The Playstation Now subscription service finally arrived on the Playstation Vita and Playstation TV earlier this month. The PS Now app was previously available on these platforms, but users couldn’t sign up for the subscription model unless they did so on a PS4 first. You could rent individual games at excessively expensive rates, but the real draw of the service is the subscription model.
For $19.99 a month PS Now subscribers get unlimited access to over 100 games, including hit titles such as The Last of Us, Batman Arkham City, Bioshock Infinite and God of War III.
This all sounds great, however I had been having connection problems that prevented me from enjoying the service. My Vita would pass the connection test and launch into a game and would work flawlessly for anywhere between ten and fifteen minutes. At around the fifteen mark I would almost always get connected from the PS Now service. My Vita wasn’t losing connection to my WiFi, but the PS Now service would seem to time out. This constant loss of connection (which boots you out of the game and back into the PS Now menu) made the service unusable.
The Playstation Vita can only use a 2.4GHz WiFi network, and my 2.4GHz network was much slower than my wired internet speed. Using the cable modem’s WiFi I would average around 12mbps whereas I get a solid 50gbps over ethernet. I tried another router (in the $40 price range) that offered dual band WiFi, and while the 5GHz network was much faster, I didn’t see any improvement on the 2.4GHz end, and PS Now was still unusable. I tried following any advice I could find online, such as deselecting the Vita’s WiFi power save mode but had no success.
Frustrated, I decided to go big or go home.
After being assured by the Best Buy salesman that the behemoth Linksys WRT 1900AC router would provide better speeds over 2.4GHz WiFi I took the plunge, and bought the most expensive router I’ve ever owned.
I unboxed the spaceship looking router yesterday evening and set it up hoping for the best. Once everything was set up I crossed my fingers and ran a speed test using the 2.4GHz network. To my delight, the speeds were double what I was getting using the Motorola modem. To further assure success I used the Media Prioritization feature to give my Vita bandwidth priority on my network. I then anxiously fired up PS Now on my Vita to see if it would finally work.
I fired up Super Mega Baseball and was able to play a game without getting disconnected. Success! I then booted up NBA 2K14 and let it sit on the menu and to my delight it also never dropped the connection.
The $200+ investment may be a little much just to play around with PS Now on the Vita, especially when a used PS3 can be found for $100, but the beastly router has many other benefits. The 5GHz WiFi network is just about as fast as an Ethernet connection and the range is much improved over any router I’ve used before. The router has plenty of features, most of which I don’t understand, but having more control over my network will be more beneficial in the long run.