turn off wifi, or use the latest encryption protocol with an appropriate key string. This will degrade in security over time.

Upstream

You never know whats upstream waiting to slow down your movie. Trouble may be bypassed as an alternative.

VPN - Bite the bullet and pay for a VPN service. Your traffic will be hidden away, and out of the prying hands of various parties. Streaming Netflix shows might make it through unhindered.

VPS - This works with your local computer running a configurable browser, the SOX protocol, and a remote Linux virtual private server which you have leased for around five dollars per month. Connect to the VPS from your home computer using SSH and a SOX switch, establishing an encrypted socket.

Example:

ssh -D 9999 -C user@myhost

-D : Assigns a port to use for a SOX connection.
-C : Enables compression.

Next, configure your browser to use a socks proxy, at localhost, and port 9999. Your Netflix viewing is now piped though an encrypted socket.

Streaming devices

Several devices have come to market which allow streaming of video through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other services.

Google Chromecast
http://www.google.com/chrome/devices/chromecast/

Nintendo Wii
https://www.nintendo.com/wii

Roku
http://www.roku.com/

DateNovember 28, 2013
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