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View Full Version : So...here we go again.. network issues with "Squeezeboxes"



donmacn
2014-03-24, 04:19
Hi folks,
I went to bed last night, everything was hunkydory in squeezebox land. Woke up this morning, and it's clear something's happened during the night, because all the players can't connect. Its a Vortexbox, running LMS 7.8 and a new-ish 'top end' Netgear router.

First of all I tried rebooting the VB and LMS; then I tried re-booting the Router. That didn't seem to work. Now I've run around trying the whole power down/up routine (power everything down;power off/on router;give it time; restart all the players in sequence). So far I've only tried repowering the upstairs players. Two connect OK (a Touch and a Boom), two don't (another Touch and another Boom) and are reporting issues to do with "can't find DHCP address". I had been running a 'reserved IP address' system, which I understand is different from a 'proper' static IP address set-up.

I'm about to try powering up the downstairs players (1 Touch and 3 Classics) to see how they get on - not that optimistic.

It's this thing that keeps coming back to bug me about this system. I love what it can do - 7 players all synchronised is brilliant - and it can go for weeks or months really stable, lulling you into false sense of security, but at the back of your mind, you're always waiting for a morning like this when it all goes belly-up for no good reason. I say no good reason - I'm sure there probably is a good 'computer' reason - but tracking that down is a bit beyond my skills.

* Given that I've powered down the LMS and the Router, will I now be able to find any logs that would help diagnose what might have happened?

* Is it likely the router (Netgear D6200 - new December/January approx) is developing a fault?

* Is it time to ditch 'reserved' IP addresses; go for static ones; and amend the range of the router's DHCP assigned addresses (I do have other properly 'mobile' devices which would need DHCP I think?)

*Any other thoughts?

Thanks as always.

Donald

garym
2014-03-24, 04:52
Make sure your router wifi channel setting is set to an actual channel and NOT automatic. Don't use a channel > 11, even if available in your part of the world. Use channel 1, 6, or 11 if possible. Also use a channel that doesn't have any nearby users. Something like vistumbler or inSSIDer will allow you to see nearby wifi networks. On your router, make sure that you haven't selected to "hide" SSID. This is not ANY security anyhow and can cause problems (you'll know that hiding SSID is not any security when you run vistumber!).

Another tip, sometimes LMS starts up before the PC has a full internet connection. Some devices will retry to get DNS,etc. until it works but my understanding is that the LMS and players will not keep trying. So after you've done the full restart (router, then PC, then LMS, then start players), go back to PC and only stop then restart LMS (do not reboot PC). This way you can be sure that LMS sees the internet properly.

In LMS webGUI, go into SETTINGS > ADVANCED > Logging. on the "server" logging, set this to debug. Also tick "save logging preferences for next restart" at top of that page. Once you've restarted, etc. you can go into settings, information, bottom of page and select the server log and see what's there....

donmacn
2014-03-24, 05:56
Gary,

Thanks very much. I've had to come in to work (can't sit at home all day trying to get my SBs to play - though it's very tempting!)

I'll have another run at it this evening.


Make sure your router wifi channel setting is set to an actual channel and NOT automatic. Don't use a channel > 11, even if available in your part of the world. Use channel 1, 6, or 11 if possible. Also use a channel that doesn't have any nearby users. Something like vistumbler or inSSIDer will allow you to see nearby wifi networks. On your router, make sure that you haven't selected to "hide" SSID. This is not ANY security anyhow and can cause problems (you'll know that hiding SSID is not any security when you run vistumber!).

Because of where I live - semi-rural; detached property; no other networks detectable nearby - I know seen this advice about network channels and never really felt it was a big issue. That said, I think I've set the channel to 6 - but I'll need to check. I delve into these things whenever I have 'squeeze-issues' and then when they work fine for a period, there's no doubt I forget some of the answers and need to dig back into old threads. If I haven't done it, I'll do it this time. I know I haven't set SSID to hide for more or less the same reasons. The neighbours are too far away to get any signal from our network, even if they were that way inclined.



Another tip, sometimes LMS starts up before the PC has a full internet connection. Some devices will retry to get DNS,etc. until it works but my understanding is that the LMS and players will not keep trying. So after you've done the full restart (router, then PC, then LMS, then start players), go back to PC and only stop then restart LMS (do not reboot PC). This way you can be sure that LMS sees the internet properly.

OK, thanks. I'm going to 'cut and paste' this and add it to my checklist. The VB is still relatively new to me, and rather than power it down again this morning, I would have had it (and LMS) running when I powered down the router. That said, from power-up, one of the Booms connected and began playing within literally 5-10 seconds; the other hangs at the 'looking for IP address' and then says it can't find the DHCP server, so presumably LMS must actually be there and working.



In LMS webGUI, go into SETTINGS > ADVANCED > Logging. on the "server" logging, set this to debug. Also tick "save logging preferences for next restart" at top of that page. Once you've restarted, etc. you can go into settings, information, bottom of page and select the server log and see what's there....

If these are 'default' settings(?) I suspect they'll be like that anyway, but I'll check and do this.

I'm also starting to wonder about getting into some 'building' work and further strengthening the network by relocating the router into the hallway and connecting it to the PC via a switch. It means running new power spurs; moving the ADSL master socket; a new shelf; etc but it will remove a couple of walls from the average wifi signal path. I don't think this is actually a big deal - most of the upstairs players, when they're working, report a signal strength of +80%. The worst, downstairs, maybe 58-65%. But it might take another potential factor away.

I do still wish I had an inkling of why this might happen out of the blue. I thought maybe a night time power supply glitch, but I checked a mains-powered bedside clock which persists with a flashing display if the power drops, and it wasn't that.

Thanks again.

garym
2014-03-24, 06:07
The logging settings I mentioned are NOT the default. On your vortexbox, have you set the IP address to static. You do this in VB webGUI > network settings. tick the static address box (instead of dhcp). Then enter the relevant info. use an IP address outside your DHCP range (my range starts at .100, and my router is 192.168.1.1. With this, I use the following:

IP address: 192.168.1.16
subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
gateway: 192.168.1.1 (this is same as your router ip address)
DNS1: 192.168.1.1 (this is the same as your router ip address)
DNS2: 8.8.8.8
(8.8.8.8 is the free google DNS).

aubuti
2014-03-24, 07:33
I'm also starting to wonder about getting into some 'building' work and further strengthening the network by relocating the router into the hallway and connecting it to the PC via a switch. It means running new power spurs; moving the ADSL master socket; a new shelf; etc but it will remove a couple of walls from the average wifi signal path. I don't think this is actually a big deal - most of the upstairs players, when they're working, report a signal strength of +80%. The worst, downstairs, maybe 58-65%. But it might take another potential factor away.
Sorry if you've already explained this in one of your earlier threads, but are _any_ of your SBs on a wired ethernet connection? If so, do they suffer from the same connection problems, or is it only wifi?

And, if you start doing some building work, running power spurs, opening/removing walls, etc then you should definitely look into running Cat5e or Cat6 cable to as many SB locations as you can as part of that job.

garym
2014-03-24, 08:25
And, if you start doing some building work, running power spurs, opening/removing walls, etc then you should definitely look into running Cat5e or Cat6 cable to as many SB locations as you can as part of that job.

+1. Nothing you can do will be as useful as running actual ethernet cable to as many players as possible. At one location I have Router > dumb switch > ethernet cable in walls to most rooms > small dumb switch > cable to SB players, TV, Roku, etc. Only my Radio is wifi (and I move it around a bit with battery). At another location I have router > MoCa > cableTV cable in wall > MoCa> dumb switch > cable to SB player. In addition have router > MoCa > tvcable in wall > MoCA > Vortexbox. And at second location also have radio that is WIFI (and battery). I would use ethernet over powerline now instead of MoCa. But both work.

donmacn
2014-03-24, 11:48
Apologies for the profanities. I tried changing the VB details to static as above, except that somewhere, while I was trying to find out what the local subnet mask was, I found 255.255.255.255 i.e. four times, rather than 255.255.255.0. Now I can't login to my VB on the web interface because I presume it's on some sort of parallel 'domain' that means I can't get through.

Any suggestions?

I have connected a screen and keyboard to the VB, and I can login that way, but once I get in, then because it's a command line interface, I've no idea where to go or what to do. Is it even possible to change the IP address/subnet mask using this interface?

Ta

D

donmacn
2014-03-24, 13:05
What can I say. A bit of wandering around the vortexbox forum and guides, and lots of switching my monitor from PC to VB, I got that sorted. Now it's just a case of restoring the rest of the network around the static IPs.

On one hand, I think this is all caused by the SBs and find myself blaming them - it's probably not. There must be some sort of network issues behind it all.

On the other hand, by degrees, I'm learning a lot more about home networking and configuration; as well as being less scared of the command line of the VB itself.

Back to work...

garym
2014-03-24, 13:51
What can I say. A bit of wandering around the vortexbox forum and guides, and lots of switching my monitor from PC to VB, I got that sorted. Now it's just a case of restoring the rest of the network around the static IPs.

On one hand, I think this is all caused by the SBs and find myself blaming them - it's probably not. There must be some sort of network issues behind it all.

On the other hand, by degrees, I'm learning a lot more about home networking and configuration; as well as being less scared of the command line of the VB itself.

Back to work...

Excellent that you got it working (I wasn't sure how to use command line to go back to "255.255.255.0"). Yes, SB's are certainly not blameless, but I've found over the years (in my own case and in answering other's questions) that most of the time the SB problems are just symptoms of a network problem, internet problem, or server problem. But the SB makes them noticable (because the same problem is not as apparent on surfing the web or sending email as in a continuous stream of audio data). All of this stuff is completely outside my normal knowledge, but over the years I've become a pretty good shade tree mechanic on how networks work, using a home sever with some command line stuff (vortexbox), etc. It's a nice diversion from my day job. And (knock on wood), my SB stuff tends to simply work, year after year after year. But I have a robust network and mostly ethernet cabled devices.

donmacn
2014-03-24, 14:46
Sorry if you've already explained this in one of your earlier threads, but are _any_ of your SBs on a wired ethernet connection? If so, do they suffer from the same connection problems, or is it only wifi? .
Ta. Itís powerline Ethernet. I have a Touch that struggles to connect on that, but manages wireless. I have a Classic thatís quite happy on powerline. Itís the only one on Ethernet at this stage. Whether they suffer the same? Iím not sure. Having just gone for fixed IPs all round, I hope I wonít need to find out for a while! But if I do, Iíll try and remember to focus on that as a factor.

And, if you start doing some building work, running power spurs, opening/removing walls, etc then you should definitely look into running Cat5e or Cat6 cable to as many SB locations as you can as part of that job.
Removing walls! Yikes! I think I was careless with my language. I guess by building work I mean running cables up through stud walls. I have really easy access underfloor to half of the house, so what I meant was that I could probably drill through the floor and the bottom studding and run Network cable; ADSL; and mains power up to a new location for the router.
But I agree Ė getting Cat5e into as many spots as possible makes sense. A longer term thing maybe, or Ďas and whení the opportunity arises.

Excellent that you got it working (I wasn't sure how to use command line to go back to "255.255.255.0"). Yes, SB's are certainly not blameless, but I've found over the years (in my own case and in answering other's questions) that most of the time the SB problems are just symptoms of a network problem, internet problem, or server problem. But the SB makes them noticable (because the same problem is not as apparent on surfing the web or sending email as in a continuous stream of audio data). All of this stuff is completely outside my normal knowledge, but over the years I've become a pretty good shade tree mechanic on how networks work, using a home sever with some command line stuff (vortexbox), etc. It's a nice diversion from my day job. And (knock on wood), my SB stuff tends to simply work, year after year after year. But I have a robust network and mostly ethernet cabled devices.

Thanks again Gary. Sounds like the same sort of journey. I got all the players fixed to static, then turned DCHP back on for the router. Fingers crossed itís all Ďstuckí and Iíll get a longer period of stability.
Cheers

D

SlimChances
2014-03-24, 14:52
If the problems recurr there could be interference on the wrieless network from other sources such as garage door openers, cordless phones or microwaves. I had problems with interference from my cordless phone and changing the wireless channel as Garym suggested worked

garym
2014-03-24, 14:54
If the problems recurr there could be interference on the wrieless network from other sources such as garage door openers, cordless phones or microwaves. I had problems with interference from my cordless phone and changing the wireless channel as Garym suggested worked

a couple of years ago I was having a strange router dropping signal problem that ultimately was related to my old wireless phone that was near the router. I changed to a DEC 6.0 phone system (still near router) and problem went away.

donmacn
2014-03-25, 01:26
Thanks again guys,

I've changed to a fixed wifi channel - 6 - along with the other settings. My cordless phones are old, and beginning to play up in other ways, so probably makes sense to change them for newer tech.

I just thought I'd come back on the microwave thing though. A while back I was having weird issues with a kitchen Boom. All of a sudden it wouldn't work where it had sat for years. In that location, I would notice occasional dropout when the microwave was on. Now, bizarrely, it sits right on top of the microwave and isn't at all affected when the microwave is actually operating!

Sitting here just now plotting which network cable runs would be possible and offer easiest install and least disruption.

aubuti
2014-03-25, 07:31
Removing walls! Yikes! I think I was careless with my language. I guess by building work I mean running cables up through stud walls. I have really easy access underfloor to half of the house, so what I meant was that I could probably drill through the floor and the bottom studding and run Network cable; ADSL; and mains power up to a new location for the router.
But I agree Ė getting Cat5e into as many spots as possible makes sense. A longer term thing maybe, or Ďas and whení the opportunity arises.
Or I was careless in my reading. Or both. Now I see that you are only planning to remove walls from the signal path, that is, by moving the network equipment and not by demolishing walls. Got it.
Yeah, if you're going to be going up through stud walls and into the underfloor, take that as an opportunity to run Cat5e all over the place. Some time spent plotting those runs is time well spent. And I don't want to discourage you, but if it's an older home, be prepared for at least one surprise along the way (eg, studs where you wouldn't expect them, an old heating duct).