In my router, what is WMM and should I enable it? Hint: yes!

Update: More than 5 years after writing this, it’s still one of the most popular articles on my website, so I decided to make a short video that explains this as well! 😉




Original post below:
Fridays are usually video game related articles. Today, I’m not talking about games themselves, but how the gaming console has become the entertainment hub in your livingroom. It’s a lengthy post, but I think it will prove to be of some value to most readers! The long and short of it is: I was having major problems streaming Netflix to any of my wireless consoles – PS3, 360, or Wii. But my desktop computer worked fine. I enabled WMM and the majority of my problems were solved. It’s not a one touch fix, by any means – there are a million potential reasons video would be buffering, even times when the service you’re streaming from won’t have adequate bandwidth, are caught throttling your connection, or are being investigated for generally poor speeds. There are times when your regional ISP may just be having technical issues. There are an abundance of issues that can arise at the dozens of hops between you and the media you’re watching or listening to. But, in optimal conditions, WMM is a feature that will help you.

There are debates galore concerning not only the effectiveness, but the legitimacy of “Wi-Fi Multimedia™ (WMM®) WMM® Quality of Service.” People don’t know what it is, don’t understand it, or don’t think it really does anything. Well, it’s my opinion and experience that it does make a difference for streaming movies, it’s worth noting, however that some people prefer to have this feature disabled, and doing so they claim faster overall throughput (faster “file” downloads). Personally, when I have WMM enabled, I do not see my regular download speeds slowed at all, and I enjoy the added benefit of buffer-free streaming to my Wi-Fi devices. Therefore, I’m going to explain not only why I think you should enable, but how to enable it.

The rest of this article gets technical, and also may have instructions which you don’t need – the “meat” of the question is answered above

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A little background on WMM

Created by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a group of entities, including the manufacturers of wireless access points and networking hardware, WMM was designed to enhance the streaming of multimedia over wireless devices. From the technical side of things, despite drastic advancements in wireless technology, there will always be slightly higher latency in Wi-Fi devices than in wired connections. Trying to avoid all of the technical information, WMM allows traffic related to multi-media to take a higher priority, thus their packets get delivered first, meaning their “received!” packets will get back to the source sooner, meaning more packets will come your way sooner! “Net neutrality” goes out the Window… but only on your wireless network! In reality, if you enable WMM on your router, particularly in a home environment, it will not impact your other devices on the network, unless, say, you’re downloading and seeding a dozen torrents, streaming twenty movies, and making four VOIP calls at the same time!

Services like Zune, Qriocity, Last.FM, YouTube, Netflix, and Vudu have capitalized on that, by making their software available on your home console. But do you ever have problems with your console, be it Xbox, PS3, Wii, or other Wi-Fi devices like your phone or tablet, buffering? If you try it on your wired computer or laptop or even on the same console, just wired directly to your router, you have no problem. But if you try to use Wi-Fi, whatever you’re watching or listening to simply keeps getting interrupted. It doesn’t make any sense: you know you have enough bandwidth, other devices work, why not this stupid console? Why is everyone enjoying Inside Xbox but you?

Here’s what to do



I’m not positive about the others, but I do know that on a LinkSys, WMM is Disabled by default – which is why I wanted to share this tip with everyone, because it actually made a difference for me! Open up your web browser, and go to the address: 192.168.1.1 (if it is different from this, you’re probably advanced enough to know how to find it, because you most likely changed it yourself!).

Enter your router’s password. If you’ve never set it, there are several potential default passwords.

What’s the default password for my router?

  • LinkSys / Cisco: username: {none} / password: admin
  • NetGear: username: admin / password: password or 1234
  • D-Link: username: admin / password: admin – in some cases, D-Link may have no name, or no password, or use user as the username.
  • For best results, a quick search on the web ought to point you in the right direction of finding your specific router’s password
  • .

Once inside your router, you should be able to find an applications tab – in the case of the LinkSys WRT54G2 that we’re using in this example (an extremely common home router), it’s listed as Applications and Gaming. Here’s what it looks like for most LinkSys WRT54xx series routers:

After you click the tab at the top, the subtabs will change. As you can see in the same picture above, there will be an option that says
QoS. Click to the Quality of Service or QoS subtab.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and change the drop down for WMM to Enabled.

In a D-Link, you should go to the Advanced Tab, the Wireless Routing option on the left, then check the box to enable WMM.

On a NetGear, look for the QoS Setup option, under the blue Advanced header on the left side of the page. Click on that, then check the box to Enable WMM and click the small Apply button at the bottom.

*WHEW!!* Now that was an exhaustive post, but I hope it will get people thinking that they should give WMM a try, and help them ensure it’s enabled on their router!

