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Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
13-04-2014, 16:12
Post: #11
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(13-04-2014 15:33)simoncn Wrote:  
(13-04-2014 10:52)gnomus Wrote:  One odd problem I have had (nothing to do with Sonos, MinimServer or Bubble) is that from time to time using the Homeplugs, playback of tracks becomes very "stuttery", and sometimes stops altogether. This has happened only twice in the couple of weeks I have had the system, both times in the early evening. It then seems to clear itself and everything work perfectly again.

I know this is nothing to do with MinimServer, but has anyone any idea what might be causing this and (more importantly) what, if anything, can be done to fix it?

The problem might be caused by other internet traffic on your router at the peak early evening time. If so, the solution would be to replace your router with a router that has higher bandwidth capacity. Alternatively, you could add a switch and route audio traffic via the switch so it doesn't need to go through the router.

It is also possible that the problem is related to the Homeplugs. Can you replace the Homeplugs (temporarily) with a long Ethernet cable to see whether that cures the problem?

If the problem is caused by the Homeplugs, you could replace them with a dedicated wireless bridge that uses a different channel than your main wireless LAN. I am using this setup and it works well for me.

Once again, thanks for your assistance. I am rural and my broadband connection is very poor, but I didn't think that would be relevant to the internal network (for want of a better phrase). I have the latest BT Homehub. I am using BT Homeplugs. I have a few kids with laptops, phones, tablets, etcetera, but they all connect wirelessly. Could that be messing things up?

With a dedicated wireless bridge, I need a second router. I connect my renderer and my NAS to this and I have this second router connect wirelessly to my main router for the odd time when my renderer/NAS needs to connect to the Internet - is that correct? I do actually have a second router (new still in its box). I was, however, slightly concerned about noise from the NAS interfering with my enjoyment of the playback. I have a Synology DS213J. I don't know how noisy it is at the moment - every time I am sat next to it, I have my very noisy Blu-Ray drive going ten to the dozen burning discs!
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14-04-2014, 10:03
Post: #12
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(13-04-2014 16:12)gnomus Wrote:  Once again, thanks for your assistance. I am rural and my broadband connection is very poor, but I didn't think that would be relevant to the internal network (for want of a better phrase). I have the latest BT Homehub. I am using BT Homeplugs. I have a few kids with laptops, phones, tablets, etcetera, but they all connect wirelessly. Could that be messing things up?

With a dedicated wireless bridge, I need a second router. I connect my renderer and my NAS to this and I have this second router connect wirelessly to my main router for the odd time when my renderer/NAS needs to connect to the Internet - is that correct? I do actually have a second router (new still in its box).

The first step is isolate where the problem lies. There are two prime suspects:

1) The Homeplugs

The problem might be caused by the Homeplugs. If you have other devices as well as your NAS and renderer connected to your Homeplugs, the Homeplugs might be getting overloaded at certain times of day and causing audio streaming dropouts. If this is the problem, the solution is to use either an ethernet connection or a dedicated wireless bridge to connect your renderer (and/or NAS) to your router.

A wireless bridge is not the same as a router. It consists of a pair of devices that talk to each other wirelessly on a different channel from your main wireless network, setting up a chain like the following:

renderer --- bridge device 1 ........ bridge device 2 --- router

where the dashes represent wired Ethernet connections and the dots represent a wireless link.

In my case, I am using a pair of bridge devices to connect my renderer to the switch. My NAS is close to the switch, so I am connecting it to teh switch with an Ethernet cable.

To confirm whether that this is the problem, you could use Ethernet cables (which might need to be quite long) to connect your renderer, NAS and router and see whether this makes any difference.

2) The router

The router (Homehub) might be overloaded with traffic (internet/nroadband, local/wifi or both) at certain times of day. If this is the problem, the solution is to use a separate switch for the wired ethernet connection to your audio devices (NAS and renderer). This switch can be conected permanently to the router, so your NAS and renderer always have internet access. Because the streaming traffic between the NAS and the renderer is passing through the switch and not through the router, any overload that might be occurring in the router won't affect audio streaming performance.

The switch is used for wired ethernet connections only. If you are using a wireless router as a wired switch, you should disable the wireless side to avoid possible interference with your main wireless network. Alternatively, you could leave the wireless side enabled and use it to create a separate wireless network on a different channel with a different SSID (if you are confident with your ability to set this up).

There is no need for a wireless bridge with this setup. Your NAS and renderer would be connected via ethernet cables or Homeplugs into the wired connections of the new switch.

To confirm whether that this is the problem, you should be able to set up your second router as a switch and see whether this makes any difference.

