$22 To Take Your Slingbox or TiVo Mini Wireless


For many years, I’ve relied upon a small ASUS wireless bridge (WL-330gE) for a variety of blog and personal projects around the house. And, frankly, I’m long overdue for a 802.11n upgrade… especially as I consider a second TiVo Mini — in my kitchen, lacking both coax and Ethernet connectivity. I’d originally considered having Verizon wire me up with another FiOS TV jack but, after their recent rate increases, that’s off the table. Powerline is another option, and probably a safer bet than wireless, yet I remain firmly anti-clutter.

So I briefly took a look at ASUS’ latest and greatest portable router (WL-330N), which does indeed add higher speed, greater distance 802.11n capabilities — but at $47 it was a bit more than I cared to spend for this sort of product. Not to mention, configuration of my model has always been something of a pain. Enter the TP-Link TL-WR702N, which runs a mere $22. And if my ASUS was small, the TP-Link is tiny. Like the ASUS models, this can be configured in a variety of modes: AP, Router, Bridge, Client and Repeater. Also, like ASUS and this is critical, a power cord is not needed — the nano router draws all it needs over USB. Of which both the TiVo Mini and Slingbox 350 kindly provide.

Of course, by taking your network intensive high def video wireless, you run more risk in the performance department. Indeed, upon first testing the TP-Link with my bedroom TiVo Mini, shows streamed from the Premiere XL4/Elite were a bit slow to get started and audio dropped in and out (of all things). However, a quick firmware update and rotating the device 90 degrees cleared that right up… leading me to believe a Mini in the kitchen is doable – should TiVo continue to drag their feet on Android support. Further, reader Ken P. reached out earlier this week for some assistance in choosing a Slingbox for the sole purpose of watching NFL football in Mexico and I advised going with the significantly cheaper 350 versus the 500, with integrated WiFi, that runs about twice the price. And to economically augment its networking capabilities via third parties, such as TP-Link, if necessary.

17 thoughts on “$22 To Take Your Slingbox or TiVo Mini Wireless”

  1. I see that you have no coax in your kitchen. However, with FiOS, I use Actiontec Ethernet to Coax Adapter Kit with my FiOS to hook up my Slingbox in the bedroom. It works very well. (I also use another MoCA adapter for a connection in another bedroom with a wireless router on it to give me full (town)house WiFi Coverage.

  2. Too much money and clutter for this particular task and I don’t have Ethernet or coax in the kitchen. Just power. On the other side of the eating area, above one of the prep counters, I do have a phone jack I could repurpose into Ethernet. But the location wouldn’t really help me. (PS I fixed your link – only simple HTML works.)

  3. I connected a friend’s SlingBox to my TiVo Mini in the guest bedroom so that he can watch Memphis Tiger football games from Pittsburgh… I have wired ethernet, but didn’t have a spare switch lying around (I’ve got quite a few in use in my house already.) I did however have a nice Linksys Wireless N bridge (I got during a Wootoff for $20) that I was able to connect the SlingBox too. The bandwidth requirements aren’t as big, because it’s compressing the video before sending it off into the ether… but it’s a great workaround.

  4. I totally keep forgetting to click the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email.” Any chance it could be put ABOVE the Post Comment button? :-)

  5. I probably have limited ability to move that around as it’s an optionless, canned feature, with the feature being automatically appended at the bottom of the comment widget.

  6. I didn’t realize that these had dropped so low in price. I have one buried in an amazon wish list. I have been dealing with my wife’s corporate laptop dropping connection from my AirPort extreme, and unable to troubleshoot/remedy the issue, so we have had a long ass ethernet cable laying around for her to get on our network. This might solve our problem.

  7. I forgot to mention this particular wireless bridge is not 5Ghz capable… that would definitely help in the video streaming department. But the demand may not be there and obviously the price would go up.

  8. I think these have dropped so much in price since they are nearly EOL. Can’t say for sure, but cutting the pricing in half is usually a pretty good tell. Or the fact that so many were returned as faulty, they might be having to radically drop costs to get some customers back. For 22$ it could be a throw away (I always hate saying things like that since a person could live on 22$ a week in food if need be), so it wouldn’t be too great a loss if this product never saw an update or support ended prematurely.

  9. Rodalpho, I wouldn’t necessarily say useless as it depends largely on your environment. Until very recently I was more urban and had no problems streaming HD video without 5Ghz. Obviously 5Ghz is preferable and your location may be much more urban and/or more saturated then mine had been.

    tivoboy, probably not a large enough market for these devices given their use case and perhaps higher level of technical skill/thought required? So yeah, discontinued models wouldn’t surprise me. But, nor would they bother me. My ASUS has lasted like 5 years and I don’t think I’ve updated the firmware in 4.

    Scott, I didn’t see that model as still being available. BUT they’ve got a four port model for under $20. Looks good. Wondering if I should pick it up to replace my (second) FiOS router which I’d tweaked to run as a MoCA/Ethernet bridge. Hm. :)

  10. Yes, I live in manhattan. 2.4Ghz is fine for web browsing, but not usable for streaming video due to highly variable performance whenever one of my 1000 neighbors devices to microwave a frozen burrito.

  11. “Until very recently I was more urban and had no problems streaming HD video without 5Ghz.”

    At the bitrate of TiVo MPEG2 files?

    Something around 8x heftier than the thicker end of streaming OTT, y’know.

    I think you want 5ghz for TiVo MPEG2 streaming even if you live in rural Idaho…

  12. I wanted to chime in here because I saw some people asking about Powerline, which I run in my house (built in 2007). I used the powerline connection for 2 premieres in the past, and now a Roamio + Mini setup. With the powerline connection I consistently had problems with the 2 boxes losing track of each other (they still could each connect to the TiVo service though!). Refreshing the network settings or rebooting one of the TiVos would fix the problem for a day or 2.
    Anyway, I called TiVo, and they were very clear that they DO NOT support Powerline, which I couldn’t really understand, but what the heck… I bought some MoCa adapters to prove them wrong. I installed the MoCa adapter at my cable modem, and hooked up the Mini to the moca adapter, and then feeling lazy just left my Roamio on the powerline network. Its now been 2 weeks and I have not had the boxes lose each other once.
    So, not sure if anyone else will have similar problems, but I would be very hesitant to hook up multiple TiVos over Powerline and expect them to conistently talk to each other. With all networking issues however, YMMV.

  13. I need something for a dedicated 802.11 B/G network so it doesn’t slow down my N stuff… this might be the solution!

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