Recent Xbox Live Member Hackings

In the world of gaming, more and more buzz is being generated around recent ‘hackings’ of people’s accounts. How some of it is happening is well beyond my capacity of understanding. I started hearing of “the FIFA Hack” a few weeks ago, with the story building up to one of the staff writers at Joystiq even being hacked. It doesn’t directly involve the use of FIFA, but an alarming number of those impacted are noting that FIFA Annual Game Passes are being purchased on their accounts. Most recently, a fellow Xbox Live Ambassador had her account compromised and a whole series of problems continued.

You can read about the experiences that my fellow Ambassador, LadyElysium, had encountered on her website dedicated to the recent rash of hackings, HackedOnXbox. Susan Taylor does an excellent job of letting out her frustrations, while keeping her cool.

So what can you do to protect yourself? The sad part is, I’m having a hard time figuring that out myself. I wanted to see what would happened if I tried to change my own password on Xbox.com. What was funny was that there were no social engineering questions I could use to ‘hack’ my way in to my account – the closest possible thing was resetting via email. The thing that concerns me there is the fact that I have TWO email accounts that it says it will send my password reset to – and considering I sign in to one of those two once every six months or so, I figured I should make sure it was not associated with my account. I can’t. I can’t find anywhere on Xbox.com or Live.com to remove the second email address my password reset email would go to!

Stay tuned on Sunday for what I hope to be a little more in depth list of steps you can take to to protect yourself, but for now the best thing I can suggest as a “STEP ONE” would be to remove any payment options you have on your account. I’ve NEVER given my credit card details to Microsoft, in any way. …That was, until recently. A limitation (see: hindrance) of the Windows Phone 7 platform is that they’re not letting you use Microsoft Points to make purchases – you must use a credit card.

I wanted to buy one Xbox Live game for my phone – I had to enter my credit card details. Once the purchase went through, I IMMEDIATELY navigated to live.xbox.com, clicked on My Account, then Manage Payment Options, and REMOVED my registered credit card. I would advise you to remove a PayPal account, if you have one associated with your account, as well. Anything else I purchase, whether it’s Gold subscriptions or Xbox Live Arcade games, is all done WITH Microsoft Points which I purchase the prepaid cards for, at my local big box retailer.

Detailed instructions are, as always, on Microsoft’s support site, and I hope to have more account tightening tips for you this weekend.

Making my Toshiba Canvio drive work with the Wii?

I’m going to stray a little from my normal type of gaming post. I do not endorse piracy, and find myself turning over a new leaf since my teenage years. Still, people have lots of different opinions on modding. I may be one of the few who thinks that using something for backup purposes is a legitimate enough reason to void your warranty. With the small collection of games I have for the Wii, the games I do have are fairly hard to come by. I’d like to make sure that, no matter what happens to my disc, I still have access to the game. I know, call me crazy. But seeing as the Wii has little online capabilities that I use, and the firmware hasn’t been updated in over a year at this point, I decided it was time to walk on the dark side and tinker with a little homebrew, along with backing up my games.

I’m not going to get in to the nitty gritty, but there are some helpful video tutorials on YouTube if you want to do it yourself, I won’t provide information on the “hack” itself.

One of the things I saw of on the internet, were questions regarding backed up games and the Toshiba 500gb Canvio usb hard drive, and the Wii. I had my fair share of difficulties with this, myself. The problem seemed mostly related to the fact that the drive ships as formatted as NTFS.

Using Windows to right click on the drive under My Computer, and reformat it as ExFAT with the Allocation Unit Size specifically set to 32-kilobytes seemed to work best. This process does wipe out anything on the drive, so be careful. But once you’re done there, use WBFS Manager to format the drive in WBFS (Wii Backup File System) (doing this takes seconds), then you can use your Toshiba Canvio 500GB USB drive without any problems, so long as it is connected to the outermost USB port on the back of the Wii. Use the loader of your choice that you have installed (CFG Loader for me) and select “Install” from the menu to backup your disc to your drive.

Not my usual gaming tip, and no I won’t go in to any details of modding. But I, for one, am glad to have my Metroid Prime Trilogy and Super Mario All-Stars Anniversary Editions safely tucked away for a cold winter’s day.

UPDATE: A quick note: if you first load your launcher program and it doesn’t detect the drive, unplug and replug the USB drive – it should load after a few seconds. Sometimes I have to do this twice. I have had some problems with certain games not working, once I had time to play my backed up version. Luckily I still have my discs. But the majority of games are working just fine, so far.

Classics, done right – GoG.com

I cannot get enough of GoG.com, and finally, my dream from nearly two years ago has come true. Wing Commander is available on GoG. My all time favorite game, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, is on GoG – DRM free, inexpensive, and a quick and easy download. Not only the game. The free bonus content included is INSANE. Included, but not limited to the following, are: behind the screens video, the Wing Commander Bible, and the Fleet Action novel!! An amazing value. Other games in the Wing Commander series are available on the site, too.

Seriously, I have no time to be blogging this. Go buy some Wing Commander goodness – and don’t even think about pirating it, it’s worth your $6!