Knowledge Base 12/4/2016 12:00:00 AM

What is my 'Network Mode Tool' and What Does it Mean?

Your Slingbox can operate in either "TCP" (Transport Control Protocol) mode or "UDP" (User Datagram Protocol) mode and each of our customers has the ability to control this via their login.

This may sound complicated or difficult to understand, but it's really pretty simple.  If you wish to learn more than we'll talk about here, then please take two minutes to read the article you will find  here , which does a good job of explaining the technical stuff in simple terms.  

If you are like most people however, you're probably more interested in quickly understanding "what does this mean to me, someone who just wants to enjoy watching television?"  I think that the table below will serve that purpose:

Maximum Streaming Speed Limited by "Latency" - the time it takes a packet of data to travel over the Internet from your Slingbox to your SlingPlayer.  As long as your Latency is less than ~180 ms, then you should be able to stream in HD NOT Limited by Latency.  Your best realizable streaming speed is determined primarily by the total bandwidth available to you over the Internet between American TV 2 Go and your location
Skipping and Freezing

Every single packet of data (audio and video) which is generated by your Slingbox is guaranteed to be delivered to your SlingPlayer, even if the first try fails. 

If your connection experiences a lot of "lost" packets (which have to be re-transmitted), then this will lower your streaming speed, but as long as your bitrate is not too low (typically above 500 kbps), your video should be smooth.

"Lost" packets are not re-transmitted.  This sounds bad, but as long as the lost packet rate is not too high, you'll never notice it on your TV screen.  This is because the decoder in your SlingPlayer does a very good job of interpolating the missing data.   
Connection Reliability Almost always connects on the first try and rarely drops once the connection is established Sometimes takes a couple of attempts to connect; a little more likely to drop an established connection
Proxy Server Connections Using a Proxy can as much as double your streaming performance, because it effectively cuts your Latency in half Not likely to help, but sometimes it can, by "bending" the path which your packets follow over the Internet, possibly avoiding points of chronic congestion

The Network Mode Tool does not currently have any effect for Slingbox 350 users, so the following only applies if we host a Slingbox PRO-HD for you:

  • To check your Slingbox PRO-HD Network Mode:
    • Login to your account
    • Look near the bottom of your Dashboard in the "Network Mode" section
    • It will take about 10 seconds, then your current setting will be displayed

For most users, "TCP" is the way to go, but for a minority of you, "UDP" might get you some improvement, with tradeoffs as noted in the table above. 

  • To change your Slingbox PRO-HD Network Mode:
    • Disconnect from your Slingbox using the "disconnect" command in SlingPlayer
    • On your Dashboard, click the mode to change to
    • Wait for the change to complete (less than 20 seconds)
    • Reboot your System using the "Reboot System" link on your Dashboard
    • Reconnect to your Slingbox

If you would like to know what YOUR bandwidth and Latency is, please click here

We hope that you found this information helpful!