Re: unable to stream video files through USB dongle
The original design of the Essential did not support networking at all:
The Playon!HD Essential is designed for users who prefer an easy to use media player without the fuss of networking.
The wireless option was added in a later firmware update and intended for internet access only, though other network operations seem to work.
Wireless networking is not really fit for streaming:
Wireless networking is generally not reliable enough for streaming HD video, therefore it is not recommended for Media Players. We are not saying that it won't work, just that you may encounter stuttering / lag problems. Of course, using Wi-Fi to copy files across a network will work fine. For this reason most Media Players omit Wi-Fi from their specifications and instead offer optional support via a USB dongle.
The maximum data transfer rate for Wi-Fi(g) is 54 Mbit/s with actual achievable rates usually being less than half of this. Wi-Fi(n) can achieve higher data transfer rates of up to 300 Mbit/s but, again, actual rates will be lower.
As this is not the answer you expect, I advise you to try and give your wireless dongle a different location using a USB extension cable (maximum length 4 meters or 13 feet) in order to improve the wireless reception. Use inSSIDer
on your PC to select a wireless channel with less interference from neighboring networks.