Quote:I was, however, slightly concerned about noise from the NAS interfering with my enjoyment of the playback. I have a Synology DS213J. I don't know how noisy it is at the moment - every time I am sat next to it, I have my very noisy Blu-Ray drive going ten to the dozen burning discs!

I'm not sure why you are concerned about this. With either of the two setups suggested above, it is possible to have your renderer in a different room than your NAS.
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14-04-2014, 18:34 (This post was last modified: 14-04-2014 18:46 by gnomus.)
Post: #13
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
Simon

Thanks again for your time with all of this. I apologize for being a bit on the slow side as regards this networking business.

My music system is some way from my router and NAS. I reckon I would need an ethernet cable some 80-100 feet in length to get from one to the other.

The Sonos system came with a Sonos Bridge, which seemed to work OK. I run a digital out of the Sonos so that I can use the DAC in my Arcam AV8. However, I find the system a bit too bright for my taste. That is why I am looking at the Linn options. I am told however that the Linn requires an ethernet connection. Hence my attempt to get everything working with homeplugs.

I want to achieve the best sound that I can get out of my system. I am not too interested in a multi-room setup.

In your "renderer---bridge 1..." example, the bridge device needs to be physically connected to the renderer, and thus in the same room. For a Linn system to work does not the NAS have to be physically connected to bridge 1 too, and therefore, also in the same room?

Also, I don't really know what I can use as bridge 1. I was convinced I had a second BT modem, but I went looking for it today and I think I may have thrown it out. Can you recommend me a "bridge 1" device, so that I can at least get some idea what I should be looking for.

Sorry to keep bombarding you with questions...
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14-04-2014, 19:54
Post: #14
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(14-04-2014 18:34)gnomus Wrote:  Simon

Thanks again for your time with all of this. I apologize for being a bit on the slow side as regards this networking business.

My music system is some way from my router and NAS. I reckon I would need an ethernet cable some 80-100 feet in length to get from one to the other.

The Sonos system came with a Sonos Bridge, which seemed to work OK. I run a digital out of the Sonos so that I can use the DAC in my Arcam AV8. However, I find the system a bit too bright for my taste. That is why I am looking at the Linn options. I am told however that the Linn requires an ethernet connection. Hence my attempt to get everything working with homeplugs.

I want to achieve the best sound that I can get out of my system. I am not too interested in a multi-room setup.

In your "renderer---bridge 1..." example, the bridge device needs to be physically connected to the renderer, and thus in the same room. For a Linn system to work does not the NAS have to be physically connected to bridge 1 too, and therefore, also in the same room?

Also, I don't really know what I can use as bridge 1. I was convinced I had a second BT modem, but I went looking for it today and I think I may have thrown it out. Can you recommend me a "bridge 1" device, so that I can at least get some idea what I should be looking for.

Sorry to keep bombarding you with questions...

The first step is to diagnose the cause of the current problem. Before you consider purchasing a wireless bridge, it would be a good idea to try a temporary Ethernet cable. A 30m cable should be long enough, and these are available for about £4 from Amazon.

I am using a NETGEAR WNHDE111 wireless bridge (see this page) to connect my Linn DS to my switch. This product consists of two units (bridge 1 and bridge 2). One of these units is in the same room as my Linn DS, and the other is in the same room as my switch. This model is no longer available, but I presume you could find something else that is similar. For this approach to work, you need a relatively clear path (one or at most two intervening walls) between the bridge 1 and bridge 2 devices. This setup isn't recommended by Linn, but I need to use it because my house doesn't allow the possibility of running an Ethernet cable.

After doing the test with a 30m Ethernet cable, you might find that you still have the dropout problem., If so, the solution would be to buy a switch instead of buying a wireless bridge.
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14-04-2014, 21:17
Post: #15
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(14-04-2014 19:54)simoncn Wrote:  The first step is to diagnose the cause of the current problem. Before you consider purchasing a wireless bridge, it would be a good idea to try a temporary Ethernet cable. A 30m cable should be long enough, and these are available for about £4 from Amazon.....
After doing the test with a 30m Ethernet cable, you might find that you still have the dropout problem., If so, the solution would be to buy a switch instead of buying a wireless bridge.

Thanks again Simon. Cable ordered. (£3.40). I'm going away for a few days. I will report back in a week or so.
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24-04-2014, 09:07
Post: #16
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(14-04-2014 21:17)gnomus Wrote:  
(14-04-2014 19:54)simoncn Wrote:  The first step is to diagnose the cause of the current problem. Before you consider purchasing a wireless bridge, it would be a good idea to try a temporary Ethernet cable. A 30m cable should be long enough, and these are available for about £4 from Amazon.....
After doing the test with a 30m Ethernet cable, you might find that you still have the dropout problem., If so, the solution would be to buy a switch instead of buying a wireless bridge.

