One of the things I have talked about in the past are the odd constraints that I have on trying to be fully functional gaming in two different locations. One of the things I learned early on is that for martial bliss I need to be able to game from the living room without actually taking control of the television. My wife and I are the sort of people who are completely happy doing different things, while in the same room… occasionally watching something on television together while doing these different things. So she will be on her end of the sectional cocooned in a blanket fort messing with her laptop, and I will be doing roughly the same on my end of the sofa playing on my laptop.
The only hitch in this setup is that gaming laptops do not stay relevant for long. Mine for example is from 2015ish with a 4th Gen Core i7 and GTX 960M dedicated graphics, however it performs considerably lower than that as is the case with pretty much every laptop designated for gaming. Generally speaking you can effectively drop every component by a generation, so in this case it probably performs similar to a Desktop 3rd Gen i7 with a 750 graphics card. Effectively there are a lot of things it plays fine… like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV… but a lot of things it simply cannot handle like Monster Hunter World. Other things like Destiny 2 it just doesn’t play well enough to make it worth trying to play.
So essentially I am left with the decision… do I shell out another $1500-$2000 on a gaming class laptop that is going to be irrelevant in another two years or do I look for other options. This has lead me down the path of trying to remotely stream games off my desktop upstairs. So many of the options have issues, like Steam Link for example seems to have a high instance of stranding the game running and locking me out of remoting in to try and fix it. Splashtop works great if you are wanting to stream to your mobile device, but in dealing with 720p or higher it is just too laggy input wise to play games on. This lead me to Parsec and I have talked a bit about how great that service is in the past.
The only negative is that still I run into issues where there are “hiccups” in the stream for various reasons. Like things are going smoothly for a good long while, and then all of the sudden the music hitches and the control input lags for a moment while the stream catches back up. I don’t necessarily blame this on Parsec itself, but on the fact that I am streaming over a wireless network, and this becomes especially bad if we are watching something off Netflix or streamed back from my Plex server. So I started thinking about alternatives to try and get a more stable connection between my desktop that is wired into my router with Gigabit Ethernet, and my laptop that is downstairs and has no clear path to run Ethernet to.
Powerline Ethernet was the first option I looked into, but there is a problem that I simply do not have a free power outlet near my router since I have so damned much hooked up in that vicinity in my office. The thing with powerline is it has to have a direct connection to the power outlet because I have heard horror stories about folks who tried to hook that up and get it running through some sort of a power strip. While I would love to get conduit run with multiple gigabit Ethernet drops in every room… that just isn’t in the cards and is an extremely expensive proposal to retro fit it into a house built in 1980. This lead me down the path of trying to determine ways to improve my wireless signal enough to make the process viable.
I have the nonsense TP Link spider looking Archer C5400 router upstairs that has three separate channels for wireless, one in the 2.4 ghz band and two in the 5 ghz band… one of which I have already dedicated for nothing but my gaming devices. So I opted to look into TP Link repeater devices, several of which have a built in Gigabit Ethernet port. I ultimately decided upon the AC1750 device and rather than simply relying on it as a wireless repeater am effectively treating it like a nonsensically powerful wireless modem. It is bonded to the 2.4 ghz general network and the 5 ghz gaming network, and then I have Ethernet running from that device to my laptop. Sure this is a silly solution, but it seems to do exactly what I was hoping it would… provide me completely lag free parsec streaming.
Almost all of my Monster Hunting of late has been done across this connection from my laptop, without running into issues where I need to twitch move out of the way of an attack and hit a lag spike. Similarly I can play a game like Destiny 2 over the connection without running into issues now. Previously it worked well, but even at its best I could still tell I was remotely playing the game. With this setup it feels like I am legitimately just sitting at my desktop upstairs from my laptop downstairs. Again I think I am probably the only person who tries to game in the fashion that I do… but I thought I would write about this today just in case anyone else out there is looking for an option to make things feel more like sitting at the gaming machine. Tonight I plan on doing some experiments with the native Playstation Remote app to see if that feels better now than it did, since I would like to play some Dad of War at some point.
This isn’t exactly a cheap solution. The device in question costs around $45 on Amazon for a refurbished model, and about $70 for a minty fresh factory sealed one. There are likely cheaper options as well, but effectively what you are looking for is something in the AC band with a Gigabit ethernet port built into the device that bonds to the 5 ghz signal. The end result however works extremely well for me personally, and you can even use something like Photoshop and the brushes all feel responsive. Sure you are tethered to a wireless repeater, so it isn’t exactly the best option for wireless play. I do however want to do some testing without the Ethernet connected to see if the signal is stable enough without the physical connection. The biggest test however is that we can be streaming something from Netflix and the gameplay seems completely unphased by it, as was the case Monday when I was off work hunting monsters on the laptop while streaming shows through the Roku.