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About SlingStudio Wi-Fi hotspot health

How to assess the connectivity of your SlingStudio project setup.

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Hotspot Health is a term used to define the robustness of the wireless communication interface between the SlingStudio unit and mobile clients such as the Apple iPhone, the Apple iPod touch, the Apple iPad, Android smartphones, or HDMI cameras that are connected via the SlingStudio CameraLink device.

SlingStudio Console, when installed on an Apple iPad or a Mac computer and connected to a SlingStudio Wi-Fi hotspot, offers several tools that can be used to determine Wi-Fi health. The largest collection of such tools can be found in the Dashboard portion of SlingStudio Console.

As you read this article, refer to the Dashboard portion of Slingtudio Console to see what's being discussed here.

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health

The SlingStudio Console Dashboard expresses Wi-Fi Health as a percentage: The greater the number, the more robust the audio/video wireless communication channel is (that is, the less chance of A/V signal loss).

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health significance (green, yellow, red)

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health is expressed using three levels:

Level

Status

Possible result

Good

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health at least 66%

No issues are expected with A/V streaming.

Marginal

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health between 40% and 66%

Possible A/V streaming loss with very little extra capacity to make up for changes in conditions.

Poor

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health less than 40%

Likely A/V streaming loss.

Symptoms of poor SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health can vary. At worst, there might be a complete loss of the A/V feed. Lesser symptoms might include video breakup, low-quality images, video freezing, or audio loss.

Factors that can contribute to reduced SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health

SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health is can be affected by the following:

  • The number of iOS, Android, or CameraLink devices (more devices mean more network traffic and potentially more problems).
  • The collective distance of the iOS, Android, or SlingStudio CameraLink devices from the SlingStudio hotspot. Overall greater distances can degrade Wi-Fi health.
  • The distance of any one iOS, Android, or SlingStudio CameraLink device from the SlingStudio hotspot. The farther away the farthest device is, the more it can impact Wi-Fi Health, even if other devices are fairly close to the hotspot.
  • Any physical interference that disrupts signals between the SlingStudio hotspot and connected video sources.
  • Any signal interference from other Wi-Fi devices or other devices operating at the same frequency range as the SlingStudio hotspot.

Improving SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health

There are several things that you can do to improve SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health:

  • Use the SlingStudio unit's tripod socket (or the tripod socket underneath the SlingStudio Battery) to elevate the SlingStudio unit at least 6 feet off of the ground, if possible.
  • Orient the SlingStudio unit so that either side (the wide part) faces in the general direction of Wi-Fi video sources such as cameras or SlingStudio CameraLink devices.
  • If that's not feasible, then try to orient the SlingStudio unit so that a side (the wide part) faces the farthest remote Wi-Fi video source.
  • If possible, orient smartphones so that their displays face the general direction of the SlingStudio unit.
  • If possible, mount Wi-Fi video sources such as smartphones and SlingStudio CameraLink devices at least 6 feet off of the ground.
  • If possible, mount these devices on tripods or mounts in locations that have a direct line of sight to the SlingStudio unit. If that's not possible, then try to minimize physical blockages as best you can.

More things that you can do

If you notice in the Dashboard (or elsewhere) that SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health is becoming marginal or poor, try to limit the number of remote video sources that are streaming, and/or try moving the video sources closer to the SlingStudio unit. Streaming video devices can work better if they're not competing for network bandwidth. If it's not possible to reduce the number of streaming video sources, or their distance to the SlingStudio unit, then try reducing the compression bandwidth or bit rate that the streaming video sources are using.

Here are some examples that can help you to identify settings that might work best for you based on the parameter(s) that you consider the most important:

  • The number of cameras;
  • The bit rate;
  • The distance.

These examples should render Wi-Fi Health that can be considered good, assuming little or no nearby router or device interference.

