Soo.. about Miracast..


I’ve been listening to FRD for a while now and hearing all of the issues Brad has been having with Miracast and thought maybe I could belp. We use about 60 Miracast devices at work and have been mostly successful with them. When we initially got them, we just threw them in thinking they would just be plug and play… and they were a trainwreck. Disconnected all the time, or would refuse to connect or would become pixelated and laggy. We had to tweak our network configuration to avoid wireless co-channel interference and they have been pretty reliable since then. There are still some issues with Windows action center itself not wanting to connect but that is usually resolved by a Windows reboot or logoff/logon. With newer builds of Windows it has become more reliable (we’re currently using 1803 in our environment).

So for Paul and Brad:

1) Is your wireless network 2.4ghz or 5ghz? Miracast works best on 5ghz spectrum as there are more wireless channels to play with so there would be less chance for co-channel interference. I moved our home network to 5ghz years ago because of issues with netflix and hulu streaming on 2.4ghz.

2) Have you updated the firmware on the miracast adapter itself? That helped tremendously, there’s a firmware updater tool for it in the Microsoft Store.

3) We’re mostly Surface so updating to the latest driver and firmware bundles from MS also helped make it more reliable.

4) More recent builds of Windows also made it more reliable.

We’ve since moved on from the Microsoft wireless display adapters to the Actiontec ScreenBeam 960. These are enterprise grade and allows us to manage them centrally and tweak their wireless config in ways we didn’t realize the Miracast/WiFi-Direct protocol supported.

Comments (19)

19 responses to “Soo.. about Miracast..”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    Interesting info, thanks.

    I've heard that Microsoft is dropping Miracast soon, btw.

    • robincapper

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      What will replace it, would work with their wireless display adapters?

    • bigs77

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      late-comer to this conversation, where did you hear this and have you heard anything further?

      We use miracast throughout our organisation to cast/mirror to a range of TV's in meeting rooms and 3 projectors in our conference rooms... We are finding intermittant connectivity issues but once connected is great... would be a shame to see this dropped entirely by MS

    • amb9800

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Interesting- with Google dropping Miracast in favor of Google Cast, Miracast nowadays is essentially a Windows-only standard (with some legacy support in smart TVs and Samsung phones), so it makes sense for MS to make its own solution (or integrate into Google Cast or AirPlay if possible). Guess the downside is without phones, they'll have even less support in third-party devices (TVs, etc.) than Miracast does.

    • Usman

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      How does that get dropped? Miracast is a basis for most wireless display replication, Intel WiDi is built on top of Miracast.

      For wireless display it's good, Miracast isn't a good "casting" system, like chromecast / playto / dlna, because miracast displays everything like a second monitor, if they replace that with casting system that displays the content only like chromecast / dlna / playto, then I welcome it.

  2. jimchamplin

    If these are all of the considerations needed for this to work, I have to field a question:

    Did this crap ever get tested before they shipped it?

    Why wasn’t it designed to work reliably on low-spec systems and networks, then gracefully scale to higher quality as the environment permits? There’s another question that I for some reason have to ask all too often with these iffy technologies, especially ones made to ape an Apple tech:

    Why didn’t they just do it right in the beginning!?

    • jblank46

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I live in a condo in Chicago and have tons of wireless networks around me. The problem with Miracast is that it is built upon Intel WiFi-Direct. WiDi establishes a peer-to-peer wireless network for the mirroring session. This *should* work well if you live in a suburban area away from wireless interference but it is compounded by the fact that most routers nowadays are doing things like channel bonding and 2.4ghz is notoriously unstable. AirPlay and Chromecast both use your existing wireless or wired LAN network so the assumption made there is that your own infrastructure network should inherently be more reliable.

      In 1703 they added this feature I think called Infracast which negotiates the miracast connection over the peer-to-peer connection BUT pushes the mirroring session over your wireless or wired LAN once established. This should in theory make it more reliable:

      I've decided not to deploy this feature at work yet because we have been able to get Miracast using peer-to-peer reasonably reliable by tweaking our wifi channel plan. There are other issues with Miracast, namely the Action Center crapping out every now and then but so far it's been decent from my experience. We've been able to establish Miracast sessions for hours without dropping, lag or artifacting most of the time.

    • xperiencewindows

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Maybe because it's designed mostly for consumers? Splashtop would be a better option.

  3. Lauren Glenn

    For me, I tried miracast and it was either bad or just unreliable. It was far easier to get a 25' HDMI cable.

  4. Brad Sams

    Will give this a look but I will say that the streaming hardware built-into my TV works significantly better than the Microsoft dongle has in the two years I used it.

  5. jwpear

    Nice write up. It does seem like a bit more than should be required to get this working. I've all but given up on getting this to work with Windows machines. It is just too unreliable and too much of a pain to deal with.

    I've done many of the things you've suggested in the past. Still unreliable. I want it to work.  Like the idea. It just requires too much effort that it is worth.

    This is one of the reasons I hate the move away from the 3.5mm audio jack. When Bluetooth is being a pain, a cable just works--every time.

  6. jchampeau

    I've had good luck with wePresent. You can download apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Chromebook and send your video over the existing network.