Using WiFi, Ethernet Connection, or Mobile Hotspots for Digital Signage

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by Santino Scibelli
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Hello and thank you for visiting our ScreenCloud Help Center. This article will go through using WiFi, an Ethernet connection, or mobile hotspots to provide internet to the device you're using to run the ScreenCloud app. These are some of the common ways you might use to connect your devices to the internet, and we understand that you may need to use alternative methods to keep your devices online for digital signage. 

What works best for you? You can learn more below.

Table of contents:

 

WiFi connection

We recommend using this method primarily because of its ability to provide a quick connection and efficiency for displaying content to your digital signage screens. We do understand that WiFi connections also may not be the best for your use case in regards to security and coverage, where you would prefer to opt for an Ethernet connection

Please keep in mind if you are experiencing issues with your content running consistently, notice your screen disconnecting, or stutters/lags while using the ScreenCloud app on your device to check the following with your WiFi Network:

 

1. Check the WiFi connectivity and network

Is your connection speed/strength okay? You can use websites such as http://speedtest.att.com/speedtest/ or https://www.speedcheck.org to gauge the status of your connection. We recommend trying to power off/on your router or hub being used to provide the WiFi, a reboot can help the connection. 

You can also check the WiFi signal strength for most devices directly in the settings menu, for example, you can reference our article on how to check WiFi signal strength for the Amazon Fire TV Stick by clicking here.

 

2. Check the distance your device(s) is from the router or hub

One of the cons of using a WiFi connection is that each router has specifications for the amount of distance it can provide a connection in proximity to connected devices. If your device is far from the router or hub with issues keeping a connection to the internet, we recommend moving your devices closer to the router or trying to use HDMI extenders.

HDMI extenders are helpful, which also can come included with devices such as an Asus Chromebit, in that they allow you to place your devices closer to a router to increase your signal strength. You can purchase these devices to help boost your WiFi through popular third-party retail websites such as Amazon, Best Buy, and more. 

 

3. Use a different WiFi network to see if the problem persists with a test screen

Generally, we recommend if an issue seems to be related to an unstable connection to troubleshoot by using a device running the ScreenCloud app on a different network. We understand this can be difficult if you have a mounted television, or are unable to conveniently unplug the device to use elsewhere, but you can test this right on your laptop or phone free of charge.

We can do this by adding a test screen to your account. You can start by adding a new screen then starting it in "Preview Mode". You can go to "Screens" > "Add Screen" then when pairing select the "Start Screen In Preview Mode" checkbox. You can then copy a layout from an existing screen to save that setting.

Also, If you don't have one already, you can use one of our desktop players to pair with your test screen. You can download a desktop player by clicking here. You can also download the ScreenCloud app directly to your Android or iOS device from the app store. There is no charge for using a screen in preview mode. Once this is done, try using the test device with the problematic WiFi network, then use a different network to see if the problem persists.

 

Ethernet connection

Notice a spot for an "Ethernet" on the back of your device? This is meant for an Ethernet cable to connect your wired network hardware to a metropolitan area network (MAN), wide area network (WAN) or Ethernet LAN. This removes the need to rely on your cableless WiFi connection and physically connect your device(s) via the Ethernet port or an Ethernet adaptor.

The use case for using an Ethernet connection over WiFi can be beneficial in regards to the following:

1. Reliability: WiFi can be susceptible to interference on occasion, Ethernet connection removes the worry about WiFi signals dropping or delays. Please note: The main advantage of using this connection is not the speed, but stability. For reference, you can click here to learn more about the experiences of Amazon Fire TV Stick users who find their WiFi connections working more consistently versus using Ethernet connections/adaptors for their devices. 

2. Security: A primary reason for using an Ethernet connection decreases the risk of vulnerability for hacking in comparison to a WiFi network.  

3. Energy-Efficient: While this is not universal for all use cases as it depends on your internet usage and number of devices connected via Ethernet cables, they are known to consume less energy than WiFi connections. 

Though there are benefits to using an Ethernet connection, keep in mind the type of cables you're using for the connection and that your internet speed may not always be improved from using a WiFi connection.

Not all of our supported devices come with an Ethernet port available as well. For example, devices such as the Asus Chromebox come with an Ethernet port available directly in the back of their devices:

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Alternatively, dongle devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Asus Chromebit do not have Ethernet ports available, though you can purchase Ethernet adaptors usually from device manufacturers or third-party retailers to connect these devices using an Ethernet cable:

 

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If you are experiencing issues with your internet connection while using an Ethernet connection, we recommend the following:

 

1. Check the strength of your connection

Is your Ethernet connection strength/speed okay? You can use websites such as http://speedtest.att.com/speedtest/ or https://www.speedcheck.org to gauge the status of your connection.

 

2. Try using a different Ethernet Cable

The culprit of your connection issues can be the cable you're using for an Ethernet connection. We recommend trying to use an alternative cable to see if any issues persist.

 

3. Try using a WiFi connection to see if the issue persists

You can try connecting your device(s) temporarily to a WiFi network if available to troubleshoot issues with your Ethernet connection. If you notice your device(s) are running more consistently and not experiencing issues while connected to WiFi, you may have to contact your IT department or administrator further to help determine the next steps moving forward.

 

Mobile hotspots 

A mobile hotspot is either a smartphone feature or portable device that provides you internet access, essentially it acts as a mini router/hub you can travel with. For example, this is useful if you are hosting an event, demo, or conference with limited WiFi connectivity or are in an area where there is no internet at all. You can use a mobile hotspot to provide devices with a connection for digital signage. 

Mobile hotspots function by relying on mobile broadband services (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, Tmobile, etc) to provide internet access via 3G or 4G connections. These can also be referred to as WiFi hotspots, allowing more than one device to connect at the same time. This is great if you need a convenient solution and are in a pinch to connect your devices to the internet, though it does come with some drawbacks.

The disadvantages of using mobile hotspots are both power usage/battery drain and a stable connection. These devices require a lot of energy to transmit a connection to your device(s), and the battery could drain quickly. If you are using the mobile hotspot feature on your smartphone or tablet, this can also cause a significant battery drain. Additionally, mobile hotspots rely on broadband services and some areas may have issues holding stable connections. You might find that your digital signage is loading slowly or disconnecting.

 

If you have any additional questions or concerns on using a WiFi, Ethernet, or mobile hotspot connection, or any other questions or feedback about ScreenCloud, feel free to reach out to our support team at support@screencloud.com or give us a call at +1-415-449-5426, then follow the prompts to connect with support.

 

 

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