Priority: Number of cameras
Expected baseline set up (performance can vary better or worse)

4 cameras: 4 iPhones at 20 feet at 20 Mb/sec bit rate
3 cameras: 3 iPhones at 30 feet at 20 Mb/sec bit rate
2 cameras: 2 iPhones at 200 feet at 10 Mb/sec bit rate
1 camera: 1 iPhone at 200 feet at 20 Mb/sec bit rate

Priority: Bit rate setting
Expected baseline set up (performance can vary better or worse)

20 Mb/sec: 4 iPhones at 20 feet or 1 iPhone at 200 feet or 1 iPhone at 100 feet and 2 iPhones at 10 feet
16 Mb/sec: 4 iPhones at 30 feet
10 Mb/sec: 2 iPhones at 200 feet
4 Mb/sec: 4 iPhones at 150 feet

Priority: Distance
Expected baseline set up (performance can vary better or worse)

300 feet: 1 iPhone at <3 Mb/sec bit rate
200 feet: 2 iPhones at 10 Mb/sec or 1 iPhone at 20 Mb/sec bit rate
150 feet: 4 iPhones at 4 Mb/sec bit rate
100 feet: 2 iPhones at 10Mb/sec bit rate and 1 iPhone at 10 feet
60 feet: 3 iPhones at 10 Mb/sec bit rate and 1 iPhone at 10 feet
30 feet: 3 iPhones at 20 Mb/sec bit rate and 1 iPhone at 10 feetor 3 iPhones at 10 feet at 20 Mb/sec bit rate
20 feet: 4 iPhones at 20 Mb/sec bit rate

Notes:

  • The range of the SlingStudio CameraLink is typically greater than that of the Apple iPhone.
  • Apple iPhone models can vary in range.

Summary of Optimizing Wireless Setup

  • Position the SlingStudio unit at least 5 feet off the ground
  • Position CameraLink devices and iPhones at least 6 feet off the ground
  • To the extent possible, try to arrange CameraLink devices and iPhones for unobstructed line of sight to SlingStudio itself.

What you can do if your production is having audio/video quality problems

  1. Move the farthest Wi-Fi video source so that it is closer to the SlingStudio unit.
  2. If possible, eliminate the Wi-Fi video source that is the farthest away from the SlingStudio hotspot. This can improve the performance of the other Wi-Fi devices.
  3. If Steps 1 and/or 2 are not possible, lower the bit rate of the SlingStudio project. When you're working with a lower resolution (720p) lowering the bit rate has less of a negative effect on video quality than it does with productions that are set for a higher resolution (1080p). A reduction in bit rate can come with less reduction in video quality.
  4. Minimize competition for network bandwidth. If at all possible, you'll have better results in an area where there aren't a lot of Wi-Fi users in general, even if they're not using your network specifically.

You also need to think about conserving network bandwidth if you have connected your SlingStudio unit to a Wi-Fi network so you can broadcast video to YouTube or Facebook. If you've done that, do not use the iPad that's running SlingStudio Console to check email or view web pages. Doing that consumes the network bandwidth that's needed for quality streaming.

Using the SlingStudio Console Dashboard to determine Wi-Fi Health

Here's some more detail about SlingStudio Console and the tools that it offers to help you determine (and improve) SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health.

First, access the SlingStudio Console Dashboard. Here's how:

SlingStudio for iPad:

  1. Tap the icon to go to the Dashboard. You see the Hotspot Quality indicator in the upper-left corner of the Dashboard.
  2. You can then tap Check for more information (not shown in images below).

SlingStudio for Mac:

  1. Click the icon to go to the Dashboard.
  2. Find SLINGSTUDIO HOTSPOT QUALITY toward the upper-right corner of the window.
  3. You can then click the green, yellow, or red indicator of current hotspot quality. Then, in the popup box that opens, click CHECK HOTSPOT.
    You see additional information.

The following three examples show what the Dashboard indicator looks like, with various states of Wi-Fi Health:


If you go further to check the hotspot, the information that you see:

  • Reveals overall SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health.
  • Assesses the Wi-Fi usage of other networks sharing the available Wi-Fi bands.
  • Offers tips to improve Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Displays your SlingStudio video sources that are connected via Wi-Fi, lists their current Wi-Fi status, and allows you to disable them to see the effect on overall SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health.
  • Allows you to change the current video bit rate to see its effect on SlingStudio Wi-Fi Health.