Thanks again Simon. Cable ordered. (£3.40). I'm going away for a few days. I will report back in a week or so.

I've not forgotten about this matter. I am back from Vienna and I now have the long cable. The issue is, however, that I have not been able to replicate the problem of "stuttering" tracks [see post #9]. I moved a number of components around when integrating some different gear into the system (see different thread). Since then my Homeplugs have shown either green or yellow and the Sonos has worked without any error.

I've only been back home for a few days, so the problem may yet recur. In the meantime, do you suggest that I continue with the Homeplugs? I assume that so long as the Homeplugs are working, then connecting using the long cable would tell us very little, if anything.
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24-04-2014, 09:27
Post: #17
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(24-04-2014 09:07)gnomus Wrote:  I've not forgotten about this matter. I am back from Vienna and I now have the long cable. The issue is, however, that I have not been able to replicate the problem of "stuttering" tracks [see post #9]. I moved a number of components around when integrating some different gear into the system (see different thread). Since then my Homeplugs have shown either green or yellow and the Sonos has worked without any error.

I've only been back home for a few days, so the problem may yet recur. In the meantime, do you suggest that I continue with the Homeplugs? I assume that so long as the Homeplugs are working, then connecting using the long cable would tell us very little, if anything.

As I understand it, this problem occurs only occasionally. It's likely that the problem corresponds to a time when the network is heavily loaded with other activity. You should try the long cable at a time when the problem is occurring to see whether the cable makes any difference.

What is the significance of yellow and green on the Homeplugs?
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24-04-2014, 09:45
Post: #18
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(24-04-2014 09:27)simoncn Wrote:  
(24-04-2014 09:07)gnomus Wrote:  I've not forgotten about this matter. I am back from Vienna and I now have the long cable. The issue is, however, that I have not been able to replicate the problem of "stuttering" tracks [see post #9]. I moved a number of components around when integrating some different gear into the system (see different thread). Since then my Homeplugs have shown either green or yellow and the Sonos has worked without any error.

I've only been back home for a few days, so the problem may yet recur. In the meantime, do you suggest that I continue with the Homeplugs? I assume that so long as the Homeplugs are working, then connecting using the long cable would tell us very little, if anything.

As I understand it, this problem occurs only occasionally. It's likely that the problem corresponds to a time when the network is heavily loaded with other activity. You should try the long cable at a time when the problem is occurring to see whether the cable makes any difference.

What is the significance of yellow and green on the Homeplugs?

Sorry, Simon. Yes, the issue has only happened a few times - usually between 6-7pm in the evening. However, I have not had the issue since moving all my HiFi boxes around - although it has only been a few days.

The lights on the BT Homeplugs are supposed to indicate data transfer speeds. The 'Green' indicator means "High Transfer Speed"; 'Yellow' (BT call it Orange) means "Medium Transfer Speed"; and 'Red' indicates "Low Transfer Speed". When I have had the issue, the Homeplug has been flashing Red, although I am told that this should still allow enough transfer for audio streaming. I think I read somewhere that 'Red' indicates 1-4 Mbps. (I can't find that link at present, however.)
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24-04-2014, 09:58 (This post was last modified: 24-04-2014 10:18 by simoncn.)
Post: #19
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(24-04-2014 09:45)gnomus Wrote:  Sorry, Simon. Yes, the issue has only happened a few times - usually between 6-7pm in the evening. However, I have not had the issue since moving all my HiFi boxes around - although it has only been a few days.

The lights on the BT Homeplugs are supposed to indicate data transfer speeds. The 'Green' indicator means "High Transfer Speed"; 'Yellow' (BT call it Orange) means "Medium Transfer Speed"; and 'Red' indicates "Low Transfer Speed". When I have had the issue, the Homeplug has been flashing Red, although I am told that this should still allow enough transfer for audio streaming. I think I read somewhere that 'Red' indicates 1-4 Mbps. (I can't find that link at present, however.)

Audio streaming is more demanding than other types of network traffic (such as downloading) because it needs to achieve a constant rate with no delays. If your connection is running at 1 Mbps as an average rate, it is very unlikely that it can do audio streaming without dropouts. Even if the average rate is 4 Mbps, some dropouts could occur.

For testing purposes, you might be able to provoke the problem by setting MinimStreamer transcoding to flac:wav24. This will increase the bandwidth demand on the network connection.
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24-04-2014, 10:32
Post: #20
RE: Total Newbie - Apologies in Advance
(24-04-2014 09:58)simoncn Wrote:  ...
For testing purposes, you might be able to provoke the problem by setting MinimStreamer transcoding to flac:wav24. This will increase the bandwidth demand on the network connection.

I believe that the Sonos can only play 16-bit files.
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