Q: I’m thinking about dropping cable TV, but keeping cable internet service for streaming TV.
Right now, the speed of my Comcast Xfinity X1 Triple Play internet service is 87 megabits.
That’s enough to support a mesh Wi-Fi system, in which three Eero Wi-Fi devices create a single wireless network throughout my home, as well as three wired connections for a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone, an alarm system and a security camera DVR.
The Wi-Fi network is now used by my laptop PC and my smartphone, but I’d like to add two TVs that would simultaneously stream programs from Netflix or Sling TV.
Will my present internet speed be enough to handle all that?
Jim VanZant, South Bend, Ind.
A: In theory, you have enough internet capacity to handle all those devices. But in practice, you may not. Here are the main issues:
1) Your internet speed is advertised at 75 megabits, and that’s what you should plan on having. Because of the way Comcast designed its system, your connection may sometimes surge up to 90 megabits, but you can’t count on that.
2) Your mesh Wi-Fi network is unlikely to deliver that 75 megabits throughout your home. Radio signaling back and forth between the three Eero units uses up some Wi-Fi capacity. When that’s combined with a Wi-Fi slowdown due to the distance between the Eero units, your Wi-Fi speed could be reduced by about 80 percent in some parts of the house. That would leave you with about 15 megabits of data capacity — or less if your wired devices are also using the internet. (See a review of the Eero mesh network at tinyurl.com/glogu2a).
3) Streaming TV uses a lot of internet capacity. Netflix says that streaming two standard definition TV signals at once requires 6 megabits of internet speed, streaming two high-definition signals requires 10 megabits and streaming two ultrahigh definition signals requires 50 megabits.
So, you may not have enough internet speed for all your Wi-Fi and wired gadgets.
There are several possible solutions:
• Opt for a lower streaming TV picture quality to conserve internet capacity.
• Reduce the load on your Wi-Fi by using wired connections for the TVs or for the Eero units.
• Buy a faster internet connection.
But before you make any changes, try simultaneously streaming video to the two TVs over your existing Wi-Fi network. You will soon know whether there’s a problem.
Q: We had to reboot our Wi-Fi network, which we use for wireless printing. Afterward, our three Windows 10 PCs indicated that our Canon Pixma MG2550 printer was offline, even though it wasn’t. The printer works OK when connected to a PC by cable. We downloaded new printer driver software, but it didn’t help. What can we do?
Bruce Falink, Garrison, Minn.
A: Canon suggests several potential solutions, such as adjusting computer-to-printer settings or rebooting the computer and printer Wi-Fi connections (see tinyurl.com/m8ruj2j).
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