Virtual AP vs Separate devices

Have a friend with Xfinity 400Mbps. Complaining about not being able to stream without buffering.

I know there's lots of variables involved, but I'm curious about a single scenario.

Assuming 5 people are all streaming simultaneously, separating them all on to their own radio (separate AP, even) is ideal.

How does vAPs factor in to this? Would I be able to alleviate wifi congestion by utilizing a vAP BSSID for each kid? Or would they all present the same packet overhead vs all being on one BSSID?

He's already gonna have to buy 2 or 3 APs to cover the house.

No, if the vAPs use the same radio, you'll be dividing available bandwidth on the channel; and on the device.

Make sure that they are all on separate, non-overlapping channels.

Sorry, I could have clarified. What I was envisioning was a device with multiple physical radios, or better yet, separate physical devices altogether. Channel separation is a must, and much easier on the 5ghz spectrum.

That answers the question of multiple vAPs on the same radio. Since they'll all have to have the same channel and signal settings as their parent radio, they'll all be talking over each other.

Virtual APs are for network separation, and not thoroughput, got it.

What I might do is set up an AP for him with ideal channel number and width for his environment, connect one device, and see if he still has buffering issues. If so, his upstream hardware is the culprit.


With streaming video for "sane" wireless uses at 10 Mbps or less, according to

  • 0.5 Megabits per second - Required broadband connection speed
  • 1.5 Megabits per second - Recommended broadband connection speed
  • 3.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for SD quality
  • 5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Megabits per second - Recommended for Ultra HD quality

you should be able to stream smoothly for a couple users on 2.4 GHz and several on 5 GHz. If it really was a problem, I'd guess that the market would be flooded with "Super smooth, three-channel, video-streaming" wireless routers, rather than "gamer" routers in the $100+ range.

Past checking for a clear channel, location of the AP is worth checking. Things like multi-path that can cause challenges are not shown in RSSI / "signal strength", so sometimes playing around a bit with location can help. You might try "in the clear", in the middle of the room, on a non-metallic table, as a "reference point".

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This might also be helpful:

5 people streaming is likely to use something like 25 to 50 Mbps, which is a small fraction of the supposed 400Mbps

if you run a dslreports speed test on a wired connection how well does it work? does it get decent bufferbloat scores? How about upstream speed? Finally, switching to wifi does it fall apart? Perhaps you just have congestion with neighboring devices? Can you turn off 2.4ghz entirely? Perhaps force 5ghz devices to connect to the 5ghz radios by putting a "mynet5" SSID on them and connecting to that? Usually interference is much less on 5ghz due to shorter range.

EDIT: also what is the router? My experience with streaming is that it downloads little chunks, each chunk will probably come in at hundreds of megabits for a few seconds. The burst may be too much for the CPU to handle on low powered routers, and result in dropped packets and retries etc.

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Also this link: